JOHN GARDNER (b.1917): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 2, Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat, Op. 34, Overture Midsummer Ale, Op. 73.

Catalogue Number: 10J083

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.570406

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: You may remember the all-Gardner ASV White Line issue we offered in the year 2000 which contained a "serious" Symphony No. 3 and much "light music". Here are two of his earliest mature works (he ditched a lot of pre-war compositions and started opus numbering anew after 1945). A major, four-movement (41 minutes in this performance by the same conductor who gave it ten years ago for an 80th birthday celebration with the BBC Concert Orchestra) work finished in 1947 and premiered by Barbirolli at the Cheltenham Festival in 1951, this symphony is the sort which you would expect to find on Lyrita or Chandos next to Daniel Jones or Rubbra or Robert Simpson. A first movement of some complexity is followed by a bucolic scherzo, a solemn, melancholy Lento and an insistent, almost belligerent finale. A work which will need and repay many hearings. The concerto dates from 1957 and is a thoroughly enjoyable and approachable addition to the British Piano Concerto (in which Naxos series this disc is catalogued) while the five-minute overture from 1965 takes us back into the world of light music with its catchy melodies and giddy personality. Peter Donohoe (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones.

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