BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE (SEPTEMBER 1998)
WILLIAM LLOYD WEBBER
Invocation: Mass ‘Princeps pacis’; Serenade for Strings;
Aurora; Three Spring Miniatures; Invocation; Lento; Nocturne, etc
Tasmin Little (violin), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), Ian Watson (organ), City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox
Chandos CHAN 9595 62:38 mins £ £ £
This CD comprises ten works demonstrating Lloyd Webber’s gentle, subtle melodic gift and his skill at compressing complex material, frequently employing unexpected developments, into short time spans. The Faure-like missa brevis Princeps Pacis combines all these attributes: it is a little jewel with a sublime Gloria that culminates, radiantly, at ‘Cum Sancto Spiritu…’. Tasmin Little’s sweet tones distinguish the Benedictus for violin and organ, written for the composer’s wedding service and suitably Romantic. Julian Lloyd Webber is ideally partnered by Skaila Kanga in the tender supplications of the Nocturne from his father’s oratorio St Francis of Assisi. Kanga’s sensitive playing also informs Aurora, a tone poem about the goddess of the dawn, the most impressive work here. Lloyd Webber draws a fine evocation of dawn mists, strengthening daylight and the sense of joy at a new day as well as the awesome majesty and sensuality of Aurora.
Lento is brooding and intense; its intricate and hyper-expressive harmonies echo late Mahler or early Schoenberg while the CD title piece,
Invocation, for strings, harp and timpani, is intense and romantic. Hickox is persuasive in all his items.