Lyrita – Maw Sinfonia & English Works for Brass

0 of 5 stars

Divertimento for Brass Quartet, Op.9
Theme and Variations for Brass Quartet, Op.7
Sonata for Brass Quintet

English Chamber Orchestra
Norman Del Mar [Maw]

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble [Philip Jones & Elgar Howarth (trumpets), Ifor James (horn), John Iveson (trombone) & John Fletcher (tuba)]

Maw recorded 12 October 1970 in The Maltings, Snape; remainder recorded on 3 December 1974 in Decca Studio No.3, West Hampstead, London

Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: August 2008
Duration: 63 minutes



Three Argo recordings by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble provide glowing counterparts to the Maw, John Addison’s Divertimento adding a dash of humour. This is a compact and charming piece, with a spiky ‘Fanfare’ as the first of its five movements that include a bittersweet ‘Waltz’ and a rather cheeky ‘Galop’. Primarily a composer for the big screen, Addison (1920-1998) shows an aptitude for things smaller scale, fully exploited by these wonderful brass players.

John Gardner (born 1917) has recently enjoyed a higher profile thanks to David Lloyd-Jones’s recording of his First Symphony and Piano Concerto. Whilst a choral composer as far as most people know him, his massive output (nearly 250 opus numbers) has near its outset this brightly scored Theme and Variations, John Iveson sensitively capturing the contours of the Theme on his trombone.

Most serious among the brass triumvirate is the five-movement Sonata by Stephen Dodgson (born 1924); concentrated sections of melodic invention that are rather darker in timbre, with the added depth of John Fletcher’s tuba, but formally compact and convincing. Again the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble plays with crisp togetherness, exploiting opportunities for wit and colour.

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