Robin Milford's works may seem unfairly neglected and belatedly receiving their due, but this 2004 Hyperion disc may be of interest to fans of early twentieth century British music and few others. Milford's conservative style is a blend of the influences of Vaughan Williams and Holst, and his short pieces for string orchestra may also remind listeners of music by Finzi or Warlock. Yet a depressive quality permeates Milford's work, relieved only occasionally by short bursts of fragile, fleeting happiness. Fishing by Moonlight, the Elegiac Meditation, Elegy for James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, and the Interlude for flute and strings are not exactly lugubrious, but their gray coloration and melancholic expressions produce an oppressive, overcast atmosphere. Throughout this program, one yearns for signs of ambition, vitality, brilliance, and virtuosity, yet Milford seems singularly unambitious and uninterested in colorful technical displays. The Miniature Concerto in G, the Orchestral Interludes (2), and the unfestive Festival Suite offer ambiguous moods, but they are still tinged with sadness, and Milford's modal shadings of major keys make them seem even more forlorn. The Guildhall Strings, with flutist Julian Sperry, pianist Julian Milford, and soprano Carys-Anne Lane, are competent and sympathetic, but their efforts lend little excitement to this wan music.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Miniature String Quartet in G (Minature Concerto in G), Op. 35|
|Orchestral Interludes (2) , for flute, strings & piano, Op. 19e|
|Go, little book, suite for flute, soprano & strings, Op. 18|
|Festival Suite, for string orchestra, Op. 97|