Review By Steve Schwartz,Classical Net,April 2012
Summary for the Busy Executive: Becoming and being.
This CD mixes Alwyn semi-“hits” with the relatively unknown. The earliest score, the 5 Preludes, shows a young composer in need of an individual voice. Despite their considerable finish, they come across as sketches for something larger. The two works from the Thirties show him trying to find one, mostly by trying on various masks.
Review By Andrew King,MUSO,June 2009
This disc, featuring some of Alwyn’s orchestral music, adds to Naxos’ already impressive discography of his music, which includes all the symphonies and piano concertos, among songs and chamber music. The seven works presented here reveal the composer’s own unique sense of lush orchestration and unique harmony.
Responsive to the challenges of orchestral writing, Alwyn gives us music of much under-rated quality and craftsmanship. Each work stands out from the buoyant Overture to a Masque and Concerto Grosso No 1, to the almost Vaughan Williams-ike Pastoral Fantasia, revealing a special quality of string writing only achieved by English composers.
Review By Pizzicato,March 2009
Review By Em Marshall,Albion Magazine Online,January 2009
This disc of William Alwyn's orchestral music opens with the lively Overture to a Masque (composed in 1940), followed by the first of Alwyn's three Concerti Grossi, this one commissioned by the BBC and dedicated to the leader and other players in the London Symphony Orchestra, in which Alwyn had been a flautist. It is an elegant, witty and sophisticated piece, excellently performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of David Lloyd-Jones. The ensuing Pastoral Fantasia dates from 1939 and presents a nostalgic vision of an England soon to be lost in the approaching war. Philip Duke is the eloquent viola soloist.
Review By Jonathan Woolf,MusicWeb International,December 2008
Admirers of the fecund Alwyn have good reason to look forward to Naxos’s continuing exploration of his music. This one contains a world premiere in the form of the modest but still engaging six minute Five Preludes of 1927 as well as fine-sounding, idiomatic performances of other orchestral works, some better known to aficionados of the composer’s music than others.
Review By ,Ritmo,December 2008
Review By Andrew Achenbach,Gramophone,November 2008
Dedicated and shapely advocacy for these little-known Alwyn gems
Review By Bob McQuiston,Classical Lost and Found,September 2008
Naxos now gives us some more delightful, rarely heard orchestral goodies by English composer William Alwyn (1905-1985). He wrote in every possible genre, including film music, and the seven short selections on this disc show what a master of orchestral color he was.
Overture to a Masque (1940) was literally a casualty of World War II because the heavy bombing of London prevented it from being premièred. It would be fifty years before it was discovered in the London Symphony Orchestra archives and given its first performance. It's in three spans consisting of bustling outer sections that surround a subdued, lovely pastoral inner one.
Review By David Hurwitz,ClassicsToday.com,September 2008
For a composer no one much cares about and whose music seldom appears on concert programs, William Alwyn has been extremely well treated by record labels (specifically Lyrita, Chandos, and Naxos). Read full review at ClassicsToday
Review By James Leonard,Allmusic.com,August 2008
Throughout, Alwyn the craftsman, Alwyn the tunesmith, and Alwyn the bon vivant are equally evident in the skill, beauty, and energy of the music. Coming off their brilliant series of recordings of Alwyn’s large-scale symphonies, Lloyd-Jones and the Liverpudlian musicians are clearly having fun here with the lighter Alwyn, and their performances sparkle and shine with enthusiasm. As in the previous releases in their Alwyn series, Naxos’ digital sound is clean, colorful, and direct.