ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
JOHN FOULDS - Orchestral Works


JOHN FOULDS - Orchestral Works - Peter Donohoe (Piano) - Daniel Hope (Violin) - City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Sakari Oramo (Conductor) - 2-Disc Set - Released: September 2013 - Warner Classics Apex 825646451135

1} Three Mantras from Avatara, Op. 61b
2} Lyra Celtica - Concerto for Voice and Orchestra, Op. 50
3} Apotheosis (Elegy), Music-Poem No. 4 for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 18
4} Mirage, Music-Poem No. 5 for Orchestra, Op. 20
5} Dynamic Triptych for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 88
6} April - England (Impressions of Time and Place No. 1), Op. 48 No. 1
7} Music-Pictures Group III, Op. 33
8} The Song of Ram Dass
9} Keltic Lament, Op. 29 No. 2

Brace yourself for a sonic whiplash!

Music at times so full of kinetic energy it's like being witness to a great machine in motion, followed by passages so quiet and calm as to drift unnoticed through a graveyard. Bold splashes of colour, gifted orchestration and imaginative melodic invention combined to create vivid musical landscapes.

The set opens with the extremely impressive Three Mantras, orchestral showpieces of the thrill ride category, which even blend in the voices of the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus to great effect, where the voices just seem to mesh with, and become part of, the orchestral fabric. The very lyrical Apotheosis, beautifully played by violinist Daniel Hope easily rivals any 20th century violin concerto in scope of expression. The same can be said of the impetuous Dynamic Triptych, which imposes taxing demands on pianist Peter Donohoe, and does a great job of combining modern mettle with the "grand" piano concerto tradition. And influenced by the few years at the end of his life spent in India, the beautifully exotic The Song of Ram Dass will leave you wanting more.

British composer John Foulds (1880-1939), lived during the same time period as Gustav Holst for example, amongst others of the same era, but definitely marched to his own drum. Few of his works have been recorded, but thanks to some labels like Dutton, Chandos and Lyrita, his music has been kept alive and active. These impressive Warner Classics recordings originally came out as two full-priced individual discs in 2004 and 2006, and were very well received at the time. If you passed on them then, now's your chance to redeem yourself. This is really an amazing set of great music, for those of you who enjoy more than just the standards on your plate, and it's now available at a budget price. It's a no-brainer ...

Jean-Yves Duperron - November 2013