This is another welcome release hailing from the Classico stable in their
enterprising British music series. Although the 'Cotswolds' is no lost
masterpiece, it is indeed a pleasurable piece of music and is thoroughly
deserving of this, its premiere recording. By far the most substantial movement
is the second subtitled, 'Elegy to William Morris', which is both passionate
and strikingly artistic in its deep sense of palpable longing. I also enjoyed
the outer movements which march along in the best British fashion, although
there is nothing like the inventivity and originality of say, 'The Planets'.
Bostock and his German players bring committed advocacy to the music and
I fail to understand AA's recent deploration of these interpreters (vide
past Gramophones) in previous issues of this cycle. Such biased opinions
will further deplete the chances of British music to take wing in international
quarters and not remain an exclusive, almost snobbish homespun product.
The rumbustious and joyously raucous 'Walt Whitman' Overture moves along
in typical Marching Song style, it is mystifying why such tuneful music remained
unrecorded for so long. The folk melodies of the 'Hampshire Suite' are also
quite convincingly sounded in orchestral style, the music makes the transition
from band to orchestra with remarkable sleekness. I enjoyed the 'Perfect
Fool', but we are hardly in need of another version, having counted four
excellent recordings in my modest collection, one awaits a complete recording
of this score with anticipation.
Bostock chooses to end the disc with the comparatively rare Scherzo from
an unfinished symphony, a lovely gem but nothing much more nonetheless. The
orchestra is an audacious persuader for this music and Douglas Bostock's
committed and deeply prepared performances set the seal on what should be
an essential disc for all lovers of British music. Lyndon Jenkins' notes
are something else!
See also previous review by Richard