Recordings of Lennox Berkeley's music

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Displaying all recordings (1-10 of 236)

Ravel, Berkeley, Pounds

Ravel, Berkeley, Pounds album cover Format: CD
Label: Chandos Records
Release date: February 2024
Catalogue no: CHAN 5324

The three composers whose works appear on this album are interconnected: Ravel was a mentor to Lennox Berkeley, and Berkeley to Adam Pounds.

Berkeley met Ravel a number of times in the 1920s. Ravel advised him to study with Nadia Boulanger, which he did, between 1926 and 1932. Commissioned by Sir Arthur Bliss for the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1942, the Divertimento has found many supporters (including Pounds). The critic Peter Dickinson felt it showed an ‘instinctive and unimpassioned creativeness associated with the French aesthetic, but by no means restricted to it’.

Adam Pounds studied privately with Berkeley in London during the late 1970s, and in his own music has perpetuated the firm commitment of the two earlier composers to clarity and accessibility in everything they wrote. His Third Symphony was written in 2021 and is a response to the national lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Pounds states that the piece captures the ‘sadness, humour, determination and defiance’ which everyone faced at this time – not least musicians. Scored for relatively modest orchestral forces, the work is dedicated to Sinfonia of London and John Wilson who here give the work its world première recording.

'Le Tombeau de Couperin' marks Ravel’s movement towards neoclassicism, its forms and style a re-invention of ones from the French baroque. Originally written for solo piano, the movements of the suite were dedicated to friends whom Ravel had lost in the First World War. In 1919 he orchestrated four of the six movements (the version performed here).

(Edited synopsis courtesy Chandos Records)

Performed by the Sinfonia of London & John Wilson (conductor)


English Music for Strings

English Music for Strings album cover Format: CD
Label: Chandos Records
Release date: February 2021
Catalogue no: CHAN 5264

During the 1930s, Bliss, Britten, and Berkeley all contributed major works to the repertoire for string orchestra, following in the footsteps of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. They are joined on this album by Frank Bridge whose Lament was composed during the First World War. This is the fourth recording by John Wilson with his award-winning Sinfonia of London. Bliss composed Music for Strings after he had completed the film score for Korda’s Things to Come, driven by his desire to compose a piece of ‘pure music’, expressing his own ideas rather than those of others.

Commissioned in May 1937 by Boyd Neel for the Salzburg Festival that summer, Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge was composed at great speed, and helped to establish the young composer’s international reputation. Dedicated to his teacher, Frank Bridge, the theme is taken from the second of Bridge’s Three Idylls for string quartet.

Lennox Berkeley composed his Serenade for Strings at Snape Maltings, where he was living with Britten in 1938 / 39. By the time of its completion the nation was at war and the music seems to reflect the composer’s anxious mood as the world faced an uncertain future.

The album is recorded in Surround-Sound, and available as a hybrid SACD. The front cover features a painting by Edward Wadsworth of Bliss’s house, Pen Pits, built for him in 1935.

Synopsis by Chandos Records

Performed by the Sinfonia of London & John Wilson (conductor)


Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures

Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures album cover Format: CD
Label: Somm Recordings
Release date: December 2020
Catalogue no: ARIADNE 5010

SOMM Recordings’ acclaimed series of re-mastered recitals by the fondly remembered singer continues with Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures. This features recordings made for Decca and the BBC between 1946 and 1953 and includes a previously unpublished recording of Ferrier’s passionate performance of Lennox Berkeley’s Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila. ... Sir Thomas Allen, the distinguished interpreter of British song and Trustee of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, contributes an extensive booklet commentary. Pianist Julian Jacobson, son of composer Maurice Jacobson, whose melancholy but sensuous The Song of Songs is heard in a 1947 BBC broadcast, also provides a personal poignant note on Ferrier’s championing of his father’s work. The music is sung with all the passion and tenderness we have come to expect from that glorious contralto voice, confirming Our Kaff’s reputation as a warm-hearted, vivacious, modest and courageous woman with a wicked sense of humour.

Review by John Pitt, New Classics


Songs for Sir John - A Tribute to Sir John Manduell

Songs for Sir John - A Tribute to Sir John Manduell album cover Format: CD
Label: Divine Art Recordings
Release date: September 2020
Catalogue no: DDA25210

Sir John Manduell was a pivotal figure in British music - as composer, teacher, BBC producer, first principal of the Northern Royal College of Music and founder of the European Opera Centre. Beloved and revered by musicians, yet someone whose name is shamefully little known outside the music profession.

This album in tribute presents works by 16 composers from more than one generation, centred around settings of W.B. Yeats and principally songs with oboe, recorder, violin and cello. The music is varied, rich and wonderfully set to the texts, and yet the textures are always transparent and clear; there is nothing inherently ‘difficult’ for the listener. The performers are among the cream of the Music world of Northern England, and also, in the Robin Walker Nursery Rhymes (the only work not specially recorded for the album), feature the iconic veteran BBC presenter Richard Baker. Many of these artists have starred in several other Divine Art and Metier albums - click their names above for details.

Even without the Manduell connection this is a wonderfully constructed program of new chamber music.


So Many Stars

So Many Stars album cover Format: CD & Digital download
Label: Stone Records
Release date: February 2019
Catalogue no: 5060192780826

Here is a unique and very welcome collection of Sonatinas for Violin and Piano, a genre often overlooked in our teeming world, with most of them (not necessarily the best) being by British composers, performed by Fenella Humphreys, violin, and Nicola Eimer, piano. It contains Lennox Berkeley's Sonatina for Violin and Piano op 17 plus works by Alwyn, Crosse, Françaix, Frances Head and Sibelius. The recording quality is very fine, as is the playing of both of these gifted artists. This is an exceptionally well-planned issue, one which ought to find a place in the collection of any lover of music for violin and piano, and especially of British music. (synopsis by Classical Source)

Performed by Fenella Humphrey (violin) & Nicola Eimer (piano)


Lennox Berkeley: The Complete Piano Works

Lennox Berkeley: The Complete Piano Works album cover Format: Digital download
Label: Hoxa
Release date: June 2018
Catalogue no: 5060024370379
Available from: CD Baby, Portland, Oregon, USA Tel: +1 503 595 3000 Email:

Douglas Stevens performs the entire solo piano output of Lennox Berkeley, expertly navigating his influences and confluences in musical style with passion, verve and tenderness. (Synopsis by CD Baby)

Performed by Douglas Stevens (piano)


Music for the Queen of Heaven: contemporary Marian motets

Music for the Queen of Heaven: contemporary Marian motets album cover Format: CD
Label: Delphian Records
Release date: October 2017
Catalogue no: DCD34190

The Marian Consort originally made its name with the music of the Renaissance. But the group has also worked regularly with living composers for a number of years. This programme of contemporary Marian anthems - many of them commissioned by the ensemble - celebrates a living, developing tradition where the new is always informed by the old, casting fresh, vital light on these ancient words. Includes 'Regina coeli laetare' (No. 3 of Three Latin Motets op. 83/1 by Lennox Berkeley)

Performed by the Marian Consort


Simmetrie E Contrasti Nel '900

Simmetrie E Contrasti Nel '900 album cover Format: CD & Digital download
Release date: August 2017
Catalogue no: G1701

Performed by Simone Rinaldo (guitar)


Guitar Recital by Xianji Liu

Guitar Recital by Xianji Liu album cover Format: CD & Digital download
Label: Naxos
Release date: August 2017
Catalogue no: 8.573813

When Xianji Liu became the first Chinese-born winner of the prestigious Francisco Tárrega International Guitar Competition in 2016, a new star emerged in the world of the classical guitar. Spanning the centuries and crossing the globe from Argentina to Britain, his recital includes some of the most beguiling and evocative pieces ever written for the instrument as well as four transcriptions so idiomatic to the guitar that they sound utterly natural on the six plucked strings. (Synopsis by Naxos Records)

Performed by Xianji Lui (guitar)


Dreams and Fancies

Dreams and Fancies album cover Format: CD & Digital download
Label: Delphian Records
Release date: July 2017
Catalogue no: DCD34193

Barely half a century ago, the guitar was such a rarity in the concert hall that even an outstanding player like Julian Bream was remarkable as a pioneer as much as for his exceptional technique and musicality. Today, by contrast, the field is richly populated - thanks not only to Bream’s own inspiring example to younger players but also to the vastly increased repertoire, so much of which he also instigated.

Yet even in this new heyday for the instrument, Sean Shibe - whose full album debut here nests among four of those Bream-commissioned works a clutch of Dowland pieces from a previous Elizabethan Golden Age - stands out as a truly uncommon talent. ‘I want to hear his interpretation of Britten’s Nocturnal over and over,’ wrote David Nice in an awed recent concert review. ‘This, for me, is the definitive performance.’ [synopsis by Delphian]

Performed by Sean Shibe (guitar)


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