"...If you like Romantic and colorful orchestral scores with long lyrical lines, you will love these compositions. Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic perform with sensuous beauty and emotive excitement. Chandos’ lush but clear sound is an added plus." *****
Robert Moon - Audiophile Audition - 16 January 2012
"...Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic are a splendid team, giving this forgotten work an inspired performance ..."
Buerkle - American Record Guide - November/December 2011
“…The curious are unlikely to ever find a better introduction to Bowen’s symphonic music.”
Ronald E Grames – Fanfare – November/December 2011
Giusseppe Rossi - Musica (Italy) - September 2011
"...Once again, Chandos and Sir Andrew Davis have put us in their debt for unearthing these scores. Both the sound and performances are excellent." ****
Greg Keane - Limelight Magazine - 22 September 2011
"He conducts with great belief in the scores, both of which he invests with life, energy and a strong lyrical impulse. His contribution to this release is absolutely first class and further enhances his reputation as a formidable champion of British music.
I’m sure Sir Andrew would be quick to acknowledge the superb, responsive and committed playing by the BBC Philharmonic. So assured is their playing that one might think these were repertoire pieces. They’re very far from that and they’re never likely to be. My advice to admirers of York Bowen’s music and, indeed, to anyone interested in British music of the twentieth century, would be to snap up this excellent release without delay."
John Quinn - Musicweb-international.com - September 2011
Performance **** Recording ****
“…deftly written and inventive, and realized here in spirited, thoroughly sympathetic performances.”
Calum MacDonald – BBC Music Magazine – September 2011
“…Those who have been attracted by Bowen’s inherently civilized music should certainly investigate this very finely produced CD, which is strongly recommended to lovers of British music of the period.”
Alexander – Musical Opinion – July/August 2011
“…The recording is superb, reporting a satisfying combination of warmth and clarity … The two works have become captivating over repeated listening and are strongly recommended to all lovers of diatonic music of the early twentieth-century.”
Peter Joelson – classicalsource.com – June 2011
“…The playing is relaxed and refined, particularly in the extended solos for violin and clarinet.”
Anna Picard – The Independent on Sunday – 5 June 2011
“… these are highly enjoyable pieces, and well played with good Chandos recording …”
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – 3 June 2011
“…The present release is essential listening: first, because is substantially expands our knowledge of a musician who was clearly neither an anachronism nor merely an Interesting Historical figure; second, because it is hugely enjoyable on its own terms; an third, because it is so stunningly well played and executed: hence the red-letter nomination…”
Piers Burton-Page – International Record Review – June 2011
“…Davis and the BBC Philharmonic give both symphonies finely groomed performances …”
Andrew Clements – The Guardian – 28 April 2011
Wow - these two symphonies are a "MUST HAVE"! I'd only heard York Bowen's piano music until I heard these. It's incredible that he wrote such a terrific 1st at only 18 years of age, and then his second 7 years later. A tragedy that they've only recently been fully heard and appreciated (2010!).
Misquoting Richard Strauss (I may not be a first class composer, but I am a first rate 2nd class composer) Bowen, unlike Strauss himself, does tend to fall into that category. His music is completely tonal, colourful and sometimes dramatic. The more mature 2nd symphony is a major leap forward from the 1st which is more of a tuneful Sinfonietta. He does not have a major distinctive voice, although obviously English, like say Bax, Finzi or Bantock. I would place him in the same sort of category as Dyson or Howells. Davis and the BBCPO give it their all and the recording is superb. He does not deserve the total neglect that has come his way and is well worth a hearing. If the music was greater and more memorable I would have given 4 stars and the performance is well worth 5.