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English Chamber Orchestra/Richard Bonynge, Emanuel Hurwitz
Richard Hickox Orchestra/Richard Hickox
rec. January 1966 (Hurwitz), July 1967 and August 1968 (Bonynge) Kingsway Hall, London: September 1976 (Hickox) St John’s Smith Square, London
ELOQUENCE 482 8794 [75:40 + 77:34]

This twofer contains three Decca stereo LPs. The earliest was Music in London 1670-1770, which was performed by the English Chamber Orchestra under Emanuel Hurwitz and first released on Ace of Diamonds in September 1966. Then, in a May 1969 release, Richard Bonynge conducted the same orchestra in Bach and Salieri. Bringing up the rear is Richard Hickox and his eponymous orchestra on Argo in June 1977.

The repertoire is vintage fare - Matthew Locke to Salieri, chronologically speaking, unless you include Remo Giazotto for his Albinoni work. The performances are richly upholstered by today’s more abrasive standards and the interpretative stance is elegant and expressive. These qualities inform Bonynge’s Salieri performances, whether the charmingly ingratiating Sinfonia where the composer demonstrates, in the slow movement, his pronounced melodic gifts or in the droll and sensitively shaped Concerto in C. This is really a Sinfonia Concertante for flute and oboe, whereas JC Bach’s actual Sinfonia Concertante, for flute, oboe, violin and cello gives renewed opportunities for flautist Richard Adeney to shine alongside his colleagues Peter Graeme, Hurwitz and Keith Harvey. Of the foursome it’s perhaps Graeme who consistently takes the ear, his avian phrasing a constant delight. As is the case of the Symphony in E flat major, a forthright, confident work, all the editions are Bonynge’s own.

Hurwitz, the ECO’s leader for Bonynge, directed the orchestra himself in his selection which also took in a JC Bach Symphony, in his case in E major, but in the edition by Fritz Stein. This again is a wonderful work, romantically played, and must show the influence of Bach on native British composers such as James Hook. The two Boyce Symphonies are robustly played but buoyantly so, even if not quite the equal of my favourite of that period from Jörg Faerber and the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra. Both of these are heard in Constant Lambert’s arrangements. Charles Avison’s Concertos are far better known today than when Hurwitz recorded the sole example here, No.13 in Arthur Milner’s edition. The brief music from Locke’s The Tempest is heard in the more venerable edition prepared by William Gillies Whittaker who, like Avison, was a Newcastle man. The second piece of music here, the Curtain Tune, is played with more than usual expressive dignity.

Hickox brings things to the mid-70s; in point of fact his session dates from September 1976. He directs a tasteful, not-too-bloated Albinoni, albeit a sonorous one with Simon Standage taking the solo violin honours and Alastair Ross the organist. The same composer’s Oboe Concerto a 5, Op.9 No.2 features Sara Barrington as a likeable though essentially reserved soloist. Pachelbel’s Canon is less lingering than some then or, indeed, now whilst Purcell’s Ciacona in G minor (the edition here is Basil Lam’s) is well shaped. Bononcini’s Sinfonia da chiesa offers four compact movement revealing scrupulous polyphony and taut expression.

The booklet reprints the three original LP liner notes, two by Charles Cudworth and one by Lam. This is all very nicely done so if you’re nostalgic for chamber-sized performances of the Baroque Plus repertoire in Britain in the decade from mid-Beatles to the arrival of Punk, then this restoration should make your day.

Jonathan Woolf

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825)
Sinfonia in D major ‘Veneziana’ [8:46]
Concerto in C major for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra [17:31]
Richard Adeney (flute): James Brown (oboe)
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)
Sinfonia Concertante for Flute, Oboe, Violin and Cello [21:29]
Richard Adeney (flute): Peter Graeme (oboe): Emanuel Hurwitz (violin): Keith Harvey (cello)
Symphony in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2 [11:29]
English Chamber Orchestra/Richard Bonynge
Symphony in E major, Op. 18 No. 5 [15:10]
Thomas ARNE (1710-1788)
Overture No. 4 in F major arr Adam Carse, Roger Fiske [7:07]
William BOYCE (1711-1779)
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major arr Constant Lambert [8:28]
Symphony No. 4 in F major arr Constant Lambert [5:37]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Chaconne from The Fairy Queen [3:25]
Charles AVISON (1709-1770)
Concerto No. 13 in D major arr Arthur Milner [7:51]
Matthew LOCKE (1621-1677)
The Tempest – Incidental music arr William Whittaker [5:20]
English Chamber Orchestra/Emanuel Hurwitz
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1750)/Remo GIAZZOTTO (1910-1998)
Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ [8:53]
Simon Standage (violin): Alastair Ross (organ)
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1750)
Oboe Concerto, Op. 9 No. 2 13:04]
Sara Barrington (oboe)
Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)
Canon in D major [4:55]
Giovanni BONONCINI (1670-1747)
Sinfonia da chiesa a quattro, Op. 5 No. 1 ed Anthony Ford [5:38]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Ciacona in G minor ed Basil Lam [6:06]
Richard Hickox Orchestra/Richard Hickox


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