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CD cover - Michael Berkeley MICHAEL BERKELEY (b. 1948)
Concerto for Organ and Orchestra
Viola Concerto (Revised version 1996)
Voices of the Night Op.86
Symphony No.2 (Revised version 1976)

Paul Silverthorne - Viola
Thomas Trotter - Organ
BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
Rec. St. David's Hall, Cardiff, May 2003 (Organ Concerto) Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, May 2003 (other works) DDD

“imbued with an intense and passionate lyricism that Paul Silverthorne captures with searing expressive power”


As we reach the fourth instalment in the magnificent Chandos Berkeley Edition it is worth pausing briefly to consider the factors that have contributed to the quality of the series so far. Firstly, the playing of the National Symphony Orchestra of Wales and the various soloists under the supremely consistent baton of Richard Hickox has been exemplary. Secondly, the recordings are some of the finest Chandos has produced in recent years. They are superbly engineered with a true sense of orchestral perspective and an impressive reproduction of the excellent acoustics of Swansea's Brangwyn Hall...

...ritual plays its part in the Viola Concerto, written for the Lichfield Festival in 1994..... Here the music is darker in tone, imbued with an intense and passionate lyricism that Paul Silverthorne captures with searing expressive power. This registers with particular power in the passages that exploit the upper register of the instrument, of which there are many. By far the longer span of this concerto, again cast in one continuous stretch of music, is slow in tempo. That said, Berkeley never allows the listener's attention to wander as he guides his way through an ever-fascinating web of orchestral textures that are often considerably reduced to allow the soloist's anguished melodic line to penetrate.

Magnificent playing from the BBCNOW then, coupled with soloists of the highest possible quality in Thomas Trotter and Paul Silverthorne. The result is another winner of a disc and once again I find myself awaiting the next instalment with impatience.
Christopher Thomas