It's a lovely idea: a series of recordings of the works of Lennox and Michael Berkeley with the works of father and son placed side by side. No one could deny both composers their place among the pantheon of English composers for the last 100 years. And no one would deny that the juxtaposition of the works of the father and son create new contexts and contrasts for both composers. How well it works depends on how well the listener likes English music for the last 100 years. The performances here are fully committed. Conductor Richard Hickox is a terrific conductor and he creates vital, living art out of Michael's Gethsemane Fragment. Pianist Howard Shelley is a tremendous virtuoso and his performance of Lennox's Piano Concerto is powerful and persuasive. Catherine Wyn-Rogers is a titanic contralto and she soars in Lennox's Four Poems of St. Tereas of Avila. English horn player Celia Craig and violist Steven Burnard are a dynamic duo in Michael's Tristessa. Chandos' recording in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, from March 2004 is warm and reverberant.
Sir Lennox Berkeley: Piano Concerto; Four Poems of St. Teresa of Ávila; Michael Berkeley; Gethsemane Fragment; Triste Review
by James Leonard