BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by George Lloyd
George Lloyd writes of his Seventh Symphony: "The ancient Greeks had a wonderful knack of wrapping up truths in myths, and of giving form to what is logically unexplainable. Many of these myths still ring true whether you think of them as psychological states or spiritual facts. One of the myths that fitted in with my thought some 30 years ago was the story of Proserpine; it is a story that seems to tell us something about the human condition of having one foot on this earth and another somewhere else - wherever that may be. For Proserpine was the daughter of the earth goddess Ceres and the father of the gods, Jupiter himself. She was supposed to live in Sicily among the flowery meadows and limpid streams that surround the plain of Enna; and it is told that she was so beautiful that Jupiter fell in love with her. However, Pluto, the god of the Underworld, carried her away and she became the queen of the infernal regions. There are three movements in this symphony. The first shows Proserpine as the joyful, dancing side of life. But she was also the goddess of Death, and at the beginning of the second movement, I have written on the score a quotation from Swinburne's poem "The Garden of Proserpine:" [Pale, beyond porch and portal- Crowned with calm leaves, she stands- Who gathers all things mortal - With cold immortal hands.] The last movement is concerned with the desperate side of our lives."
This disc is *** recommended by the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.