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CHAN 10389
    2 Ratings
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CHAN 10389

Bennett: Orchestral Works, Volume 1

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2006

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2006


Philharmonia Orchestra

Richard Hickox

Jonathan Lemalu


Paul Watkins



Watford Colosseum


Rachel Smith


Ralph Couzens

Michael Common


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 76:14
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(b. 1936)
Select Complete Single Disc for

Partita (1995)

  for orchestra  
  In memory of Sheila MacCrindle  
1 1 Intrada. Allegro giocoso 5:00
2 2 Lullaby. Andante con moto - Poco meno mosso 7:38
3 3 Finale. Vivo e giocoso 4:57
  premiere recording in this version  

Reflections on a Sixteenth Century Tune (1999)

  for string orchestra  
  To John Wilson  
4 Prelude. Lento - 2:07
5 Variation I. Allegretto - Con moto - Come prima - 1:55
6 Variation II. Allegro vivo - Non troppo allegro - 2:34
7 Variation III. Homage to Peter Warlock. Andante - 2:42
8 Variation IV. Con brio e ritmico - Sempre più animato - 2:42
9 Finale. [ ] - Tranquilo - Sempre più moderato - 3:31

Songs before Sleep (2002-03)

  for bass-baritone and strings  
  For Jonathan Lemalu  
10 1 The Mouse and the Bumble-bee. Molto vivo 1:23
11 2 Wee Willie Winkie. Allegro - Pochissimo meno 3:50
12 3 Twinkle, twinkle. little star. Andante lento 4:01
13 4 Baby, baby, anguthy baby. Con fuoco - 1:43
14 5 As I walked by myself. Lento e semplice 3:01
15 6 There was an old woman. Scherzando. Poco rilassando - 3:25
 Jonathan Lemalu baritone
premiere recording

Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song (2004)

  for cello and string orchestra  
  In memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother  
16 Andante lento - 1:55
17 Arioso - 4:25
18 Vivo - Grazioso - Come prima (Vivo) - Con fuoco 4:23
19 Interlude. Dolce semplice - 3:38
20 Con brio. Con fuoco, sempre allegro - 6:31
21 Alla sarabanda - Poco più sostenuto 4:53
 Paul Watkins cello
Richard Rodney Bennett has been a major figure in music over the past five decades and his seventieth birthday has led to a revival of interest in his works.

This release includes two world premiere recordings: Reflections on a Sixteenth Century Tune and Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song composed for Her Majesty the Queen Mother, commissioned by Peter Moores Foundation on behalf of HRH the Prince of Wales.

It is highly appealing, melodic music.

Paul Watkins is one of Britain’s foremost cellists.

Celebrating his 70th birthday during 2006, the prolific British composer Richard Rodney Bennett presents the world premiere recording of Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song, a fantasy for cello and string orchestra, in memory of the Queen Mother. The Prince who commissioned the work wrote: "I am delighted to have played a part in the creation of a new work from Sir Richard Rodney Bennett in memory of my beloved grandmother. Sir Richard is one of the UK's leading composers which make him an obvious choice for this very special commission.” Reflecting the Queen Mother’s Scottish background, Bennett uses a Scottish folk song as the basis for the work. ‘Ca’ the yowes to the knowes’ is presented at the start of the work, then treated freely in a continuous sequence of self-contained musical paragraphs, with virtuosic solo part writing including two short cadenzas, for the cellist. These passages are performed with authority by Paul Watkins. This beautiful orchestral string writing together with rhapsodic writing for the soloist; has a very approachable style and is a fitting memory of the Queen Mother.

Coupled with this premiere are three other works of a melodic approachable style, with Bennett’s characteristic harmonic and rhythmic fluidity. Reflections on a Sixteenth Century Tune uses a theme adapted from the top line of a three-part chanson by Josquin des Pres. Its shapely curves and modal inflections evoke affinities with two earlier British works for strings, Vaughan Williams’s Tallis Fantasia and Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra. Partita symbolizes Bennett’s move to introduce elements of his more approachable film style, and of jazz idioms, into his concert music.

The programme concludes with Bennett’s reworking of his cycle Songs before Sleep for baritone and strings, performed by Jonathan Lemalu, once again demonstrates his masterly handling of the string orchestra.

This is a highly engaging disc, masterly conducted by Richard Hickox, and should be enjoyed by many.

…it’s a most beautifully written piece, as Paul Watkins was eager to reveal.
The Times

Recorded sound is up to the usual high Chandos standards and Anthony Burton’s notes are excellent. This is a release I recommend with the greatest enthusiasm to anyone with an interest in British music, and I greatly look forward to further releases in the series. A winner.
International Record Review

Chandos is one of my favourite record companies. They have a fine feeling for sound, and they like to make large collections of good modern composers. Here begins a series of the orchestral music of Richard Rodney Bennett… I found the programme very enjoyable and beautifully played and recorded.
American Record Guide

Blindfolded you might easily guess some newly discovered score by Bernstein or Copland, as Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s 1995 Partita shoots off the blocks and into busy action. That’s meant as no disservice to the piece – it’s strongly individual, and undoubtedly reflects Bennett’s year of US residence and his extensive work in film music. He wanted the Partita to be ‘full of tunes’ and it is, Richard Hickox and the Philharmonia producing a punchy generously lyrical performance… An auspicious start to what could be a very interesting series.
BBC Music Magazine

No hint here of Bennett the Boulez pupil of the 1950s: this first volume in an orchestral survey concentrates on his more recent music, cushioned with tunes and English lyricism. The Partita bubbles with warmth, Songs before Sleep (featuring Jonathan Lemalu) sets nursery rhymes with respect, and the two Reflections for strings glory in idiomatic writing. All easy fare for Richard Hickox and the Philharmonia.

It’s hard to imagine a more beguiling start to this series or a more appealing introduction to Richard Rodney Bennett than this CD…I can’t imagine anyone not being enraptured by this CD.

With the impeccable Richard Hickox conducting the Philharmonia, these nuanced and authoritative interpretations are everything one could wish and expect… In both departments of his musical activities, as composer or performer, Chandos has done Bennett proud. Further volumes in either series will be something to look forward to.

M Streicher

L Cotter