the companion disc in the series (Spring),
this is a slightly haphazard selection of works of varied
recording dates and quality, some very well known and others
rather the opposite. The range here is smaller and perhaps
of more even quality. Resonance have some interesting material
here, but some of it would be better collected and offered
by other categorisation than this seasonal grouping.
disc opens with the appropriate Vivaldi
played by the excellent Moscow Virtuosi. This is probably
the most enjoyable selection on the disc, and my view is that
Resonance would do well to make available the complete ‘Four
Seasons’ by these performers on one disc.
Rodrigo Concerto is a work deserving of
better recognition than it currently enjoys. However, its
placement in this collection does it no favours, as it would
be preferable to have a greater contrast in tone and pace
after the Vivaldi, which is naturally better known. It is
not helped either by coming after the Moscow Virtuosi who
are a hard act to follow, although its performance is perfectly
competent. I would prefer to hear it as part of a collection
of Rodrigo concertos, which would set it in a better context.
Prokofiev is a simple and pleasant work,
designed to be suitable as a performance piece for children’s
musical ensembles. However it has its own internal programme,
with the result that it creates a situation of a thematic
programme within another thematic programme.
extract from Gunning’s
‘Morning Glory’ represents a likeable work relatively little
known and well played here. It conjures the image of a brass
band playing in the bandstand of a public park on a warm summer
afternoon. The sound world is Elgarian, and it is more ‘English’
than any other item on the disc. Again, its effect is to interest
me in hearing a performance of the complete work, which again
one imagines Resonance are in a position to release and promote.
If it serves as a sampler for this, it would be effective
in its purpose.
a lovely work by Delius,
this time 'Summer Night on the
River', is featured as a component of the anthology. The performance here
is pleasant but might not be my first choice. It is taken
from another disc on the same label, a collection of this
composer’s short works, which is the subject of another review
and therefore I will not discuss it at length.
disc closes with Gershwin’s
Summertime, taken here at a very slow pace.
It is the only vocal work on the disc. Clearly the aim is
to ‘go out with a flourish’, but this does not quite work
and it remains incongruous and isolated rather than being
a triumphant culmination of any logical development.
There is undoubtedly
interesting material here, but it is not presented in a way
which shows it to advantage. The disc lacks programme or development
other than drawing together tracks around its stated theme.
Quality is variable and inconsistent. Most of my general comments
about the companion disc are applicable here also. It lacks
ready appeal and adequate recording quality for the novice
listener or the gift market. Serious music fans are likely
to prefer the more unusual tracks and performers presented
in a more relevant context.