Written for the Jacques String Orchestra and its conductor Reginald Jacques, this suite for strings dates from 1950 and was clearly intended to mark the Festival of Britain in 1951. After the short easy-going Overture rounded by an Adagio fanfare motif the two middle movements return to the approach of the short movements in Go, little book
: a siciliana consisting of a flowing 6/8 with an opening section of seventeen bars (sixteen and a lead back) and a more sonorous conclusion of twenty-five bars. In the third movement the slow minuet consists of an opening statement followed by a variant played twice, and then the trio which opens with a string quartet only expanding to the full string orchestra at the climax, before the slow minuet returns da capo. The dancing Allegro finale is designated Scherzo in the score, but is prefaced by eight intense slow bars played by string sextet. Two related themes heard over the dancing strings are repeated in various guises and then together, Milford constantly elaborating the music into a new phase, before the slow introduction suddenly returns cutting the flow, followed by a spirited gesture of dismissal.
from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2004