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Music for Book Lovers

Music for Book Lovers

Ref: CDG1194

12 tracks 62 min
Click here to preview trk 1

Gentle classics for reading

Gentle music makes a perfect accompaniment to reading. This selection has been chosen with the reader in mind. Many of the tracks began life with a literary theme or programme, taken from old legends, from Shakespeare's tales or from famous books. These works are interspersed with other characterful pieces which reflect a quiet mood or a scene from nature

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Music for Book Lovers
Gentle classics for reading

Gentle music makes a perfect accompaniment to reading. This selection has been chosen with the reader in mind. Many of the tracks began life with a literary theme or programme, taken from old legends, from Shakespeare's tales or from famous books. These works are interspersed with other characterful pieces which reflect a quiet mood or a scene from nature.

1 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night's Dream - Nocturne
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Don Jackson
2 Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suite - Solveig's Song
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Don Jackson
3 Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) Romeo and Juliet - Scherzo
New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Alexander Titov
4 Easthope Martin (1882-1925) Evensong
Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra
5 Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Rosamunde - Entr'acte No.3
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Don Jackson
6 Felix Mendelssohn Symphony No.2 (Hymn of Praise) - Adagio religioso
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Don Jackson
7 Hector Berlioz Faust - Menuet of wandering lights
Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vahtang Kakhidze
8 Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Harmonies du soir in D flat
Josef Bulva, piano
9 Ronald Hanmer (1917-1994) Pastorale
Sidney Torch and the New Century Orchestra
10 Edward Macdowell (1860-1908) To a wild rose
Martin Souter, piano
11 Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Introduction
Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vahtang Kakhidze
12 Eric Coates (1922-1997) By the sleepy lagoon
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eric Coates

CCL CDG1194
This compilation P & C 2008 Classical Communications Ltd
Cover image: Hobbies Bookshelf from the Bodleian Library c Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Made in Great Britain

Music is the exaltation of poetry. Both of them may excel apart, but surely they are most excellent when they are joyn'd, because nothing is then wanting to either of their proportions; for thus they appear like wit and beauty in the same person.
Henry Purcell

Mendelssohn and Berlioz were both inspired by literature, particularly the works of Shakespeare. Both were part of a new awakening in Europe to the powers of the Bard, a trend fuelled both by new translations and by the increasing interest in and reverence for the past which characterised many forms of artistic endeavour in the early decades of the nineteenth century. For Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as part of a younger generation which saw much political upheaval and an increasing pace of technological change, that cultural awareness of the past was charged with the extra elements of nationalism and patriotism. They turned to legends and historic figures from their own countries and wove their stories and themes into their music. It has always been possible to see music, particularly opera, as an expression of a political or sociological system, but for the composers of the mid-nineteenth century it became a more potent means of personal and political, even subversive, expression than ever before. Franz Liszt became embroiled in revolutionary fervour and in the rapidly changing times - and he was one of the first musicians to travel on concert tours by train, a far cry from the risky and uncomfortable carriage and four of the young Mozart and his father! Liszt focused his attention on the wealthy aristocrats of all Europe, but Franz Schubert stayed firmly at home in his native city of Vienna, where he entertained his friends and a select group of patrons on a much smaller scale. His more public efforts, such as 'Rosamunde' were ever doomed to financial failure, despite the breathtaking beauty of his melodic style. Edward Macdowell may also have been at his happiest with his musical miniatures, composed for similar society gatherings in Boston and New York at the turn of the twentieth century.

This programme also includes music from a much under-represented genre, British light music. Martin, Hanmer and Coates were involved in the less 'serious' side of music-making, and their careers ran in parallel to those of composers such as Elgar and Vaughan Williams and conductors like Sir Henry Wood and Sir Thomas Beecham. Their work was considered populist and ephemeral (and may well have been composed in this spirit), but in recent times these striking compositions have been rediscovered and a new respect has grown for their technical skill, musical charm and considerable sophistication.


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