The English composer-conductor Henry Cotter Nixon (1842–1907) has entirely disappeared from music history. But this new series – presenting all his surviving orchestral music in its first-ever recordings – reveals Nixon to have been one of the most accomplished English composers of his generation, with a style that takes in elements of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Verdi and Brahms. Nixon labelled his five-movement Palamon and Arcite a symphonic poem (it is one of the first by a British composer), but it has much in common with the programmatic symphonies of contemporary composers such as Goldmark and Raff.
Ana Török, violin (Track 2)
Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra
Romance for Violin and Orchestra (c. 1889; reconstructed 2016 by Paul Mann)
Palamon and Arcite: Symphonic Poem (1882)
Catalogue No: TOCC0372EAN/UPC: 5060113443724Release Date: 01.12.2016Composer: Henry Cotter Nixon Artists: Ana Török,
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Ralph Graves :
“The Concert Overture No.3, Jacta est Alea was written sometime in the 1880s. Stylistically, I heard the influence of Brahms and Mendelssohn — not uncommon for British composers of the late Victorian period. And yet, there’s something else there that made this overture more than just a pale imitation of its influences. Nixon had a finely developed sense of the dramatic. The overture doesn’t neatly fall into a traditional sonata-allegro form, but it works. And that’s what counts. … Solo violinist Ana Török brought out all the emotion written into the music [of 1889 Romance for Violin and Orchestra] without letting it veer too far into late Victorian sentimentality — a performance I truly admire. So what of Palamon and Arcite, perhaps Britain’s first symphonic poem? … Nixon seems inspired by Beethoven, creating musical gestures of real emotional power. His use of brass throughout the work is especially effective. … Palamon and Arcite is a substantial work that stands up under repeated listening, especially with the strong, committed performance Paul Mann and the Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra deliver. Palamon and Arcite is more than just a historical curiosity. This is music that can — and should — be enjoyed on its own terms.” –Finding Beauty in Ephemera, February 2017
Jerry Dubins :
“Terrific playing by the Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra led by Paul Mann, and by violinist Ana Török in the Romance, pus Toccata’s fantastic recording, make this release a must-have for all fanciers of big-hearted Romantic scores. Two more volumes of Nixon’s orchestral works are promised. I can’t wait.” —Fanfare Magazine, July/August 2017
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