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CHAN 5051
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CHAN 5051

Bantock: Omar Khayyam

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2007

Originally recorded in 2006


BBC Symphony Orchestra

Vernon Handley

Roderick Williams


Edward Price

bass (Sixth Pot)

Catherine Wyn-Rogers


Siân Menna

mezzo-soprano (Second Pot)

Olivia Robinson

soprano (First Pot)

Toby Spence


BBC Symphony Chorus


Watford Colosseum


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Jonathan Cooper

(Assistant: February 2007)

Michael Common

(Assistant: October 2005)

Record Label



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 170:42
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Omar Khayyam

  The Ruba'iyat according to Edward Fitzgerald set to Music  
  for Three Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orchestra in Three Parts  
  The Beloved - Contralto  
  The Poet - Tenor  
  The Philosopher - Baritone  
  Part I (beginning)  
1 [Prelude -] 5:54
2 Chorus: 'Wake! For the Sun, who scattered into flight' - 2:08
3 Chorus: 'Before the phantom of false morning died' - 2:28
4 The Poet: 'And as the cock crew, those who stood before' - 2:20
5 The Poet: 'Now the new year reviving old desires' - 1:45
6 The Poet: 'Iram indeed is gone with all his rose' - 2:25
7 Chorus: 'Whether at Naishápúr or Babylon' - 2:14
8 The Beloved: 'Each morn a thousand roses brings, you say' - 1:34
9 The Poet: 'With me along the strip of herbage strown' - 6:49
10 Chorus: 'Some for the glories of this world; and some' - 2:06
11 The Beloved: 'Look to the blowing Rose about us - 'Lo''' - 1:32
12 Chorus: 'Think, in this battered caravanserai' - 2:09
13 The Poet: 'I sometimes think that never blows so red' - 1:59
14 The Poet: 'Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears' - 1:55
15 Chorus: 'Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend' - 2:57
16 The Beloved: 'Alike for those who for To-day prepare' - 2:46
17 The Philosopher: 'Myself when young did eagerly frequent' - 2:33
18 Chorus: 'What, without asking, hither hurried Whence?' - 1:21
19 The Poet: 'Up from earth's centre through the seventh gate' - 2:51
20 Chorus: 'Earth could not answer; nor the seas that mourn' - 2:25
21 The Poet: 'Then of THEE IN ME who works behind' - 0:52
22 The Poet: 'Then to the lip of this poor earthen urn' - 2:34
23 The Philosopher: 'I think the vessel, that with fugitive' 2:23
24 The Beloved: 'As then the tulip for her morning sup' - 3:39
25 The Beloved: 'So when that Angel of the darker drink' - 2:18
26 Chorus: ''Tis but a tent where takes his one day's rest' - 2:32
27 The Beloved and the Poet: 'When you and I behind the veil are past' - 4:01
28 [Interlude:] The Desert - 1:35
29 The Caravan - 2:58
30 Chorus: 'A moment's halt - a momentary taste' - 3:35
31 The Philosopher: 'Would you that spangle of Existence spend' - 2:37
32 The Philosopher: 'A moment guessed - then back behind the fold' - 2:34
33 Chorus: 'Waste not your hour, nor in the vain pursuit' - 4:09
34 Chorus: 'Better be jocund with the fruitful grape' 2:59
  Part II  
35 The Philosopher: 'You know, my Friends, with what a brave carouse' - 2:11
36 The Philosopher: 'Ah, but my computations, people say' - 1:40
37 The Philosopher and Chorus: 'and 'twas - the Grape!' - 2:42
  Chorus: 'The Grape that can with logic absolute' -  
38 Chorus: 'The mighty Mahmúd, Allah-breathing Lord' - 3:38
39 The Philosopher: 'Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare' - 1:29
40 The Philosopher: 'I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must' - 1:42
41 Chorus: 'Oh threats of Hell and hopes of Paradise!' - 3:17
42 Chorus: 'The Revelation of devout and learn'd' - 1:47
43 Chorus: 'We are no other than a moving row' - 3:19
44 The Beloved: 'The Moving finger writes; and, having writ' - 1:41
45 The Beloved and the Poet: 'And that inverted bowl we call the sky' - 1:36
46 The Poet: 'With Earth's first clay they did the last man knead' - 2:10
47 The Philosopher: 'I tell you this - when, started from the goal' - 3:30
48 The Beloved, the Poet and the Philosopher: 'What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke' - 4:41
49 Chorus, the Beloved, the Poet and the Philosopher: 'Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin' - 1:46
50 Chorus, the Beloved, the Poet and the Philospher: 'Oh Thou, who Man of baser earth didst make' 2:36
51 Introduction 'The Fast of Ramazán' - 2:47
52 Worshippers in the Mosque - 4:10
53 The Philosopher: 'As under cover of departing day' - 1:00
54 Chorus: 'Shapes of all sorts and sizes, great and small' - 2:07
55 First Pot: 'Said one among them - 'Surely not in vain'' - 6:36
56 Chorus: 'So while the vessels one by one were speaking' - 1:55
57 The Philosopher: 'Ah, with the grape my fading life provide' - 2:26
58 The Philosopher: 'Indeed the idol I have loved so long' - 1:48
59 The Philosopher: 'And much as wine has play'd the infidel' - 2:14
60 The Poet: 'Yet ah, that Spring should vanish with the rose!' - 2:35
61 The Poet: 'Would but the desert of the fountain yield' - 6:34
62 Chorus, the Beloved, the Poet and the Philosopher: 'Yon rising moon that looks for us again' - 1:33
63 Chorus, the Beloved, the Poet and the Philosopher: 'And when like her, oh Sáki, you shall pass' 4:15
  Also available as SACD CHSA 5051
No Notes Found.

Definitive Recordings

"...This monumental work by Bantock is scored for a large orchestra, choir, soloists, and even camel bells. It is full of romanticism, exotic orchestration, and deeply philosophical narrative... The sound quality is up to the Chandos high standards ... If you don’t know this highly talented British composer, this is a great way to introduce yourself to his music."

Jean-Yves Duperron - Classical Music


Critic’s Choice Guy Rickards

This is the first recording of the ‘exotic’ oratorio considered by many the masterwork of British Composer Granville Bantock, perhaps best known for his Hebridean Overture. Written in 1906-09, it offers virtuoso opportunities for an array of soloists under conductor Vernon Handley. Soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers, tenor Toby Spence and baritone Roderick Williams excel in a vast, complex piece helpfully explained (complete with motif chart) in an excellent sleeve note by Lewis Foreman.
The Observer

The BBC orchestra and chorus perform with dedication and what sounds like real enthusiasm. As for the vocal principals, they seem to be singing their hearts out, with Catherine Wyn-Roger’s Beloved perhaps the outstanding artist of the three. This is the proper way to treat the piece, which must be given as full-blooded an interpretation as possible if it is to exercise the spell that Bantock so clearly desired to cast. It may be a long time before there is a rival recording, but it will have to be almost unimaginably good to top this one.
International Record Review

This first recording reflects the details and passion of Vernon Handley’s championing of Bantock’s kaleidoscopic output, and Stephen Jackson ensures that the choral input is similarly lively and fresh. Toby Spence brings a bright mix of Italianate ‘slancio’ and English declamation to the Poet, combining well with Catherine Wyn-Rogers’s more controlled reading of the Beloved in substantial (and Parsifal-like) duets in Parts 1 and 3. Chandos’s sound is suitably lush, occasionally at the expense of the chorus’s diction. It’s what recordings should be for, and should encourage future festival performances.

There is some stirring and evocative music here, Romantic and orientally coloured, which Vernon Handley directs with his customary mastery. It would be hard to think of three more expert soloists for this repertoire, and the chorus and orchestra do the whole project proud. The sound is warm and inviting, too.

It’s a fascinating rediscovery on a huge scale, especially in the detail and depth of SACD surround-sound seductively performed by Handley’s forces, Toby Spence appropriately poetic and Catherine Wyn-Rogers sensuous.
BBC Music Magazine ‘Choice’

C Donoghue,

P Smith