Royal Liverpool PO/ Lloyd-Jones
The first of William Alwyn's Concerti Grossi was included in an earlier instalment of David Lloyd-Jones's excellent series with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for Naxos. The neo-baroque second, for string orchestra, dates from 1948, and was dedicated to the conductor Muir Matheson, at a time when Alwyn was arguably the foremost British composer of film music. The third, much more piquant, and with an occasional Stravinsky-like abrasiveness, was composed in 1964 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Henry Wood. Like all Alwyn's music, both pieces fulfil their function perfectly, just as the smaller-scale works here ? the dramatic overture The Moor of Venice and the Seven Irish Tunes arranged into a suite for small orchestra ? are perfectly judged light music. The equally slight Serenade from 1932, though, is a bit more than that ? its four short movements have very different starting points ? an Australian lithograph, quotations from Nietzsche and Browning ? but they come together in a distinctly pithy and pungent sequence.