Bax, Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Delius, Elgar, Ireland

COMPOSERS: Bax,Delius,Elgar,Finzi,Ireland,Vaughan Williams
ALBUM TITLE: English Landscapes
WORKS: Works by Bax, Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Delius, Elgar, Ireland
PERFORMER: Lyn Fletcher (violin), Hallé Choir, Hallé/Mark Elder
For the rarity on its latest in-house disc, the Hallé has reached into its own past for Gerald Finzi’s The Fall of the Leaf, left partly unorchestrated when the composer died in 1956, and completed by Howard Ferguson for a Hallé premiere under John Barbirolli the following year. It’s a touching elegy with a powerful climax, performed here with obvious affection. On more familiar territory, the orchestra’s leader Lyn Fletcher catches the ‘chirrup, whistle, slur and shake’ of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending to sweet perfection; RVW’s First Norfolk Rhapsody is suitably atmospheric; and Bax’s Tintagel surges and roars majestically, though here the generally good recording lacks a little opulence.


The only other possible cavils concern the programming. Perhaps something reflecting the Hallé’s own northern landscapes could have replaced the French and Norwegian scenes of Delius’s Summer Night on the River and On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. And short unaccompanied choral items by Elgar and Ireland, sung with precise chording and enunciation, are tacked on at the end rather than integrated into a programme for continuous listening. But you don’t need an iPod to shuffle, and whatever order you play this disc in you’ll find something to enjoy. Anthony Burton