Finzi, Holst, Blezard, Montgomery, Haydn Wood, etc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Blezard,etc,Finzi,Haydn Wood,Holst,Montgomery
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: English String Miniatures, Vol. 3
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Royal Ballet Sinfonia/David Lloyd-Jones
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555069
The only well-known item here is the Brook Green Suite – Holst at his most likeable, and as skilful as ever. It’s also the outstanding piece on this disc, though there’s plenty to enjoy in the others. There may be no surprises in Finzi’s Prelude and Romance – the cultivated, gentle lyricism is entirely typical – but it makes a welcome reflective contrast with Michael Hurd’s solidly neo-classical Sinfonia concertante and Carlo Martelli’s deft but ultra-lightweight Persiflage. The most substantial work is the Concertino for String Orchestra by Bruce Montgomery, composer of scores for all the Doctor and four of the Carry On films, who doubled as an author of detective stories. It’s a well-crafted, lively piece, though to suggest – as the CD note does – that its English traditionalism is tinged with ‘modernism’ at a time when Tippett and Elisabeth Lutyens were pushing boundaries far further (to say nothing of what was happening on the continent) probably does Montgomery no favours. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia’s playing under David Lloyd-Jones communicates warmth and enthusiasm, and apart from a couple of moments where the ensemble falters momentarily in exposed tricky passages, it’s technically well-focused – as are the recordings. Stephen Johnson

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