Lennox Berkeley - Symphony No. 1 Op. 16 • Symphony No. 2 Op. 51

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar, conductor
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2007 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: SRCD.249
UPC/EAN: 5020926024923
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD
Number of discs: 1
Total playing time: 62.05
Price: £ 14.99 (+ postage & packing)

Tracks 1 - 4: Recorded at Walthamstow, 14 March 1974, Producer: Michael Woolcock, Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Tracks 5 - 8: Recorded at Kingsway Hall, 3 August 1976, Producer: James Mallinson, Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson

Lennox Randal (Francis) Berkeley was born at Sunningwell Plain, near Oxford, on 12 May 1903, into an aristocratic family. He attended Lynam’s (later the Dragon School), Oxford, Gresham’s School, Holt, and St George’s School, Harpenden, where he had his first work performed. He went up to Merton College, Oxford, to read French, Old French and Philology and he rowed. He was cox of the Merton VIII for three years but cannot have taken his studies seriously since he left with a fourth class degree in 1926. He had hardly got into his stride as a composer in his Oxford years but whilst there he became the first to set Auden’s poetry (two songs now lost), was intrigued by early music and wrote for its instruments, such as the harpsichord owned and played by his flatmate, Vere Pilkington, and the conductor Anthony Bernard started to give the first of several performances of his music with the London Chamber Orchestra.

"Berkeley’s First Symphony was completed in 1940 though the sketches went back to 1936. It has power and intensity with brass calls and march rhythms adding their own indissoluble rigour to the writing ... Norman Del Mar and Nicholas Braithwaite are the heroes of the hour, energizing their orchestras in the idiom with flair and introspective intensity ..." Jonathan Woolf, www.musicweb-international.com Click here to read the full review

"These are fine and handsomely recorded performances though I wonder whether things would have been better if a more winged mercurial approach had been evident in the second movement of the Second Symphony ..." Rob Barnett, www.musicweb-international.com Click here to read the full review

"There is elegance and wit in this work that on the one hand belies the historical situation – yet there are also turbulent passages that suggest a ‘reflection of wartime moods.’ The keynote of this work is emotional and stylistic balance ... It is impossible to say what version is ‘best’. However I would say that for me, the Lyrita disc does have the edge. It is probably because these are the recordings I came to know over the last thirty odd years ..." John France, www.musicweb-international.com Click here to read the full review

Symphony No. 1 Op. 16 (1940) Lennox Berkeley (1903 - 1989) 30.59
1 1st movement: Allegro moderato 10.55
2 2nd movement: Allegretto 4.50
3 3rd movement: Lento 8.29
4 4th movement: Allegro 6.45
Symphony No. 2 Op. 51 (1956/7 rev. 1976) Lennox Berkeley (1903 - 1989) 31.00
5 1st movement: Lento - Allegro - Lento 10.52
6 2nd movement: Scherzo: Allegro vivace 3.54
7 3rd movement: Lento 10.13
8 4th movement: Allegro 6.01