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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67316
Recording details: July 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2002
Total duration: 11 minutes 44 seconds

Miniature Suite for string orchestra and piano

Allegretto  [3'25]
Lento assai  [4'13]
Molto vivace  [2'10]

1920 was the time when Rootham was preoccupied with his folksong opera The Two Sisters, and the first and last movements of this suite reflects this interest with their quasi-folksong themes. The limpid opening Allegretto really invents an idiom which Gerald Finzi would later make his own, the gently rising theme held across the bar, at first on piano later reinforced by strings softly stealing in. The ‘Lento assai’ slow movement continues the mood established by the first, a triplet now giving the evocative line its pastoral character, the flowing phrases treated imitatively but sung out by strings together to give emotional power to climaxes. The gently rhythmic ‘Allegro moderato e leggiero’ is characterised by its 5/4 time signature, while the ‘Molto vivace’ finale contains what may be elements of a real folksong, the swinging 3/4 time constantly threatening to turn into a waltz, before a brief reflective Lento for strings alone presages the rush to the end. The Miniature Suite was written very much in the example and influence of Holst’s St Paul’s Suite and is dedicated ‘to my Sister Mabel’, then the music mistress at Clifton High School in Bristol, for whose pupils it was presumably first intended.

from notes by Lewis Foreman 2002

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