Recordings of Lennox Berkeley's music

Divertimentos & Sinfoniettas by Tippett, Britten, Arnold, Berkeley and Rawsthorne

Divertimentos & Sinfoniettas by Tippett, Britten, Arnold, Berkeley and Rawsthorne album cover
Format: CD
Label: Lyrita
Release date: November 2007
Catalogue no: SRCD257

Lennox Berkeley Society review

These re-issues from Lyrita make a most welcome programme. The playing by the ECO is, of course, balanced and shapely, as well as having clarity of texture and instrumental colour. The Berkeley work is the Sinfonietta op. 34 dating from 1950 and forms an important addition to the currently available recorded repetoire.

In the first movement (Allegro) ideas are presented and developed in succinct manner, but it goes together really well and the recapitulation has a particular elegance.

The second movement begins with a lovely, tender Lento which gradually moves to a climax and a halt before a contemplative passage brings in the sprightly but suave Allegro non troppo. This is essential, high-level Berkeley.

There is much to enjoy in all the works of this collection. Particular favourites are the Lament from Tippett's Divertimento entitled Selinger's Round, and the Rondo (unusually the first movement) of the fine Divertimento by Alan Rawsthorne. The CD includes excellent notes by Michael Kennedy and Robert Layton.

Audio sample of Sinfonietta (Allegro) courtesy of Lyrita Recorded Edition.

Christopher Daly

Performed by the English Chamber Orchestra & Norman Del Mar (conductor)