C1933. LENNOX BERKELEY Cond. London Phil.: Symphony #3; Divertimento in B-flat; Serenade for Strings; Canzonetta (all Cond. by the Composer); Mont Juic (Berkeley-Britten).. (U.K.) Lyrita 226, recorded 1971-75. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 5020926022622
“As an English composer from the same generation as Walton and Tippett, Lennox Berkeley he was not obviously related to the British national traditions represented by them or by Elgar and Vaughan Williams earlier. This is partly because of his French ancestry and connections which make him seem closer to Fauré, or to Ravel and Poulenc who were both personal friends. Berkeley admired Mozart above all, then Chopin, Ravel and neo-classical Stravinsky. His personal idiom is built from a genuine melodic expression, usually rooted in tonality, allied to a fastidious command of harmony and orchestral texture. Religious subjects in particular gave a spiritual intensity to Berkeley's vocal music, as well as to his instrumental slow movements.
In many ways Berkeley was the quintessential Boulanger pupil, responsive to her passion for music and her rigorous demands in strict counterpoint: with her he started a professional training for the first time….But after the prolonged influence of Boulanger the next landmark was his meeting with Benjamin Britten at the Festival of the ISCM held in Barcelona in 1936. They immediately collaborated on the orchestral suite, MONT JUIC, and became close friends as well as colleagues. Even though Berkeley was ten years older the two composers found they had much in common and they influenced each other. During the Second World War Berkeley worked at the BBC in London as an orchestral programme builder.
Berkeley lacked confidence in most of his early works written whilst he was studying with Boulanger and many of them disappeared, some to be rediscovered later….Berkeley's first unqualified success was a work for string orchestra, the Serenade, Op.12, which has become a classic in the British repertoire along with Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, written just before, and Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra just after.
Through his best works Berkeley remains an enduring voice in twentieth-century British music, which would be seriously incomplete without his cultivated and imaginative art.”
- Peter Dickinson, MusicWebInternational