Tippett Orchestral Works
I reacted enthusiastically to this release on its initial appearance and find no reason to amend my views five years on. A Tippett conductor of proven pedigree and insight‚ Sir Andrew Davis masterminds a distinguished set of performances‚ that of the sublime Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli striking me as altogether remarkable in its unquenchable spirit‚ lyrical fervour and inspirational sweep (if the climax of the fugue doesn’t leave you airborne‚ then there’s no hope for you!). Davis’s account of the Concerto for Double String Orchestra is scarcely less fine‚ boasting as raptly intimate a realisation of the slow movement as any I’ve heard‚ as well as countless other felicities along the way (witness‚ for instance‚ those truly cantando basslines from 5'19" in the firstmovement coda). Anyone hankering after rather more in the way of sheer temperament can turn with confidence to the composer’s vibrantly lean 1987 recording with the SCO (coupled with a comparably characterful Corelli Fantasia). Aided by orchestral playing of consummate artistry and infectious dedication‚ the marvellous ‘Ritual Dances’ from The Midsummer Marriage also come off splendidly‚ and there’s a spinetingling contribution from the BBC Symphony Chorus in the last dance (‘Fire in summer’‚ track 11).
So‚ if you’ve yet to dip your toes into this communicative repertoire‚ this inexpensive disc makes an ideal introduction. As captured by Tony Faulkner’s microphones‚ the BBC SO strings sound ravishing; likewise‚ the balance has been impeccably judged – though‚ surprisingly‚ the chorus’s entry in the ‘Ritual Dances’ brings a touch of strain. No matter‚ a classy triptych‚ and not to be missed.