Sir Donald Tovey: Symphony in D, The Bride of Dionysus: Prelude

Catalogue No: TOCC0033
EAN/UPC: 5060113440334
Release Date: 2006-02-06
Composer: Sir Donald Tovey
Artists: George Vass, Malmö Opera Orchestra

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

Listen To This Recording:

  1. The Bride of Dionysus: Prelude (1918)
  2. Symphony in D, Op. 32 (1918)

  3. I. Allegro maestoso
  4. II. Vivace ma non troppo presto
  5. III. Canzone Dorica – Adagio
  6. IV. Allegro con moto energico

7 reviews for Sir Donald Tovey: Symphony in D, The Bride of Dionysus: Prelude

  1. :

    ‘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

  2. :

    ‘The Malmö Orchestra does wonders with the technically taxing Symphony, due doubtless to appropriately firm direction from George Vass.’

    —Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine

  3. :

    ‘…the disc comes with excellent notes on both the man and the music. […]

    Overall, Vass seems convinced by the work and secures committed orchestral playing from the Malmö Opera Orchestra. The recording is good too and Tovey’s cause is well served.’

    —Patrick C Waller, MusicWeb International

  4. :

    ‘The present disc is a highly desirable and well-documented purchase for all those wanting a satisfyingly Brahmsian sturdy symphony of epic ambition and execution. The prelude forms a suave scene-setter for the symphony.’

    —Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

  5. :

    ‘This important release […] exemplifies the excellent production values of Martin Anderson’s new record label specialising mainly in previously unrecorded works. […]

    The comprehensive notes by record producer Peter Shore are fully informative; the 46-page booklet provided in decent sized print on thin paper – why don’t other record comapnies do that? […]

    It is lovingly conducted and well recorded in Malmö.’

    —Peter Graham Woolf, Musical Pointers

  6. :

    ‘The performance, by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under George Vass, is a good one […] This is such a good symphony that one wonders what now-departed conductors who once specialized in late romantic music, such as Georg Solti or Fritz Reiner, might have done with it.’

    —Uncle Dave Lewis, AllMusic

  7. :

    ‘George Vass conducts with a sure feel for the music’s pacing and the Malmö Opera Orchestra responds with fine playing […] The recording captures it all with both warmth and clarity.’

    —Classical Source

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