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Hyperion Records

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The Road from Arras to Bapaume (1917) by Christopher Richard Wayne Nevinson (1889-1946)
Imperial War Museum, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55464
Recording details: December 2001
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by John Timperley
Release date: June 2002
Total duration: 8 minutes 14 seconds

'A fascinating and rewarding discovery … performances, production and presentation are all past praise, and this is a disc already earmarked for my Critics’ Choice come the year’s end' (Gramophone)

'Excellent singing and committed playing on this disc' (BBC Music Magazine)

'It surely deserves a place in the repertory: English music has nothing quite like it' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'This handsomely presented disc is a rarity worth investigating' (The Observer)

'Coles’s own orchestral skills are amply demonstrated by the lush, full-bodied playing of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Coles emerges as one of the great lost hopes of British music' (The Independent)

'The six pieces recorded here justify the mourning of an unfulfilled talent' (International Record Review)

'I listened to it this week, and was moved to something dangerously adjacent to tears … what you chiefly hear in Coles’s compositions is nobility, haunting beauty and a strange, almost prophetic sense of tragedy’ (The Times)

'The works here show the power and intensity of a major talent' (Classic FM Magazine)

'My reactions to the music, even after listening to the disc for some weeks, still oscillate between amazement, melancholy, and gratitude, although they are gradually melding into a fusion of all three. I don’t doubt that it will affect you too' (Fanfare, USA)

'His music, touched by post-echoes of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Wagner, yet speaking unmistakably in its own accent, lives on in this outstandingly recorded new issue' (HMV Choice)

'The work’s surviving fragments receive their premiere recording on this Hyperion disc, which sees Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony doing a terrific job on behalf of the composer' (Music Week)

'The music is solemn, poignant and majestic in conductor Brabbins’ orchestration … a genius? Yes, I think so. A great loss to music? Absolutely' (MusicWeb International)

'Dedicated performances beautifully recorded and fervently commended' (Yorkshire Post)

'Hyperion Records are to be applauded for resurrecting Behind the lines and the other works included here … all is beautifully played and sung, and warmly recommended' (The Western Front Association)

'Les interprétations de Brabbins sont proches de l’idéal et les musiciens écossais servent leur compatriote avec ferveur et précision' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Scherzo in A minor
composer
1909/10; Scherzo in a-Moll für grosses Orchester; written under the pseudonym of Naxos

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Such was the scale of Coles’s Scherzo in A minor ‘for large orchestra’, that the composer may well have intended it to form part of a symphony. Whatever its purpose was, it was conceived as an ambitious canvas, full of humour and burles­que, an essay clearly designed to show off the composer’s flair for instrumentation. An introduction for brass and wind, with a satirical edge, introduces a fragment of the movement’s main thematic idea, which is later heard complete on the cor anglais and bassoon. A secondary, descending chromatic fragment, played by clarinets and violas, injects a more demonic, mena­cing flavour, and it is between this more mercurial world and one of sardonic comedy that the Scherzo fluctuates during the extended first group. A more lyrical ‘dance’ idea, initiated by the strings, dominates the second group, and it is this material, often infused with Walküre-inspired augmented triads, that occupies much of the development. As tension mounts towards the development’s conclusion, however, it is the first-group material that reasserts itself with a new dynamism and it is this new outpouring of energy and colour, embodied in Coles’s intense re-orchestration, that reaches its apogee in the virtuoso writing of the riotous coda.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2002

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