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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

CD REVIEW - British Modern vol.1

British Modern vol.1
First Edition FECD-1904
13 Tracks 67:36 mins

Anyone wishing to hear another side of three British composers famed for their film work might like to check out this CD reissue of pieces first released on LP as played by the Louisville Orchestra. The composers to check out are Sir Arthur Bliss, Sir Malcolm Arnold and John Addison and the pieces featured are 1957's Discourse for Orchestra, 1962's Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra and 1958's Concerto for Trumpet, strings and Percussion. I would pick the latter as the standout, with its breezy opening, fanfarish then pastoral second movement and bustling finale. I can't remember hearing a non-film music piece by Addison before and, whilst very different from his work for the screen, it is still very accessible.
The Arnold piece is largely a dialogue between two violins, excellently played by Peter McHugh and Paul Kling. The first movement is episodic, the second has dramatic and romantic moments and the third is fast and furious.
The Bliss piece opens the disc and is in mono, but still very good sound. The music itself doesn't really grab me until the third movement, which has a lighter tone than what has gone before. The fourth movement again passes me by, but the fifth is busy and interesting, with the final movement beginning big and bold, but unfortunately not sustaining the mood.
There is a fourth piece on the album, Edmund Rubbra's Improvisation for Violin and Orchestra.
The accompanying booklet features notes on the composers by Marco Shirodkar and the original LP liner notes on each piece are also reproduced.


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