WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1908-1988): Symphony No. 1 in F Minor (broadcast Dec. 17, 1968. mono), Symphony No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 68 (broadcast Aug. 22, 1979. stereo), Overture Conflict, Op. 86 (broadcast Jan. 17, 1971. mono).
Catalogue Number: 04R007
Description: Two powerful and substantial essays in symphonic form from yet another first-rate, woefully under-appreciated British composer who forged an individual voice within a relatively conservative, tonal idiom. He was a student and disciple of Tovey, whose influence can be felt in the formal rigor and taut economy of his writing; other discernible antecedents of his style include Sibelius, Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams. The craggy, purposeful First (1944) audibly bears the imprint of the recent war, with tense, combative outer movements, a somber, lamenting slow movement echoed in the introduction to the taut, dogged finale, and a grotesquely martial scherzo. The Fifth, from 1960, has the composer at the height of his inventive powers, and is a work of more positive outlook, though no less drama. The opening movement is noble, rather Sibelian, introducing and progressively transforming a stirring ascending theme which recurs as a motto throughout the work. The central scherzo is energetic and glittering, full of felicitous touches of inventive orchestration, and the finale presents variations on the motto theme of cumulative weight and tension, leading to an impressive conclusion. The concert overture sounds like the pacifist composer's terse, angry response to war, and it shares characteristics with the First Symphony, with perhaps even greater vehemence and a higher degree of dissonance. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; James Loughran and Stewart Robertson (Op. 68).