David Ellis: Concert Music


Catalogue No: DDA 25119
EAN/UPC: 809730511929
Artists: , ,
Release Date: November 2014
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 69:07
Sample: Concert Music (extract)

David Ellis has been a major figure in British music for longer than he cares to remember – a doyen of the ‘industry’ as conductor, composer, record producer and for many years head of music for BBC North. This is a super anthology of orchestral works recorded at different times by various Manchester orchestras; the style is in the best tradition of modern-approachable-impressionistic, post-Romantic if one needs a label, but the excellent music can stand without being pigeon-holed.

Track Listing

    David Ellis:

  1. I. Vale Royal Suite − A Leisurely Morning (1:44)
  2. II. Vale Royal Suite − Afternoon Activity (1:44)
  3. III. Vale Royal Suite − Early evening at rest (2:21)
  4. IV. Vale Royal Suite − A midnight waltz (2:23)
  5. V. Vale Royal Suite − Tomorrow’s sunrise (3:21)
  6. Diversions (10:37)
  7. I. Concert Music − I (6:14)
  8. II. Concert Music − II (3:21)
  9. III. Concert Music − III (5:54)
  10. IV. Concert Music − IV (3:37)
  11. Celebration (7:26)
  12. I. September Threnody − I (2:24)
  13. II. September Threnody − II (2:10)
  14. III. September Threnody − III (4:24)
  15. IV. September Threnody − IV (1:13)
  16. Solus (9:40)



The works on this valuable compilation span some 52 years, from the agreeably rugged and rigorous Concert Music for strings from 1959 to the powerfully affecting September Threnody (2011). Performances are uniformly excellent and recordings of varying vintage have all come up freshly. Do investigate this very likeable collection.

” —Andrew Achenbach

Divine Art has here produced a fine retrospective of the music of David Ellis. I find that all the works are approachable, occasionally a bit challenging, but always expressive and extremely well written. This is exciting, fresh and imaginative music. The recording is excellent. The performances are all completely convincing. David Ellis has presented here a wide range of approachable, absorbing, enjoyable and sometimes thought-provoking music. I have heard nothing by Ellis, on this CD or elsewhere, that has not impressed me. He is a composer who deserves all success

” —John France

A contemporary composer whose music, while not as modernist as much of the work of [Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies or Goehr] , deserves a place in the repertoire with its own focused and distinctive musical voice… a musical personality that clearly makes its presence felt right from the start. The performances are uniformly excellent bringing out the harmonic richness and rhythmic poise and subtlety abundant in all the pieces. All in all this CD is an outstanding portrait of a composer whose works deserve to be known far more widely.

” —Professor Adam Gorb

I originally intended to include some brief words about this recording in Download News as a pendant to John France’s review. However I couldn’t let it go at that, if only for the sake of congratulating Divine Art yet again on rescuing a composer whose music is so undeserving of neglect.  This album deserves to receive the widest possible publicity in advancing the cause of this neglected composer.

” —Brian Wilson
The Classical Reviewer

Heart-warming music beautifully played… There is nothing lightweight about this music. It has an inner strength and vitality. There is always an interest and depth to Ellis’ compositions. This is a very enjoyable disc of music from a composer whose music should be more widely recorded. The recordings overall are extremely good and there are excellent booklet notes by the composer.

” —Bruce Reader
American Record Guide

The Vale Royal Suite (2007): while it isn’t technically challenging, the writing is intelli­gent and evocative… the music is superb. His music is reserved and fairly tonal, often with long, meditative stretches… [a] pro­clivity toward calmness.

” —Stephen Estep

As a snapshot of the contemporary culture scene in Northern England this has some interest. Given the avant-garde dogmatism of much contemporary composing in the 1950s and 1960s, one could maybe argue that Ellis was the true radical of his time in defying any Modernist trends. His music is never less than perfectly pleasant, with many a charming evocation of place and landscape. Throughout, the playing of the various ensembles is generally very tidy. This album has been de­cently produced too, with good concise notes and bios. Given the variety of sources and vintages, the sound is also remarkably consistent and full-bodied.

” —Barnaby Rayfield