with the exception of The Hymn ofnJesus, approach the sonic spectacle andnopulent orchestral effects of The Planets,nwhose symphonic fireworks are apparentnin the excellent sound of this recording.nAnyone disposed to dismiss Hoist as anbrilliant but shallow showman shouldnexplore his moving settings of medievalnreligious love poetry. His Four Songs fornVoice and Violin, Op. 35, and This HavenI Done For My True Love, Op. 34, fornunaccompanied voices, deal in a simplenand unadorned way with deep and passionatenChristian experiences and truths.nThe antithesis of the sonic blockbuster,nthese gentle songs have a heartrendingnbeauty. They can be found on an importedndouble disc Argo set (ZK 74-75)nwhich contains other lovely Hoist musicnfor voices.nWilliam Walton (1902-), who, alongnwith Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett,nrepresents the second wave of thenrenaissance, was under a great deal ofnpressure during the production of hisnfirst symphony. Its premiere was to havenbeen part of a 1934 program includingnElgar’s third symphony, a work whichnwas prevented by Elgar’s death. Waltonnhad only the first three movements readynat festival time and completed the fourthna year later. It was time well spent, for henproduced a work worthy of the freshlynminted English symphonic “tradition.”nNonesuch Records (H-71394) has finallynmade a performance of this worknavailable domestically. It is conducted bynVernon Handiey and played by the RoyalnLiverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.nDramatic and propulsive in its momentsnof grandeur, this symphony is excitingnwithout being frenetic, romantic but notnsaccharine. An even better measure of itsnmerits is conveyed by Andre Previn in annimported RCA London Symphony Orchestranperformance.nA new London digital recording (LDRn71046) pairs Sir Michael Tippett’sn(1905-) latest work. Symphony No. 4n(1977), with his much earlier Suite fornthe Birthday of Prince Charles (1948),nboth featuring Sir George Solti and thenChicago Symphony Orchestra. The con­ntrast between the two gives evidence tonthe wide ground Tippett has covered.nThe Suite is from Tippett’s richly lyricalnperiod which produced distinctively individualnbut easily accessible, elaboratelynornamented, celebratory music. ThenFantasia Concertante, on a theme of Corellin(1953), is a slightly later and ravishinglynbeautiful example. (An excellentnperformance is available on Argo.) Thenformal title of the Suite may give it anslightly stuffy, ceremonial sound, butnthere is not one officious note in thisnjoyous, festive music. It employs somentraditional tunes, including a Frenchnone, perhaps as a reminder of a previousnroyal claim, and is immediately appealing.nIn the late 50’s Tippett’s musicnbecame thorny, dense, astringent. HisnThird Symphony is an uneasy amalgamnof Beethoven, literally quoted, bluesnnumbers sung by a soprano, and his ownnhighly individual style. Symphony No. 4ndocs not contain such jarring stylistic juxtapositions;nit has internal consistency.nAlso, along with the compressed powernTippett can generate, it contains strongnhints of his old lyricism and ornamentalntracery. The one-movement work is supposednto be, in Tippett’s words, a “birthto-death”npiece encompassing in 30nminutes a complete cycle of human existence.nNewcomers to Tippett shouldnenjoy the Suite, but would probablynprefer it paired with a more accessiblenwork, such as Symphony No. i, on anPhillips recording now on the importednPSI label.nWhat are you doing after age eighty?nProbably planning to slow down a bit?nHavergal Brian (1876-1972) didn’t; henproceeded to write 21 symphonies (outnof a total of 32) in a great octa- and nonagenariannoutburst of creative energy.nHis influence cannot be counted in anynwave of the English renaissance becausenhe was usually overlooked by his contemporaries.nFor example, his mammothnGothic Symphony written in 1919nhad to wait until 1961 for its first performance.nA four-hour choral worknbased on an epic by Shelley was simplynnnlost. Undeterred by neglect and indifference,nthis largely self-taught composernand former carpenter’s apprentice mustnbe counted as one of the great English eccentrics.nWhen an interviewer delicatelynasked about Brian’s intimations of mortalitynas he sailed into his ninth decade,nBrian responded: “I can’t die, I justnbought a new pair of trousers.”nBrian began composing monumentalnorchestral canvases, but over the yearsnhis works became increasingly compressed,nconcise, volcanic: fewer words tonsay more. Always tonal, his work neverthelessnhas a wildness and originality thatnis all the more startling because of itsntraditional syntax: it is the tme strangenessnof the familiar. Far into the 20thncentury Brian was mixing new, sometimesnviolently contrasted sounds fromnan orchestral palette that most others hadnabandoned as exhausted. He proved itnwas as unexhausted as his own spirit. HisnSymphony No. 4 (1933) is a choral symphonynentitled “Psalm of Victory”n(Psalm 67 in the Douay Bible) and itnshares in the expansive nature of hisnearlier works. Aries Records (LP-1621)nhas made available a performance whosenvalue is hard to judge due to the mutednsound, presumably of broadcast origin,nwhich leaves the words indistinguishable.nBut even a pale facsimile is interesting.nEngish critic Harold Trescottnhas opined: “That it is one of the greatestnchoral works in the whole English choralntradition, I have no doubt. It has an astoundingnvariety of expression and it is asnmasterly in the delicacy of its writing as innthe massive treatment of the fullnresources.” The “full resources” of thisnsymphony are such that one’s housenwould require reinforcement if a digitalnrecord of it were ever issued. The symphonynbegins with what sounds likenpomp-and-circumstance music for anroyal celebration but quickly goes its ownnemptive way. The reader also may wishnto explore Brian’s music through importednLyrita and EMI discs and experiencenthis enigma wrapped in thencultural mysteries of England’s 20thcenturynmusical renaissance. DnH M H H H 4 3nDecember 1983n