This disc, including orchestral songs by John Ireland, miniatures by lesser known British composers, and a couple of unusual short pieces by Edward Elgar, might appeal to listeners who just cannot get enough of English music, for the simple reason that all except one piece here has never been recorded before. One cannot complain about the performances. Baritone Roderick Williams does a brilliant job of putting across Ireland's orchestral songs, finding their depths and expressing their emotions with his strong, smooth, well-modulated voice. The various orchestras, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, under a variety of conductors, John Wilson, Martin Yates, Gavin Sutherland, and Paul Murphy, do a fine job delivering sensitive accounts of the music. Ireland's orchestral songs are hardly near the top, or the middle, for that matter, of his creative endeavors, and while listeners who already know and love his orchestral works may find his songs interesting, the purely orchestral works are a better place to start for anyone new to his music. With two exceptions, the rest of the music here is by composers so obscure that only dedicated Anglophiles are likely to have heard of them, and only deeply dedicated Anglophiles are likely to enjoy them. The exceptions are the two Elgar pieces, brief works for orchestra with recitation, which sound suitably Edwardian, though not especially captivating. Captured in typically rich digital sound by Dutton, this disc is likely to interest only the hardest of hardcore Anglophiles.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard