A summation of this Dutton Epoch release in 3 words: delightful, delightful, and delightful. I should add "surprising" as the real discovery here for me was the Concerto for Recorder and String Orchestra by Elis Pehkonen; a composer who was totally unknown to me until this recording. It is the most substantial work here, and in more ways than one; I am grateful for it's duration however it's the sheer beauty and craftsmanship of this concerto that makes it a home run for me. Pehkonen is an original musical personality.
Given the surname "Pehkonen" I confess that I anticipated music that might depict Norse legends and icy landscapes. Elis Pehkonen was born in Norfolk in 1942 but is of Finnish ancestry; his father was born in Karelia, Finland. All of the music that I have heard by Pehkonen I find simply breathtaking. "Over the Water", the only concerto on this all around delightful program - is also the most serious composition as most of the other music is light-hearted, jaunty, charming. Right from the get-go of Elis Pehkonen's Concerto I am transfixed, every time - I feel as if I am indeed boating over the water enveloped in a mysterious mist. The string writing is gorgeous and almost foreboding. The concerto is fascinating and displays an original voice til the very end. Arnold Cooke is one of my favorite English composers, and like Franz Reizenstein he was a pupil of Hindemith. I tend to enjoy any composer who spent time studying with the German master! Cooke's "Divertimento" is also a rather meaty, sinuous affair although it's sunny and optimistic (think Moeran, but with a touch of Hindemith) compared to Pehkonen's dark and intriguing Concerto. Needless to say it is another highlight of this generous compilation. Arthur Butterworth's short Reverie "Farewell Manchester" (which is the tune this piece is based on) is lovely. Butterworth (d. 2014), was of no relation to the great and tragically short-lived George Butterworth, although both studied initially with Vaughan Williams. Other highlights imo are the "Partita for Recorder and String Orchestra" by Franz Reizenstein which displays especially fine writing for the strings as well as Michael Hurd's "Three-Piece Suite". As above mentioned, the whole disc is charming, and the other pieces too are worth knowing and tuneful!
I have a couple other pieces (also thanks to the folks at Dutton) by Elis Pehkonen that I will post.
Otherwise it is difficult to find his music. The label Merlin Classics has released 3 discs of his music, including the "Russian Requiem", which is supposedly something quite special. I believe all three discs are only available from the Merlin website. I simply haven't had the $$ to spend.
Although no real information is provided, these recordings can be found here if you care to take a look: http://www.merlinclassics.com/content_corinium.html