Holst / Mandikian / English Opera Group Chorus - Savitri The Planetsthe Perfect Fool Ballet Suit | RECORD STORE DAY
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SOMM Recordings is pleased to release this set of delightful never-before-released recordings of the music of Gustav Holst in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth. Here are works of grand and intimate scale, for orchestral and chamber forces, with and without singers, offering a vivid sampling of his oeuvre in meticulous restorations of recorded live performances given in the 40s, 50s and 60s.Chronologically, the earliest recordings are those on Disc 2, curated by Producer Lani Spahr. The live performances of The Perfect Fool suite and The Planets were recorded from New York's Radio City Studio in 1945 and Boston's Symphony Hall in 1946, respectively, with British conductors leading orchestras from "across the pond", where Holst had devoted much time in his later years conducting, lecturing and teaching.The recordings on Disc 1 are in various ways the result of Imogen Holst's championing of her father's music. A composer in her own right, arranger, conductor, teacher, musicologist and festival administrator, it was in the last capacity, especially, that she came to work at Benjamin Britten's side on his annual Aldeburgh Festival, becoming co-artistic director in the season of 1956. This recording of Gustav Holst's chamber opera Savitri dates from that summer and comes from the collection of Music Preserved.Nearly a decade later Imogen Holst, who by then was acclaimed for her founding and leadership of the Purcell Singers, a choir whose performances became a regular fixture at Aldeburgh, curated a series of broadcasts on BBC's Third Programme to feature works by her father and other composers. Some of the Gustav Holst pieces, like the Third Group of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda and Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo for orchestra, were broadcast live from public performances at the Cheltenham Music Festival in July of 1965, Cheltenham incidentally being Gustav's birthplace. Others, like the 4 Songs for soprano and violin and The Evening-Watch for mixed chorus, must have been pre-recorded in closed sessions that summer for use later in Imogen's series of programmes. These two recordings were aired on 31 October 1965. All of the Cheltenham '65 recordings come from the collection of Stephen Crane of ARS Recorded Editions.Disc 1 has been fastidiously polished by Restoration Engineer Paul Baily. His restoration of the recent Sir Adrian Boult Conducts (ARIADNE 5024-2) was honoured with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Records Critics' Award) in the Historical Recordings category.Restoration Engineer for Disc 2, Lani Spahr's previous SOMM releases include the lauded four-volume sets Vaughan Williams Live (ARIADNE 5016, 5018-20) and Elgar Remastered (SOMMCD 261-4), as well as two Gramophone Editor's Choice picks: Elgar from America Vol.3 (ARIADNE 5015-2) for "superb audio restorations [bringing] performances fully to life" and Bruckner from the Archives Vol.1 (ARIADNE 5025-2) for the "high standards achieved here, where expert audio restoration and remastering is by Lani Spahr".