<< -- 2 -- Patric Standford Happy and profound
The Sinfonia De Profundis, first heard in 1969, is not only his
outstanding achievement, but one of the major landmarks in Irish music of
the latter part of the 20th century. It is a deeply personal work, a thanksgiving
for deliverance from a depression and despair that was frequently just beneath
the surface of an otherwise colourful and witty musical personality.
The first of its five movements has a meditative atmosphere, and presents
its attractive serial melodic motif alongside the old tune Remember God's
goodness, both being fertile structural materials upon which all the
movements are built [listen -- track 5, 0:44-1:43].
In the second movement, it becomes a yearning waltz, gentle and delicate,
winding upwards like a plume of smoke into a grey sky [listen
-- track 6, 1:21-2:12]. After a richly devout and profound central Adagio,
a rather barbed Vivace sends the strings dancing over an Irish landscape
that seems beset by demons, a disturbing dream fantasy [listen
-- track 8, 2:34-3:14]. The final Epilogue draws the symphony back to
its opening movement, though this time the great hymn tune breaks through
with triumphant strength [listen -- track 9, 3:05-4:04].
The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, conducted by Robert Houlihan,
have brought this fine work to life with a strong performance and thereby
done it a great service, for it deserves to be widely heard.
Copyright © 6 February 2002
Patric Standford, West Yorkshire, UK
CD INFORMATION - MARCO POLO 8.225158
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ARCHIE POTTER AT CMC IRELAND
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