E J Moeran
Sketches for Symphony No.2 in E flat (c.1939-50)
Realised and completed by Martin Yates (2011)
i. Allegro –
ii. Allegro vivace –
iii. Adagietto –
v. Allegro vigoroso e poco maestoso
Overture for a Festival (c.1930-35): Allegro
Orchestrated by Rodney Newton (1994 rev. 2011)
Sarnia: an island sequence for orchestra (1940-41)
Orchestrated by Martin Yates (2011)
i. Le Catioroc (Quasi lento – Animando)
ii. In a May Morning (Con moto moderato)
iii. Song of the Springtides (Allegro comodo)
ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL ORCHESTRA
Martin Yates (conductor)
World Premiere Recordings
Recorded at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 21-22 June & 2 August 2011
This is a remarkable coupling of tuneful music. E. J. Moeran, who died in 1950, has a considerable following for his fine Symphony in G minor, and concertos for violin and cello. It has long been known that he left sketches for an unfinished Second Symphony, which have rivalled those of Elgar’s Third Symphony as a tantalising musical ‘might-have-been’ among British symphonic scores. Now in a remarkable parallel with Anthony Payne’s performing edition of the sketches of Elgar’s Third Symphony, conductor Martin Yates has realised and completed the sketches of Moeran’s Second Symphony to reveal a glorious work given wing by this idiomatic performing edition, brilliantly played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Yates’s baton.
This is an exciting discovery, which all lovers of British music, especially of the period of Bax and Vaughan Williams, will want to hear. The themes and orchestration are Moeran at his most persuasive, and thanks to Martin Yates’s efforts we now have a completed symphonic work of art to lay beside Moeran’s G minor Symphony.
It is accompanied on this CD by Moeran’s Overture for a Festival, which survives only as an undated piano score. In a work thematically linked to the G minor Symphony, this idiomatic orchestration was made by Rodney Newton for its first performance at the 1994 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and here receives its premiere recording.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of John Ireland, The John Ireland Trust have commissioned Martin Yates to orchestrate the piano suite Sarnia: an island sequence (1940-41), which provides a charming companion to the Moeran works. In these three movements – Le Catioroc, In a May Morning and Song of the Springtides – we have, if not quite an English La Mer, certainly a distinctive and colourful score. “Ireland surely had the orchestra in mind when writing this evocative music,” remarked Martin Yates during the recording. In the finale those sparkling climaxes – at the brilliant cadenza-like culmination of the opening section and the thrilling closing bars – acquire a new dimension in their orchestral dress.
“Martin Yates has performed a similar function to that which Anthony Payne did for Elgar’s Third Symphony.”
“... the consequence of Yates’s labours is that he appears to have been remarkably successful and almost wholly convincing. It can be strongly recommended, deserving of a place in the collection of any lover of twentieth-century British music ...”
“The sound quality is first-class.”
Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, October 2012
“Yates directs performances of brio and enthusiasm, and the RSNO sound as if they’re revelling in every bar.”
“The recorded sound is excellent, too.”
Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine
“Those who delight in British modern-romantic orchestral music will be pleased with this new Dutton entry ...”
“... these are fine works, all three of them, fully characteristic of their composers and very well played and recorded.”
“... recently-orchestrated works fill out this marvellous program.”
Lehman, American Record Guide, May/June 2012
"Moeran's symphony, unfinished when he died in 1950, is one of British music's most tantalising might-have-beens. It has been lovingly restructured and orchestrated by Martin Yates, who obtains virtuoso playing from the RSNO. John Ireland's Sarnia is 20th-century romanticism at its most appealing."
Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, 22 April 2012
MusicWeb International CD of the Year 2012