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.