Presenting a rich and diverse sampling of the orchestral works of William Alwyn, this 2008 Naxos disc with David Lloyd-Jones leading the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra provides an excellent introduction to his oeuvre. It opens with Alwyn's sharp-edged Overture to a Masque with its Stravinskyesque sonorities, moves through the neo-classical Concerto Grosso No. 1 with its Vaughan Williams-suffused central Adagio con moto, then through the warmly bucolic Pastoral Fantasia, the coolly Impressionistic Five Preludes, the stoically moving Tragic Interlude, and the weirdly evocative Autumn Legend, with its haunting English horn solo to conclude with the rousing and rambunctious Suite of Scottish Dances. Throughout, Alwyn the craftsman, Alwyn the tunesmith, and Alwyn the bon vivant are equally evident in the skill, beauty, and energy of the music. Coming off their brilliant series of recordings of Alwyn's large-scale symphonies, Lloyd-Jones and the Liverpudlian musicians are clearly having fun here with the lighter Alwyn, and their performances sparkle and shine with enthusiasm. As in the previous releases in their Alwyn series, Naxos' digital sound is clean, colorful, and direct.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Concerto Grosso No. 1 in B flat|
|Preludes (5), for orchestra|
|Suite of Scottish Dances|