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    Louis Spohr’s Symphony No. 2
    Howard Shelley, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
    Duration: 00:30:47


    Johann Christian Bach’s Piano Concerto in E flat major
    Anthony Halstead (keyboard & direction), The Hanover Band
    Duration: 00:17:41


    Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms
    Leonard Bernstein, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Jeunesse-Chor, Soloists from the Vienna Boys’ Choir
    Duration: 00:19:05

    I love the Chichester Psalms (commissioned by the same cleric that commissioned Britten to write Rejoice in the Lamb: The Very Revd. Walter Hussey, one of my personal heroes). But this performance, albeit conducted by the composer, is …er, a little weird. Perhaps it’s because I’ve imprinted on Matthew Best’s version? Or perhaps because, in 2021, I can’t look at that album art and see anyone other than Donald Trump in profile! (I suppose it’s actually meant to be Lenny himself in profile, but I don’t recall him ever wearing hair in that fashion!)

    Anyway: ignore the album art. Ignore the fact that I don’t think Bernstein’s recording of his own work is the best: go track down the Matthew Best version. It is wonderful. And thank you, Walter Hussey.


    Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem
    Erich Leinsdorf, New England Conservatory Chorus, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Duration:    01:09:44

    I am not a great fan of Brahms (about whom Benjamin Britten was notoriously sniffy!)

    But I’ve always liked this, my first-ever version of the German Requiem. And, pace Britten, I can’t hear anything awful in the work, but rather something rather noble and wonderful.


    Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1
    Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Duration:    00:14:13

    An excellent performance of this work. Character-full, but without being look-at-me perverse about it.


    Havergal Brian’s Symphony No. 03
    Lionel Friend, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Ball (piano), Julian Jacobson (piano)
    Duration: 00:55:11

    I know and understand far too little about Havergal Brian’s music. He wrote 32 symphonies for Heaven’s sake… but died (in 1972) in almost complete obscurity. That would be understandable if all 32 symphonies were complete rubbish, of course… but, clearly they are not. I don’t have recordings of all 32: only 10 of them. But I enjoy them all, to one degree or another. As I say, I don’t yet quite understand what he was up to with any of them, but they are good listening material nonetheless.

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