Those of us who love English music owe a very special debt to Lyrita. It gave us what we wanted in recordings of the highest quality, both artistic and technical. For eons, the Lyrita recording of Rubbra's 7th was the only water in the desert for those who wanted to hear the work of this fine composer.
After the harshness of the 1st and the relentless contrapuntal working out of the 2nd, the 3rd is a gentle, easy symphony but still has all the Rubbran hallmarks of organic growth. The slow movement, built on a descending three note motif, is noble and very beautiful but perhaps he runs out of wind too quickly. The finale is a theme and variations - the only trouble being that the variations do not seem to flow naturally from one to the other. Don't let this put you off - this is a very fine symphony.
The 4th is a masterpiece. The opening is quite magical and built on such simple materials. The slow movement is represented by an introduction to the 3rd movement. This symphony is all of a piece but it will be the opening that will haunt you.
A Tribute was composed for Vaughan Williams' 70th birthday. It is typical of Rubbra's style throughout and a fine piece - only five minutes.
Resurgam is a late work, commisioned by the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra, a fine amateur body. Resurgam inhabits the sound world of the 8th symphony and needs to be listened to more carefully to be fully appreciated.
These recordings are all first rate. Del Mar and the Philharmonia give performances of the first order and the recording by Lyrita cannot be criticised.