Recordings of Lennox Berkeley's music

British Flute Concertos

British Flute Concertos album cover
Format: CD & Digital download
Label: Chandos Records
Release date: March 2012
Catalogue no: CHAN10718

Lennox Berkeley Society review

The Magic Flute Dances by Jonathan Dove, Concerto by William Alwyn, Sonata S164 by Francis Poulenc (orchestrated by Lennox Berkeley) and Flute Concerto (op. 36) by Lennox Berkeley

 

This Chandos recording has excellent sound, giving clarity, fullness and definition of texture and colour. The orchestra under Bramwell Tovey is precise yet always expressive of musical intent. The balance between orchestra and soloist is finely realised, revealing matters of counterpoint so very well.

Emily Beynon plays with a sensitive, pure tone and a wonderful poise that is there through every phrase to its ending.

Jonathan Dove's evocative Magic Flute Dances provide an enchanting beginning to the programme, and the magic is persuasive throughout the work's five sections. The technique of both soloist and orchestra are shown to full effect.

For the orchestration of William Alwyn's concerto, John McCabe took Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin as a model. Each of the four movements is in short sections indicated by changed tempo markings; the ideas being engaging, well linked and worked out.

Although he was at first reluctant to undertake it, Sir Lennox's orchestration of the Poulenc Sonata resulted in a beautifully scored work. The music is attractive and memorable; the three movements well balanced.

In the Flute Concerto (op. 36), which was written for John Francis, the flute writing is elegant and wide-ranging within a work that is lyrical, elevated and finely-constructed. The third movement is a particularly lovely Adagio, yet the concerto sustains a high level throughout its four movements.

From the Society's point of view, this CD could not be more welcome, and as a sponsor we are proud to be associated with it. In more general terms, though, it is a very important contribution to the recorded flute repertoire.

Christopher Daly

Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Emily Beynon (flute) & Bramwell Tovey (conductor)