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Classical Set in Silver Chamber Ensemble of London/Fisher This double CD compilation brings together nineteen pieces of English string music ranging from Purcell to contemporary composers.

Six are claimed to be premiere recordings: not surprising for new music but it is when the composers are John Ireland (Bagatelle) and Frederick Delius.

In fact Delius's Legende, for violin and orchestra, was premiered on disc in 1984 by Ralph Holmes with Vernon Handley conducting. It's typical languorous Delius, very pleasant and well played by Peter Fisher who also directs the orchestra.

With the Holmes recording deleted this one fills a gap nicely. There are some favourites here, Elgar's Salut d'Amour and Purcell's Chacony in G minor, but also intriguing rarities like the fifth concerto of Richard Mudge an eighteenth century composer who was also Curate of St Bartholomew's Chapel in Birmingham.

I particularly enjoyed Mariposas by jazzman Sir John Dankworth which sounds like Walton with a dash of Malcolm Arnold.

Norman Stinchcombe Jazz Solo Fred Hersch FRED HERSCH hadn't intended to release this recording of a concert in an elegant former chapel in the Catskills in August 2014; it was meant just as an archival record.

But when he heard it he realised it captured him "in the zone" where his technique, head and heart were all working in harmony.

The tunes range from a Jobim song to a Schumann pastorale, with pieces by Monk and Joni Mitchell as well as jazz standards like Jer-rome Kern's The Song Is You in there as well.

If the piano recording is a little over-resonant at times - thanks to the natural acoustics of the church building - the playing is both marvellously expansive and intensely intimate at once.

Hersch can be one of the most romantic of jazz pianists, but his taste is impeccable and his focus unwavering.

This is the sound of one great musician, his thoughts, his feelings, a grand piano and a generous musical heritage.

Peter Bacon Rock & Pop Alone in the Universe Jeff Lynne's ELO Jeff Lynne has never denied being a huge Beatles fan. But when ELO's first single in aeons sounded like the work of a man still listening to 1994's Free As A Bird, it seemed he might have lost his way a little. Turns out not.

ELO fans have been waiting 14 years for Alone in the Universe and they won't be disappointed.

There's a real joie-de-vivre in these songs and although the ghosts of George Harrison and Roy Orbison are never far from proceedings, it's every inch an ELO album.

Andrew Greenhalgh

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 19, 2015
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