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Goosens: Symphony no 1, Phantasy Concerto / Hickox, et al

Album Summary

>Goossens, Eugene : Phantasy Concerto, for piano & orchestra, Op. 60
>Goossens, Eugene : Symphony no 1, Op. 58
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Goossens' First Symphony was designed for and is dedicated to his colleagues at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Its slow second movement features a somber but lovely bass clarinet solo. The 'Finale' is described by the composer as having no program but dealing with the "old abstractions" - the verities of life, love and death. This was the final recording session with the late conductor Richard Hickox, who recorded 282 discs for Chandos, and it is the premiere recording of the 'Phantasy Concerto'. The 5.0-channel hi-res surround sonics are without fault. Both these works should be urged into more prominence by this excellent SACD release." -Audiophile Audition (audaud.com)

BBC Music Magazine
The performances make a feisty and persuasive case for both works, with Howard Shelley savouring the incisive brilliance of the Concerto's solo part. And in his last recording before his death last year, Richard Hickox extracts playing of serious energy from this fine Australian orchestra. Marvellously clear and comfortable SACD recorded sound, too.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
As swansongs go, this striking coupling of two of Sir Eugene Goossens's meatiest large-scale offerings under the baton of the late Richard Hickox really is something to cherish. The epic First Symphony of 1938-40 has not lacked passionate advocacy on disc but Hickox is more realistically recorded than any and draws arguably the most finely groomed orchestral playing. No one coming to this ambitious canvas for the first time could fail to be struck by Hickox's excitingly committed and typically red-blooded handling of what is a most imposing and rewarding creation... Howard Shelley is the fearless soloist and he receives alert support from Hickox and the Melbourne SO. Eminently truthful sound, too, with an astutely judged balance throughout.

Gramophone Magazine
No-one coming to this ambitious canvas for the first time could fail to be struck by Hickox's excitingly committed and typically red-blooded handling of what is a most imposing and rewarding creation. The Phantasy Concerto [Symphony No. 1]... it's an attractively spicy, densely plotted score in four linked movements lasting just over 25 minutes... Howard Shelley is the fearless soloist and he receives alert support from Hickox and the Melbourne SO.

The Guardian
Richard Hickox's 282nd and last disc for Chandos, recorded in Melbourne last April, was intended as the start of a series devoted to the orchestral works of Eugene Goossens. That, like several other major recording projects, is now unlikely to continue, underlining again just what a loss to British music Hickox's shockingly sudden death in November has been. Goossens' music is almost totally neglected now, and the two pieces recorded here suggest that is a real shame. The Phantasy Concerto, completed in 1942 and recorded here for the first time, is the more striking piece, less garrulous than the First Symphony completed four years earlier, in which the ghost of Goossens' teacher Stanford is never totally exorcised. It adroitly integrates the solo piano into textures that make quite a few glancing references to modernism, with occasional reminders that Goossens had been in charge of the London concert premiere of The Rite of Spring in 1921, before his conducting career took him to the US. With Howard Shelley as the soloist, the performance has a glittery sheen; it's an attractive, likable work that deserves at least an occasional outing.



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Works Details

>Goossens, Eugene : Phantasy Concerto, for piano & orchestra, Op. 60
  • Performer: Howard Shelley (Piano)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (04/21/2008-04/24/2008)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942

>Goossens, Eugene : Symphony no 1, Op. 58
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Melbourne, Australia (04/21/2008-04/24/2008)
  • Running Time: 38 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1938-1940