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The Return of Odysseus

Gramophone Review

Commissioned by the Schools' Music Association, the 1976 cantata The Return of Odysseus comprises (and this does come as something of a surprise) Sir Malcolm Arnold's sole composition for chorus and orchestra. It's an approachable and lusty affair, whose pleasures are enhanced by Patric Dickinson's skilful and witty condensation of Homer's epic poem (the entire setting clocks in at well under half an hour). Although chronologically flanked by the Seventh and Eighth symphonies, the piece conveys little of their troubled demeanour; indeed the music radiates a healthy, unaffected vigour, and there's plenty of catchy, dramatic and touching inspiration along the way (it must have been a terrific 'sing' for the children's chorus who first performed it under Sir David Willcocks). Graham Taylor secures a lively, spirited account of this enjoyable discovery - Andrew Achenbach

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