JOHN FOULDS (1880-1939): 3 Mantras from Avatara, Op. 61b, Lyra Celtica - Concerto for Voice and Orchestra, Op. 50 (Susan Bickley [mezzo]), Apotheosis (Elegy) for Violin and Orchestra (Music Poem No. 4) (Daniel Hope [violin]), Mirage, Op. 20 (Music Poem No. 5), Dynamic Triptych for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 88 (Peter Donohoe [piano]), April-England, Op. 48/1 (Impressions of Time and Place No. 1), Music-Pictures Group III, Op. 33, The Song of Ram Dass, Keltic Lament, Op. 29/2.
Catalogue Number: 10P007
Description: An essential cross-section of the orchestral output of a true English original, a composer so brilliantly and boldly versatile as to be all but unclassifiable. There is the soaring Wagnerian chromaticism, the eastern-influenced mysticism, which is expressed both in mysterious modalities and the more experimental coloristic effects achieved through the extremely subtle use of quarter-tones; but there is also a gently pastoral Englishness, and even an appealing element of British light music. The Mantras alone are sufficient to proclaim Foulds' status as a major figure; the first an exhilarating whirlwind of an orchestral toccata, the second mystical, with quarter-tone iridescence and wordless voices, and the third a driving juggernaut of raw mechanical energy. Lyra Celtica is a modally inflected late romantic concerto with elements of Vaughan Williams, Bantock and a subtle impressionistic exoticism, using the human voice beautifully as solo instrument, while the earlier miniature violin concerto Apotheosis and the substantial tone poem Mirage are more conventionally romantic, and very fine specimens of their respective genres. The fantastically inventive piano Dynamic Triptych brings together the composer's best characteristics; propulsive rhythmic dynamism, intriguing and unexpected modal scales, and superb orchestration with the heightened color palette of quarter-tone dissonances. 2 CDs. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo. Original 2004 & 2006 Warner Classics releases.