William Alwyn composed some fifty works for the orchestra, including five symphonies, a sinfonietta, concertos for flute, oboe, violin, piano, harp, three concerti grossi, and many other descriptive shorter pieces. The seven works on this recording show Alwyn responding in his own individual way to the various challenges presented to him in writing for the orchestra, from the early Five Preludes, in which one can sense already his keen ear for orchestral colour, through to the self-assured scoring of his maturity in the evocative Autumn Legend.
“Dukes's viola stars in the Concerto Grosso No 1 (1939), and Pankhurst's cor anglais in the more mature Autumn Legend (1954). As striking as any larger work, however, are the early Five Preludes (1927), here recorded for the first time, and shot through with signs of the self-confidence to come.” The Observer, 13th July 2008
“ Alwyn, who started out as an orchestral musician, understood how to make the most of what he was writing for, and as David Lloyd-Jones's typically sympathetic performances show, he did it almost effortlessly.” The Guardian, 25th July 2008 ***
“Pankhurst is a mesmeric cor anglais player in William Alwyn's Pre-Raphaelite-inspired Autumn Legend (1954), the finest item on this disc of seven orchestral scores. She plays her ruminative, sorrowful line with full, rich, snake-charmer tone against the hot, dreamy strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under David Lloyd-Jones. The violist Philip Dukes comes a close second as the sombre soloist in the Pastoral Fantasia (1939), singing of lost innocence. The Tragic Interlude has an epic, big-screen quality and the Scottish Dances are fun, but Concerto Grosso No 1 has the misfortune of resembling The Birdy Song in its spirited finale.” The Times, 9th August 2008 ***
“Each of these performances matches the mint-condition precision of the music itself, with Philip Dukes a memorable soloist in the Pastoral Fantasia.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2008 ****
“Dedicated and shapely advocacy for these little-known Alwyn gems.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2008