BRIAN: Faust
Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of the Englis National Opera / Martyn Brabbins, cond.
DUTTON EPOCH SACD 2CDLX 7385 (2 disks) TT: 2 hours 15:22
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LACOMBE: Piano Trio No 1 in G, Op. 12. Piano Trio No 2 in E, Op. 90. Piano Trio No 3 in A, Op. 134. Meditatio for Violin and Piano, Op. 124.
Victor Sangiorgio, piano. Sergey Levitin, violin. Josephine Knight, cello.
DUTTON EPOCH SACD CDLX 7388 TT: 77:51
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BAX: String Quartet in E (1903). BANTOCK: In a Chinese Mirror (Quartet for Strings) (19353) GARDINER: String Quartet in B flat in one movement (1905). DAVIES: Eos Lals (The Nightigale) (1926)
Tippett Quartet
DUTTON EPOCH SACD CDLX 7389 TT: 79:48
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British composer Havergal Brian (1876 - 1972) was an amazing prolific musician. He wrote 32 symphonies, the first of which was the famous "Gothic Symphony" written 1919 - 1927, a massive lengthy work for soloists, large choruses and orchestra. This amazing work is available on Hyperion and Naxos; unfortunately no longer available is a remarkable live performance given in Royal Albert Hall in October 1966 conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, issued many years years ago on Testament. Brian was an incredibly prolific composer. In addition to his 32 symphonies, he wrote numerous orchestral works, music for chorus, for piano and concertos for cello and violin. . He composed five operas, and the fourth,Faust, based on the Goethe legend is heard on this fine new release, the premiere recording. This recording was made with assistance from the Havergal Brian Society. Apparently none of Brian;s operas were performed during his lifetime.John Pickard's excellent program notes give full information about the composer fascination with the tragedy and his concept of the motif. I found the music rather disappointing. Surely the opening section Prikigue in Heaven is tame indeed when compared with Arrigo Boito's in his opera on the same subject Mephistophele written more than a half-century earlier. There are 12 soloists including tenor Peter Hoare as Faust, baritone David Soar as Mephistophees, and soprano Allison Cook as Gretehen. Martyn Brabbins leads a performance that doubtless does full justice to the score. This is a major, handsome presentation with a 68- page booklet that includes the entire libretto in German and English. Dutton already has issued fine recordings of a number of Brian's works including 7 symphonies; check their wbsite for detils.

French musician/critic Paul Lacombe (1837 - 1927) was a prolific composer. His works include four symphonies, many other orchestral works, two piano concertos and much chamber music and music for solo piano. Although he was recognized during his time and critically praised, his music soon fell into oblivion. Bizet praised him, and the composer dedicated his Violin Sonata No. 1 to him. This new disk offers premiere recordings of Lacombe's Piano Trios 1, 2 and 3 along with a brief Meditation for violin and Piano. Lacombe'smusic surely is pleasant, each of the trios ending with a lively Alegro. The performances by artists listed above are excellent, and the recorded sound is totally natura.Welcome new repertoryworthy of investigation.

R.E.B. (November 2021)

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