Consisting of 19 string players led by concert master Laurent Quénelle, the European Camerata is a predominantly Franco-British chamber orchestra. As such, its tone is lush and full with sweet violins on top and plush cellos below while their ensemble is crisp and tight with an instinctive feel for rhythm. And this program of string orchestra favorites by Benjamin Britten is just their sort of repertoire: vivacious, expressive, and highly virtuosic. The opening Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is wonderfully diverse from the sentimental Romance through the energetic Fugue and Finale and the ensemble never falters. Though the Lachrymae is perhaps too dour and their Two Portraits may be wanting in character, the closing Simple Symphony is everything one could wish for in the work: bright and snappy in the fast movements and tenderly affecting in the Sarabande. Recorded with perhaps a bit too much reverberation, this disc will still more than likely please Britten fans.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for strings, Op. 10|
|Two Portraits, for strings|
|Simple Symphony, for string orchestra, Op. 4|