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Sir Donald Tovey
Symphony in D (first modern recording)
Allegro maestoso; Vivace ma non troppo presto; Canzona Dorica - Adagio; Allegro con moto energico

& Prelude The Bride of Dionysus

Malmö Opera Orchestra
George Vass, conductor

TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0033 [TT 64 mins £13.99]

This important release (for lovers of English music of an earlier generation) exemplifies the excellent production values of Martin Anderson's new record label specialising mainly in previously unrecorded works.

Unlikely to achieve wide currency, because even in 1913 Donald Tovey (1875–1940), composing whilst Elgar's symphonies were new, could not be thought forward looking; the Canzone dorica reflects his enthusiasm for 16 C.polyphony, and most listeners will find themselves thinking of Brahms and Bruckner. Alan M. Watkins describes it pertinently as "unashamedly inspired by music of a former age - -an individual symphony by a very individual person - - the classical allusions as homage to a style of composition that the composer clearly admired and wrote so informatively and endearingly about in his publications".

I have previously welcomed Tovey's Piano Concerto [Hyperion CDA67023] " - - demanding but unshowy, Tovey the intellectual better known to many through his record notes and analyses of classical music. I was greatly taken by a broadcast and hastened to acquire the recording, and have enjoyed rehearing it several times - - ".

The comprehensive notes by record producer Peter Shore are fully informative; the 46-page booklet provided in decent sized print on thin paper - why don't other record comapnies do that? Included are Tovey's own programme notes from May 1915; a nostalgic reminder for older collectors of Tovey's expansive programme notes and notes for '78 records, from which many of us had our earlier musical education.

It is lovingly conducted and well recorded in Malmö; read about the recording project in extenso at http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2005/June05/Tovey_symphony_Shore.htm

Malmö Opera Orchestra conducted by George Vass; Radio Malmö May 2005. Photo: Stefan Klaverdal

© Peter Grahame Woolf