BERNARD VAN DIEREN (1887-1936): Symphony No. 1 for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 6 “Chinese”, Elegie for Cello and Orchestra, Introit to Topers’ Tropes “Les Propose des Beuveurs” after Rabelais.

Catalogue Number: 11S003

Label: Lyrita

Reference: SRCD.357

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Well, it's about time! Van Dieren was an important figure in London artistic circles in the early 20th century that included Sorabji, Heseltine, Constant Lambert, Cecil Gray and many others. Yet his compositions - powerful, highly personal and individual, complex yet completely approachable, have remained inexplicably almost entirely neglected on disc (and we still urgently need his six marvellous string quartets, perhaps the most important British cycle of 20th century quartets). The gorgeous, sumptuous Symphony of 1912-14 is a relatively early work, drawing on the prevailing trends of the time that most appealed to the composer - Busoni, the pre-serial Schoenberg of the First Chamber Symphony, Delius, and the last flowering of romanticism; Mahler and Zemlinsky. The work sets Chinese texts in translations by Hans Bethge, the same collection used by Mahler for Das Lied (which van Dieren may or may not have known when he wrote the symphony; the works share one poem and some general features of musical vocabulary). The poems are full of evocative imagery of nature, reflections on the passage of time and the strongest human emotions, and van Dieren complements them in music of appropriate emotional depth, passion and atmosphere. The language is highly chromatic and contrapuntally intricate, but also harmonically generous and richly and colorfully orchestrated. The richly eloquent, rhapsodic Elegy, with its passionate concertante cello part, is slightly earlier, and shares many characteristics with the style of the Symphony. Parts of it could easily be mistaken for Delius. The Introit was to have prefaced a choral work after Rabelais' "The Discourse of the Drinkers", but this was never written. The piece traverses a range of moods, in an attractive, rather Busonian chromatic tonal idiom, not unlike Busoni's brand of musically deft wit and humor in works like Tanzwaltzer or Arlecchino. Texts included. Rebecca Evans (soprano), Catherine Wyn Rogers (contralto), Nathan Vale (tenor), Morgan Pearse (baritone), David Soar (bass), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales; William Boughton.

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