Frank Bridge - Oration • Phantasm

Julian Lloyd Webber, cello
Peter Wallfisch, piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2007 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: SRCD.244
UPC/EAN: 5020926024428
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD
Number of discs: 1
Total playing time: 58.32
Price: £ 14.99 (+ postage & packing)

Tracks 1 - 8: Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, 22 September 1976, Producer: Richard Beswick, Engineer: Malcolm Hogg
Track 9 - 12: Recorded at Kingsway Hall, 18 November 1975, Producer: James Walker, Engineers: John Dunkerley, Simon Eadon

Oration (1930) and Phantasm (1931) were Frank Bridge’s most substantial orchestral works and his only concertos. By the time of their composition Bridge was in his early 50s and at the height of his creative powers. With a string of powerful chamber works behind him it might be expected that his reputation would also have been soaring. However these chamber pieces – Piano Sonata, Third Quartet, Rhapsody Trio and Piano Trio – appeared to be out of step with current conservative fashions in British musical taste. The composer could barely conceal the hurt he felt in the savaging he received at the hands of some music critics – remarks such as "the composer is bartering a noble birthright for less than a mess of pottage" (The Musical Times, May 1930, p.42). He began to rely for performances of his new radical work on the patronage of the American Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge to whom the chamber works and the Rhapsody Phantasm were dedicated ...

"This is a disc for Bridge connoisseurs. In one volume is gathered his two major post-War (WW1) concerto scores. Each marks a scorched apotheosis from the summery pastorals of Edwardian innocence into a world of half-lights and disillusion. Beauty and gritty triumph are there but they are always hard won ... In terms of choice if you want two majestic and subtly powerful works of tragic and even sinister grandeur then this disc is for you. These are their first ever commercial recordings and they are by no means uncompetitive in any sense - quite the contrary. The recordings still sound superb ..." Rob Barnett, Click here to read the full review

"These two works, Bridge’s most substantial orchestral pieces, are, to all intents and purposes, concertos ... Bridge was a pacifist and Oration was an anguished outcry against the pain and futility of war. Personal loss, too, must have informed its pages ... This is extraordinarily expressive music, raw in its emotion ... Lloyd Webber and Braithwaite powerfully express Oration’s anti-war sentiments and the haunted pages of Phantasm. Rewarding stuff for the more adventurous music-lover ..." Ian Lace, Click here to read the full review

"... the performance by Peter Wallfisch on Lyrita is perhaps the most distinguished of his career. The work is based on two related ideas that are taken though four complex movements and is spectral throughout and frequently terrifying. This is where Wallfisch excels - he brings these aspects out in a mixture of increasing and decreasing intensities that ably serves Bridge. In this he is brilliantly assisted by Nicholas Braithwaite ..." William Kreindler, Click here to read the full review

Oration, Concerto elegiaco for Cello and Orchestra (1930) Frank Bridge (1879 - 1941) 31.07
1 Lento 5.44
2 - Allegro 4.03
3 - Ben Moderato (poco lento) 4.28
4 - Allegro giusto 2.54
5 - Ben Moderato mesto e tranquillo 3.07
6 - Allegro 2.48
7 - Lento 5.02
8 - Epilogue: Andante tranquillo 3.01
Phantasm, Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra (1931) Frank Bridge (1879 - 1941) 27.19
9 Allegro moderato – poco piu lento 5.21
10 - Allegro moderato 6.07
11 - Andante molto moderato 8.46
12 - Allegro moderato 7.03