Musical Concepts are not alone in acting as advocate for the
melody-affluent music of Christopher Ball they are certainly the most
Their other two discs are well worth running to ground if you hanker
after indefatigable English pastoral lyricism. Ball is a class act in
this genre and no doubt there will be much more to come.
The Cor Anglais Concerto is quite light and approachable. There are
three movements which together establish the case for a cleanly sung
solo and lyrically stabbing strings. Amongst Ball's spiritual kindred -
Finzi, Howells - there's a touch of serene Binge in the mix. After a
plangent central movement we end with more joyous music in the manner
of Finzi's Bagatelles
and RVW folksongs for cello and piano.
The Clarinet Quintet is accorded a warm recording and as a work
encompasses flighty and silkily smooth melody, bubbling lyricism and
gutsily mellifluous dancing. Its mood recalls Geoffrey Bush's Summer Serenade
The Recorder Concerto is an old friend making a welcome and singing
return. The middle movement is particularly magical. Listen out for the
sound of John Barry and Howard Blake on their good days. Again there's
a Binge-like antiquity to this music; even a touch of Warlock's Capriol
The Scenes from a Comedy would make a meet companion to the lighter
brass ensemble music of Malcolm Arnold's and Joseph Horowitz. It's six
witty movements along the way take in a very sentimental mood (à la Dr Zhivago
) and some fruity Rossinian japes. This generously timed disc finishes with a bubbly solo Caprice on a Baroque Theme.
If you would like to explore yet further beyond the other two desirable
Musical Concepts collections then don't miss the collections on Quantum
but it will involve some duplication.
Heart-lifting music in performances and recordings to match.