Completed in 1887, Stanford's Irish Symphony enjoyed immediate and widespread success, continuing to be played well into the twentieth century. The Irish subtitle indicates its frequent deployment of folk-tunes as melodic material, although the work never strays far from the Austro-German symphonic tradition. The 1905 Sixth Symphony, by contrast, received only two hearings before succumbing to an eighty-year oblivion. The subtitle, In honour of the life-work of a great artist: George Frederick Watts , is important: Watts (1817-1904) was among the most lauded British artists of his era and Stanford's work, if not overtly programmatic, was influenced by instances of Watt s legacy for example the equestrian statue in Kensington Gardens, London.
David Lloyd-Jones proves an undisruptive, clear-headed guide, while the playing of the Bournemouth SO has an extra finish, buoyancy and lustre that tip the scales in his favour. --Gramophone
These are remarkably confident and assured performances, paced by David Lloyd-Jones' firm, experienced hand. --BBC Music Magazine