Milner: Symphony No. 1; Variations for Orchestra, Op. 14

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COMPOSERS: Milner
LABELS: Claudio
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Variations for Orchestra, Op. 14
PERFORMER: BBC SO/Lionel Friend
CATALOGUE NO: CC 4317-2 Reissue (1984)
The opening of Anthony Milner’s Variations for Orchestra – a muted horn quietly singing the old German carol ‘Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen’ while high string and woodwind figures rise like clouds of incense – has a chaste loveliness unlike anything else in postwar British music. Unfortunately nothing else in the Variations or the First Symphony rises to quite that level. It’s all finely crafted (as you’d expect from an admired composition teacher), and by no means without feeling, but the imagination doesnalways match the technical elegance. Still, the performances are authoritative, and the pre-digital recording has transferred well. Stephen Johnson

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