While not the first disc to get if you're looking for the serious or lighter Alwyn, this disc may still be the one most folks get first if and when they decide to investigate the music of the Romantic twentieth century English composer. Why? Because it contains the Concerto for harp and string orchestra, called by its composer "Lyra Angelica" -- literally, Angel's Songs -- one of the loveliest works ever written for that ethereal combination. Inspired by the poems of English metaphysical poets, Alwyn's four-movement work is serene, sublime, and instantly appealing. Coupled here with the almost as lovely and nearly as appealing Autumn Legend for cor anglais and string orchestra inspired by the paintings of the English Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the more muscular but no less charming Concerto grosso for string quartet and string orchestra, this disc is neither the lightest or the most serious Alwyn, but simply the most lyrical, and thus arguably the most attractive. With sterling contributions of harpist Osian Ellis and English horn player Geoffrey Browne and the deeply dedicated playing of the London Philharmonic, Alwyn delivers interpretations that seem to have moved him as much as they will move anyone who hears this disc. Lyrita's stereo sound is full, deep, round, warm, and transparently clear.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Concerto Grosso No. 2 in G|
|Lyra Angelica for harp & strings|