disc of string miniatures contains a mixture of the works
of contemporary and classical composers. If this is aimed
at library collectors I should question the mixing of styles
from so diverse a range of composers. The modern recording
is of high calibre with competent musicians and leadership.
Sutherland's reading is alert and intuitive, and he is clearly
at home with this genre.
in G Minor by Purcell is a set of variations
of differing rhythmic patterns based on an eight bar
section. It is the earliest of the compositions represented
on the disc and has some endearing qualities.
early suite by Holst, Moorside, carries distinctive
mature characteristics of this Gloucestershire composer when
54. Of the movements, the March is the best, with
tuneful distinctive charm. The Scherzo with folksong
qualities is rather low key while the Nocturne meanders
aimlessly without due focus.
gathering breezy power of Carr's oddly titled, A Very
English Music, successfully engages the listener
as it sweeps across the Sussex landscape. I found the soundscape
portrayed by The Hunt at Laycock somewhat disappointing:
the orchestra pedantically trots along without the excitement
of a galloping rhythm.
Sainsbury's Nocturnes are
modern, but carry a certain classical respectability. Good
chord structures give the Mesto e semplice a tangible
Across La Manche opens with a stirring and energetic
Overture somewhat reminiscent of a Hitchcock film score
and follows with a tranquil and more accessible Ballade, written
in the Bruckner vein. Its Dance-Finale seems inaptly
titled since the broken rhythms are unlikely to fit any
dancers' needs and I did not recognize the Mazurka style
referred to in the notes.
Mundi, the most recent composition on the disc,
drifts with monotonous repetition of its simple theme.
The Winton Suite Prelude provides
an energetic opening to provide contrast to a less inspired Air that
follows. The truly inspired Dance is cheery and brings
forth a spirit that is captivating. This mood is picked up
again by the Finale that is enthusiastically played
in sprightly fashion.
brief notes are provided on the composers and background
to the music. They are by Philip Lane and are in English
Raymond J Walker
see also reviews by Rob Barnett and Gwyn Parry-Jones
for reviews of other Naxos releases
of British composers, see the themed
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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