Evocative British Orchestral Works

John Wilson and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conjure up the magic of a bygone age.

Composer: Bax, Butterworth, Delius, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Walton
Repertoire: The Happy Forest, Two English Idylls, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Salut d’Amour, The Lark Ascending, English Folk Song Suite, Scapino Overture

Artist: James Clark, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/John Wilson
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral

Label: Avie av2194

The Music: The British orchestral music boom of the first half of the 20th century saw composers such as Vaughan Williams, Walton and Elgar reaching the very zenith of their talents. Made in Britain brings together the latter’s Salut d’amour with delightful pieces by peers both familiar and less so.

The Performance: The celebrated John Wilson brings his interpretative magic to bear on these pieces, which often transplant you so fully into the era you have to check you’re not wearing a peplum suit or Oxford bags. The general mood is one of unhurried romanticism. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra gently draws out every subtlety in pieces such as Butterworth’s two delicate-as-forget-me-nots English Idylls, and offers a thoughtful, languorous take on Delius’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden. Violinist James Clark also takes his time with his version of Vaughan Williams’s evergreen The Lark Ascending. 

The Verdict: If you’d rather appreciate the subtle charms of English music without the Last Night of the Proms-esque flag-waving or cliché (this is a Holst/Parry-free zone) - and in the company of its most impressive contemporary conduit - don’t hesitate. 

Want More? You’ll find the same team, and similar vibe, on Avie’s London Again: The Music of Eric Coates (Av 2070).