One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616


Buy through MusicWeb for £18 each postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


Buy BOTH sets for £28 postage paid world-wide

Musicweb Purchase button

Lyrita Fiftieth Anniversary boxed sets - 50 legendary recordings

Lyrita - Celebrating Fifty Years devoted to British Music - Set One
CD 1 [73:53]
William ALWYN Symphonic Prelude - The Magic Island - LPO/Alwyn [10:11]
Malcolm ARNOLD English Dances - Set 2 - LPO/Arnold [9:49]
Bach orch. Henry WOOD Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - LPO/Braithwaite [9:49]
Granville BANTOCK
Russian Scenes - LPO/Wordsworth [14:13]
Arnold BAX Northern Ballad No.1 - LPO/Boult [10:09]
Arthur BENJAMIN Overture to an Italian Comedy - RPO/Fredman [6:17]
William Sterndale BENNETT
Caprice in E - Malcolm Binns (piano) LPO/Braithwaite [13:17]
CD 2 [75:21]
Lennox BERKELEY Serenade for Strings - LPO/Berkeley [13:14]
Arthur BLISS
Adam Zero - Suite - excerpt - LSO/Bliss [8:53]
Suite for String Orchestra - LPO/Boult [20:50]
William BUSCH Cello Concerto (II) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) - RPO/Handley [6:51]
Geoffrey BUSH Overture - Yorick - NPO/Handley [8:30]
George BUTTERWORTH A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody - LPO/Boult [8:38]
From Meadow to Mayfair Suite (excerpt) - NPO/Boult [8:14]
CD 3 [74:28]
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Valse de la Reine - LPO/Wordsworth [4:32]
Arnold COOKE Jabez and The Devil - Suite - LPO/Braithwaite [18:02]
Frederick DELIUS The Walk to the Paradise Garden - LPO/Fredman [10:53]
Gerald FINZI Eclogue Peter Katin (piano) - NPO/Handley [10:32]
John FOULDS Mantra of Bliss - LPO/Wordsworth [13:06]
Cecil Armstrong GIBBS Fancy Dress - Dance Suite - RPO/Joly [17:20]
CD 4 [67:58]
Ruth GIPPS Horn Concerto - David Pyatt (horn) LPO/Braithwaite [17:14]
Patrick HADLEY
One Morning in Spring - LPO/Boult [3:56]
Alun HODDINOTT Welsh Dances Set 2 - NYOW/Davison [9:04]
Gustav HOLST
Japanese Suite - LSO/Boult [11:01]
Herbert HOWELLS Merry-Eye - NPO/Boult [8:52]
Variations on a Hungarian Air - LPO/Braithwaite [10:36]
The Forgotten Rite - Prelude - LPO/Boult [7:05]
rec. 1966-2007. ADD/DDD
LYRITA SRCD.2337 [4 CDs: 73:53 + 75:21 + 74:28 + 67:58]

Lyrita - Celebrating Fifty Years devoted to British Music - Set Two
CD 1 [67:46]
Gordon JACOB Symphony No.1 (I) - LPO/Wordsworth [10:08]
Daniel JONES
Dance Fantasy - BBCWSO/Thomson [7:43]
John JOUBERT Symphony No.1 (IV) - LPO/Handley [9:56]
Constant LAMBERT
Music for Orchestra - LPO/Wordsworth [13:17]
Walter LEIGH Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings - Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) - LPO/Braithwaite [9:29]
George LLOYD Symphony No.4 (I) - PO/Downes [17:08]
CD 2 [77:51]
Elizabeth MACONCHY Music for Strings - LPO/Wordsworth [18:23]
Sinfonietta - NYOW/Davison [13:09]
E. J. MOERAN Rhapsody No.2 - LPO/Boult [13:18]
Hubert PARRY
Symphonic Variations - LSO/Boult [12:51]
Symphonic Studies - LPO/Pritchard [20:02]
CD 3 [79:13]
Cyril ROOTHAM Symphony in C minor (IV) - LPO/Handley [7:24]
Edmund RUBBRA Symphony No.4 (I) - PO/Del Mar [13:04]
Cyril SCOTT Early One Morning - John Ogdon (piano) LPO/Herrmann [14:48]
Charles V. STANFORD Irish Rhapsody No.4 - LPO/Braithwaite [18:52]
Robert STILL Symphony No.3 (II) - LSO/Goossens [11:27]
Phyllis TATE
London Fields - LPO/Wordsworth [13:05]
CD 4 [73:04]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Tallis Fantasia - LPO/Boult [16:16]
William WALTON Music for Children - LPO/Walton [13:15]
Peter WARLOCK An Old Song - LPO/Boult [5:56]
Ballads for Orchestra - BBCWSO/Handley [17:10]
Santiago de Espada - RLPO/Groves [6:32]
William WORDSWORTH Symphony No.3 (II) - LPO/Braithwaite [13:46]
rec. 1966-2007. ADD/DDD
LYRITA SRCD.2338 [4 CDs: 67:46 + 77:51 + 79:13 + 73:04]

Experience Classicsonline

What’s the scheme here? The idea is to offer a single substantial orchestral track for the majority of composers represented in the Lyrita catalogue. Across these 50 plus tracks whole works are presented alongside eight single movements extracted from larger works: symphonies or concertos. Across the two sets composers are presented alphabetically: Set 1: Alwyn - Ireland; Set 2: Jacob - Wordsworth. Each set is available separately and will sell for £24.99 apiece (MusicWeb price £18 post-free worldwide). 
You can sometimes argue with the selection but overall the right note has been struck - right and bold … or at least it has once the decision was made to choose two 4 CD sets and restrict the choice to orchestral works. I note that Holbrooke is not included but there had to be some omissions to stay within the practical bounds of the project.

In Set One strong choices are made time after time. Alwyn’s Magic Island is in fact Prospero’s island - from The Tempest. The English Dances beguile and enchant. They are drawn from an LP and then from an extended CD which found Lyrita orchestral recording standards at their utter peak. The Russian Scenes are well done although ultimately they are a collection of exotic postcards and dances. The Benjamin Overture is a playful piece in the manner of the lighter examples by Barber and Bax. It comes as no surprise to discover that it was used as the overture to Benjamin’s opera Prima Donna. Berkeley’s crisp Serenade for Strings is presumably authoritative with the composer at the helm. Bliss conducting a suite from his Adam Zero seems underwhelming as music and as a performance - Handley’s version is much better. The delightful Bridge Suite for Strings is lovingly done by Boult. Similarly sumptuous and achingly poignant is A Shropshire Lad. Finzi’s Eclogue, Howells’ Merry-Eye and Hadley’s One Morning in Spring speak for themselves. The Forgotten Rite by John Ireland is a subtle, poetic and completely convincing piece. It’s interesting that this first set has only one bleeding chunk from a larger piece and that is the second movement of Busch’s Cello Concerto. The Cello Concerto is a strong work and makes quite a discovery among the rich crop of new Lyritas in 2008. Although issued on CD in the early 1990s the Foulds Mantras - of which we here have the Mantra of Bliss - is amongst the most radical and impressive. Then again Foulds was an extraordinary composer whose significance is international. Light music is represented by shapely performances of Coates’ From Meadow to Mayfair, Gibbs’ Fancy Dress and the Coleridge Taylor Valse. Fredman’s reading of the famous Delius Walk is to be treasured. He would have made an estimable Song of the High Hills had the opportunity been offered. Lyrita are the only label to provide Holst’s tangy Japanese Suite and, audaciously enough, it’s here in this set. From the 19th century comes Sterndale Bennett’s Caprice and the remarkable Variations on a Hungarian Air by Hurlstone. Henry Wood’s orchestration of the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor was originally presented under a pseudonym, Paul Klenovsky. Oh how those Russian names legitimise British talent! Gipps’ Horn Concerto is played by the very talented David Pyatt. Would that Lyrita had also recorded her other concertos. Don’t forget her works for Clarinet (1940); Viola (Jane Grey Fantasy, 1940), Oboe (1941), Violin (1943), Piano (1948), Violin and Viola (1957) and Contra-Bassoon (Leviathan) and the five symphonies (1942, 1945, 1965, 1972, 1982). Names much associated with Cheltenham are represented by the Yorick overture, the Jabez and The Devil and the only recently vinyl-liberated Hoddinott Welsh Dances (Set 2).

Set Two has a higher quotient of movements extracted from larger works. This is always an unsatisfactory approach but there was no alternative once Lyrita had chosen to represent composers in this way. Thus we have the finales of the impressive Joubert Symphony and the clean-limbed masculine energy of the Rootham First Symphony. Bewail the fact that Lyrita and Handley never got around to recording Rootham’s Second Symphony - once studio-broadcast by Handley with a BBC Scottish contingent. Rubbra could have been instanced by the cuttingly atmospheric Soliloquy for cello and orchestra but instead we have a movement from his toweringly potent Fourth Symphony which in its cogency and emotional impact overshadows most of the RVW symphonies. Still’s Third Symphony is there too - represented somewhat eccentrically by the originally Saga-produced recording of the outcast Goossens conducting the LSO. Jacob’s wartime First Symphony is also referenced as is Wordsworth’s Third. George Lloyd’s Fourth Symphony - an expiation of horrifying experiences on the Murmansk convoys - is dazzling, surprisingly dance-inflected and sometimes bafflingly good-natured.

The RCM doyens Parry and Stanford are represented by the meaty Brahmsian Symphonic Variations which Boult later re-recorded in 1977 for EMI. Here he is heard with the LSO. The EMI project used his more accustomed partners, the LPO. Stanford is heard in ‘Oirish’ mode with the Irish Rhapsody No.4 - it’s a nice piece but the conductor is Braithwaite not Boult. Outstanding are Jones’s vivacious Dance Fantasy and Lambert’s glorious Music for Orchestra. Look past the John Major-like greyness of the Lambert title and you will find a work of symphonic bearing and memorably moving melodic concentration. I have high hopes that when someone gets to record Cecil Gray’s Syllogism we will find a work of similar attractions hiding behind its academically bleached title. Major works, presented whole, include Leigh’s neo-classical crystal-cut harpsichord Concertino, Rawsthorne’s Symphonic Studies, RVW’s stirring Tallis Fantasia and a stunning display of devastating mastery by Grace Williams - her Ballads for Orchestra. The Williams is on no account to be missed. The Walton Music for Children is intriguing in prospect but ultimately faceless. Bushier-tailed are the Moeran Rhapsody No. 2 from amongst the earliest Lyrita Recorded Edition LPs and the flamboyant Santiago de Espada overture by Malcolm Williamson. Back in time we go to Warlock’s An Old Song - and we must again thank Lyrita for avoiding obvious choices; delightful to hear something off the beaten track rather than another Serenade or Capriol both of which beckoned from the Lyrita coffers. Wind forward to that magician of the impressionist-expressionist genre, Cyril Scott. When Early One Morning was first issued Scott was a very great rarity and the Herrmann-Ogdon partnership was even more exotic even if Bernard Herrmann was a well known Anglophile who conducted Rubbra, Finzi, RVW, Delius and many others. From later generations we hear the Maconchy Music for Strings, which now just fails to engage me, the more attractive Mathias Sinfonietta and at the lighter yet polished end of the spectrum Phyllis Tate’s London Fields suite. Tate is another composer deserving of more recording projects: I recommend her Saxophone Concerto (1944) but there is much more including many works for voice with orchestra or smaller instrumental ensemble. 

The documentation for these sets is a joy. Each booklet starts with a two page personal recollection by Edward Greenfield of ‘Lyrita Recorded Edition’ and a three pager by Lewis Foreman: ‘Meeting Richard Itter’. After this comes four pages of photos - some (Braithwaite, Wordsworth) not seen before. The highly detailed track-listing follows this. I only regret that although (p) dates are given there are no dates and locations of recording sessions. Last but not least there are extended yet succinct background notes on each composer and each featured piece. These are by the astute and knowledgeable Paul Conway. Mr Conway has appeared on the Lyrita scene only since 2007 but he has, through his writings, already made himself part of Lyrita’s resplendent achievement.

Rob Barnett 

see also review by John France

Message received:

Dear MusicWeb

Thank you for the in-depth review of the Anniversary sets. We are offering a free limited edition poster to people who purchased the sets. Inside each box will be a bounce back card and as long as people fill in their postal address we will send them a copy.

The Poster is A3 in size and features eleven rare and unique photographs taken at Lyrita recording sessions including Kenneth Wilkinson, Sir Adrian Boult, Tod Handley, Joy Finzi, Norah Kirby (John Ireland's house-keeper), John Ogdon, Elizabeth Maconchy, and even Richard Itter.

Antony Smith


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos







Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.