Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958)
Chamber Works
Clarinet Quintet (19) [24.43]
Piano Quartet (19) [26.14]
Traditional Melodies of England, Scotland and Ireland (19) [22.59]
Quintet: John McCaw (cl), Delmé Quartet
Quartet: London Piano Quartet
Traditional Melodies: Delmé Quartet
recordings first issued in the 1970s on Blenheim LPs
(from Mike Skeet, 44 Challacombe, Furzton, Milton Keynes MK4 lDP)

This CD, one of a mouth-watering series from BML, comprises reissues well transferred from two different LPs originally issued (I speak from memory) in the 1970s. It is particularly welcome as Holbrooke's music has, it seems, always been neglected, if not indeed vilified. The two main courses here, the Clarinet Quintet in G Op. 27, which unsurprisingly shows the influence of Brahms' Quintet for the same forces, and the Piano Quartet in G minor Op. 21, both excellently performed here, date from Holbrooke's teens (i.e. the mid-1890s) and are predictably fresh and tuneful; Holbrooke could always write a good tune which makes his neglect the more surprising. It is possible indeed to reckon him in part as a light music composer and like so many such he arranged folk music of the British Isles. Here, as a succession of soufflés, we have examples of English, Irish and Scottish tunes arranged for string quartet capably if not outstandingly (The Last Rose of Summer is, for me, the best). Listeners are advised not to listen to all five of these tracks together.

The title "Volume 1" is encouraging; one hopes this means more Holbrooke is scheduled for release in this series at not too distant a date.

Philip Scowcroft

See also review from Rob Barnett

UK is £10 incl UK P&P
abroad, the appropriate extra - Please approach Mr Skeet for quote.

Mike Skeet at F.R.C.
44 Challacombe
Milton Keynes MK4 1DP
phone/fax +44 (0)1908 502836


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