- Oration, for cello & orchestra
- Phantasm, for piano & orchestra
For the most serious of the orchestral works of English modernist Frank Bridge, skip "The Sea," "Cherry Ripe," and "Sally in our Alley" and head straight for the two works on this disc: "Oration" (aka, Concerto elegiaco for cello and orchestra) and "Phantasm" (aka, Rhapsody for piano and orchestra). Both are on the twin subjects that haunted so many English modernists: war and peace, and life and death. "Oration" from 1930 is tragically noble and heartbreakingly beautiful, while "Phantasm" from the following year is boldly aggressive and weirdly atmospheric. Neither work has been granted many recordings -- when this disc was re-released in 2007, there were only three other recordings of "Oration" and just one of "Phantasm" -- but the two performances here as easily as good or better than the best of the competition. Julian Lloyd Webber is a superb advocate for the "Oration" with a warm, rich tone that reaches right down into the core of the work, while Peter Wallfisch is an excellent soloist in the "Phantasm" with the kind of virtuoso technique and individualist temper that matches with the work's uncanny content. Nicholas Braithwaite is a strong and supportive accompanist, the London Philharmonic plays with persuasive passion and professionalism, and, as always, Lyrita's late stereo sound is cool, clear, and deep.