And the Bridge is Love: English Music for Strings – Works by Howard Goodall, Elgar, William Lloyd Webber, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Walton and Ireland

Reviewed on Tue 14 Apr, 2015

This is an appealing mix of the familiar and rare, of the substantial and slender, all most expertly and tenderly played by the English Chamber Orchestra. Half of the playing-time is taken up by nice and warm Elgar: Introduction and Allegro (which comes off especially well here), Serenade for Strings, Sospiri, Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin – these last two arranged by the composer's friend, WH ('Billy') Reed. The rest of the 70-minute programme brings plenty of delights including a sweetly lyrical new work for cello and orchestra by Howard Goodall (agreeable enough, if faintly anonymous), The Moon by William Lloyd Webber (Julian's dad), Delius (the second of the Two Aquarelles being especially tuneful for him), delicate Vaughan Williams and John Ireland. Any disc which includes Walton's gorgeous 'Touch Her Soft Lips and Part' (the second of two excerpts from his score for Laurence Olivier's 1944 film of Henry V) scores a bulls-eye in my eyes. These performances under Julian Lloyd Webber's skilful and deeply-felt lead are highly effective and give great pleasure, as does the clear yet warm recording.
–Ivor Solomons