9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Bate: Concerto for Viola & Orchestra / Vaughan Williams: Romance / Bell: Rosa Mystica (Audio CD)
Though I regard myself as a bit of a British Music buff, I had never heard of either Stanley Bate or W H Bell, and I only bought this disc because I wanted the RVW rarity which occupies less than six minutes of the whole disc.
But these two concertos have turned out to be very rewarding pieces, to which I have returned time and again. As other reviewers have already mentioned, RVW is a major influence in Bates's concerto, where his benign presence is felt most sharply in the first movement, with its Tallis Fantasia chords, and echoes - albeit fleeting ones - of Job and A London Symphony.
W H Bell's Concerto is a very attractive work, notable for a quotation from a Palestrina motet and the tender, shapely theme which represents the 'Rosa Mystica' of the work's title, an allusion to the Virgin Mary and to Christmas. This theme appears three times in movement 1 and reappears towards the end of the third movement, as a sort of valedictory gesture.
For me, the highest level of inspiration in both works is to be found in their first movements and both works are beautifully played and recorded. There are a few errors in the sleeve notes (Palestrina's motet is "Assumpta est Maria" not "Assumption", and Bell was born a year before Holst not a year after) but that's a small criticism, I guess.
If you're interested in British music of the 20th century, or you if have a special love for the viola, you'll enjoy this record, especially at such a sensible price.