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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

'Altogether this is a wholly delectable disc of spirited miniature concertos where the composers are never let down by paucity of invention. Performances are lighthearted and polished, and beautifully recorded. Most rewarding and entertaining' (Gramophone)

'Roscoe and the Guildhall Strings have put together an attractive collection here' (American Record Guide)

'Martin Roscoe's playing is sparklingly sympathetic, as are the accompaniments from the Guildhall Strings. This is music which you are seldom likely to encounter in the concert hall, but is ideally suited to revival on disc' (International Record Review)

'I have to be honest: of all recent CDs from our 'land without music', this has been spinning on my player the most' (The Times)

'Martin Roscoe and the Guildhall Strings approach these light-as-a-feather gems with sincerity and assurance. Their playing is impeccable and agile … those of you who have developed a taste for the ongoing light music series on Hyperion … will find this release a required purchase … this is a truly delightful, genial compilation of attractive and shamefully neglected English early-to-mid-20th-century light music for piano and string orchestra … I enjoyed this album immensely' (Fanfare, USA)

'Bravo to all' (International Piano)

'Martin Roscoe and his colleagues obviously enjoy themselves enormously, and their readings of these attractive works are beautifully recorded … this delightful release is a joy from first to last, and is unreservedly recommended' (MusicWeb International)

'Martin Roscoe … is the sparking soloist in this enchanting disc' (Yorkshire Post)

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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