A great place to start listening to a neglected composer
Brent D. Lautenschlegar | Franklin, TN USA | 10/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stanford (1852-1924) wrote an accomplished set of symphonies that any lover of romantic period symphonic music should know. The Fourth represents a great place to start. The composer skillfully mixes passages of almost haunting beauty (as in the 3rd movement) with jaunty melodies (1st & 4th movements) displaying an unmistakable Irish character. The orchestral blend sounds rather Russian -- much like Tchaikovsky. The major themes are interesting and pleasing to the ear, and the developments are handled in a manner that doesn't cause the listener's attention to lapse.
There's not much that's forward-looking in Stanford's music; indeed, it's firmly planted in the 19th century. Like his contemporary Glazunov, if he did not produce masterworks that are heard in concert halls all over the world, he did produce masterworks that can be repeatedly enjoyed in the comfort of home on wonderful recordings like the Chandos series.
I would provide a strong recommendation for any symphony in this set -- there's not a bad one to be had."