RICHARD FRANCIS (b.1946): Fantasy Sonata, Characteristic Pieces, Vol. 1, IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): 5 Western Watercolours, HENRY WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941): Theme and Variations, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Concert Allegro (All World Premiere Recordings except the Elgar).
Catalogue Number: 04R074
Label: EM Records
Reference: EMR CD034
Description: Given that the unknown Francis takes up 51 of the 80 minutes of music here, it’s good to report that anyone interested in conservative English music in the late 20th century will find him a convivial discovery. The sonata of 1960 (rev. 2006) is a 25-minute work in three connected movements which owes much to the English sense of physical locales. Here the place is the Channel Islands and John Ireland’s Guernsey seascapes are a major influence on Francis’ coloristic palette. The set of ten Characteristic Pieces (1964-70) are evocative and imaginative vignettes whose longest piece - the 6:39 Sea Idyll - is also its earliest. The other significant new find is Gurney’s 1923 set of five miniature tone pictures which evoke places in his beloved Gloucestershire. Duncan Honeybourne.