Granville Bantock, BANTOCK: Hebridean Symphony / Old English Suite

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A symphony with the colouristic immediacy of film music.

Granville Bantock spurned a career in the colonial Indian Civil Service and devoted himself to music. After various posts in the North West, he succeeded Elgar as Peyton Professor of Music at Birmingham University. He was a great friend of Sibelius, who dedicated his Third Symphony to Bantock, and something of the Finn's ability to create a strong atmosphere also resides in Bantock's music. His Hebridean Symphony draws on his Scottish roots (his father was an eminent Scottish doctor) and, rather like Hamilton Harty, he draws on folksong but he paints on a much larger canvas. Bantock's music does have much of the colouristic immediacy of film music: it conjures up landscape and geography with startling ease — as a depiction of the sea, the Hebridean Symphony is up there with the best. And this is a hugely sympathetic performance of a powerful work.