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Made In Britain / James Clark, John Wilson, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Walton / Butterworth / Rlpo / Wilson
Release Date: 11/08/2011 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2194  
Composer:  Arnold BaxGeorge ButterworthFrederick DeliusSir Edward Elgar,   ... 
Performer:  James Clark
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MADE IN BRITAIN John Wilson, cond; James Clark (vn); Royal Liverpool PO AVIE 2194 (72:39)


WALTON Scapino. BUTTERWORTH 2 English Idylls. DELIUS The Walk to the Paradise Garden. BAX The Happy Forest. ELGAR Salut d’amour. Read more class="COMPOSER12">VAUGHAN WILLIAMS English Folk Song Suite. The Lark Ascending. GERMAN Nell Gwyn: Overture


This collection would seem to be aimed at the neophyte, just beginning to explore English orchestral music. The strength of the performances, however, and the attractiveness of the program render Made in Britain of interest to the more experienced collector, too. Ever since the tenure of Libor Pe?ek as conductor, the Liverpool orchestra has boasted a dark sonority and gift for ensemble playing that should be the envy of more famous ensembles. Here, playing their national repertoire, the orchestra’s soloists shine, while the full ensemble produces a glorious sound. John Wilson is an arranger, a conductor of light music, and a symphonic conductor. He possesses a crisp beat and a marvelous ear for balance. Under his leadership, the orchestra on this CD gives performances that often challenge the very best for this music.


William Walton’s Scapino is played with brightness, sparkle, and a warm, airy, Italianate feel. It is perhaps no coincidence that Walton eventually settled in Italy. In George Butterworth’s Two English Idylls , the folk tunes possess an engaging rhythmic snap. Wilson also does justice to the softly focused colors of the orchestration. The Idylls here have an ageless feel in their evocation of the English countryside, like the paintings of John Constable. I miss some of Sir John Barbirolli’s special touches in Frederick Delius’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden , but Wilson’s interpretation is a strong one. In this story of hopeless love, Wilson is absorbed by its fulsome, romantic rhetoric, although the quieter portions in his reading are just as telling as the tuttis. Because of its atmosphere, this is a work that needs to be heard live. I was fortunate to hear it performed by Istvan Jaray conducting the Livingston, New Jersey, Symphony at Montclair State University—a memorable experience.


Arnold Bax’s The Happy Forest is new to me. I suppose Wilson could have programmed a better-known work of Bax, like Tintagel or The Garden of Fand . Yet this work has a splendidly enchanted aura, like the woodlands in early Yeats. Wilson’s performance is lively, with a mysteriously romantic central section. Edward Elgar’s Salut d’amour receives a wonderfully singing rendition, with beautiful phrasing by the violins. With the English Folk Song Suite of Ralph Vaughan Williams, we come to territory well trodden by Arthur Fiedler and both of Boult’s stereo versions. Wilson’s take has its own merits, in vigor and clarity of texture. The snare drum’s contribution is particularly elegant. I find it hard not to beat time along with the last movement—the brass there play in the best tradition of English brass bands. The Lark Ascending has become one of Vaughan Williams’s most popular works in recent years, as it epitomizes a vanished world of English pastoral poetry. Violinist James Clark is one of two joint leaders of the orchestra. He is not a super virtuoso, but he plays cleanly and with imagination, holding together what can be an episodic work. Wilson accompanies supportively. The touchstones for this piece for me remain Iona Brown’s two recordings with Sir Neville Marriner.


Wilson’s program ends with Edward German’s Nell Gwyn Overture. It gets an alternately bustling and lush performance, bringing the disc to a resounding close. The sound engineering throughout is excellent, warm and full. John Wilson clearly has a lot to say about English music. Perhaps a Vaughan Williams symphony or an all-Delius program would benefit from his ministrations. Made in Britain certainly represents a gift for this repertoire that should be explored further.


FANFARE: Dave Saemann
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Works on This Recording

1.
Happy Forest by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1921; England 
2.
English Idylls (2) by George Butterworth
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
3.
A Village Romeo and Juliet: Walk to the Paradise Garden by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900-1901; France 
4.
Salut d'amour, Op. 12 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1889; England 
5.
Nell Gwyn: Overture by Edward German
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; England 
6.
The lark ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  James Clark (Violin)
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914/1920; England 
7.
English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
8.
Comedy Overture "Scapino" by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; England 

Featured Sound Samples

Salut d'amour (Elgar)

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