Sir Arthur Bliss Decca Originals

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Sir Arthur Bliss: the Decca Originals

Eileen Joyce (piano), Alfredo Campoli (violin), Griller Quartet (string quartet), Colin Hampton (cello), Philip Burton (viola), Jack O'Brien (violin), Sidney Griller (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Arthur Bliss, Muir Mathieson


Bliss: The Decca Originals: a new collection of Decca recordings of Blisss music, including tracks previously unreleased on Decca CD as well as the complete version of the Violin Concerto with Alfredo Campoli. The career of Arthur Bliss was launched in London in the 1920s with provocative ensemble pieces such as Rout, but it was established by the Colour Symphony which Sir Edward Elgar invited him to write for the Three Choirs Festival. Bliss gradually became an establishment figure, appointed Master of the Queens Music in 1953 and a fluent maker of music celebrating Englishness (such as Welcome the Queen, 1954) at a time when notions of national identity were coming under scrutiny as never before. However, Bliss always retained something of the dashing provocateur about him, and his best music often had a terse and anguished quality such as the Introduction and Allegro which filled out the first LP of the Colour Symphony, or the score he wrote for the H.G. Wells film, Things to Come, or the Second String Quartet. These premiere, composer-conducted and -supervised recordings from the 1950s are reissued here, along with a genuine rarity, Baraza: a concertante movement for piano and orchestra crafted from the film music he wrote for Men of Two Worlds. In 1955 Bliss responded to a BBC commission with his most accomplished work in the concerto genre, written with the violinist Alfredo Campoli in mind. The premiere enjoyed a great success, and a Decca recording soon followed. However, the composer remained dissatisfied by the length of the concerto, and having recorded it complete, ensured that certain cuts were made for the first release. This missing material has been restored and the whole recording newly remastered, presenting on CD for the first time the complete score of the Concerto as its composer and first soloist recorded it. His music adds to any royal scene and makes us lift our hearts the higher Excellent stuff, and given us in rich and excellent recording. Gramophone, July 1954 (Welcome the Queen) [The Second Quartet] is superbly written and successfully achieves its intention. The music suits the character of the Grillers playing The recording is rather light on bass, but it accommodates successfully the fierce sforzandi in which the work abounds. The Record Guide, 1955 Campoli copes with the very difficult solo part as if it were childs play. Humphrey Searle, The Gramophone Record Review, June 1956 (Violin Concerto) Heard today, in this full-blooded performance under the composer, one is conscious of his disciplined exuberance at 30 years old. Gramophone, August 1956 (Colour Symphony) *FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA FIRST CD RELEASE OF ORIGINAL VERSION ON DECCA