For some listeners, the title English Music for Strings will evoke memories of John Barbirolli's spectacular 1966 EMI disc featuring works by Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Though this 2010 Dutton disc of the same title, featuring Martin Yates, also includes English music for strings, the composers range from the much less familiar Arnold Bax to the nearly unknown Stephen Dodgson, Richard Arnell, and Norman del Mar. None of these works can hold a candle to Elgar's Introduction and Allegro or Vaughan Williams' Thomas Tallis Fantasia, but they are all still fine and attractive works, particularly Arnell's beautifully proportioned and lovingly lyrical Classical Variations in C for strings. And while Martin Yates is no John Barbirolli -- the extraordinary tonal sweetness that the older conductor was able to get from strings is not present here -- he is a technically accomplished conductor with an obvious enthusiasm for the repertoire, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's strings play with a ravishing tone and depth of dedication. Though not for everyone, this disc will likely please English music fans, especially in Dutton's clean but atmospheric digital sound.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Variations on the name GABRIEL FAURÉ for string orchestra and harp|
|Classical Variations in C for strings, Op. 1|