The Sunday Times September 1998

The Sunday Times 23rd September 1998

WILLIAM LLOYD WEBBER: Piano music, chamber music and songs

The Nash Ensemble, John Mark Ainsley,

Ian Brown Hyperion CDA67008

WILLIAM Lloyd Webber, father of Andrew and Julian, was no radical. Though he only died in 1982, his music inhabits the world of Gurney and Ireland, half a century before. But these modest miniatures reveal a composer who was able, not only to invent memorable ideas, but to do some artful things with them, for instance in the Variations for Clarinet and Piano. Conspicuously Ireland- like titles such as Frensham Pond evoke a summery idyllic mood. The eight songs, setting texts by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Noyes et al, and beautifully delivered by John Mark Ainsley, are likewise warm romantic visions of bliss, though the 12-minute Fantasy Trio is a cogently argued essay that suggests a probing, organised mind.

Stephen Pettitt