The premature death of Richard Hickox on 23 November, 2008, at the age of just 60, deprived the musical world of one of its greatest conductors. The depth and breadth of his musical achievements were astonishing, not least in his remarkable work on behalf of British composers.
Richard had a long and deeply fulfilling relationship with Chandos that enabled him to realise his artistic vision. His recorded legacy remains as a testament to his musical ability and the excerpts on this two-CD set have been chosen to capture all aspects of his art.
It was difficult to know what to leave out as Richard seemed never to make a poor recording. However here we have some of his greatest achievements, from the original recording of Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony to the poignant setting of Delius’ Songs of Sunset from which the title of this celebration – Within a Dream – is taken. In between there are excerpts from Britten operas, from the Grainger, Arnold and Holst series as well as much beyond British music, including Mendelssohn, Menotti, Hummel and Beethoven. The breadth and depth of Richard Hickox’s achievements were astonishing as this brief selection of his music-making demonstrates.
Through these recordings we can continue to marvel at the consistent high level of his interpretations whilst wondering what more he could have achieved had he lived to eighty.
Chandos will donate the royalties from all sales of this disc to The Richard Hickox Foundation, supporting those causes about which Richard felt passionately including British composers, support for young conductors and singers and performance of British music outside the UK.
The set will be launched at the Barbican concert, ‘A celebration of Richard Hickox’ which takes place on 15 October.