The Delian

When Michael Hurd died in 2006 he left a large bequest to The British Music Society which set up a charitable trust to support recordings of Hurd’s music. Several CDs have appeared on several labels so far and this is the latest to present virtually unknown works by a man best known as an author of such books on Rutland Boughton and Ivor Gurney. The Violin Sonata is lyrical all right and gets a lovely reading with good, clean sound. The Five Preludes are all miniatures lasting just 7:12. The Sonatina for Recorder and Piano was originally a flute piece but John Turner and Hurd worked together on this version. The first two movements use a treble recorder and the last a descant recorder. Turner, of course, gives a virtuoso performance. The Three-Piece Suite was Hurd’s last work and is dedicated to Turner. It exists in several versions, but the three movements lasting under 2′ each are delightful.

Robin Milford was a friend of Finzi and Vaughan Williams and is best known, perhaps, for a few of his songs. The Prelude for piano trio is dedicated to Vaughan Williams, on his 80 th birthday. It was originally part of a piano trio but the other two movements were lost or destroyed. The three recorder pieces were Milford’s last compositions. All are fairly short but worth hearing especially in these fine performances. The Christmas Pastorale is really short and sweet at 2:02. One wishes it were longer. The Fantasia was dedicated to the composer’s mother and is worth this revival.

Dick Blackford (b.1936) wrote his Concert in 2007 showing that the recorder is not an instrument for ancient music. There are three movements bookeneded by a prelude and a postlude. Treble and descant recorders are used and also the lovely bass recorder in the middle of the three movements. John Turner again gives a stunning performance. Highly recommended.

—Harold J. Diamond