Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

 Capriol Suite
The Curlew
Street Corner Overture
Symphonic Studies
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Hassan - Intermezzo and Serenade

La Calinda (arr Fenby)
Constant Lambert String Orchestra
John Armstrong (ten), International String Quartet, Robert Murchie (fl), Terence Macdonagh (cor anglais) Philharmonic String Orchestra LPO Halle Orchestra
cond Constant Lambert
PEARL GEM 0058  [70.49]

Capriol's archaicisms are shrugged off by Lambert with delicacy and a touch of ardour. This is never in danger of desiccation. It avoids the drier reaches of neo-classical academics. Lambert's attention to dynamics is impressive.

Only John Arnstrong's mannered delivery (very much of its time) compromises The Curlew. The elfin sorrow and despair are in the bones of the instrumentalists but although the tenor is sympathetic this is not enough to lift the performance from the mere historical to the historic.

The Rawsthorne Street Corner is gamely done with sly humour and the Cockaigne-like bustle of Lowrie-teeming life. Rawsthorne's gift for exuberance and abrasive awkwardly-jointed melody is much in evidence. This is certainly the case in the Symphonic Studies (recorded in the 1970s by John Pritchard on a Lyrita LP but not issued on CD) - a more earnest work of gawky terse expression breathing the heady air of 1940s British film music.

The three Delius confections are daisy-fresh with the cuckoo calling in spring in pointedly fastidious manner. The woodwind contribution in all three works is delicately accented but achieves memorable quality in the Hassan music. In La Calinda it was down to Lambert to prompt revelation that this music has more in common with Chabrier and Bizet than with the so-called English pastoralists.

A generous and varied collection. The Warlock was recorded a couple of months after the Warlock memorial concert with the same performers. There is no alternative version of Symphonic Studies (although Naxos will surely fill that gap before long) and the Delius 'pictures' are successfully done.

A nice collection. I hope that later volumes will exhume Lambert conducting broadcasts of his Music for Orchestra and Summer's Last Will.

Rob Barnett

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