DANIEL JONES (1912-1993): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 10.
Catalogue Number: 01S001
Description: Once the twentieth century British symphonic tradition got under way, the sheer quality and quantity of what appeared is nothing short of breathtaking. Another first-rate example is Daniel Jones' thirteen superb entries in the canon, astonishingly slow to make it to disc in their entirety. The splendid First, a huge fifty-minute structure does everything you want a mid-20th century British symphony to do. Broadly in the category of Vaughan Williams, Arnold, Alwyn and Rubbra, and with distinct points of similarity with the Moeran, the work speaks with the composer's individual voice, taking into account his concern with classicism and Elizabethan music. Thus this, his most Romantic symphony exudes a Beethovenian and Haydnesque energy and lively use of form - sonata form, as well as canonic and fugal passages - and Jones' characteristic fondness for unusual, compound, fluctuating time signatures. The first and last movements are dramatic and serious, the first based on a particularly memorable theme, thoroughly developed; and here and in the slow movement passages of Brucknerian and Elgarian nobility and magnificence abound. The fleet scherzo brings out the composer's classical side, its trio more than a little reminiscent of Bruckner. By the 1980 Tenth, the Romantic opulence of Jones' early works had contracted into a more concentrated idiom - similar to the process observable in Havergal Brian's output (though Jones was never as radical a composer as Brian); the tonal language remains recognisably similar. The concise, four-movement work is predominantly dark and stormy in mood, beginning and ending with a bell stroke; a 'Tragic Symphony' in all but name. The movement headings - Solenne, Minacciando (menacing), Serioso and Agitato - sum up the work's prevailing tone. Two sonata-allegro movements frame a biting scherzo in rondo form and a somber passacaglia. BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra; Bryden Thomson (Stereo - broadcasts Jan. 12 and March 16, 1990).