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CHAN 9859
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CHAN 9859

Sullivan: Symphony in E major 'Irish'

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2000

Originally recorded in 2000


BBC Philharmonic

Richard Hickox


New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Mike George


Ralph Couzens



Stephen Rinker

Rachel Smith


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 74:46
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In memoriam

  Overture in C major  
  in C-Dur - ut majeur  
  Andante religioso - Allegro molto  

Suite from 'The Tempest', Op. 1

2 1 No. 1. Introduction 5:20
  Andante con moto - Allegro non troppo ma con fuoco  
3 2 No. 4. Prelude to Act III 1:58
  Allegro moderato e con grazia  
4 3 No. 6. Banquet Dance 4:39
  Allegretto grazioso ma non troppo - Andante - Allegretto grazioso  
5 4 No. 7. Overture to Act IV 5:00
  Allegro assai con brio  
6 5 No. 10. Dance of Nymphs and Reapers 4:21
  Allegro vivace e con grazia  
7 6 No. 11. Prelude to Act V 4:21
  Andante - Allegro con fuoco - Andante  
8 7 No. 12c. Epilogue 1:42
  Andante sostenuto  

Symphony in E major 'Irish'

  in E-Dur - mi majeur  
9 I Andante - Allegro, ma non troppo vivace 13:21
10 II Andante espressivo 7:13
11 III Allegretto - Moderato - Tempo primo 6:15
12 IV Allegro vivace e con brio 9:08
Richard Hickox conducts the BBC Philharmonic in rarely heard early orchestral works by Arthur Sullivan, released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his death.

Better known for his comic operas ,Arthur Sullivan was also renowned for composing serious concert music.

This disc includes his incidental music for Shakespeare’s The Tempest of which there is only one other recording available. Inspired by Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he composed this music varies in style from the dark, brooding opening to the lighter comic style for which he has become famous.

It also includes the well known Irish Symphony. This recording was made using the latest 24-bit/96kHz technology which gives outstandingly clear and natural sound.

Educated initially in London, Sullivan studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1858 to 1861. Substantial excerpts from his incidental music to The Tempest were performed at his graduation concert. In April 1862, after his return to London, a performance of the complete incidental music took place at the Crystal Palace to great acclaim, which led to its use in a stage production at the Prince’s Theatre in Manchester in 1864. The music for The Tempest consists of twelve numbers, but the standard orchestral suite consists of the seven items as recorded here.

Sullivan’s efforts to establish himself as a serious orchestral composer during the 1860s resulted next in the composition of a symphony. It followed a visit in 1863 to Ireland when, as he wrote to his mother, the whole first movement and scraps of the other movements came to him. The Symphony in E major has always been known as the ‘Irish’. When it was composed Sullivan’s main influences were Schubert, Schumann and particularly Mendelssohn. Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák had not yet begun their symphonic careers.

Sullivan had been commissioned to write a piece for the 1866 Norwich Festival. His hand was forced by the death of his father – a professor of wind instruments at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. The overture In memoriam was first performed in Norwich on 30 October that year. It was described by Sullivan as an outpouring of grief, but its pervading tone is not one of sadness so much as deep affection. It was Sullivan’s increasing preoccupation with comic opera that denied the world further significant additions to these enchanting orchestral compositions of the 1860s.

"...Hickox’s performances are typically excellent, as is the Chandos sound."

The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

‘Hickox gets fine playing from the orchestra and a vivid sound picture from Chandos’ engineers’
American Record Guide on CHAN 9487 (Britten)

‘Richard Hickox provides stunning orchestral accompaniments… Chandos’ sound is gorgeous.’
Fanfare on CHAN 9453 (Respighi)

‘The BBC Philharmonic provides first-rate playing and the sound has a wide range…’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9493 (Grainger)

‘Hickox directs first-rate performances, full of colour and rhythmic life, in a nicely resonant acoustic that suits the young Sullivan’s astonishing skill’.
BBC Music Magazine

P Berryman