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Malcolm Lipkin - Symphonies Nos. 1-3



Malcolm Lipkin belongs to a generation of composers who came to prominence in Britain between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s. Several of these figures began their careers as a ‘progressive’, exploring the newly-discovered range of technical and formal innovations before later forging their own relationship with tonality. In Lipkin’s case, early influences such as Bartók and Stravinsky were gradually assimilated into an original voice as his scores moved from long, lyrical lines and motor-rhythms to tiny motifs and rhythmic cells in a more dissonant style. His skill at building convincing structures out of flexible, protean material has guided him towards traditional instrumental forms, in all of which he has something unique and worthwhile to say and his impressive technique has ensured those ideas are conveyed with the utmost clarity and conviction. Malcolm Lipkin’s three symphonies stand at decisive points in his creative life. Each represents a summing up of his previous musical development and initiates stylistic changes worked out in subsequent compositions. They have the integration and scope of a natural symphonist whose fastidious approach to his craft makes him well qualified to meet the exacting demands of the medium. It is to be hoped this release will generate interest in a composer who has steadily forged his own path regardless of passing trends to create a body of work of impeccable integrity which still largely awaits rediscovery.

Malcolm Lipkin - Symphonies Nos. 1-3


"Malcolm Lipkin is admirably served by an anthology which gathers together his three symphonies. No. 1 wears a nervy, inscrutable demeanour, whereas its single-movement successor is more ready to embrace tonality - a work of intergrity, humanity and genuine staying power. in fact. Premiered in 1993, No 3 is cast in a shrewdly integrated, arch-like structure and leaves one in no doubt of Lipkin's durable symphonic instinct...more soon please, Lyrita!" Gramophone, August 2015

"On the basis of this disc it is clear that Lipkin is a major symphonist whose music deserves to be better known. This new release may reduplicate material available elsewhere, but the fact that the recordings come from the original BBC master tapes makes a major difference to their impact. This disc is a must for anyone interested in the British symphony in the twentieth century, and should attract many others as well."  Paul Corfield Godfrey,

“This is a terrific symphony given an excellent performance by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Adrian Leaper. All of these BBC recordings are first rate and there are excellent booklet notes.”

"Lyrita's issuing of the Symphonies in such fine accounts is tremendously valuable. I am delighted to have made their acquaintance." Classical Source, May 2015

“All of these recordings derive from BBC broadcasts over the period 1983-1993. However the overall sound quality is good if not rich as the disc is part of Lyrita’s new Itter Broadcast collection. The Downes performance of the Symphony No. 2 is the most convincing, with a tight control of the orchestra and fine grasp of Lipkin’s orchestration. Friend’s rendition of the Sinfonia di Roma is also quite good, bringing out the contrasts inherent in the music. Leaper’s performance is less impressive, although he does maintain the structural consistency of the work. The notes by Paul Conway are excellent. Lipkin has been poorly served on disc; at present only one work is available. Consequently, these performances are of great importance as examples of British symphonism in the second half of the twentieth century.” William Kreindler,

"Overall this is honest and accessible music...which is ripe for the curious collector. The recordings – good BBC stock from between 1983 and 1993 – feature, in symphony order, the Scottish SO and Lionel Friend, then the Philharmonic under Sir Edward Downes and Adrian Leaper respectively. The booklet note is very informative." Classical Ear, May 2015