Music and Vision homepage Music and Vision - Let us know what you think ... write to the Editor

CD Spotlight

Ingeniously Crafted

Orchestral music
by Donald Tovey -
heard by
STEPHEN FRANCIS VASTA

'... the Malmö Opera Orchestra plays handsomely for George Vass.'

Sir Donald Tovey: Symphony in D; The Bride of Dionysus Prelude. Malmö Opera Orchestra / George Vass. © 2006 Toccata Classics

The blurb on this Toccata Classics release perhaps does its composer and music a disservice, citing stylistic influences and foreshadowings of Brahms, Bruckner, Schumann, Reger, Mahler, Nielsen, and Elgar! That implausible potpourri made me recall the comment of the late Alfred Frankenstein, a perceptive if cranky San Francisco-based critic, that conductors know too much of other people's music to be able to write anything worthwhile of their own. Sir Donald Francis Tovey, to the best of my knowledge, was not a conductor, but as the author of the esteemed Essays on Musical Analysis -- which have stayed in print, in some form or another, for the best part of a century -- he, as composer, might well have been susceptible to the same syndrome.

In fact, Tovey's 1915 symphony isn't the derivative mishmosh suggested by the advertising copy; the score, while clearly rooted in the harmonic patterns and musical gestures of the late Romantic, speaks in a distinctive voice. The occasional flashes of Sibelius and Nielsen can probably be attributed more to a commonality of Northern temperaments (British and Scandinavian) than to the composer's assumption, conscious or otherwise, of any particular stylistic tics of theirs...

Copyright © 23 October 2010 Stephen Francis Vasta,
New York, USA

-------

CD INFORMATION: TOVEY SYMPHONY IN D

DONALD FRANCIS TOVEY

TOCCATA CLASSICS

GEORGE VASS

ORCHESTRAL MUSIC

 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Deborah Roberts >>

 

Is your news listed at Music and Vision?