Sinfonietta R83

There are three reviews of Sinfonietta recordings in the Gramofile records on the net since 1983, all of which are probably currently in print, though not all easily found. Not included is a review of the excellent Boult recording with the LPO on Lyrita vinyl dating from 1968.

Chandos CHAN8456
Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Del Mar
Published September 1986

In the Sinfonietta the playing is again first rate, but the diminutive title belies a work which is quite large-scale, and which needs a bigger body of strings than the Bournemouth Sinfonietta possess. On Boult's 1967 Lyrita recording, with its pleasing Kingsway Hall acoustic, the LPO's full complement of strings makes a better effect and Sir Adrian's objective approach works well in a delightful work which has a well-contrived blend of high spirits, charm and warmth of feeling. Del Mar points the reflective passages with his usual skill and sympathy: his tempos are on the whole faster than those of Boult and it is possible to think that he presses too hard in the lively episodes, which in the slightly over-reverberant acoustic become rather blurred and too much dominated by the Timpani. The new record is most welcome, however, for another viewpoint on the Sinfonietta and for the revelatory account of the Cello Concerto.


EMI CDC7 49912-2
Northern Sinfonia/Hickox
Published February 1990

A very pleasant disc of orchestral works by Moeran and Finzi, sensitively played by the Northern Sinfonia, and recorded straightforwardly, with no quirks, although the resonance of All Saints' Church in Newcastle upon Tyne sometimes blurs the timpani rolls. Richard Hickox has flair for this vein of British music and brings out both composers' considerable skill in the application of orchestral colours, mostly pastel shades in Finzi, but bolder in the Moeran pieces, which are among his more extrovert compositions.

Moeran's Sinfonietta has been brightly recorded by Norman Del Mar for Chandos and anyone who possesses it needn't look further. It's a delightful work, eclectic like most of Moeran, but tautly and expertly composed in an honourable tradition of lighter music by British composers. I can't think why we don't hear it more often in the concert-hall—well, of course, I can think why: the chronic timidity of audiences and managements.


EMI CDM7 64721-2
Northern Sinfonia/Hickox
Published August 1994 (Reissue, mid-price)

In the case of the Sinfonietta, Hickox's comparatively bluff way with the outer movements has much in common with Del Mar's 1986 Bournemouth Sinfonietta version; the former is, however, more acutely responsive to the chimerical mood-changes of the central Theme and Variations. Let us hope that this, Moeran's centenary year, sees the restoration of Boult's pioneering Lyrita account (11/85—nla) of this lovely score (coupled, ideally, to that great conductor's superb recording of the Symphony in G minor).


All reviews ©Gramophone Magazine, Haymarket Publishing


©2011 The Worldwide Moeran Database



...the diminutive title belies a work which is quite large-scale...



...It's a delightful work, eclectic like most of Moeran, but tautly and expertly composed...