Virtuoso Orchestral Works Vol. 3 • Vol. 3 of the symphonic works of Josef Holbrooke contains further orchestral works demonstrating that he very much could also compose with humor and joy. Holbrooke’s symphonic poem Birds of Rhiannon has a great wealth of melodies that rightly enabled it to achieve great popularity and to register higher performance figures than all other works by its creator. The noisy and highly effective introduction in op. 37,2 is followed by the presentation of the theme and fifteen variations in which Holbrooke is allowed to develop freely as a brilliant master of instrumentation. In the third-movement of his third symphony, Ships, he once again shows that he is a great master with an enormous wealth of ideas and skillfully employed orchestral colors at his command. In the finale we can practically see the merchant ships leaving the harbor and heading for their particular destinations with their various categories of cargo. As a result, Great Britain is portrayed as a nation ruling the waves of flourishing, international sea trade – which at the time when Holbrooke composed his work, it definitely was.
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