A really attractive portfolio of Knussen's shorter pieces.
. . . this remarkably Brittenesque piece (Horn Concerto), full of beautiful nocturnal evocation, finds space to convey a whole world. It is beautifully played by its dedicatee, Barry Tuckwell, and the performances by the London Sinonieta throughout are exemplary, as is the recording. The four-minute "Flourish with Fireworks" . . . is a brilliant orchestral showpiece with virtuoso orchestration. "The Way to Castle Yonder" . . . has Ravelian lusciousness of sound, the Two Organa and "The Music for a Puppet Court" . . . both have an immediately attractive glitter . . . this disc is a great discovery for general music lovers . . .
Pierre Boulez is pristine and precise in 'Ramifications', and' Melodien' sounds glowingly lucid under David Atherton's authoritative direction. If you've obtained the DG disc of the concertos, this is an excellent follow-up.
Oliver Knussen is -- or ought to be -- a national treasure . . . he still offers plenty to satisfy the obsessive analyst, while presenting a field day to sonic sensualists . . . the orchestral sounds are magical. If you missed this superb collection first time round, you have no excuse now: it has been attractively repackaged and comes with full annotations.
The 12-minute work is a little gem. Composed in 1994 for the horn virtuoso Barry Tuckwell, it is beautifully economical, with the horn taking the role of both protagonist and commentator. Its 'once upon a time' opening and the solo horn's first entry are simply magical . . . 'My favourite instrument of all', Knussen tells us. One suspects that it was Strauss's, too.