Geoffrey Bush: Concerto for light orchestra; Natus est Immanuel; Sinfonia Concertante; Two Miniatures; Finale for a Concert

Reviewed on Tue 31 Mar, 2015

Looking to have your spirits raised and musical taste-buds enlivened? The music of Englishman Geoffrey Bush (1920-98) could be your prescription. The six-movement Concerto for light orchestra is a joy from beginning to end. Don’t be put off by the severe (Stravinskian) opening, for what follows would perfectly adorn an Ealing Comedy (Malcolm Arnold in the mix). Its remaining movements offer heartfelt poetics, and whimsy: all feel-good. Natus est Immanuel (A Christmas piece) is equally expressive and other miniatures are exquisite or rollicking in nature, with sterling craftsmanship. Finale for a Concert moves apace, chuckling with Shostakovich-like wryness, and the Sinfonia Concertante for cello and orchestra is lively and persuasive, totally enjoyable. Raphael Wallfisch plays with commendable conviction. He also essays Christopher Palmer’s arrangement of John Ireland’s poignant The Holy Boy. Performances and recorded sound are splendid throughout. This lovely Lyrita anthology is recommended without reservation: yours to derive pleasure from.
–Colin Anderson