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Music for the armchair traveller
A programme of music with a nautical theme, and of travelling the world. Mystical tales of the sea, stories of derring-do, of voyages calm or otherwise, of billowing waves and the sea spray, the tang of the salt air
Spirit of Discovery
A programme of music with a nautical theme, and of travelling the world. Mystical tales of the sea, stories of derring-do, of voyages calm or otherwise, of billowing waves and the sea spray, the tang of the salt air - and a pause in the watery city of Venice, represented by Mahler's sublime and famous 'Adagio', once a sound track to the film of Mann's evocative story, 'Death in Venice'.
British sea songs set the mood of adventure - and there's plenty here for the armchair traveller to enjoy!
Programme includes some carefully restored historic recordings
1 Fantasia on British Sea Songs Sir Henry Wood (1869-1944)
i The Saucy Arethusa
ii Tom Bowling
iii Home! Sweet Home
iv Jack's the Lad
v See, the Conquering Hero Comes
vi Rule, Britannia!
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis
2 Overture: The Hebrides - Fingal's Cave Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1947)
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Alois Springer
3 The Sea and Sinbad's Ship Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Bystrik Rezucha
4 Adagio from Symphony No 5 Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Radio Symphony Orchestra Ljubljana, Anton Nanut
5 Overture: The Pirates of Penzance Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, The New Promenade Orchestra, Isidore Godfrey
6 Overture: A Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Alois Springer
This compilation P & C 2003 Classical Communications Ltd
Image: Battling ships, off the Philippines,Insulae Indiae Orientalis, Mercator's "Atlas...", 1619
British Library/Bridgeman Art Library
Made in Great Britain
The infinite possibilities of the sea, travel and voyages of discovery have been an inspiration to composers and musicians over many centuries, whether as an awe inspiring wonder of nature or simply a means of transport. Travellers' stories, myths about the ocean and wild tales of sea storms have all played their part in helping to create wonderful atmospheric music, alive with the sound of waves crashing or lapping on the shore.
The composer Felix Mendelssohn knew the sea better than most as a frequent traveller from Northern German ports to England where he maintained a highly successful conducting career. 'The Hebrides' overture was written after one of his youthful tours of the British Isles when he explored the land from London northwards, painting, sketching and composing as he went. He took a boat trip to Staffa, to see Fingal's Cave, although as his travelling companion remarked, Mendelssohn 'was on better terms with the sea as a musician than as an individual or a stomach'. 'A Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage' may have expressed Mendelssohn's wishful thinking about his frequent sea crossings; 'picture me' he once wrote, 'dragging myself around from one fainting fit to the next, cursing the steamer, England, and especially my own Calm Sea.'
Rimsky-Korsakov created atmospheric music based on the tales of Sheherezade who saved her own life by telling her master an adventure story over 1001 nights. 'The Sea and Sinbad's Ship' is one of the best-known of Rimsky Korsakov's works. Its dramatic opening depicts both the strength and the majestic calm of the sea, while later on the rolling waves under a mighty vessel can be heard in the music.
Gustav Mahler's 'Adagio' is one of the most sublime pieces of orchestral music ever written. In this album its gentle tones give respite from the waves, as we journey to the Venice of Thomas Mann and his tragic tale, 'Death in Venice'. The music was used as the soundtrack to the famous film. Sullivan's 'Pirates of Penzance' overture, on the other hand, is a light-hearted, but perfectly crafted piece, written to introduce the comic operetta of the same name. Superb melodies and deft orchestration were Sullivan's stock in trade, and this piece is no exception, with its cheerful evocation of an imaginary pirate ship, sailing the high seas in search of adventure.