RUTLAND BOUGHTON (1878-1960): Symphony No. 1 “Oliver Cromwell”, EDGAR BAINTON (1880-1956): Symphony No. 3 in C Minor.
Catalogue Number: 07J002
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7185
Description: Bainton’s Third may be the find of the year for collectors of symphonies. Finished in the year of his death, it has a breadth of vision, a depth of emotion which is often found in composers approaching the end of their careers: a whole life has gone into this music and, with the loss of his wife in 1953 delaying his ability to deal with the work for three years - and leading to a cathartic release of pent-up grief in the work’s slow movement - not only his life. A comparison to Bax in Bainton’s Symphony No. 2 by a music writer was meant to suggest a lack of original personality in that work but the power and mystery of Bax is everywhere present in this symphony although it rarely “sounds like” Bax. The June Gramophone summed it up perfectly: “a 42-minute journey of frequently piercing beauty and slumbering power, waymarked by a haunting pentatonic motif.” Boughton’s somewhat Lisztian character portrait (which sets Cromwell’s last prayer for baritone at the end of the final movement) dates from 1905. A “Cromwell motif” runs throughout, varied ingeniously, as the movements wend their way through “A character study”, “Cromwell’s letter to his wife, after the Battle of Dunbar”, “March of the Puritans” and “Death scene” - although Boughton also insisted that “no actual events are depicted in the music”! Text included. Roderick Williams (baritone), BBC Concert Orchestra; Vernon Handley.