BBC Music Magazine July 1996
WILLIAM LLOYD WEBBER
Sonatina for Viola and Piano; Nocturne; Two Pieces for Cello and Piano; Missa Sanctae Mariae
Magdalenae; Seven Pieces for Piano; Five Songs for Tenor and Piano
Philip Dukes (viola), Ian Watson
(organ), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), John Graham-Hall (tenor), Sophia
Rahman, John Lill, Philip Ledger (piano); Richard Hickox Singers!
59:16 mins V939
The shy, retiring father of Andrew and Julian, William Lloyd Webber composed in many different forms, mostly from 1945 to the mid-Fifties, when he abandoned composition for teaching because he felt his Romantic style was outdated. His music is accessible and concise. Indeed, it is remarkable how much material and development is so comfortably spaced in his melodic, eight-minute Sonatina for viola and piano. All the artists featured on this CD perform with conviction and devotion. Julian Lloyd Webber’s and John Lill’s contributions are particularly moving, especially the beautiful Nocturne and ‘In the half-light’ (the first of the Two Pieces) — a brief, intense portrait of an elderly person surveying his life. Much is derivative, often deliberately, to fit a commission. The light Seven Pieces for Piano, are pure delight in Lill’s hands; three are written in homage to Rachmaninov, and ‘Romantic Evening’ and ‘Explanation’ remind one of Noel Coward and Ivor Novello.
The songs are somewhat uneven, but John Graham-Hall conveys a delicate mix of joy and sadness as he sees his love rushing ‘Over the Bridge’ to meet him. The Mass shows impressive contrapuntal craftsmanship and the Hickox Singers display great precision and clarity. Delightful, undemanding music that grows on you.