Charles O’BRIEN: Complete Orchestral Music, Volume Two

The rediscovery of the music of the Edinburgh composer Charles O’Brien (1882–1968) continues with this second CD of his orchestral music. Two expansive ‘concert overtures’, the bright Schumannesque To Spring and dark, Lisztian The Minstrel’s Curse – symphonic poems in all but name — contrast with two charming miniatures from O’Brien’s youth and a colourful evocation of Scottish life, in a suite consisting of a tone-poem, an heroic elegy and a dancing finale.

Liepāja Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann, conductor


Catalogue No: TOCC0263
EAN/UPC: 5060113442635
Release Date: 01.03.2016
Composer: Charles O'Brien
Artists: Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann

2 reviews for Charles O’BRIEN: Complete Orchestral Music, Volume Two

  1. :

    “I encourage listeners to obtain all three of the O’Brien pieces and welcome him into your library. They will provide many hours of listening pleasures.” –Film Music: A Neglected Art, March 2016

  2. :

    “O’Brien’s music sounds as if someone had discovered a pile of lost scores by the Greenock-born composer Hamish MacCunn… it is an admirable rule of thumb for judging the quality of music in this CD. … At bottom line this is music from a composer who was influenced by the romantic school of music but who was tinged with a number of indigenous felicities. … [Mazurka and Berceuse (1898):] The Mazurka is a pleasant little piece that could have been composed by Eduard or Josef Strauss. The scoring of the Berceuse had to be reworked by Mann… The end result is a charming piece of light music. … The three scenes [Scottish Scenes, op.17] present musical pictures of Scotland. Moorland is dark and brooding, yet with an unexpected warmth for such a dramatic landscape. The Voice of the Glen is like a Celtic mother calling to her children from afar. … Harvest Home is a Scottish country dance. All the stops are pulled out for this vigorous and vivacious finale. Charles O’Brien has succeeded in giving a musical portrait of Scotland that does not depend on clichés from the music hall or cinema screen. Admittedly, there are a number of Scotch snaps and melodies that nod to Scottish folksong yet, he has managed to absorb the landscape into his heart and soul. … The musical language used to portray this story [The Minstrel’s Curse] is that of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Liszt. I loved this ‘concert overture’. … the music is always interesting, exciting, dramatic and disturbing. … Whatever the inspiration for O’Brien’s work To Spring: Concert Overture, op.4, it is delightful, if a little old-fashioned. It deserves a place in the repertoire. … The Latvian orchestra plays with enthusiasm and seem to have a definite flair for evoking the mists and sceneries of Scotland. … This is an excellent CD dedicated to an undiscovered Scottish composer.” –Music Web International, April 2016

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *