Constant Lambert's flamboyant personality is reflected in his seductive and
occasionally outrageous scores that are being explored with sumptuous and
fine regularity on Hyperion. This latest offering enshrines two rare ballets
and both reel with dazzling orchestration and Waltonian like jazziness that
was so typical of Lambert at his best. 'Tiresias' in particular is orgiastic
and sexually extremely alive with snakes and other evil animals taking on
various guises, you can imagine what sort of music this imagination can furnish!
Lloyd-Jones is wonderfully alert, especially in the highly complex sections
where orchestral ensemble pretty well loses all sort of organized cohesion.
The hour-long conception is perhaps slightly too expansive but the orchestra
never loses interest and one cannot deny the imaginative flair that lies
behind the score.
With 'Pomona' we are in more familiar 'twenties' territory. The Roman setting
is ideally conceived with the seductive whims of a feminine beauty dictating
the proceedings, rather in the form of 'Salome'. In fact the music reminded
me of Straussian opulence although at the same time you cannot fail to detect
the Lambertian stroke of genius here and there. Lewis Foreman makes references
to French impressionism and he could hardly be more right, this is impressionism,
albeit in a British guise!
Hyperion's clear and spotlessly clean recording sums up a brilliant release.
The striking cover painting is just the right sales pitch for the collector
to dig into his/her pocket for those few pounds that will complete a purchase
of qualitative integrity.
See also Rob Barnett's review last month