Goossens: Symphony No. 2 - Phantasy Concerto
Catalog: CHSA 5193
Davis, Andrew; Little, Tasmin; Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Continuing their series of orchestral works by Sir Eugene Goossens, Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra turn to the Phantasy Concerto for Violin and the Second Symphony. Goossens was born in London in 1893, into a family of Belgian conductors and musicians. He trained in Brugesand at the Royal College of Music (studying composition under Stanford), played violin in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra under Sir Henry Wood, and became Sir Thomas Beecham’s go-to stand-in because of his ability to conduct the most demanding programmes on little or no rehearsal. Goossens gave the first UK concert performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, in 1921, and in 1923 became the first music director of the newly formed Rochester Philharmonic, before succeeding Fritz Reiner, in 1931, as chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He spent nine years in Australia, as chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and was instrumental in the planning of the Sydney Opera House. Both works recorded here were composed towards the end of his life. The Second Symphony, dating from 1942–45, is a vivid and personal response to WWII. The Phantasy Concerto for Violin and Orchestra was originally promised to Heifetz, who never performed it. Having returned to London, Goossens gave the work’s premiere in a BBC broadcast in July 1959, and this was followed by a Proms performance in 1960; on both occasions the soloist was Tessa Robbins. Sir Andrew Davis and his Melbourne forces perform these rarely heard works with care and finesse, and Tasmin Little shines as the soloist in the Phantasy Concerto. The album is recorded in Surround Sound.