Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958)
Clarinet Quintet (19) [24.43]
Piano Quartet (19) [26.14]
Traditional Melodies of England, Scotland and Ireland (19)
Quintet: John McCaw (cl),
Quartet: London Piano Quartet
Traditional Melodies: Delmé Quartet
recordings first issued in the 1970s on Blenheim LPs
BRITISH MUSIC LABEL BML
(from Mike Skeet, 44 Challacombe, Furzton, Milton Keynes MK4 lDP)
This CD, one of a mouth-watering series from BML, comprises reissues well
transferred from two different LPs originally issued (I speak from memory)
in the 1970s. It is particularly welcome as
Holbrooke's music has, it seems,
always been neglected, if not indeed vilified. The two main courses here,
the Clarinet Quintet in G Op. 27, which unsurprisingly shows the influence
of Brahms' Quintet for the same forces, and the Piano Quartet in G minor
Op. 21, both excellently performed here, date from Holbrooke's teens (i.e.
the mid-1890s) and are predictably fresh and tuneful; Holbrooke could always
write a good tune which makes his neglect the more surprising. It is possible
indeed to reckon him in part as a light music composer and like so many such
he arranged folk music of the British Isles. Here, as a succession of
soufflés, we have examples of English, Irish and Scottish tunes arranged
for string quartet capably if not outstandingly (The Last Rose of Summer
is, for me, the best). Listeners are advised not to listen to all five
of these tracks together.
The title "Volume 1" is encouraging; one hopes this means more Holbrooke
is scheduled for release in this series at not too distant a date.
See also review from Rob Barnett
UK is £10 incl UK P&P
abroad, the appropriate extra - Please approach Mr Skeet for quote.
Mike Skeet at F.R.C.
Milton Keynes MK4 1DP
phone/fax +44 (0)1908 502836