RUTH GIPPS (1921-1999): Symphony No. 4, Op. 61, Song for Orchestra, Op. 33, Symphonic Poem Knight in Armour, Op. 8 (all World Premiere Recordings), Symphony No. 2 in B, Op. 30.

Catalogue Number: 09U004

Label: Chandos

Reference: CHAN 20078

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: The 1945 Second, a conservatively romantic, single-movement work of some 20 minutes which dealt with the composer’s impressions of pre-war, war and post-war life in England, was offered in these pages back in June 1999 in its first recording by Douglas Bostock on the Classico label but the rest of this new release is all first recordings. Knight is a ten-minute Romantic tone-poem inspired by a Rembrandt painting which Gipps wrote when she was 19 and Song a six-minute encore or “light” piece from 1948. The meat is the 32-minute Fourth Symphony of 1972, a work that Gipps shared with Bliss while writing it and which the older composer enthusiatically approved of. Lewis Foreman’s notes talk of “a more severe expression”, “cold, insistent texture”, “general coldness of the harmonic treatment” and “darker tone of this symphony”, yet I hear warmth, confidence and general sanguinity not without touches of outright romantic nature. This is a gorgeous work that any musical Anglophile should treasure. BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Rumon Gamba.

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