Benjamin Frith / JoAnn Falletta / Ulster Orchestra

Moeran: In the Mountain Country; Rhapsodies; Overture for a Masque

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The appointment of the American JoAnn Falletta as chief conductor of the Ulster Orchestra resulted in several fine releases of music by Irish-English composer E.J. Moeran, who had somewhat fallen into neglect. Moeran's music is like a harmonically spiked version of Vaughan Williams', with broad structures marked out by melodies in a traditional way but with a good deal of chromaticism and a bit of an edge that's not always easy to pin down. He had a knack for tunes that sound as if they were drawn from folk song books, but were not. Falletta has been a specialist in just this sort of thing, and she and the Ulster Orchestra deliver sharp, sparkling performances here. The best-known of these pieces is the tone poem In the Mountain Country, written early in Moeran's career, but the real finds are the three Rhapsodies, the last of them a breezy work with piano. Each of these contains a really good tune or two. The Overture for a Masque is a light piece that fulfills its stated function. Another worthwhile find for lovers of British orchestral music.

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