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English String Miniatures Vol.


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Product Details


1. Scherzo
2. Nocturne
3. March
4. Chacony In G Minor, Z.730
5. Rosa Mundi
6. Prelude
7. Air
8. Dance
9. Song
10. Finale
11. Bethlehem Down
12. Cuckmere Haven
13. Cornish Air
14. The Hunt Gathering
15. Waltz In E Minor
16. Molto Lento
17. Mesto E Semplice
18. Overture
19. Ballade
20. Dance-Finale

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Yet More Wonderful English String Orchestra Music Sept. 26 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In a review of a previous issue in this ongoing series of releases from Naxos of 'English String Miniatures' -- this one is Vol. 6 -- I wrote, "If there was ever any doubt that the English have been masters of writing for the string orchestra, there shouldn't be any now." I can't think of another nation's composers who have done so much for the genre.

In this CD we get music of Holst, Purcell, Peter Warlock, William Lloyd Webber, Paul Lewis (b.1943), Adam Carse (1878-1958), Paul Carr (b.1961), Lionel Sainsbury (b.1958) and Malcolm Lipkin (b.1932). And a wonderful lot it is. Probably the most familiar work here is Purcell's 'Chacony in G Minor' in its arrangement for strings by Benjamin Britten. It is essentially a passacaglia on an interesting and relatively complex ground bass. Why oh why don't we more often hear this one in place of the ubiquitous (misnamed) Canon of Pachelbel? The Royal Ballet Sinfonia (of Birmingham) under Gavin Sutherland play with crisp, clean articulation combined with suavely lush string sound, as in all the other works presented here. Lovely.

Holst is represented by his 'A Moorside Suite', a three-movement work arranged by Philip Lane (who also arranged Warlock's 'Bethlehem Down.') It is typical modal Holst with catchy rhythms and tunes. Adam Carse is best known for his pedagogical works for young string players but his 'Winton Suite' is for grown-ups. It is a collection of five pieces -- Prelude, Air, Dance, Song, Finale -- which are in a modernized baroque style. 'Song', a kind of concertante for violin, cello and strings, is utterly lovely. Warlock's Christmas carol, 'Bethlehem Down' (1927) is presented here in Philip Lane's more or less straight arrangement. Lovely legato playing throughout; this Royal Ballet Sinfonia is good!

Carr has primarily been a composer for television. His 'A Very English Music' (2002), a 'paean to the English countryside' has three movements: Cuckmere Haven, Cornish Air, and The Hunt Gathering. The latter portrays a Yorkshire Boxing Day hunt 'with supporters, protesters, huntsmen and maybe even the old fox.' There couldn't be a more contemporary comment on English country life than that! William Lloyd Webber, probably best known for his two musical sons, was primarily a composer of church music but he also wrote a fair amount of concert music. His 'Waltz in E Minor' (1939) is a graceful four-minute work that conjures up dancers in formal attire gliding across the floor. Not Viennese, not rustic -- very sophisticated harmonies, much use of divisi strings, and a slightly melancholic undertone.

Sainsbury's 'Two Nocturnes' (1990) are darkly dramatic, the first anguished chromaticism, the second tentative lyricism. Lipkin's 'From Across La Manche' is three movements and uses a somewhat astringent harmonic language. 'Overture' is jaunty and forcefully rhythmic. 'Ballade' is introspective, hushed but reaching a climax before falling back into a musing mood. 'Dance-finale' takes a measure from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' (which I would not have recognized except for its being pointed out in the excellent notes by Philip Lane) that happens to have a mazurka rhythm and Lipkin uses it as the guiding principle of the entire piece.

Once again, as in Volume 5 of this series, Sutherland and his Birmingham group prove themselves excellent proponents of this so-very-English string music. Recommended.

Scott Morrison
Deeply beautiful and compelling music without the bells and whistles of ... July 9 2014
By david o vaagen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The intimacy and essential musicality of a string quartet with the lush timbres of a larger ensemble. Deeply beautiful and compelling music without the bells and whistles of a large orchestra.
Beautiful music... June 27 2014
By Tony Bernardi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Lovely example and a delightfully intelligent performance. I am interested in buying the rest of the CDs in the series.
Beautiful Music Nov. 24 2012
By Alec Mckay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have now collected all six of these CDs and they are in a word delightful. If you like Delius, Vaughan Williams, Bax and Ireland you will like these CDs. There are a couple of duplicate tracks in this set but also some wonderful soothing string music by some lesser know composers that I doubt are on other CDs
On Average, it's Nice Nov. 5 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The reviewer who preceded me here has given such a good summary of this disc's contents that it's rather pointless for me to duplicate his remarks, so let me dwell on my own personal reaction to this disc, which is positive though just a bit mixed. First, there's no criticizing the playing of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under Gavin Sutherland -- it's quite good. My only misgiving about this release has to do with the selections themselves. The Britten arrangement of the Purcell Chacony is absolutely sublime, and Holst's A Moorside Suite is pure Holst -- meaning that it's very good indeed. I quite enjoy Adam Carse's Winton Suite, and as usual I have a positive reaction to Peter Warlock, in this instance the Philip Lane arrangement of his Bethlehem Down. However, the rest of the disc's contents do not, I must admit, thrill me a great deal. Oh, it's all English string music, after all, so there's no way I'd rate this less than three stars, but for me these remaining pieces, though well-crafted and evocative, come off as just a tad bit dull. Still, as I said, it's all English string music, and given the Carse and Warlock, and especially the Holst and Purcell, I can certainly say in honesty that I nonetheless like this release.


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