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CHAN 10265
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CHAN 10265
The Berkeley Edition, Vol. 5

The Berkeley Edition, Vol. 5

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2004

Originally recorded in 2004

Artists:

BBC National Orchestra of Wales


Richard Hickox


Catherine Wyn-Rogers

contralto†

Celia Craig

cor anglais‡

Howard Shelley

piano*

Steven Burnard

viola‡

Venue:

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea


St Davids Hall, Cardiff



Producer:

Brian Couzens



Engineer:

Ralph Couzens


Michael Common

(Assistant)

Matthew Walker

(Assistant)

Record Label
Chandos

Genre:

Orchestral & Concertos




Total Time - 70:59
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The Berkeley Edition, Vol. 5

 

LENNOX BERKELEY

(1903-1989)
Select Complete Single Disc for
 

Piano Concerto, Op. 29*

25:05  
  in B flat major - in B-Dur - en si bémol majeur  
1 I Allegro moderato - Cadenza - Allegretto - Tempo I 11:01
2 II Andante 8:16
3 III Vivace (alla breve) 5:47
   
 

MICHAEL BERKELEY

(b. 1948)
premiere recording
4 

Gethsemane Fragment

10:39
   
 

LENNOX BERKELEY

 

Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila, Op. 27†

13:18  
  for Contralto and String Orchestra  
  To John Greenidge  
5 1 If, Lord, Thy love for me is strong. Moderato - 4:23
6 2 Shepherd, shepherd, hark that calling! Allegro 2:14
7 3 Let mine eyes see Thee. Andante 3:58
8 4 Today a shepherd and our kin. Allegro moderato 2:41
   
 

MICHAEL BERKELEY

premiere recording
9 

Tristessa‡

22:00
Chandos’ innovatory Berkeley Edition, launched in 2002, is now coming to be regarded as one of the UK’s most important recording projects currently underway, providing a valuable sound document of the music of father and son Sir Lennox and Michael Berkeley, both tremendously important figures in British musical life.The series is exactly the sort of project for which Chandos is famous – committed advocacy of home-grown composers whose work deserves to be far more widely known.

Sir Lennox Berkeley is of that generation of English composers which included Walton and Britten, but his French ancestry and connections (he studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and was friends with Ravel) mean that his music has a distinctly gallic flavour. Michael Berkeley was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, and as a boy soprano he worked frequently with his godfather, Benjamin Britten. An articulate communicator on music, he was Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival for ten years and is well known as a broadcaster on radio and television.

Premiere recordings of Michael Berkeley’s Tristessa and Gethsemane Fragment.

Previous releases in the series have been very warmly received; the first volume was a Sunday Times ‘CD of the Week’.

The popular contralto, Catherine Wyn-Rogers features in the Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila.


"Lennox Berkeley wrote his Piano Concerto in B flat major in 1947–48 for his loyal interpreter Colin Horsley, who gave the first performance in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The solo part combines a good deal of bravura writing, including several passages of double octaves, with simple, lyrical melodies, sometimes over a Chopin-like arpeggio accompaniment and sometimes played by the two hands in octaves.

A convert to Roman Catholicism in his mid-twenties, Berkeley composed a good deal of music for worship, as well as several concert works on sacred or devotional texts. Among the best known of the latter is his Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila, written in 1947 shortly before the Piano Concerto. The voice is accompanied by the favourite English medium of string orchestra, with some solo writing for violin and cello and with the sections frequently divided to provide rich harmonies and full textures.

Michael Berkeley’s Gethsemane Fragment is based on the description in St Matthew’s gospel of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before his arrest, trial and Crucifixion, praying: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ He chose this passage, he says, ‘because it seemed to me that at Gethsemane we see Christ at his most human’.

The title of the work Tristessa, clearly related to the French, Italian and Spanish words for sadness, is taken from Angela Carter’s 1977 novel The Passion of New Eve, a fantasy of sexual re-orientation set in a dystopian future America. It is the name of one of the central characters, a former Hollywood star, now a recluse, whose on-screen persona embodied women’s suffering. Carter, who died in 1992 at the age of fifty-one, was a friend of Berkeley’s and collaborated with him on an unrealised operatic project. The work is dedicated to her memory.
"

The four pieces follow a pattern: Michael Berkeley’s newer music is far darker and more atonal that his father’s. The two distinct personalities yield a varied, contrasting program of great interest.
American Record Guide

This magnificent series devoted to the two Berkeleys continues… as in the previous three volumes there are revelations, with Richard Hickox as the ideal interpreter in every way.
Gramophone on CHAN 10167 (Volume 4)

Richard Hickox inspires the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to a brilliant performance, vividly recorded…
Gramophone on CHAN 10080 (Volume 3)

A fascinating programme, extremely well played and recorded.
The Sunday Times ‘CD of the Week’ on CHAN 9981 (Volume 1)

'Played with fervour and authority by the forces for whom it was written, this performance caps a welcome addition to the Berkeleys' discography.'
BBC Music Magazine




*****
T Vogelsang