HENRY COTTER NIXON (1842-1907): Complete Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 - Palamon and Arcite - Symphonic Poem, Concert Overture No. 3 “Jacta est Alea”, Romance for Violin and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 01S002
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0372
Description: This English composer-conductor disappeared completely from history when the 1980 New Grove deleted his entry and it’s entirely due to the efforts of his grandson, who died in 1998, and the former director of the Havergal Brian Society, who had corresponded wwith him, that this recording - the first of three - exists. None of his orchestral works were ever published and few were even performed. One which was is the huge five-movement symphonic poem Palamon and Arcite (1882), which may be the first symphonic poem written by an English composer in England (Hugo Pierson’s Macbeth was written in Germany in 1859). This was based on Dryden’s poetic retelling of Chaucer’s “A Knight’s Tale” and extensive passages from the poem preface each movement, the music closely following the narrative. Mendelssohn and Schuman are the main influences (the latter especially in the 14-minute concert overture dating from after 1880) but conductor Mann’s notes (five pages just on Palamon!) mark all the originalities of form and structure which Nixon brings to the music. Ana Török (violin, Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra; Paul Mann.