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CHAN 10235
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CHAN 10235

Moeran: In the Mountain Country/ Rhapsodies 1 & 2/Nocturne/Serenade

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2004

Originally recorded in 2003

Artists:

Ulster Orchestra


Vernon Handley


Hugh Mackey

baritone*

Renaissance Singers



Venue:

Ulster Hall, Belfast



Producer:

Tim Oldham

(Nocturne)

Brian Couzens

(other works)

Engineer:

Ralph Couzens


Janet Middlebrook

(Assistant)

Richard Lee

(Assistant)

Rachel Smith

(Assistant)

Ben Connellan

(Assistant)

Record Label
Chandos Classics

Genre:

Orchestral & Concertos




Total Time - 68:58
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ERNEST JOHN MOERAN

(1894-1950)
Select Complete Single Disc for
   
 

Serenade in G

23:40  
  in G-Dur - en sol majeur  
1 I Prologue. Allegro 4:05
2 II Intermezzo. Allegretto 3:17
3 III Air. Lento, ma non troppo 2:46
4 IV Galop. Presto 2:18
5 V Minuet. Tempo di Minuetto 3:56
6 VI Forlana. Andante con moto 4:00
7 VII Rigadoon. Con brio, ma tempo moderato 1:47
8 VIII Epilogue. Allegro un poco maestoso 1:27
   
9 

In the Mountain Country

7:06
  Symphonic impression  
10 

Rhapsody No. 1

11:54
  For orchestra  
  in F major - in F-Dur - en fa majeur  
11 

Rhapsody No. 2

12:56
  For orchestra  
  in E major - in E-Dur - en mi majeur  
12 

Nocturne*

13:26
  For baritone, chorus and orchestra  
  Text by Robert Nichols  
  Lento  
Vernon Handley’s Chandos Moeran recordings are regarded as classic accounts. This final disc in the recent series of re-issues gathers together some less well-known and certainly not less appealing works: the Serenade in G is highly attractive with its use of ancient dance forms, transformed in modern colours and dress, whilst the Nocturne for baritone and chorus (a work much admired by Britten) is wonderfully atmospheric. The Rhapsodies are unpretentious and highly enjoyable, with some very attractive themes, whilst folk-like melodies pervade In the Mountain Country to disarming effect.

Unique coupling of unfamiliar Moeran works.

Only available performances of most of the works.



The fact that In the Mountain Country was inspired by the landscape of Ireland is underlined by the title Moeran had first chosen: ‘Cushinsheeaun: symphonic impression’, which is still legible on the surviving manuscript. The piece exemplifies that feature of Moeran’s early writing which is most notable: folk-sounding themes that are, in fact, original.

Rhapsody No. 1 is dedicated to Moeran’s teacher, John Ireland. In it, Moeran builds on the experience gained in writing In the Mountain Country, though the form is more complex, as is the treatment of the larger orchestra.

Rhapsody No. 2 is memorable for its melody, and begins with a tune on bass clarinet, the opening phrases of which are in fact the Norfolk folksong Polly on the Shore. The work was composed for the 1924 Norfolk and Norwich Centenary Festival. After its first performance in Norwich it was revised for a somewhat smaller orchestra and it is this version which is recorded here.

In January 1935 Jelka Delius wrote asking Moeran to dedicate Nocturne to the memory of her husband who had died the year before. The sunset mood, the use of the chorus in eight parts with baritone solo, and the memory of Delius’ choral work Sea Drift in particular, must inform our stylistic view of this evocative score. Yet the folk-like woodwind writing was ever a Moeran fingerprint, while the passionate final choral outburst is strongly reminiscent of Vaughan Williams’s Flos Campi.

The Serenade in G consisted of eight movements when it was first performed at the Proms in 1948, but Moeran’s publisher thought the work too long and insisted that he jettison two of them. It was an unfortunate decision for the deleted ‘Intermezzo’ and ‘Forlana’ underline the work’s personality. On this recording, therefore, the two lost movements have been reinstated.


Handleys… performances are well studied and beautiful.
American Record Guide

The performances under Vernon Handley… are absolutely splendid, and are warmly and spaciously recorded.
The Independent

The Ulster Orchestra plays with exquisite refinement.
Gramophone



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