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CHAN 10439
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CHAN 10439

Dyson: Nebuchadnezzar/ Woodland Suite/Three Songs of Praise

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2007

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2007


BBC Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox

Neal Davies


Mark Padmore


BBC Symphony Chorus


Watford Colosseum

(Town Hall)


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Jonathan Cooper

(Assistant: 18 November)

John Benton

(Assistant: 19 November)

Record Label



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 62:11
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Select Complete Single Disc for


premiere recording


1 I Crotchet=54. 'Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold' - 12:28
  Crotchet=about 60. The Herald. 'To you it is commanded' -  
  Chorus: 'Therefore at that time…'  
2 II Rhythmic, but not too fast. Chorus 'Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near' - 10:58
  Slow. Chorus: 'Then Nebuchadezzar in his rage and fury…'-  
  Expressive. Nebuchadnezzar: 'Is it of purpose, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego' -  
  Calm. Chorus: 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter'  
3 III Restless. Chorus: 'Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury' - 10:58
  Slow - Faster. Chorus: 'Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent' -  
  Vigorous. Chorus: 'And the king's servants, that put them in' -  
  Very broadly. Chorus: 'But the anger of the Lord came down…' -  
  Serene, but not too slow. Chorus: 'Blessed art thou, O Lord' -  
  Largamente - Quick. Chorus: 'Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied' -  
  Slower. Nebuchadnezzar: '…and they have no hurt' -  
  Very subdued. Chorus: 'Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth…' -  
  Solemn. Nebuchadnezzar: 'Blessed be the God who hath sent his angel' -  
  Deliberate. Nebuchadnezzar: 'Therefore I make a decree' -  
4 IV Quiet and devotional. Solo Bass: 'O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord' - 6:44
  In strict time. Chorus: 'O let the earth bless the Lord' -  
  Broad and sustained. Chorus: 'O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord'  
 Mark Padmore tenor
 Neal Davies bass-baritone
premiere recording

Woodland Suite

  for strings and wind  
  (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon ad libitum)  
5 1 At Evening Bell. Tranquillo 2:23
6 2 Silken Sails. Allegretto 1:19
7 3 Moon-Fairy. Andante 2:08
8 4 Elfin Market. Allegro 1:31

O Praise God in His Holiness (Psalm 150)

  for chorus and orchestra  
  Vigorous - Firmly - Very broadly - Molto sostenuto  
  premiere recording of orchestral version  

Three Songs of Praise

  for accompanied chorus  
  (string orchestra, with two timpani, two trumpets and three trombones ad libitum)  
10 Praise. Vigorous 2:00
11 Lauds. Calm and sustained 4:27
12 A Poet's Hymn. Broadly 3:26

Confortare (Be Strong and of a good courage)

  for chorus and orchestra  
  Maestoso - Allargando al fine  
This is the premiere recording of Nebuchadnezzar, it is extraordinary that such an important and remarkable work has never been recorded.

Also on this disc is the premiere recording of Woodland Suite, and first recording of the Three Songs of Praise in the version with orchestral accompaniment (only a version with organ accompaniment has been available previously)

Hickox is a long-time champion of Dyson’s orchestral works.

Chandos is pleased to announce the first recording ever of Sir George Dyson’s choral cantata Nebuchadnezzar, performed by the BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra with Mark Padmore and Neal Davies, conducted by Richard Hickox. Composed in 1935 for the Worcester Festival, Dyson’s post-romantic work is dramatic, sumptuous, and richly melodic, recalling the work of Vaughan Williams, Howells and Bliss. Dyson achieved his greatest popularity in England during the 1930s and 1940s with large-scale pieces for chorus and orchestra such as In Honour of the City, The Canterbury Pilgrims and Nebuchadnezzar. Sadly, his work faded from view after 1950, but by the end of the century was being rediscovered by a new generation of audiences and performers.

After returning from several years of studies and travel in Europe in 1907, Dyson, thanks to Sir Hubert Parry, became the first Director of Music of the Royal Naval College, Osborne. The outbreak of World War I, however, had a profound effect on him. He left his post and enlisted. After a period of distinguished but shattering service in the trenches he was invalided out. He returned to the Royal College of Music, shaken and transformed. Fortunately, he recovered and after 1918 his career resumed almost where he had left it on the outbreak of war. In 1924 he was appointed head of the music department at Winchester College and it was during the ensuing years that he began writing the choral works that would make him famous.

Dyson took the text for Nebuchadnezzar from the Book of Daniel, incorporating the ‘Song of the Three Holy Children’ from the Apocrypha. Emulating Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Dyson set the story in four parts. In the first three the music tells the well-known biblical story of the Jews Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the burning fiery furnace, while the fourth is a more conventional hymn of praise, ‘All the works of the Lord, Bless Ye the Lord’ – the Benedicite. The tenor Mark Padmore sings the Herald, and Nebuchadnezzar is sung by the bass-baritone Neal Davies.

This superb performance further demonstrates Richard Hickox’s understanding for Dyson and follows The Canterbury Pilgrims and Quo Vadis in the Chandos discography.

This is the first recording, and Dyson is lucky because it is outstanding. There are no comparisons to make, but can you imagine abetter tenor than Mark Padmore or a better bass than Neal Davies for this music? Do you know a chorus that would sing it better than the BBC Chorus? Is there a conductor who could make it more gripping than Mr Hickox does? No, it is quite wonderful… The Chandos sound is superb.
American Record Guide

It’s beautifully played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Richard Hickox, and the choral singing is particularly thrilling. The disc also includes a number of Dyson’s shorter pieces, most of them fairly slight, though the Three Songs of Praise – setting of English metaphysical poetry – are exquisite
The Guardian

Enthusiasts for this composer need not hesitate – performances and recordings are first-rate.
International Record Review

Hickox’s reading is direct and dramatic, though he also indulges the more impressionistic moods at the piece’s heart, while the BBC Symphony Chorus provides wholesome body to the narrative. Two coronation anthems, a triptych of hymns and a pastoral suite for chamber orchestra complete this worthwhile disc.

J Cesar

Dyson's Nebuchadnezzar will surprise you - it's in the oratorio tradition of Parry but has the same choral and orchestral zing as Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. Richard Hickox clearly loved Dyson's music. He draws every last ounce of drama and colour from it, and in the minor works which make up this CD the care he lavishes on them is palpable. I really enjoyed this disc, it is definitive English music performed to the highest standard.
H Simmonds