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Hyperion Records

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Lesbia (1878) by John Reinhold Weguelin (1849-1927)
Track(s) taken from CDA66899
Recording details: January 1997
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: September 1997
Total duration: 14 minutes 57 seconds

'This really is most welcome … an intoxicating celebration of love in all its guises … Sappho held me pretty spellbound, even on first acquaintance. No praise can be too high for Susan Bickley … [and] Tony Faulkner's stunningly natural engineering complements what is another triumphant addition to Hyperion's ongoing Bantock series' (Gramophone)

'Susan Bickley sings this erotic and exotic music with intense fervour. The Sapphic Poem is a companion piece and equally luscious' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Boy, do I like this disc. What a delight Bantock's music is—so full of vivid emotions, exotic flair, and elegant, lushly melodic writing' (American Record Guide)

'Luscious washes of sensual colour … ravishing harmonies' (The Strad)

'This glowingly atmospheric account of an unjustifiably neglected score is in every way a worthy successor to the three previous releases in this rewarding series. Another top quality release from the Hyperion stable' (Classic CD)

'Performances on this recording are just too exhilarating for critical decorum. There is little reason to proclaim anything but heartfelt thanks to Hyperion for resurrecting another national musical treasure … a stunning issue. Pull the curtains, uncork a good bottle of wine, lie back in your favourite armchair and wallow in the wondrous perfection of it all. For me this is one of the CDs of the year' (British Music Society Journal)

'Sappho is a bewitching song cycle in 10 sections, so succulently using the mezzo voice. Sapphic Poem is an equally gorgeous score superbly played by Lloyd Webber' (Yorkshire Post)

Sapphic Poem

Sapphic Poem  [14'57]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Bantock’s Sapphic Poem was first written with piano accompaniment and premiered at London’s Bechstein Hall (later to become Wigmore Hall) by its dedicatee Willy Lehmann on 27 June 1906. It is one of a number of short works for cello by Bantock; the others are the Elegiac Poem (1898, orchestrated in 1899), the Celtic Poem (1916), Pibroch (with harp accompaniment, 1917), Hamabdil (1919), Salve Regina (1924), the Fantastic Poem (1925), and the Dramatic Poem (1941).

Published with accompaniment for piano in 1908 and for orchestra in 1909, the Sapphic Poem is notable for its delicate and romantic orchestration: double wind (only one oboe), two horns, one trumpet, triangle and strings, but no heavy brass, and, surprisingly, no harp. This allows the cello to sound clearly through the texture but nevertheless gives Bantock’s romanticism every chance to express itself. H O Anderton, who as well as being the author of the first full-length book on the composer was also Bantock’s general factotum and a composer and poet himself (and so well-placed to know what was intended in the music), wrote that the music is ‘full of the erotic sentiment of the Sappho songs and almost the whole is founded upon the motto phrase with which the Poem opens’. After rising to a big climax about half way through, followed by a brief cadenza for the soloist and a second climactic passage, the music gradually dies away as languorous, voluptuous tendrils of melody entice us to hope that Bantock’s exotic and scented picture will not fade.

The music is prefaced by a short quotation from Sappho: ‘and this I feel in myself’, the fifteenth fragment in Wharton’s translation.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 1997

Other albums featuring this work
'Bantock: Orchestral Music' (CDS44281/6)
Bantock: Orchestral Music
MP3 £30.00FLAC £30.00ALAC £30.00Buy by post £33.00 CDS44281/6  6CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
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