Tippett – Symphonies 3 & 4, Symphony in B flat – BBC Scottish Symphony – Martin Brabbins – Hyperion Cat No: CDA682312 – 2 CDs (3/1/19) TT: Disc 1: 57:49 Disc 2: 54:00 [Distr. by PIAS]
With this release Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra complete their cycle of Tippett symphonies, which for the first time can be considered as a series of five—one withdrawn, the rest official—scattered through Tippett’s long career. Nearly half a century separates the Symphony in B flat (1932-3) from Symphony No 4 (1976-7). In between came the war-torn counterpoint of No 1 (1944-5), the dancing jubilation of No 2 (1955-7), and the blues-inflected moral struggle of No 3 (1970-72). Tippett composed in many styles but one voice, and while each symphony exists in its own musical climate, the cycle is united by a distinctive compositional personality.
The two disc set is made even more unique by the inclusion of the aforementioned Symphony in B flat, as it is a premier recording.
Hyperion has done a fine job with these symphonies, giving us a realistic soundstage and a recording that exhibits some nice front to back depth as well.
The music is challenging to play, but the BBC Scottish Symphony is up to the task, playing with precision and enthusiasm.
I haven’t listened to a lot of Tippett over the years, and while auditioning the Symphony number 3, was taken aback to hear a distinct quote from the opening of the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony number 9. That’s the playful Tippett, and all the symphonies have great depth and musical meaning.
I enjoyed the symphonies, and the never recorded Symphony in B Flat was a real treat as well.
More Information and music samples from Hyperion Website: