David Atherton / Andrew Davis / Norman del Mar / London Symphony Orchestra

Alun Hoddinott: Symphonies 2, 3 & 5

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Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott has had a remarkably prolific career; by 2007, his opus numbers nearly reached 200 and his works span most genres -- symphonic, chamber, keyboard, choral, vocal, and opera. His musical language uses a freely tonal vocabulary and tends to be lyrical (without being strongly melodic), his orchestration is ingenious, and the tone of his work is often dark and brooding with a high sense of drama. Those elements characterize the three symphonies recorded here, which were written between 1962 and 1972. While they are skillfully and inventively crafted and have engaging moments and striking details, as a whole they are not immediately memorable, perhaps because of their lack of strong melodic interest, and they require repeated hearings for their felicities to become more easily apparent. The performances by the London Symphony in the Second and Third and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Fifth are colorful, incisive, and energetic. Norman del Mar leads the Second, David Atherton the Third, and Andrew Davis the Fifth. The recordings were made between 1968 and 1973, and the sound quality tends to be a little too bright, and there is some tape hiss in the Second.

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