Bantock’s Hebridean Symphony was an undertaking of love; love for his native Scotland, love for the music of Scotland, and love for the beauty of the land, especially, and obviously, the inner and outer islands of the Hebrides.
Per Keith Anderson, who wrote the liner notes for the album from which this performance was taken, the symphony is, “A work of brooding mystery and impetuous drama”. I certainly agree. Anderson then goes on to state that Bantock had a, ” romantic preoccupation with the Hebrides and other aspects of Celctic culture”. Anderson calls this work a, “work of some power,… that is ambitious, dramatic, occasionally grandiose, suggesting in a demanding score,…something of his own conception of a Celctic world with which he had renewed acquantance by a walking tour of the Highlands as a necessary preparation for the symphony”. Anderson sums up all too well the massive beauty and ethereal qualities of Northern Scotland. Anderson’s summation is excellent, in my humble opinion, where he states that, “The music grows in intensity from the mists of the opening to an impressive storm, war, a love-lament and a stirring song of victory, before the mists close in once more.
A beautiful piece, written by an oft forgotten wonder of England.
Performed by the Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic (Kosice) under Adrian Leaper.
(Performed by the Northern Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Nicholas Ward.)
“Mendelssohn wrote his twelve String Symphonies between 1821 and 1823. The first seven were all composed in 1821, with the eighth a year later, dated 27th November 1822, and the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, completed in March, May, July and September 1823 respectively. A thirteenth symphony, started in December that year, was replaced by a fully orchestrated work, to become his Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 11. The string symphonies were written when Mendelssohn was a pupil of Zelter and reflect the inclinations of the teacher and Mendelssohn’s own clear debt to earlier classical models, with an increasing interest in the contrapuntal practices of Bach and Handel. This last is evident in the minor key Andante of the String Symphony No. 2 in D major, with its exploration of contrasting string textures, with a more classical use of imitative counterpoint in the final Allegro vivace.” – Keith Anderson
Drawing: Boy Copying the Head of a Roman Emperor, Michael Sweerts