This is what I wrote elsewhere:
One of the immense pleasures in one's musical experience is hearing works for the first time after waiting in hope for many years, if not decades. When the work or works in question prove to have been well worth the wait and the anticipation, and when in fact they actually exceed expectations the pleasure is so much richer and more satisfying.
In all the natural and fully justified excitement at the release by Dutton of the Havergal Brian Symphonies Nos. 2 and 14 it would be unfortunate if we overlooked the simultaneous release of the John Gardner Symphony No.2 and the John Veale Symphony No.2. Gardner's 1st is available on Naxos and his short 3rd was on an ASV cd. The Second is a substantial and very impressive work.
I have just finished listening for the first time to the Veale Second..........and am absolutely bowled over. Veale's magnificent Violin Concerto earned a lot of plaudits when it was released a few years back by Chandos coupled with the Britten Violin Concerto. Some critics went so far as to assert that it was one of the very finest of 20th century British violin concertos. The relatively short 1st and 3rd symphonies are available in off-air recordings and both are darkly impressive works. The 2nd however weighs in at 35 minutes and is-in my judgment-an absolute masterpiece. The writing has an assurance, a swaggering self-confidence which entirely belie the reality that Veale's music at the time of composition (1965) was being frozen out of the BBC schedules by the avant-garde establishment. Anyone, but anyone, who responds to the music of composers like William Alwyn, William Walton, Arnold Bax, Stanley Bate, Richard Arnell, Malcolm Arnold should immediately recognise the passionate, romantic lyricism of the Veale symphony. The composer's command of the orchestra is instantly apparent. It is a big, powerful symphony reminiscent of all those composers I have listed but also of the American symphonists whose music Veale would have encountered in the late 1940s-composers like Roy Harris, Howard Hanson, Paul Creston, Samuel Barber. It is some time since I heard a British symphony of such immediacy of utterance. It takes me back to the similar joy I experienced in listening to the Richard Arnell and Stanley Bate symphonies from Dutton a few years ago but Veale is less obviously in thrall to RVW than Bate. Yes...I suppose it is "old'fashioned" for its time but the neglect of this marvellous work for half a century is a sad indictment of the marginalisation of composers who could write with such panache. Apart from a run-througfh by Ruth Gipps and her London Repertoire Orchestra the work has remained unperformed for all these years. Were it to be taken up today by an orchestra and given a live performance it would go down a storm.
I beg all those who might be even remotely interested to give the disc a go".
My opinion of the Veale has not changed since that first hearing.
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Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb