Daniel Jones: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9
The dark, craggy and disjunct opening of the Sixth Symphony of 1964 immediately sets out the terrain. This is a dramatic gesture (almost but not quite filmic) designed to prepare the listener for an emotional work-out. Jones’ use of harmony is interesting in that for contrast he can call upon constructs that can best be described as ‘sugary’. He is unafraid of any resultant perceived anomalies, as his compositional technique is more than enough to encompass extremes. The Ninth Symphony was commissioned by the Llandaff Festival and is dedicated to the composer’s wife, Irene. The first movement immediately gives off an almost tangible sense of the larger structure (having Bryden Thomson at the helm must surely help here); the argument is gritty. Much of the surface shifts restlessly.
A choral Cantata rounds off this release. The Country Beyond the Stars sets a text by Henry Vaughan (1622-1695). There are some lovely moments in a work that exhales the air of the Valleys. It is appropriate perhaps that the chorus should be that of Welsh National Opera. The chorus sings with the utmost dedication. This is a heart-warming work and the orchestra plays marvellously (it even has a movement to itself – the third, entitled, ‘Morning Visitors’). Simon Gibson’s remastering of the various Pye, HMV and BBC sources is superb. I have no doubt that there are those who will find this disc (or at the very least parts of it) nothing short of revelatory. Colin Clarke, Musicweb-international.com
"[Daniel Jones's] language is immediately striking: dark, craggy, strongly dramatic and powerfully vehement. The dark, urgent drama of the Sixth Symphony, the lift-off that Jones's brusquely springy rhythms can attain, above all a sort of hard-won sustained intensity of utterance ... make him a genuine symphonist." Michael Oliver, Gramophone "I find it quite extraordinary that music of this quality remains relatively unknown..." Robert Matthew-Walker, IRR *** PENGUIN GUIDE 2010