CD Review of ‘The Moon Sails Out’ by Christopher Morley

This is a lovely release, and even the seat-wriggling sounds bring the listener closer in involvement. CBSO cellist Richard Jenkinson and Benjamin Frith, his adept pianist partner, perform this all-English programme with insight and affection.

Cyril Scott’s Sonata seems impossibly out of time for its 1958 date (though his tiny Lullaby which concludes this generous disc could fit beautifully into any programme), but the Ivor Gurney Sonata, a gripping single movement communicates urgently, empathetically conveyed by this duo.

But the gem of this release has to be the selection of works by Ian Venables, his language instantly gripping, his message genuinely catching the heart. “At Malvern” (a transcription of the composer’s setting of a poem by John Addington Symonds) is immediately evocative, and the title track conjures Spain. But the early Elegy is just too powerful to explain in mere words. The Jenkinson-Frith Duo tear to its despairing essence.

Christopher Morley 4th June 2015