Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

ENGLISH STRING MINIATURES: "Summer Stream": Alan Langford: Four Pieces; Geoffrey Bush: Divertimento; Geoffrey Wright: Two Pieces; Herbert Sumsion: A Mountain Tune; David Lyon: Intermezzo; Anthony Hedges: Divertimento. Royal Ballet Sinfonia/David Lloyd-Jones ASV CD WHL 2121

Save around 22% with
the retailers listed alongside

This CD is another winner from ASV whose previous releases in the "White Line Light Classics" series have included Addinsell film music, Horovitz orchestral music and a valuable selection of previously unavailable British orchestral miniatures (CD WHL 2113).

The disc begins with Four Pieces by Alan Langford. These consist of a suave waltz, an attractive pizzicato perpetuo (an alternative to the oft-performed "playful pizzicato" of Britten's Simple Symphony perhaps?), a Pastoral with its roots deep into the English tradition and finally a scuttling scherzetto which tests the string ensemble to the limits of their virtuosity.

Geoffrey Bush's three-movement Divertimento is much more serious in vein as is immediately apparent from the more advanced harmonic language of the opening Deciso. The central Lento, ma non troppo is vibrant and passionate and reminds us what a sad loss to British music the death of this composer was in 1997. The Finale looks back to a previous age with the ebullience and joy of Tippett's Suite for the Birthday of Prince Charles.

Two very appealing short pieces for strings and harp by Geoffrey Wright follow, the second of which, Cock-a doodle Dandy, is as wittily scored as its name suggests. Herbert Sumsion's A Mountain Tune has a memorable cello theme at its core and David Lyon's Intermezzo is a brief but entertaining gem.

The disc ends with Anthony Hedges' Divertimento. The highly individual voice of the composer makes its mark straight away in the main theme of the opening Allegro moderato. The profound second movement is deeply felt by the players whilst the quicksilver Finale's throwaway ending is perfectly judged.

This is a most attractive and lovingly compiled disc which brings to light new treasures from the vaults of British light music. The most substantial works, both in terms of length and musical substance are the two Divertimenti and these receive special care in their performances, repaying further listening. Highly recommended.


Paul Conway


Paul Conway

Reviews from previous months

Reviews carry sales links but you can also purchase from:

Return to Index