“No figure in British contemporary music is more respected than Oliver Knussen” -The Guardian= This reissue celebrates composer/ conductor Oliver Knussen’s 60th birthday. Works include the luminous Second Symphony, which takes the form of a 17-minute song cycle to texts of Georg Trakl and Sylvia Plath and Symphony No. 3, a symphonic poem about Shakespeare’s Ophelia, conducted by New World Symphony Founder/ Artistic Director and San Francisco Symphony Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas.= Oliver Knussen began composing at about the age of six and at age fifteen, Knussen stepped in to conduct his First Symphony’s premier at the Royal Festival Hall after István Kertész fell ill. After that debut, Barenboim asked him to conduct the work’s first two movements in New York a week later. It was as early as the Second Symphony in the words of Julian Anderson, that "Knussen’s compositional personality abruptly appeared, fully formed".
"This is a unique opportunity to observe one of the exceptional musicians of the 20th (and 21st) century refining his craft."
"Here is the essence of him: his precocious song-cycle symphony (No 2) and arresting Symphony No 3 (performed by the Philharmonia)… and that locus classicus of ensemble virtuosity, the five minute Coursing, with its long –sustained, leaping, complexly inflected unison line plausibly evoking Niagara Falls"
"Knussen’s musical language is complex and post-serial, yet he has the knack of conjuring clarity, wit, emotion and memorability out of an idiom that produced so much forgettable cerebral sludge"
"...These were always definative performances and it is good to have them available once more - together with Knussen’s brief yet knotty tribute to Elliott Carter at 70, Coursing - in expert remasterings..."