Donald Francis Tovey (1875–1940) has long been known as one of the finest writers on music in English – but he saw himself primarily as a composer. His powerful and ambitious Symphony, written in 1913, has its stylistic roots in Brahms and Bruckner, and more distantly in Schumann, but Tovey was also open to contemporary developments: the harmonic procedures occasionally invoke Reger, the adventurous use of orchestral colour suggests Mahler and Nielsen and the scale – it is almost an hour in length – casts the work as a mighty cousin to Elgar’s two symphonies, finished not long before. This is its first recording since Tovey himself conducted a BBC broadcast performance in 1937. The disc opens with the first recording of the gentle, noble Prelude to Tovey’s only opera, The Bride of Dionysus, begun in 1907 and completed in 1918.
Malmö Opera Orchestra, Sweden, orchestra George Vass, conductor
Catalogue No: TOCC0033EAN/UPC: 5060113440334Release Date: 06.02.2006Composer: Sir Donald Tovey Artists: George Vass, Malmö Opera Orchestra
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Symphony in D, Op. 32 (1918) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0033/TOCC0033t02.mp3
Andrew Achenbach :
“A very creditable performance, too, from the Malmö Opera Orchestra under George Vass (there is, fascinatingly, a historic alternative from 1937 conducted by Tovey himself on Symposium which I have yet to hear), who also acquit themselves most ably in the noble Prelude to Tovey’s 1918 opera The Bride of Dionysus which launches proceedings. Good if not perhaps ideally ventilated sound, as well as exceptionally detailed notes and analyses by Peter R Shore and the composer respectively, add to the attractions of this courageous and valuable issue from Toccata Classics. Here’s hoping this enterprising young label will now go on to give us some of Tovey’s chamber music.” —Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone
Calum MacDonald :
“The Malmö Orchestra does wonders with the technically taxing Symphony, due doubtless to appropriately firm direction from George Vass.” —Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine
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