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Kalin Ivanov ham Symphony Chorus. further performances. straight from the heart. At this performance, A fine quartet compris- The Prison is Smyth’s her intentions were well served by the ing, Hillevi Martin- last major work, alth- baritone, Johannes Schwärsky singing the role pelto, Jane Irwin, Paul ough she had been of The Prisoner and, particularly, by the Nilon and Iain Paterson planning to write it for Soprano Malinda Haslett who had stepped in set a wonderful standard almost 20 years before a short notice to learn the role of His Soul. in ensemble singing and the finally laying pen to paper, Typical of Smyth’s style, the scoring is a orchestra were very much on after the death from cancer of kaleidoscope of orchestral colours that weave song. What impressed most though the poem’s author, Harry Brewster, together like warp and weft requiring a deft was the ‘cleverness’ of the choir. Alternately her lover and artistic collaborator. The work is control that was managed excellently by luring the audience in and then sidestepping scored for chorus, two soloists and orchestra conductor Kerstin Behnke with the Nordwest- at the last moment, layering the dynamics to and Smyth considered this her finest “the only deutsche Philharmonie and the Berliner perfection and taking care to wrap the lips one of all my works with which I am even Capella. Given her crusading efforts to achieve around every word as though sampling fine moderately satisfied”. It received its première equal status for women in the world of prof- wines for quality, they drew every last drop in Edinburgh in February 1931 under Dame essional music, Dame Ethel would, no doubt, from the score. Only rarely did they sing full Ethel herself. Subsequently it was performed have been delighted by the presence of a out, though when they did it made everyone in London (rather badly, by all accounts, with woman on the rostrum. sit up and take notice! I’m still not entirely a sick Boult at the helm) and then again in The Berliner Capella specialise in singing convinced with Noseda’s tempi, which were Manchester as part of the Smyth 75th ‘forgotten’ choral works and will be giving a inconsistent even within the same movement, Birthday concert series. The work’s title refers performance of more of Smyth’s music in June but, for excitement, commitment and quality, to the nature of life and death and 2009. I am indebted to MusicSales for I for one went home happy. JOHN BYRNE concerns a man’s inner discussion the gift of a full score of The with his soul. The Heath Quartet Prison prior to the perf- Berlin Revival of Ethel Smyth’s Stylistically it lies some- ormance. ROZ TRÜBGER The Prison where between Debussy and Tippett: Pelleas with YCAT Presentation ollowing the revival of Dame Ethel Smyth’s a touch of a Child of our Concert F Concerto for Violin & Horn at the BBC Promenade Concerts this summer came another Time (the latter was written five years after
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