Sir Andrew Davis

By Guy Rickards

Goossens Four Conceits, Op 20. Concert Piece,
Op 65•. Don Juan de Mañara -Intermezzo. Three
Greek Dances, Op 44. Kaleidoscope, Op 18. Two
Nature Poems, Op 25. Tam o'Shanter, Op l7a
Bax/Bridge/Goossens/lreland Variations on
'Cadet Rousselle', Op 40 (orch Goossens)
Jeff Crellin oblcor anglais
Marshall Maguire, Alannah Guthrie-Jones hps
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra I Sir Andrew Davis
Chandos ® CHSA5119 C74' • DDD/DSD)
Goossens back in Australia as Davis conducts the MSO

The centrepiece on this new release is the latest, the Concert Piece for oboe doubling cor anglais, two harps and orchestra (1957), written as a triple concerto for Goossens's brother Leon and sisters Marie and Sidonie. As one might imagine, this fascinating triptych ('Fantasia', 'Chorale' and 'Perpetuum mobile e burlesca') is well written for the instruments with a superbly balanced accompaniment.

Five of the other works are transcriptions from piano-based originals, Knleidoscope (1933) from a children's keyboard suite of 191 7-18, during which time Goossens composed the aphoristic Four' Conceits, recasting it immediately. Of the 12 movements from the two suites, only one runs past two minutes. The Variations on  'Cadet Rousselle' (1918, orch 1930) last scarcely longer but contain contributions by Bax, Bridge and Ireland as well as Goossens, who took the soprano-and- piano originals and arranged them enchantingly for orchestra alone; the Two Nature Poems ('Pastoral' and 'Bacchanal'; 1919, orch 1937-38) and the Intermezzo from Goossens's opera Don ]uan de Mañara (1935) are more substantial, in every sense.

Only the vigorous scherzo Tam o'Shanter (1918-19) and the Three Greek Dances (1926-27) are original orchestral works (the Concert Piece aside) and vividly characteristic of Goossens's compositional sensibilities on the smaller scale. Arnold may have trumped the former but it remains highly entertaining, as are the Greek Dances. Chandos's rich sound is up to the usual high standards and outshines Goossens's own 1922 recording of Tam o 'Shanter. Handley's for ABC of the Concert Piece - made with the West Australia Symphony Orchestra - and Knleidoscope, also with the Melbourne SO, remain very competitive; Tam at least more exciting and vivid.