[ Trust / CD ]
Release Date: Tuesday 18 May 2004
"Trust Records have released what must be one of the most eagerly anticipated CDs of the year and deserve a collective medal for allowing us to have David Farquhar's three symphonies at our fingertips."
(William Dart NZ Herald)
"Three atmospheric symphonies to set alongside and in contrast to those by that other New Zealand symphonist, Douglas Lilburn. The Third is a striking, moving and instantly commanding work. All three, while being personal and distinctive, should appeal to the same constituency as the Rawsthorne and Frankel symphonies."
(MusicWeb March 2006)
"Trust Records have released what must be one of the most eagerly anticipated CDs of the year and deserve a collective medal for allowing us to have David Farquhar's three symphonies at our fingertips.
This is a finely nuanced recording, made this year in the Michael Fowler Centre, and these are first-rate performances from the NZSO under Kenneth Young.
Farquhar's First Symphony, which appeared in 1959, between the premieres of Lilburn's Second and Third, wears its symphonic integrity proudly, from the questioning string-lines of its opening Moderato.
Essentially a very serious work, there is still space for the composer's humour to come forward in the central Presto. It is here that playful harmonic twists nod to Sibelius via Lilburn, while cheeky woodwind scurryings acknowledge the composer of Petrushka.
Those familiar with the breezy bounce of Farquhar's own Ring Round the Moon will also recognise a kindred spirit.
The third movement, a great passacaglia, uses a rich, sombre palette (a far cry from the radiant images by Pat Hanly and Raydia d'Elsa used in the CD booklet). How effortlessly Young draws a massiveness of sound that must be informed by his years as a tuba player with the orchestra.
You can hear that 23 years have passed when you listen to the opening bars of the Second Symphony, with its one-movement form and clustering dissonances.
It is here that Farquhar makes his most persuasive symphonic arguments, immaculately captured by producer Murray Khouri in the quickfire thrusts and parries of the first section, although the coloristic splendours of the Lento are allowed to burst into magnificent bloom.
The triptych is completed by Farquhar's Third Symphony, with its title Remembered Songs. Written in 2001 and intriguingly recast from his earlier song cycle, In Despite of Death, this is one of the composer's most personal works, a farewell to his late wife, Raydia d'Elsa.
Listening again to this symphony, one is struck by how much more detail registers on a second hearing. The climaxes are even more thrilling than they were in the concert hall, the trailing whispers of the final Epilogue even more intimate."
William Dart (NZ Herald)
Symphony No 1 (1959)
Symphony No 2 (1982)
Symphony No 3.. remembered songs (2002)