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Daniel Jones: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 11



Daniel Jones (1912-1993) composed in a wide range of genres, yet the cornerstone of his prolific output is the Symphony, memorably described by him as ‘a dramatic structure with an emotive intention’. He tackled the form afresh with each of his 13 examples, of which the first 12 are based on a different note of the chromatic scale.

Jones’s Second Symphony was written between March and July 1950 and first broadcast in the Welsh region by an augmented BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra under the composer on 13 September 1951. The Second Symphony places great emphasis on intricate rhythms and combines both lyrical and dance elements. There is a focus on orchestral colour, epitomised by the prominent role given to the celesta in the first, third and fourth movements. Expansive, big-boned and at times uncharacteristically discursive, it is Jones’ last symphony conceived on a large canvas: from now on his symphonic works would be increasingly concise and cogent, rejecting any orchestral colour extraneous to the musical argument.

Daniel Jones’s Eleventh Symphony in E flat was completed on 7 December 1983 and premiered by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra under Sir Charles Groves on 20 October 1984 in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Commissioned by the Swansea Festival, it is dedicated to the memory of George Froom Tyler, chairman of the festival committee, who had died in 1983 and was a friend of the composer.

Though each of his thirteen symphonies is a unique and highly personal statement, the cycle as a whole maintains an unwavering consistency of quality and vision. Daniel Jones demonstrates a steadfast integrity throughout, never bowing to the latest trends. His priority is always to communicate directly with the listener. Paul Conway, 2017

Daniel Jones: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 11


We were already indebted to the enterprising Lyrita label for several recordings of music by Daniel Jones. The new release very usefully fills some gaps with unique recordings of both works.  Better still, further releases – like these from BBC recordings – are in preparation for later in the year and 2018: Symphonies Nos. 3, 5 and 12 (BBC Welsh Orchestra/Bryden Thomson) and 13. My own benchmark for twentieth-century music is well met by these and Jones’ other symphonies: accessible works but without any suggestion of sounding facile.  Jones described the symphony as ‘a dramatic structure with an emotive intention’. If I find more of the latter than the former here, that's no bad thing on this occasion. Paul Conway’s valuable programme notes – authoritative and informative – complete a most recommendable release. Brian Wilson, MusicWeb-International