Hyperion Records

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

'Bantock: Hebridean & Celtic Symphonies' (CDA66450)
Bantock: Hebridean & Celtic Symphonies
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66450 
'Bantock: Orchestral Music' (CDS44281/6)
Bantock: Orchestral Music
Buy by post £33.00 CDS44281/6  6CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Letter A: A lady-witch there lived on Atlas mountain
Letter B: 'Tis said, she was first changed into a vapour
Letter C: And old Silenus, shaking a green stick
Letter D: And every nymph of stream and spreading tree
Letter E: For she was beautiful
Letter F: The deep recesses of her odorous dwelling
Letter G: And then she called out of the hollow turrets
Letter H: To those she saw most beautiful

The Witch of Atlas
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

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66450 track 12
Letter G: And then she called out of the hollow turrets
Recording date
22 August 1990
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Bantock: Hebridean & Celtic Symphonies (CDA66450)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: February 1991
  2. Bantock: Orchestral Music (CDS44281/6)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: October 2007
    6CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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