Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Nursery suite, Dream Children, In Moonlight, Romance for Bassoon, Sospiri, Serenade for strings, Elegy

Julie Price (bassoon) Stephanie Gonley (violin) William Bennett (flute) Osian Ellis harp)
Paul Goodwin (conductor) English Chamber Orchestra
Recorded 2000
Harmonia mundi HMU 907258 (59' 31")

This compendium of short orchestral items by Elgar will certainly give a lot of pleasure. The Nursery Suite is played with beguiling freshness, with the solos (William Bennett, flute, and Stephanie Gonley, violin) delightfully taken; so are the two Dream Children and In Moonlight, extracted and separately published by the composer in orchestral, solo vocal and solo instrumental versions, from In the South. Julie Price (bassoon) is a winning advocate for the Romance of 1910, which happily is becoming more popular. These pieces are all short or shortish but are not necessarily "light". The Serenade for Strings is, and would be classified as such if its movements had had titles (as Elgar may have originally intended, rather than just tempo indications; but the wistfulness and deep emotion of the other string pieces, Sospiri (harp soloist, Osian Ellis) and Elegy make them miniature masterpieces of a more serious hue. Performances of these string works are polished, though the emotion seems rather understated.

Philip Scowcroft

See also review by Christopher Fifield

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