Unusually for Divine (at least since we’ve been getting their products) this comes in a lavish package that suggests a sort of Now That’s What I Call English Music. Never fear, this is Divine and the album is a serious double CD from the flute and piano duo, playing both old pieces (some long unavailable) and new recordings. It features works by British and Irish composers, from the early 18th to the late 20th century. As a collection of works, it echoes Hoddinott above, in that it’s technical rather than warmingly organic, if you see what we mean, though the quirkiness makes it a nice listen.
Sonata by Malcolm Arnold was written for James Galway and ends with a rakish air, as the flute weaves its way round the piano. Bantock’s Pagan Poem is sad, reflective and atmospheric, if not slightly mystical, while we like Scott’s The Ecstatic Shepherd , which is equally mystical, albeit the mystery of the Orient and not the Pagan (we wondered if the members of Gong ever heard it).
On CD2, William Mathias’s Sonata for Flute and Piano is playful, despite being serious while Eugene Goossens’ The Breath Of Ney adds Persia to the CD’s travels. Walking InThe Air composer Howard Blake supplies the delicate Elegy.