Arcadia Lost

17/12/2011
Geoff Adams
Otago Daily Times (NZ)

British conductor Mark Wigglesworth draws vivid and very noteworthy performances of compatriots' works from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra: Benjamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem plus Ralph Vaughan Williams' Flos Campi (with chorus sung by Cantillation and Roger Benedict solo viola), and The Lark Ascending (solo violin Michael Dauth).

An inspired addition is Vaughan Williams' emotional On Wenlock Edge, performed by Steve Davislim (tenor) with Hamer Quartet and pianist Benjamin Martin.

These are all beautifully recorded. Britten's explosive antiwar music is particularly exciting. Vaughan Williams is well served with the velvety violin tones of Dauth and well-balanced viola, chorus and orchestra in Flos Campi (based on The Song of Solomon.) On Wenlock Edge fills ears and disc nicely.

Highlight: exhilarating Australian performances.