Bantock: Omar Khayyám

Granville Bantock: Omar Khayyám
BBC Symphony Orchestra & BBC Singers, Norman Del Mar (1979)
Itter Broadcast Collection REAM2128. 4 CDs: 73’06, 61’41, 68’05, 54’25.

Bantock: Omar Khayyám (172’ 33),
Fifine at the Fair (30’15),
Sappho (42’58),
The Pierrot of the Minute (11’27)

Disc 1: Part One – Quatrains 1-47
Disc 2: Part One – Quatrains 48-54, Part Two – Quatrains 55-81
Disc 3: Part Three – Quatrains 82-101; Fifine at the Fair
Disc 4: Sappho; The Pierrot of the Minute – Johanna Peters/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Sir Granville Bantock is a curious figure in English musical history. Born in 1868 to wealthy but non-artistic parents, his career was directed towards the Indian Civil Service until ill-health forced a brief diversion into chemical engineering before starting full time music study aged about 20. He toured several of his light musicals, and had a brief attempt at journalism. His subsequent musical career was similar to so many musicians who fail to make the big time, achieving a degree of fame in provincial settings, but rarely breaking into the internationally important London scene. After a spell as conductor in Wallasey and Liverpool he settled in Birmingham, eventually becoming Professor of Music the University, for which he was knighted aged 61. He was a champion of many composers, including Sibelius, Prokofiev, and Delius, and also admired the music of R. Strauss and Wagner.

Despite his musical influences, his 800+ works seem to have carefully avoided the more adventurous musical paths of his contemporaries and heroes, Continue reading