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COMPOSERS: Britten/Rubbra/Heming
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Symphony No. 5; Loth to Depart; Threnody for a Soldier Killed in Action
PERFORMER: Theo Olof (violin) Hallé Orchestra/John Barbirolli
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 66053 2 ADD mono 1952/97
This 1948 recording of the original version of Britten’s Violin Concerto (1938-9) was inexplicably suppressed by Britten and never published. It’s a sombre, tragic concerto – Britten’s response to the Spanish Civil War. Olof and Barbirolli respond vigorously and sensitively to Britten’s darkly evocative, metallic-hard music with its distorted Spanish rhythms. Perhaps memories of war influence the desolate, conflict-ridden opening movement of Rubbra’s Fifth Symphony (1947-8)? Again Barbirolli triumphs, especially in the meditative Bruckner-like central Grave movement. Ian Lace