This neatly opens and closes with two works produced in the same year – but each utterly different. Benjamin Britten’s brilliantly precocious four-movement Holiday Diary from 1933 is a 20-year-old’s brashly confident statement of intent, ushering in a new era, while a transcription of Brook Green Suite, Holst’s last work, feels like a farewell to a lost pastoral idyll. Pianist Maria Marchant excels in both but is most impressive in Kenneth Leighton’s Six Studies Op 56, from 1969, displaying cool control in the monolithic chordal movements and great dexterity in the highly complex contrapuntal sections. Other treats include a new piano piece from the baritone Roderick Williams, a blue-skied and sunny Goodwood by the Sea.
Stephen Pritchard has written on classical music for most of his 45 years in journalism. He was the Observer's first readers' editor, and prior to that was a managing editor and production editor