Sinfonietta (1944)

New digital audio restoration
London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Sir Thomas Beecham
Royal Albert Hall, London, Royal Philharmonic Society concert, 26th April 1947

1 - Allegro con brio 7'09"
2 - Tema con variazioni 11'50"
3 - Allegro risoluto 7'24"

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Transfer and restoration ©2000 Andrew Rose.
Copyright notice: The copyright of the original broadcast recordings has now expired, and this is why these music files can legally offered. However, copyright does exist in these transfers and restorations and this is held by the webmaster. The files are provided for educational and listening use only, and are not to be used for any profitable gain.


Sir Thomas Beecham

Lionel Hill, whose book "Lonely Waters" is currently unique in its portrait of Moeran in the later years of his life, went to great lengths to make recordings of particular radio broadcasts in the 1940's. These were the years before tape recorders made such a venture a relatively straightforward and inexpensive operation. Hill had to hire a recording studio to record the broadcast and then cut acetate 78 rpm discs. Each such recording cost Hill £25 - these days that's more than £2000, or perhaps $3000.

In addition to the recordings available on the Symposium CD of the Violin Concerto, the Fantasy Quartet and the Serenade in G, Hill also recorded a broadcast concert performance of the Sinfonietta. This took place in the Royal Albert Hall on 26th April 1947.

Beecham was also to conduct Moeran's Serenade in G at a Prom concert three years later, and, as Lionel Hill recalled some years afterwards, Moeran was somewhat publicity shy on the night: "...we went with [Moeran] to see Beecham conduct the Serenade. For some reason or other he didn't sit with us, he went on into the balcony on the first floor, and I could see him up there. Beecham gave a lovely performance, and then got terrific applause. Beecham turned round and pointed to the composer. I can still see Jack going like this - ducking down into his seat - typical Jack!"

This particular recording came to me on a cassette Hill had made from the discs, so in addition to the disc noise and scratches there was an additional need to remove tape hiss. I've tried to maintain the full musicality of what was a superb performance as closely as possible, so a small amount of low hiss remains. Note how much slower Beecham takes the piece, especially the opening movement, by comparison to Rumon Gamba's recent recording with the BBC Philharmonic for Composer of the Week, which comes in more than 30 seconds shorter.

Sinfonietta page at



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"The opening movement's strong melody and rhythm carries me along all the way. It is landscape in music, it is colour in sound..."
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