Herrmann: Souvenirs de voyage; Gershwin: George Gershwin's Song-Book; Promenade (Walking the Dog); Lullaby; Waxman: Four scenes from childhood; Copland: Waltz and Celebration from Billy the Kid

Reviewed on Fri 07 Aug, 2015

Bernard Herrmann's Souvenirs de voyage is a wonderfully mellifluous and deeply touching creation, its first two movements kindred in spirit and idiom to the English pastoralism of Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Finzi.

Written in 1967 and revised eight years later, Bernard Herrmann's Souvenirs de voyage is a wonderfully mellifluous and deeply touching creation. A 26-minute clarinet quintet in all but name, its first two movements are kindred in spirit and idiom to the English pastoralism of Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Finzi, while the Canto amoroso finale recalls Berlioz and Respighi. Clarinettist Richard Hosford and his Nash colleagues do this lovely music absolutely proud here. If pianist Ian Brown's agreeably stylish traversal through George Gershwin's Song-Book (1932) doesn't always eclipse memories of, say, William Bolcom (Nonesuch), Richard Rodney Bennett or Peter Donohoe (both on Warner), there can be no grumbles with this team's meltingly beautiful treatment of the haunting Lullaby for string quartet or the delicious playfulness they bring to Promenade (Walking the Dog). This enjoyable American survey from The Nash Ensemble also includes Franz Waxman's charming Four scenes from childhood for violin and piano from 1948 and is rounded off by Copland's own arrangement for cello and piano of two numbers from Billy the Kid that he made in 1952 for the great Gregor Piatigorsky. Admirable sound and balance, too, courtesy of the expert Keener/Eadon production-team. If the programme appeals, don't hesitate.
–Andrew Achenbach