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A Summer’s Day

A recital of summer music from England and Sweden

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Catalogue Number: 5060192781144


I loved The Little Venice Ensemble’s Christmas disc a few years ago, and here’s the delayed follow-up. Mostly recorded in Sweden last winter, this anthology is another euphonious selection of Anglo-Swedish music, reflecting the group’s make up. I’d never encountered Vaughan Williams’s Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunesbefore. They’re unassumingly beautiful, first played in 1941 by a string quartet but designed to be performed by “combinations of all manner of instruments”. A fleet scherzo separates the outer movements, the flattened sevenths in the final bars wholly characteristic. Another rarity is Malcolm Arnold’s delicious little Serenade for Guitar and Strings from 1955, losing nothing in this performance with five solo strings. Written, like Arnold’s Guitar Concerto, for Julian Bream, the idiomatic, unflashy solo writing is typical of Arnold and a lovely blend of Spanish and pastoral English influences. Guitarist Martin Fogel is excellent; you’d buy the CD for this piece alone. Violinist Björn Kleiman’s arrangements of four piano pieces by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger are charmers: folksy, earthy miniatures which do what they do wonderfully well. The third one, “Vest I fjellom” is the standout; suggesting a Swedish Vaughan Williams. Kleiman’s own “Lady’s Mantle” is a small but perfectly proportioned and scored waltz for flute and string quartet. The other numbers feature soprano Susanna Andersson, whose light, clear sound fits the album’s mood perfectly. There’s a song from ABBA’s Benny Andersson, whose “Efter regnet” is a charmer. Equally appealing are the Five Quiet Songs by the British jazz guitarist and composer John Duarte, and the disc ends with Monica Dominique’s lovely “Tillägnan”, an ode to nature in a new arrangement featuring the entire ensemble. A small but perfectly formed album. (The Arts Desk)

Track listing
  1. Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day
  2. Crug-y-bar
  3. St. Denio
  4. Aberystwyth
  5. Dirge in Woods
  6. Silence
  7. An Epitaph
  8. Omar’s Lament
  9. The Birds
  10. Lady’s Mantle
  11. När rönnen blommar
  12. Gångtrall
  13. Vest i fjellom
  14. Spelman
  15. Efter regnet
  16. Serenade for Guitar and Strings
  17. Tillägnan