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Variety of songs from both the Schumanns; CLASSICAL.

AS THE Liverpool Phil's Robert Schumann Festival ended last Saturday with Paradise and the Peri, I received a CD collection of his songs sung by a group of singers led by soprano Geraldine McGreevy. Twenty of the songs are settings for solo, duet and quartet of translations of Spanish poetry, giving variety to the programme.

In the second group, pianist Graham Johnson is joined by Stephen Hough, as the songs are accompanied by piano duet.

There are also seven songs by Clara Schumann sung by McGreevy and five of Robert's Hans Andersen settings, sung by baritone Stephen Loges. This is a recital to make you lean back and enjoy. (Hyperion).

There are several new CDs with Merseyside interest. The recording of the Delius Violin Concerto made at the Phil in 1944 by Albert Sammons with the orchestra under Sargent reappears from Naxos, and is coupled with Sammons' 1929 recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Henry Wood conducting. This was the first complete recording, after Kreisler had declined to record it, and there are many who feel it to be the finest. The audio restoration of these recordings presents the old discs well enough for enjoyment not to be spoiled by their age.

Cyril Scott was born in Oxton in 1879, and lived until 1970. He studied at Frankfurt and was a member of the renowned Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Balfour Gardiner group. He had a successful musical career as a concert pianist and composer of light piano music, but after the 1920s, his interests wandered to theosophy, poetry, and Indian mysticism. His later compositions failed to appeal being of an esoteric nature. A new CD from the London Piano Quartet, with Marilyn Taylor, violin, presents his Piano Quintet of 1925, and the Piano Quartet which was first heard at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool in 1902. These attractive pieces are released by Dutton.

As it is the centenary of the Scott Quartet's first performance at Liverpool this year, perhaps Tony Burrage and Live-AMusic might programme it at a Phil lunchtime concert in the autumn, as they did the Coleridge-Taylor Piano Quintet last autumn. The recording of that concert, which also included the Fantasy Pieces and Wolf's Italian Serenade has now appeared on the Live-A-Music label, and is not only a fine souvenir for those who attended the recital, but also of interest to collectors, as this music won't be found elsewhere on record. It's available at the Phil shop.

The new issue by the BBC Philharmonic has composer Gerard Schurmann conducting his own music. If the name is familiar, it's because he conducted the premier of his Violin Concerto at the Philharmonic Hall in 1978, and now it is played by Olivier Charlier, on this Chandos disc, showing it to be a work of lyrical beauty.

The Concerto for Orchestra reflects Schurmann's parentage. The sounds of the gamelan, from his East Indian birth and Dutch father, and a hint of Bartok from his mother who actually studied with the great Hungarian composer. These are first recordings of pieces which would be well received at the Phil today.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2002
Words:517
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