Sunday, 8 November 2009

Lyrita: Celebrating Fifty Years devoted to British Music




Set 1 William ALWYN: Symphonic Prelude - The Magic Island Malcolm ARNOLD: English Dances - Set 2 Bach orch. Henry WOOD:- Toccata and Fugue in D Minor Granville BANTOCK: Russian Scenes Arnold BAX: Northern Ballad No.1 Arthur BENJAMIN: Overture to an Italian William Sterndale BENNETT: Caprice in Lennox BERKELEY: Serenade for Strings Arthur BLISS: Adam Zero - Suite - excerpt Frank BRIDGE: Suite for String Orchestra William BUSCH: Cello Concerto (II) Geoffrey BUSH: Overture – Yorick George BUTTERWORTH: A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody Eric COATES: From Meadow to Mayfair Suite (excerpt) Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Valse de la Reine Arnold COOKE: Jabez and The Devil - Suite Frederick DELIUS: The Walk to the Paradise Garden Gerald FINZI Eclogue John FOULDS: Mantra of Bliss Cecil Armstrong GIBBS: Fancy Dress - Dance Suite Ruth GIPPS: Horn Concerto Patrick HADLEY: One Morning in Spring Alun HODDINOTT: Welsh Dances Set 2 Gustav HOLST: Japanese Suite Herbert HOWELLS: Merry-Eye William HURLSTONE: Variations on a Hungarian John IRELAND: The Forgotten LYRITA SRCD.2337 [4 CDs]

Set 2 Gordon JACOB: Symphony No.1 (I) Daniel JONES: Dance Fantasy John JOUBERT: Symphony No.1 (IV) Constant LAMBERT: Music for Orchestra Walter LEIGH: Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings George LLOYD: Symphony No.4 (I) Elizabeth MACONCHY: Music for Strings William MATHIAS: Sinfonietta E. J. MOERAN: Rhapsody No.2 Hubert PARRY: Symphonic Variations Alan RAWSTHORNE: Symphonic Studies Cyril ROOTHAM: Symphony in C minor (IV) Edmund RUBBRA: Symphony No.4 (I) Cyril SCOTT: Early One Morning) Charles V. STANFORD: Irish Rhapsody No.4 Robert STILL: Symphony No.3 (II) Phyllis TATE: London Fields Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Tallis Fantasia William WALTON: Music for Children Peter WARLOCK: An Old Song Grace WILLIAMS: Ballads for Orchestra Malcolm WILLIAMSON: Santiago de Espada William WORDSWORTH: Symphony No.3 (II)
LYRITA SRCD.2338 [4 CDs]

I recently had this wonderful collection of 8 CDs from Lyrita to review. It is a stupendous collection and makes a fine introduction to British music. Please read my full review at MusicWeb International. However I give a short extract here – outlining who I feel will be interested in this impressive collection:-

Who is going to buy this double-boxed 8 CD set? I for one have virtually all these recording and pieces as part of my collection. I am sure that many readers of MusicWeb International will be the same. So I sat in the garden one warm October day and puzzled. Like the vicar once said, there are three points: three groups of people that this collection will appeal to. Firstly, there may well be those music enthusiasts who are comfortable with the ‘big’ pieces of British music - Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Vaughan Williams’s Tallis Fantasia and Fred Delius’s Walk to Paradise Gardens. But the rest of the corpus of British music is a closed book. They may not have the courage (or the wherewithal) to go into HMV and buy a CD of Symphonies by Robert Still or John Joubert’s Symphony No.1 on a whim. They have no way of really knowing whether they would like it or not. And even if they listen to short 30 second extracts on the ’Net, it is hardly a basis for forming an opinion. So for these people this collection could be an ideal gift or introductory sampler. It will allow them to explore further and confidently to purchase recordings of music and composers of which they have no or little knowledge.
The second group of people that it occurred to me that this set will appeal to are those who feel that just want to listen to some British music. They are perhaps a little tired of the half a dozen favourites played day in and day out on Classic FM and feel they want a bit more variety: and a new challenge. They want to be introduced to the wealth of British music but have neither the time nor the inclination to investigate under their own steam. They want a package of great music that is ready made for them. I can think of no better purchase than these eight CDs.
And thirdly, it will be a required purchase for all collectors of things Lyrita. I imagine there are a fair few folk out there who have virtually everything that the company has produced over the past fifty years. This collection will be a fine overview of their stack of vinyl and drawers full of CDs. A kind of keepsake, really. As a self-confessed musical snob, I have usually avoided extracts and samplers. It is the complete work for me. But there are occasions when there is just not the time to listen to a complete symphony of concerto. Sometimes a movement has to do. I for one will use this set as a source of inspiration when I have only a few minutes to spare. Like many people I will put it onto my iPOD and will enjoy picking out a track or two whilst sitting at the station waiting on the train to London Euston.

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