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Music From Behind the Lines [Import, Original recording reissued]

C. Coles Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000067ULU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,126 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Comedy of Errors Overture for orchestra
2. Fra Giacomo, scena for baritone & large orchestra
3. Scherzo for large orchestra in A minor
4. Verlaine Songs (4) for soprano & orchestra: Fantastic in appearance
5. Verlaine Songs (4) for soprano & orchestra: A slumber vast and black
6. Verlaine Songs (4) for soprano & orchestra: Pastoral: The sky above the roof
7. Verlaine Songs (4) for soprano & orchestra: Let's dance the jig
8. From the Scottish Highlands, for orchestra: Prelude: Presto scherzoso - Allegro maestoso
9. From the Scottish Highlands, for orchestra: Idyll (Love Scene): Larghetto
10. From the Scottish Highlands, for orchestra: Lament: Adagio non troppo e ben marcato
11. Behind the Lines: the surviving movements of a suite for small orchestra: 1. Estaminet de Carrefour

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A casualty of war August 30, 2002
I cannot recall any case that parallels the dramatic and poignant discovery of Cecil Coles (1888-1918), the Scottish composer who vanished without a trace from the musical world despite his friendship with Gustav Holst and the critical acclaim that followed performances of his music prior to the Great War. Like George Butterworth, Frederic Kelly, Ernest Farrar and Denis Browne, Coles died in the Great War but unlike them he had no committed champions to keep his name alive and his music before the public. Now, 84 years after his death, his star is rising thanks to the combined efforts of his daughter, Penny Catherine Coles, who never knew her father, conductor Martyn Brabbins and Ted Perry at Hyperion Records.
Brabbins, who completed the orchestration of one of the two surviving movements of the title composition Behind the Lines, believes that Coles "was clearly a huge talent cut down in its prime". Brabbins, the BBC SSO and soloists Sarah Fox and Paul Whelan serve Coles very well in this revealing premiere recording.
While it might be easy to compare him with the composers whose influences are apparent in his music - Elgar, Wagner, Mahler, Brahms and others - I find such comparisons a bit unfair. Coles was a young man when he died, only 29. The amount of music he left is small and much of it is the work of a developing composer who did not have the time he needed to find a voice that was fully his own. This in no way diminishes his achievement which is quite remarkable given that some of the music on this CD dates from his teens. Consider the music that Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst composed at the ages of 17, 21, 23, 26 and 29, measure their musical growth, look at the influences and opportunities that helped them shape their work and find their own voices.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Disc December 30, 2002
I had read glowing reviews of this disc of Cecil Coles' music but I was hesitant to buy it: could such an unknown composer be that good? Having received the CD as a present I can report that it lives up to that reputation. Cecil Coles died at the age of 29 and in that short time he was a remarkably accomplished musician, winning scholarships and prizes. The works recorded here have a nice variety and provide a picture of a brilliant man whose life was tragically cut short. The composer lived and studied in Germany and his music reflects the influence of Wagner, Mahler and Richard Strauss.
The first piece, The Comedy of Errors Overture, is based on Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, and captures the intricate plot of misunderstandings and mistaken identity. The somber opening of the overture led me to think that this was going to be somewhat pretentious but Coles shifts masterfully into a brilliant Allegro that beautifully describes the comic side of the play. Fra Giacomo is a dramatic scene for baritone to a text by William Buchanan, who was a popular poet in the early 20th century. The subject is lurid: a husband has poisoned his wife and calls the unsuspecting Fra Giacomo to his house in order to murder him, since he has carried on an adulterous liaison with his wife. This piece is followed by a marvelous Scherzo for large orchestra that may have been part of a contemplated symphony. It is a beautifully inspired and colorful work. This work is followed by the Four Verlaine Songs. They are short pieces for orchestra and soprano, sung in English. The writing is exquisite and was Coles' first significant work. From the Scottish Highlands is Coles' tribute to his homeland. There are various influences in this work and the final section, Lament, is a masterpiece with its brooding lament.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What could have been August 14, 2002
Cecil Coles was but one of many budding artists to die in the horror that was World War I, and but one of many English composers on the cusp of achieving greatness: Butterworth and Warlock come to mind. This a lush and beautiful recording of true Edwardian English music. Martyn Brabbins shines an illuminating baton on the music of Coles, championed after his death in the trenches by Gustav Holst. Is this music of the highest order? I don't think so, but it is almost painful to listen to without being swept over by a wave of nostalgia for a world that was disappearing. All you can ask yourself when listening to this beautiful Hyperion CD is "What could have been ... what could have been?" VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Music from a Troubled Time October 20, 2010
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What truly introduced me to this recording was the series, The First World War - The First World War - The Complete Series This is a fine recording, and includes the title track of the series as well as other fine pieces of music by this talented composer! A must-buy if you enjoy the series!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technical problem. January 15, 2013
Verified Purchase
I always upload my CDs onto my XBox, but for some reason track twelve would not upload. Of course track twelve, being Coles' Cortege, is the reason I bought this album. Also, the album case had some very minor wear. I did buy it used though, and the CD itself was like new. I would recommend it.
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