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It may seem extraordinary, but David Golightly''s Symphony No 1, written over a period of four years, was commissioned and dedicated to Middlesbrough Football Team and its Chairman, Steve Gibson. Essentially programmatic, it is effectively wrought with a first movement founded on a rhythmic ostinato (Resoluto marcato) "for those who strive, knock hard on the door of fate", the scherzo reflecting the lively optimism of visits to Wembley, the eloquent and imaginatively scored slow movement reflecting the pain of defeat in an idiom that reminded the writer a little of the spacious string writing of Howard Hanson. The finale is a jaunty populist march, exotically scored with the two-part structure reflecting the two halves of the game. The orchestral fanfares depict the team scoring. It is a happy extrovert inspiration and receives a fine performance under Gavin Sutherland in Prague and a full-blooded recording. The three Seascapes further demonstrate Golightly''s vivid orchestral skill, using well-known folk-themes, like Shenandoah. The disc is available from Modrana Music Publishers Limited.
Penguin Mr Ivan March
Dedicated to Steve Gibson and the Players at Middlesbrough Football Club. DAVID GOLIGHTLY: Symphony No. 1, Three Sea Scapes. Golightly''s symphony is a big, ostinato-driven, muscular piece, tonal and constructed out of the musical equivalent of big, solid blocks, or painted in broad brush-strokes of primary colors. It seems to be the proof in music of Grainger''s words to the effect that the English are ''passionless about everything except football'' - because it is dedicated to a football club (Middlesbrough) and its manager, and extrapolates from these men of sport and mud to hypothetical Promethean strivers, builders and visionaries everywhere. Whether or not you are as passionate as Mr. Golightly about soccer, the symphony is one of those big-boned, tonal, neo-romantic pieces which can be relied upon to get the blood pumping a little faster. The Seascapes are appealing orchestral fantasias in familiar style, also bold and colorful. City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland. Reviewer Jeff Joneikis Records International David Golightly: Symphony No 1: Three Sea-Scapes. City of Prague PO/Gavin Sutherland. Reviewer Hubert Culot The British Music Society Some 45 minutes long, the Symphony is very accessible in idiom, a "Classic FM work",no more "difficult" than say George Lloyd or William Alwyn (Golightly, like Alwyn, has composed film music), with traces of Shostakovich;s influence. It is well argued, though the preludial first movement might be slightly shorter with advantage, and finely scored. The performance by the Prague players under Sutherland;s assured direction is excellent. The filler is attractive, too: a lightish suite, each movement based on a different sea-shanty: Fire Down Below, Shenandoah and Rio Grande DAVID GOLIGHTLY: Symphony No. 1, Three Sea Scapes. Golightly''s symphony is a big, ostinato-driven, muscular piece, tonal and constructed out of the musical equivalent of big, solid blocks, or painted in broad brush-strokes of primary colors. It seems to be the proof in music of Grainger''s words to the effect that the English are ''passionless about everything except football'' - because it is dedicated to a football club (Middlesbrough) and its manager, and extrapolates from these men of sport and mud to hypothetical Promethean strivers, builders and visionaries everywhere. Whether or not you are as passionate as Mr. Golightly about soccer, the symphony is one of those big-boned, tonal, neo-romantic pieces which can be relied upon to get the blood pumping a little faster. The Seascapes are appealing orchestral fantasias in familiar style, also bold and colorful. City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland. Symphony No 1 Reviews. David Golightly Symphony no 1 Middlesbrough Football Club Energetic sports and the high art might seem to be completely opposite expressions of human endeavour; one being concerned with sheer physical exuberance and even a macho triumphalism, the other with matters of the spirit: the intellect and the communication of subtle emotional experiences. Perhaps both are different sides of the same coin of human self-expression. David Golightly, former student of Huddersfield University Music Department in the days when it was a more modest Polytechnic was even then already a prolific composer, burgeoning with imaginative ideas. Now, years later, his imagination, no less his technique as a composer has matured. There are perhaps not many specifically avowed instances of sport directly inspiring serious music: certainly not symphonic music on the scale of this work dedicated to Golightly''s admired Middlesbrough Football Club and its manager, Steve Gibson. The nearest that immediately comes to mind must surely be Honegger''s Rugby of 1928. Many musicians and ''arty'' people who might not at first sight be thought to have much interest in macho sports, do follow the fortunes of their favourite team, whether it be football, cricket, motor sport or whatever else. However, having declared a committed support of his team, and been hearteningly inspired by what it stands for, the music itself exists firmly on its own terms: it is after all, a pure and abstract symphonic creation. In this it succeeds most convincingly. The sleeve notes hint at Golightly''s Russian connections, and this is aptly summarised by a Russian commentator, Alexander Govorov, who declares that the composer is the ''Englishman with a Russian soul''. It could well be that Golightly will come to be regarded as an English Shostakovich; there are numerous stylistic similarities to the Russian model: those driving motor rhythms, and characteristic, slender wisps of solo themes; and above all the relentless on-going energy, so often dark-toned and uncompromising. Perhaps its greatest asset is its most assured and brilliant sense of orchestral colour. As with Russian muse in general, this symphony is apt to be expansive in length, and it just could be thought that some of the material, despite its fascinating orchestration, might, in a purely musical-structural sense, benefit from some more subtle and varied thematic development rather than the particularly rhythmic repetition it tends to display. But there is no mistaking the fact that this is indeed an arresting and captivating symphonic piece of music; immediately approachable, its message clear and distinct. Arthur Butterworth Philharmonic Magazine December 2000
DAVID GOLIGHTLY Symphony no 1; Three Sea Scapes City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Gavin Sutherland) (recorded 28-30 August, 2000) ASC Records CS CD38 [54:41] Though he has composed extensively for theatre and film in this country, David Golightly''s music is better known abroad. In particular he has strong links with St Petersburg, for whose Rouss-land Soglasie Choir he wrote The St Petersburg Mass, which was received in the city to great acclaim. Indeed the choir''s conductor went so far as to describe him as ''The Englishman with a Russian soul''. His Piano Sonata recently received its first performance at New York''s Carnegie Hall, and will be heard later this month in Oxford. From the age of nine, he has been an ardent supporter of Middlesbrough FC, and this symphony must be regarded as being the first-ever which is not only dedicated to a football club and its chairman but an orchestral portrait of the game. In fact, the work''s programme is intensely personal. ''My symphony was composed as an attempt to chart in musical terms the struggles, successes and failures which I have encountered on life''s journey'', says the composer, and in it he has also sought to encapsulate the fluctuating fortunes of his team. Golightly possesses a distinctive musical voice tonal in idiom, by turns gritty and lyrical in style A feature of the first three movements is their enigmatic, throwaway endings. Richly-scored and impassioned though it is, the slow movement suggests that the composer is striving to rein in his romantic inclinations. But any inhibitions he may have are cast to the winds in the turbulent finale a portrait of an actual football match and the serene C major ending is utterly captivating. The disc is completed by Three Sea Scapes masterly arrangements of three shanties. Golightly is certainly a composer to watch, and this symphony is warmly recommended. Performance *** Sound *** Reviewer: Adrian Smith Classical Music Web Site