City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla – The British Project (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:11:50 minutes | 1,22 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra continue The British Project with the release of works from William Walton’s opera Troilus and Cressida. The recording comprises the four-movement Symphonic Suite reworked and arranged from the original operatic score by Christopher Palmer. The CBSO and its charismatic conductor convey all the charm, swagger, and sumptuous sonorities of this music in a performance captured live at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.
Troilus and Cressida contains some of William Walton’s most seductive music, as can be heard in the new e-album from Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and the CBSO – their second for The British Project on Deutsche Grammophon. Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla has enjoyed exploring British music since her appointment as the CBSO’s Music Director five years ago. Her recent Birmingham seasons have featured scores by composers who worked with the CBSO in the decades following its foundation in 1920, from Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett to Ruth Gipps and Thea Musgrave. She and her orchestra launched The British Project last October with an interpretation of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem.
William Walton, born in 1902, forged a strong relationship with the CBSO. He conducted the orchestra in the world premiere recording of his Sinfonia concertante two months after the end of the Second World War and his music remains central to its repertoire. In 1947 he began work on his first grand opera, Troilus and Cressida, a tragic love story based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s eponymous poem and set during the tenth year of the Trojan War.
The British Project is composed of four separate performances by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its young conductor, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, issued as digital-only single performances by the Deutsche Grammophon label during the pandemic and compiled into a single album in 2021. It’s not clear whether the whole thing was in the performers’ sights at the beginning, but it may as well have been; it’s a coherent and effective program. With Elgar’s lovely Sospiri, Op. 70, as a kind of preamble, Grazinyte-Tyla launches into Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20. This work is not exactly obscure, but it’s a youthful piece much less often heard than its cousin, the War Requiem, Op. 66. The all-orchestral work was composed in 1939 under a commission from the Japanese government, which was not pleased with the results, but its uneasy mood seems newly relevant, and Grazinyte-Tyla catches Britten’s ambitions. She gives a colorful performance of Walton’s Symphonic Suite from Troilus and Cressida. Perhaps the best introduction to why Grazinyte-Tyla is creating such a fuss is the beautifully controlled performance here of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis of Ralph Vaughan Williams, a work that is anything but obscure. Rather than pour on the lushness from the start, Grazinyte-Tyla leaves room for it to acquire additional resonance as the work proceeds, and the result is an extremely involving performance. Recorded in Birmingham and at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the album is well mastered into a sonic whole. A fine British Project.
1. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – Elgar: Sospiri Op. 70
2. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – I. Lacrymosa
3. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – II. Dies irae
4. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – III. Requiem aeternam
5. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – I. The Trojans (Arr. Christopher Palmer)
6. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – II. Scherzo (Arr. Christopher Palmer)
7. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – III. The Lovers (Arr. Christopher Palmer)
8. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – IV. Finale ( Arr. Christopher Palmer)
9. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – I. Largo sostenuto
10. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – II. Poco piu animato
11. City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – III. Tempo del principo