Notes and Editorial Reviews
These things are almost always pleasant--after all, if there's one thing English composers have done well since the beginning of time it is to write appealing, affecting, idiomatic music for strings. Although with Volume 6 in this smartly organized English String Music series the selections may not be uniformly of the first rank, what's not to like here, from Holst's typically well-crafted, traditionalist Moorside Suite (first written for brass) and Purcell's sturdy, stylish Chacony in G minor, to Paul Lewis' melancholy film-score-ish Rosa Mundi and Paul Carr's three-movement A Very English Music (with the "very English" subtitles Cuckmere Haven, Cornish Air, and The Hunt Gathering). Philip Lane's string arrangement of Peter Warlock's beloved Christmas carol Bethlehem Down is a gem, and William Lloyd Webber's Waltz in E minor is a delightfully skittish, meandering take on the traditional dance.
Most sophisticated musically are Lionel Sainsbury's Two Nocturnes and Malcolm Lipkin's From Across La Manche, the latter a substantial (15-plus minutes) work from 1998 that's thoroughly of its idiom, full of good, skillfully developed ideas, and deserving of serious attention by orchestras, listeners, and concert programmers. And thankfully, Gavin Sutherland and his Royal Ballet Sinfonia have chosen to give all of these works their own careful, enthusiastic attention, resulting in one more well-played, eminently listenable addition to this ongoing series (Classicstoday has reviewed three of the earlier releases--see Search Reviews). Highly recommended--and fine sound too!
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com