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MOERAN, E.J.: In the Mountain Country / Rhapsodies / Overture for a Masque (Frith, Ulster Orchestra, Falletta)


Naxos 8.573106

   Fanfare, September 2014
   Fanfare, July 2014
   Classical Ear, June 2014
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2014
   American Record Guide, May 2014
   International Record Review, April 2014
   Pizzicato, April 2014
   Gramophone, April 2014
   Musical Opinion, April 2014
   MusicWeb International, March 2014
   Audiophile Audition, March 2014
   AllMusic.com, March 2014
   MusicWeb International, March 2014
   Infodad.com, February 2014
   ClassicsToday.com, February 2014
   The Buffalo News, February 2014
   BBC Music Magazine, February 2014
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2014
   MusicWeb International, January 2014
   Film Music: The Neglected Art, January 2014
   MusicWeb International, January 2014
   David's Review Corner, January 2014

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Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, September 2014

…Falletta is consistently [direct]…a quality to which these pieces respond well. The Ulster Orchestra is…polished and expressive…Soloist Benjamin Firth…delivers much in the way of subtle beauty while yielding little in exuberance when the score demands it…highly recommended. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, July 2014

Throughout the whole program Falletta seems completely comfortable with Moeran’s idiom; I like how briskly she paces the brighter moments, never allowing rhythms to become flabby.

This is some of the best sound I have heard…Falletta’s…performances are lively, and the recording engineers do not drench the music in Celtic mist. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review




Andrew Achenbach
Classical Ear, June 2014

Brand new recordings of such immensely appealing repertoire are always welcome, and these zestful, scrupulously prepared performances from the Ulster Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta’s affectionate lead more than hold their own against classic predecessors…At its absurdly low price, this excellently engineered Naxos issue is surely not to be missed. © 2014 Classical Ear



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2014

In this program, Falletta clearly enjoys the ear-pleasing elements in the composer’s music and she takes his transitions with a smoothness of which Moeran would surely have approved. Note the seamless way the clarinet melody at the beginning of In the Mountain Country leads into the lilting theme for the strings and the way both are developed in the central section. Much of the music in Rhapsodies No 2 and 3 lifts the listener’s spirits, as befits works premiered during a time of war. The Third Rhapsody is distinguished here by the presence of pianist Benjamin Frith, whose playing is perfectly in accord with the introspective mood of the piece, rising to the occasion when more overt drama is required.

Always in these performances, we have an impression of Moeran’s subtle and highly effective tone palette… © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, May 2014

The Ulster Orchestra plays well, and Naxos’s sound is fine. Falletta adds another star to her crowded shoulderboards with a sympathetic job. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Warrack
International Record Review, April 2014

excellent performances, colourfully and vividly recorded © 2014 International Record Review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, April 2014

JoAnn Falletta and the Ulster Orchestra present another appealing program of lavishly bloomy works by the Anglo-Irish composer Ernest John Moeran. This always folkish symphonic music beautifully comes to life in these excellent recordings. A truly pleasant disc! © 2014 Pizzicato



Jeremy Dibble
Gramophone, April 2014

This is a welcome addition by the Ulster Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta to the recording of Moeran’s orchestral rhapsodies…

…this new recording has a vibrancy and precision which is thoroughly beguiling. …Falletta brings a vivacity and enthusiasm to these works which is infectious. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




James Palmer
Musical Opinion, April 2014

A welcome issue: a well-prepared, nicely played and well-recorded collection of Moeran’s shorter orchestral works—distinctive and supremely well-written music, enhanced by excellent booklet notes by Paul Conway. At this attractive price, this disc is self-evidently recommended. © 2014 Musical Opinion



John France
MusicWeb International, March 2014

I was bowled over by the sound quality of this disc. The playing by the Ulster Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta is sympathetic and committed. The liner-notes by Paul Conway give the listener all the information that is needed to appreciate these delightful works. Benjamin Frith excels himself in the Third Rhapsody.

If someone only wishes to own one version of these works, or wants to discover what they sound like, then this is the best version to go for. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Mel Martin
Audiophile Audition, March 2014

The disc under consideration here contains an Overture, Rhapsodies, and an orchestral work, In the Mountain Country. They are performed by the Ulster Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta conducting, with the addition of pianist Benjamin Frith on the Rhapsody in F sharp major.

All the performances and the recording are first rate. They have the Naxos ‘house sound’, which is very smooth and realistic. Instruments are solidly positioned, and the recording has a natural bloom that reflects the wonderful Ulster Hall in Belfast.

Fans of Vaughan Williams, John Ireland or Frederick Delius will feel right at home with this music. It’s an extremely repeatable disc, and for most people Moeran will be an undiscovered pleasure.

…Jo Ann Falletta’s work with the orchestra simply can’t be faulted. © 2014 Audiophile Audition Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, March 2014

The appointment of the American JoAnn Falletta as chief conductor of the Ulster Orchestra resulted in several fine releases of music by Irish-English composer E.J. Moeran, who had somewhat fallen into neglect. He had a knack for tunes that sound as if they were drawn from folk song books, but were not. Falletta has been a specialist in just this sort of thing, and she and the Ulster Orchestra deliver sharp, sparkling performances here. The best-known of these pieces is the tone poem In the Mountain Country, written early in Moeran’s career, but the real finds are the three Rhapsodies, the last of them a breezy work with piano. Each of these contains a really good tune or two. The Overture for a Masque is a light piece that fulfills its stated function. Another worthwhile find for lovers of British orchestral music. © 2014 Allmusic.com Read complete review



Albert Lam
MusicWeb International, March 2014

This is gorgeous music, beautifully performed here by the Ulster Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, presented in first-rate sound, and available at bargain price. I’ll tell you straight up that you’ll be hard pressed to find all of the works on this current release compiled on the same album. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Infodad.com, February 2014

Falletta gives the music on this CD its full due, and the works are due more attention than Moeran’s music generally receives… © 2014 Infodad.com Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, February 2014

If any orchestra can be said to know these works, then it would have to be the Ulster ensemble… JoAnn Falletta does an equally fine job with it, offering spirited and vigorous renditions.. This isn’t music, after all, that offers much opportunity for huge interpretive variation, but that’s just an indication of how directly expressive and unfussy it is.

With excellent sonics, the result is an extremely enjoyable release that deserves wide circulation. © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, February 2014

Benjamin Frith is the pianist on this very Irish-sounding piece. The orchestration is creative and the piano interacts beguilingly with all the instruments and has some very lovely lines on its own, lines that Frith delineates with delicacy. The music is very of its era, showing the influence of Rachmaninoff as well as Irish melodies. Popular in its day, it deserves to be heard more often. © 2014 The Buffalo News Read complete review




Calum MacDonald
BBC Music Magazine, February 2014

This selection of EJ Moeran’s shorter orchestral works makes a pleasant adjunct to Naxos’ Moeran series. JoAnn Falletta directs the Ulster Orchestra with a keen understanding of Moeran’s idiom, the lyric vulnerability as well as the extrovert dynamism. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2014

Maestro Falletta, the Ulster organization and Benjamin Frith all give this music the life and breath it needs. The end result is some extraordinarily soothing sounds that have some grit. It’s music that has an Anglo-Irish impressionist tinge to it.

There’s much to please the Anglo-Irish-phile here. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, January 2014

What Falletta brings to these scores we also heard in the earlier Cello Concerto disc; that is an oxygen-rich, gale-blown vitality.

The sound is full-on and splendid, courtesy of Tim Handley and Phil Rowlands.

JoAnn Falletta brings real vibrancy to these scores. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Film Music: The Neglected Art, January 2014

Falletta and the orchestra have done their homework and this is a top notch CD worthy of your collection. © 2014 Film Music: A Neglected Art Read complete review



Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, January 2014

Little-known but attractively tuneful Moeran works, idiomatically performed and well recorded and at budget price—what’s not to like here on an album which significantly increased my exposure to the music of a composer whose works I long ago decided was on my wavelength? © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2014

We can only fervently hope that this third disc of music by Ernest Moeran indicates a complete cycle is in the offing from the Ulster Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta…[Moeran] could write in a very outgoing style, the Overture for a Masque, written to form a curtain-raiser for troop concerts in the Second World War. Equally his rhapsody, In the Mountain Country…contains some very forceful writing, JoAnn Falletta injecting a very robust quality to two Rhapsodies whose combined length is not far short of thirty minutes, their content so very pleasing. From much the same time as the overture came the Rhapsody in F sharp minor…composed for one of the most famous British pianists of the time, Harriet Cohen. Uppermost in his mind must have been to write a piece of pure escapism from the war years, it’s concertante piece nature adorned with gorgeous melodies. It so perfectly suits Benjamin Frith’s ability to create exquisite filigree, the whole performance probably the benchmark for all others, and I could say much the same about the disc in general. The Ulster orchestra responds, in gorgeous sound, with playing of outstanding quality. Fervently recommended. © 2014 David’s Review Corner





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