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Hyperion Records

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Morning after a stormy night (detail) (1819) by Johan Christian Clausen Dahl (1788-1857)
Track(s) taken from CDA66450
Recording details: August 1990
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: February 1991
Total duration: 14 minutes 48 seconds

'Magnificently recorded and performed. When audiences are crying out for 'melodious music' how can such music as this have been ignored for so long?' (Gramophone)

'A towering classic, as important as a landmark in the rediscovery of British music as it is a monument to the technique of orchestral recording. Music, performance, recorded sound and notes are all superb' (International Record Review)

'…the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs magnificently from beginning to end, coupling elegance, eloquence, passion, and poser with Hyperion's fastidious sound in a way that compels admiration from the listener for conductor, ensemble and composer alike. Handley's is the definitive version of the Hebridean Symphony, outstripping that available on Naxos in every regard, and with the other works on this disc to further commend it, this release sails effortlessly into port as the newest inductee into Fanfare's Classical Hall of Fame. (Fanfare, USA)

'The best Bantock record I have ever heard' (CDReview)

'Superb’ (

'Ce disque superbe ravira les mélomanes romantiques curieux' (Répertoire, France)

The Witch of Atlas
first performed on 10 September 1902; tone poem No 5; after Shelley's eponymous poem

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Witch of Atlas, Bantock’s Tone Poem No 5, is a particularly effective example of his preoccupation with the interpretation of unusual subjects. It was composed in 1902 and first performed on 10 September at the Worcester meeting of the Three Choirs Festival; the composer himself conducted. The subject is derived from Shelley’s poem of the same name, Bantock choosing a mere 44 of the 672 lines the poet had written at white heat between 13 and 16 August 1820. The 44 lines are printed in the score with letters identifying the relevent passages in the music.

This selection by-passes much of the wizardry and mischief of the Witch, not to mention the strange hermaphroditic companion she creates (a typical Shellean image of bisexual creativity), concentrating instead upon her seductive beauty and beneficence. This Bantock depicts by means of a rising, Mahlerian theme announced at the outset by solo violin against a background of tremolo strings, which becomes the main thematic source for the whole piece. Despite a brief, riotous central passage, the dominant mood is that of ecstatic, sensuous longing. In any other country such a work would have become a staple item in the romantic orchestral repertoire.

from notes by Michael Hurd © 1991

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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