Musical Opinion

This truly outstanding Divine Art CD is both an example of the musical teamwork and individual excellence of Wales’ own National [Youth] Orchestra and the unique sense of communication which Owain Arwel Hughes imparts to his listeners through the players. Elgar’s Second Symphony is delivered with a bold fluency and deeply felt eloquence in the Larghetto, which here leads naturally to the high spirits of the Rondo’s Presto. Then, the wonderful cello tune of the final Moderato e maestoso, the perfect duo of instructions, absolutely adhered to by Owain Arwel Hughes.

Wales is lucky to have a major international composer in Alun Hoddinott and the dances he created for the occasion of Prince Charles’ Investiture as Prince of Wales in Caernafon Castle in July 1969 had already made a successful appearance under Sir Charles Groves’ baton on 22 June. They deserve more regular airings and hopefully this excellent disc will help their progress along the path of British Dances.

—Denby Richards