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CHAN 9599
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CHAN 9599

Gerhard: Symphony No. 1

The Classical Shop
release date: February 1998

Originally recorded in 1997


BBC Symphony Orchestra

Matthias Bamert

Olivier Charlier



Blackheath Halls, London


Ralph Couzens

Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Peter Newble

Richard Smoker


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 75:15
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Select Complete Single Disc for

Violin Concerto

1 I Allegro cantabile, con anima 15:34
2 II Largo 12:00
3 III Allegro con brio 8:42

Symphony No. 1

4 I Allegro animato 11:14
5 II Adagio 11:01
6 III Allegro spiritoso 16:44
 Olivier Charlier violin
 Matthias Bamert
  8 January and 3 April 1997  

The second volume in Chandos’ acclaimed Gerhard Edition feature Olivier Charlier in Gerhard’s incredible Violin Concerto.

The First Symphony comprises music of considerable force, where all is anger and anguish; there is a sense of impending violence. Gerhard chooses a three-movement scheme, placing the weightiest musical argument in the finale. The opening bars comprise an idée fixe, which Gerhard uses much like Berlioz in the Symphonie fantastique, employing the motif as a recurrant tag. The middle movement, marked adagio, is an inner scape of immense quiet power. Harmonically, Gerhard here leans towards the most chromatic end of his tonal spectrum, although the orchestration has an almost impressionistic iridescence.The gigantic finales incorporates scherzo-like sections, deveopments of the first movement’s material just before recapitulation and coda.

The Violin Concerto’s first movement is unusual in that it is really two movements in one, a scherzo emerging after the central violin cadenza. The Two principle melodic ideas are romantic, Catalan folk song influenced theme and a ruminating arpeggio-like sequence. The second movement is a de profundis of the composer’s exile, whilst the extrovert finale, full ov élan and panache, is easily the most accessible of Gerhard’s concerto movements.

Performance *****    Recording ****

"... Charlier proves a dazzling soloist, and the orchestra capture the wild and unusual colours of the Symphony, another masterpiece of our time."

Yorkshire Post - April 1998

"...the performance by Olivier Charlier and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Matthias Bamert, are state-of-the-art."

Classic FM Magazine - June 1998

"...Warmly recommended."

Roger Sutherland - Avant

"... The BBC Symphony Orchestra play both these works as to the manner born; Olivier Charlier ... expounds the Concerto with sympathy and flair..."

Calum MacDonald - Hi-Fi News and Record Review - July 1998

"... Violinist Olivier Charlier demonstrates a delicate touch coupled with a profound understanding of the work, his silvery tone perfectly matching the lyrical fragility of Gerhard’s demands. The BBC Symphony Orchestra under Matthias bamert gives a nonchalent yet exquisitly crafted performance and an equally fine reading of Gerhard’s tense powerful Symphony no 1."

Catherine Nelson - The Strad - July 1998

"...The orchestra’s tone, from the shimmeringly romantic, Szymanowskian opening onwards, is seductive and brilliantly reproduced… A disc recommended with enthusiasm."

LS - Gramophone - May 1998

"First rate performances, especially from violinist Olivier Charlier, plus Chandos’ customary excellent sound... Highly recommended."

Benjamin Pernick - Fanfare - July/August 1998

P Lane

D Williams