Holst: A Choral Fantasia; First Choral Symphony

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COMPOSERS: Holst
LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: A Choral Fantasia; First Choral Symphony
PERFORMER: Lynne Dawson (soprano); Guildford Choral Society, RPO/Hilary Davan Wetton
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55104 Reissue (1993)
Holst was an accomplished choral composer, and these fine performances of the Choral Fantasia and the First Choral Symphony confirm that, once the technical limitations that impaired their premieres are overcome, there is much fine music in these pieces.

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Lynne Dawson colours her deliciously pure-toned soprano according to the text’s different moods, while Wetton directs both chorus and orchestra with persuasive style and eloquence. The vivid fragrance of the ‘song and bacchanal’ and evocative illustration of the ‘Grecian Urn’ in the Choral Symphony are particularly memorable, as is John Birch’s powerful rendering of the organ part in the Choral Fantasia. Nicholas Rast