ETHEL SMYTH (1858-1944): The Prison.

Catalogue Number: 08W007

Label: Chandos

Reference: CHSA 5279

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $18.98

Description: Composed in 1930 and premiered in 1931 in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, The Prison is a “Symphony in two parts”, ‘Close on Freedom’ and ‘The Deliverance’, set for soprano and bass-baritone soloists, chorus, and full orchestra. The text is taken from a philosophical work by Henry Bennet Brewster, who helped Smyth write the libretti for her first three operas, and concerns the writings of a prisoner in solitary confinement, his reflections on life and his preparations for death. Conductor Blachly: “When I first was asked to conduct the music of Dame Ethel Smyth, given the negative reviews I had read and the footnote to history that she seemed to occupy, my expectations were low. But the moment we began rehearsing The Prison, I felt myself overtaken by the power of her music and the depth of her orchestration. At the very first note, I felt shivers up and down my spine. That visceral experience has led to a four-year long process of preparing a new performance edition for Schirmer, giving the U.S. premiere of the work, and creating this world- premiere commercial recording.” Texts included. Sarah Braily (soprano), Dashon Burton (bass-baritone). Experiential Orchestra and Chorus; James Blachly.

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