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CHAN 10308
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CHAN 10308

Dyson: Symphony in G/ Overture: At the Tabard Inn/In Honour of the City

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2005

Originally recorded in 2004


London Symphony Orchestra


City of London Sinfonia

Richard Hickox

London Symphony Chorus


Blackheath Halls, London

All Saints' Church, Tooting, London


Brian Couzens

(other works)

Ralph Couzens

(Symphony in G)


Jonathan Cooper

(Assistant: 1 October 1996)

Richard Smoker

(Assistant: other days)

Ralph Couzens

(other works)

Ben Connellan

(Symphony in G)

Record Label
Chandos Classics


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 70:57
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At the Tabard Inn*


Symphony in G†

  in G - en sol  
2 I Energico 10:26
3 II Andante 11:36
4 III Allegro risoluto - Molto moderato - 10:00
5 IV Poco adagio - Andante - 12:06

In Honour of the City‡

In June 1939, a few months before the outbreak of World War II, Dyson conducted a performance of his Symphony in G at Canterbury Cathedral. A critic remarked on the unforgettable impression which the work made on him:‘of something strong, purposeful and high, of which the austerities and richnesses, the firm lines and jewelled colours, were so much in harmony with the character of the Cathedral it was as if one could hear the great building… It was, too, an experience of England…’ Within a few years, the music of George Dyson – traditional and optimistic – was seen as out of touch and totally neglected. It was the rediscovery of Dyson’s music by the late Christopher Palmer in the early 1980s which led to Chandos’ fine series of recordings, through which this music has gradually been restored to circulation.

Richard Hickox, renowned exponent of British music, conducts on these award-winning recordings.

This was the premiere recording of the Symphony in G, one of the great British symphonies.

The recordings of the two shorter pieces secured a Gramophone Award for ‘best engineering’ when first released and a Penguin Guide Rosette.

"Symphony in G (1937) is a rather bald title, but, as is so often with Dyson, there is more to it than meets the eye. G, with its dominant of D, is the richest and most resonant of all string keys, because every open string on every instrument – double-bass, cello, viola, violin – belongs in the G major scale. English composers over the centuries – Purcell, Handel, Elgar, Britten – have all been quick to exploit this wonderful sonorous phenomenon. In addition, Dyson shares with these composers a sure-fire sense of the dramatic – almost certainly derived from his admiration for Richard Strauss, as are his orchestral brilliance and his feeling for lyrical melody. Although Dyson possessed a technical expertise that was as irreproachable as that of any other of Stanford’s pupils, his sensibility was poetic and lyrical rather than intellectual or academic.

Apart from a few church pieces, In Honour of the City (1928) was Dyson’s first
choral work. It is a setting of five stanzas by the Scottish poet William Dunbar. The work was built on a traditional foundation, but was sufficiently assured and distinctive to establish Dyson as a choral composer of distinction. At the Tabard Inn (1943) was intended as a prelude to his famous choral work The Canterbury Pilgrims. In it Dyson takes episodes from the larger work and produces a tuneful and evocative concert overture. Leopold Stokowski, who conducted the work in 1949, remarked that he found it ‘a masterpiece of characterisation’.

Dyson’s style is warm and direct, yet elusive: it bears the influences of Strauss, Delius and Vaughan Williams but is unique in its expression. Dyson offers us a far-reaching and deeply satisfying vision of precious and enduring values. His distinctive compositions seem to epitomise the very best of English music.

Hickox and his CLS forces do Dysons immensely personable music proud, and the sound is warm and true to match.
Hi-Fi News on the Symphony in G

This is a very fine recording, beautifully set in the glowing acoustic of the Blackheath Hall.
Gramophone on In Honour of the City and At the Tabard Inn

An exceptionally fine work, with an unexpected richness of orchestration… unlike any other English symphony of its time… Hickox conducts a splendid performance…
The Daily Telegraph on the Symphony in G

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