If you've ever been tempted to find out what the orchestral music of William Alwyn sounds like, this is the place to start. It has five highly characteristic pieces by the conservative English modernist in five performances recorded in exemplary stereo sound. The pieces are the charmingly rambunctious Overture, Derby Day, the brightly gleaming Symphonic Prelude, The Magic Island, the robustly bumptious Four Elizabethan Dances, the ineffably delightful and unexpectedly soulful Sinfonietta for Strings, and the resoundingly bombastic Festive March. The performers are the London Philharmonic led by the composer, a seasoned conductor who elicits brilliantly colorful, energetically driven, and deeply committed playing from the polished English ensemble. The sound is provided by Lyrita, the English label with the deserved reputation for clean, clear recordings of British repertoire. While not perhaps in the same league as the orchestral music of Vaughan Williams, Britten, or Walton, anyone who enjoys the orchestral music of Tippett, Rubbra, Arnold, or Brian may enjoy the orchestral music of Alwyn.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Elizabethan Dances for orchestra|
|Sinfonietta for strings|