DEFINITIVE RECORDINGS
GRANVILLE BANTOCK - OMAR KHAYYAM


OMAR KHAYYAM - VERNON HANDLEY (Conductor) - BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - BBC SYMPHONY CHORUS - SUPER AUDIO HYBRID CD - CHANDOS CHSA5051

When most record labels these days only seem capable of or intent on releasing re-issue after re-issue of the same old recordings, of the same old pieces, it is refreshing to see a label like Chandos stepping out and investing their efforts and money in releasing a world premiere recording of such impact and importance.

This monumental work by Bantock is scored for a large orchestra, choir, soloists, and even camel bells. It is full of romanticism, exotic orchestration, and deeply philosophical narrative. It is a long piece, laid-out over 3 discs, built upon a myriad of small motifs each representing different aspects of life, death, love, the power of the sun, the moon, caravans through the desert, etc....that all intertwine and develop, sometimes coming to the fore in huge climaxes, all of this creating a very cohesive composition. During the recording sessions, the musicians themselves kept wondering why such an epic, wonderful work as this, had not been considered before for a recording. I myself listened to it 3 times in a row the first time around, simply to re-experience those great moments in the score when everything comes together so well.

The sound quality is up to the Chandos high standards and it's available as 3 cds for the price of 2. If you don't know this highly talented British composer, this is a great way to introduce yourself to his music.

Jean-Yves Duperron