Navona Records website
Andalusian Fantasy on Navona Records

NV5999; released May 2015.

Includes Andalusian Fantasy, Nocturne, South American Suite, Twelve Preludes, Esquisse and Cuban Fantasy

Reviews: Lionel Sainsbury, Andalusian Fantasy, Piano Works
“If you enjoy Spanish and Latin American music, you’ll find a lot to love in “Andalusian Fantasy”, a collection of pieces written and performed by pianist Lionel Sainsbury. The compositions embrace the darker, more romantic side of traditional Latin music. Imagine if tango, Debussy, and Gershwin all met in one album, and you’ll get a sense for Sainsbury’s music.”
– Jill Kimball, Second Inversion, Seattle, 29 July 2015
Second Inversion
Compositore e pianista, l’inglese Lionel Sainsbury riversa tutta la sua conoscenza e il suo amore per lo strumento in questi brani (penso soprattutto alle Fantasie andaluse e cubane) che di primo acchito aggrediscono l’ascoltatore con cascate di note ad alto tasso di virtuosismo, che insieme raccolgono – trascinandoli in un flusso continuo dal profilo apparentemente spontaneo, ora convulso e potente, ora delicato e sfumato – matrici colte (il lirismo di un Chopin o di un Barber, il pianismo di un Rachmaninov o di uno Scriabin) e influenze tematiche, ritmiche e armoniche provenienti dalla Spagna, dal Sud-America, dal jazz e dal blues afro-americani: mondi per cui l’Autore rivela una profonda attrazione, e che donano ai brani stessi quel misto di gioia e malinconia che, variamente, li contraddistinguono. Ma Sainsbury è capace anche di sintesi, com’è evidente dalla Suite sudamericana, dal bellissimo Notturno e soprattutto dai dodici Preludi. Qui la scrittura si fa più tersa, l’espressività concentrata; gli incisi melodici e ritmici lasciano il segno, imprimono un carattere definito al brano, sempre oscillando tra gli estremi, mai veramente opposti, dell’allegria e della nostalgia. Mai rinuncia, il Nostro, alla cantabilità, neppure nelle fasi più concitate e intense; né all’esaltazione del puro piacere di lasciarsi guidare, senza preconcetti limitanti, da un’ispirazione musicale che mai sembra abbandonarlo.
– Aggiunto: July 15th 2015 - Recensore: Filippo Focosi

“The musical traditions of Spain and Latin America are rich and vital. English composer Lionel Sainsbury (b. 1958) has long been taken with it all. On his Andalusian Fantasy (Navona 5999) we get to hear how his fascination and love for the music becomes a creative force in his own music, in this case a series of works for solo piano. Is he the Boccherini of today? To the extent that he immerses himself in the music and gives back creatively in kind, perhaps yes. Otherwise, such comparisons are not all that illuminating, for Sainsbury has the modern present in him as well as the Latin-Spanish influences, so you hear some of the presence of jazz precedents (Gershwin and Ellington, perhaps) and a post-impressionist glow as well.

The Spanish-Latin rhythms of dance and the melodic-harmonic particularities are readily heard in the works presented in this collection. All are well performed by the composer himself with a flair and liveliness in keeping with his dynamic style. There are moments of relative repose and introspection to be heard as well. And the jazz-oriented element can be heard directly or indirectly depending on the work or movement. It is not always the jazz of today or tomorrow so much as a recapturing of jazz-oriented compositional ways of pre-mid-20th century masters. But even then it is not a direct imitation as much as a personal rechanneling.

In all we hear six very worthwhile pieces: Andalusian Fantasy Op.16, Nocturne Op. 18, the South American Suite Op.23, Twelve Preludes Op. 11, Esquisse, and Cuban Fantasy Op.22.

Through it all the music personality of Sainsbury shines forth. He is not merely showing how the Spanish and Latin traditions have entered his musical thought, he transforms those elements into a music that has originality and a modern-classical thrust that remains his, while channeling some of the pianistic traditions of such adaptations from the French and Spanish impressionists and post-impressionists. In the end you have a very personal and very delightful set of works that show us an inventively vivid side of Lionel Sainsbury. Recommended!”

- Grego Applegate Edwards, writer, (Cadence), musician, composer, editor; New York City, 4 June 2015
Classical Modern Music
Sunlight & Storms NV5951

Presto Classical order from Presto Classical
Review by Rob Barnett at Musicweb International, August 2014:
Lionel SAINSBURY (b.1958) Sunlight and Storms: Five Tangos Op. 34 [23:25] Canto Ostinato Op. 30 [1:56] Sea Storm Op. 24 [5:20] Two Cuban Dances Op. 19 [5:35] Incantation Op. 26 [7:21] Ten Moments Musicaux Op. 31 [22:42] Meditation Op. 28 [6:20] Lionel Sainsbury (piano) NAVONA NV5951 [70:12]

“Virtuosic and passionate oratory expressed through the piano and sharpened and softened by sultry accents.”

“A Lionel Sainsbury work can always be approached with a guarantee of freshness and direct-speaking. This disc provides further irrefutable evidence to this end.

The music of Wiltshire-born English composer Lionel Sainsbury has been addressed here before. In our earliest days there were reviews of his piano music CD which complements the present disc. Later we looked in detail at his moving Cello Concerto and Violin Concerto both of which are on Dutton; do not miss them. Let us hope that we will not have to wait much longer for his orchestral symphonic poem The Time of the Comet.

These are good times for the Tango and for the South American ambience generally. Sainsbury, a gifted melodist, is drawn sunwards and Southwards in much the same way that many Scandinavian composers were drawn to the Mediterranean. His Five Tangos are affluent in memorable tunes and dense emotion, both suppressed and expressed. The short and quick-pulsed Allegro molto is not perhaps a Tango but its character is consonant with its companions. The half-bluesy fogs and mangrove mysteries of the Lento are striking. The final Risoluto trills with nocturnal Hispanic power and is punctuated with trills and florid cells that find quietude at one moment and the next explode with impressive torque and haughty display. Young pianists everywhere should look out for these works as attention-grabbers for competition panels and appreciative audiences alike. If you like the Tango from Barber's Souvenirs suite then these five pieces will captivate ... and will have the same effect even if you don't know the Barber.

The Canto Ostinato murmurs and rocks to and fro in a hypnotically, bluesy vignette. Sea Storm continues the theme of grandeur. There's that rocking ostinato again - another suggestion of the murmuring oceanic distances evoked by Bax, Bantock and Nystroem. Over the ostinato, and growing from it, the storm thrives and as ever leaves the listener to choose moment by moment between the suggestion of the sea swell and the tempest of human emotions.

The Two Cuban Dances take us back to the realm of the Five Tangos. Sultry airs and a seductive swaying motion transcend the clichés while at the same time using them as a foundation. These two dances are the closest approach to light music on this disc.

Incantation is from some fifteen years ago. That suggestive rocking motion again provides a root structure from which a majestically turbulent Rachmaninovian arch languidly and magnificently springs. Admirers of de Falla's piano music should also find points of reference in this work - at least if they know the Fantasia Baetica and Quatro Piezas Españolas.

The Ten Moments Musicaux in total play for about the same time as the Five Tangos but are individually shorter. These emotion sketches have less of the Bougainvillea and Seville shadows about them and more of the poetry and sometime vehemence of Medtner and Rachmaninov. There are also moments when you might think you are within a stone's throw of Gershwin's Three Preludes. The Sostenuto again makes use of that beloved ostinato.

The warming Latin breezes return for the final track's Meditation which shares the sunlight and dapple of the Tangos.

I rather hope that Sainsbury might orchestrate some of these works although they feel naturally apt to the piano, as one would expect.

We have the reassurance associated with the composer playing his own music and no doubt reliving the choices and inspirations made and experienced in writing the music. The sound of the piano is most commandingly captured and put across.

The complementary liner-note is by Jeremy Nicholas and is in English only.

If you are intrigued by Sainsbury then try the KUSC download from Jim Svejda's radio programme devoted to this composer.
If you enjoy the solo piano music of Einaudi, of Nyman, of Maxwell Davies or of Nikolai Kapustin then you need to hear this. Sainsbury offers additional dimensions and especially depth without avant-garde obfuscation.”
- Rob Barnett, Musicweb International, August 2014
Lionel’s Soliloquy for solo violin released on EM Records, February 2013
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Gurney, Sainsbury, Elgar: Works for violin & piano EMRCD011

Ivor Gurney: Sonata in E flat (1919)
Lionel Sainsbury: Soliloquy for solo violin op.21
Elgar: Sonata in E minor op.82

Rupert Marshall-Luck, violin
Matthew Rickard, piano

Review in BBC Music Magazine, September 2013
“Marshall-Luck has an opportunity to show his quality, unaccompanied, in the full-hearted utterance of Lionel Sainsbury’s eloquent Soliloquy.”
- Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

Review in Gramophone, September 2013

“… a valuable addition to the programme. It develops a main theme in double-stopping, with hints of folk melody in the lyrical sections and some brilliant passagework in triplets. Marshall-Luck plainly enjoys the sympathetic writing, reflecting the work’s title, Soliloquy ...a well-balanced recording, made at the Nimbus studios at Wyastone Leys.”
– Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, September 2013

Review in International Record Review, May 2013
“… I am tempted to mix a metaphor or two and say that it is the filling in the sandwich that almost steals the show. Lionel Sainsbury’s Soliloquy, Op.21, for unaccompanied violin, is a terrific discovery, a real virtuoso showpiece that also has a great deal to say. Lasting only just over seven minutes, its marriage of passionate statement involving much sweeping figuration across the full range of the instrument, and vigorously impulsive upbeats leading to frequently double-stopped melodic utterances, suggests a comprehensive understanding of the instrument. The title is a good one, suggestive of Shakespearian musings and self-examination: it seems to fit what we hear. Intensely violinistic, the piece is given a searing performance by Marshall-Luck, who convinces one that its comparatively short span contains an utterance of compressed energy, ideally realised.”
- Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, May 2013
Review at musicweb-international, May 2013
“The music of Lionel Sainsbury is largely unknown to me, but if his Soliloquy for solo violin is anything to go by, I will be wanting to investigate his work without delay. This is a passionate and beautifully written piece, which eschews more contemporary playing techniques in favour of simplicity and purity of expression. Its impact is out of all proportion to its relatively short length… a work of great nobility and strength. This is a superb new release. The sound is rich, yet clear, as one would expect at the Wyastone Concert Hall. The documentation is excellent – extremely informative and a model that other record companies should follow.”
- David Jennings, musicweb-international, May 2013
Review, musicweb-international’s Recording of the Month, February 2013
“The performances of all three works are out of the top drawer. If attention focuses, understandably, on the Gurney discovery, that should not overshadow either of the other two works or of the respective performances of them. Lionel Sainsbury’s Soliloquy for solo violin is an impressive work that packs a lot into a short time span, both technically and in terms of musical content… it grabbed my attention from the opening rhetorical flourish and sustained it thereafter… also due in no small measure to the bravura playing of Rupert Marshall-Luck. I must seek out Sainsbury’s Violin Concerto without delay. The recorded sound is excellent. As usual with this label the documentation is excellent: Rupert Marshall-Luck writes knowledgeably and with enthusiasm about the music, while Andrew Neill of the Elgar Society and Ian Venables contribute notes on Elgar and Gurney respectively. EM Records has already issued several important discs of neglected English music. However, this disc may be their most important release to date, I fancy.”
- John Quinn, musicweb-international, February 2013
Lionel’s Soliloquy for solo violin released on EM Records, February 2013
Parma Recordings
Parma Recordings
Navona Records
Navona Records

‘Slices’, Navona Records NV5874
also includes music by Hans Bakker, Alan Beeler, Reynard Burns, William A. Fletcher, Christia Rusnak and Hakan Sundin
Vit Muzik, violin
Review in Fanfare, August 2012
“ …one doesn’t sense that Sainsbury is trying to emulate Bach, Reger, Ysaye, or anyone else who wrote solo violin works. Uppermost in Sainsbury’s piece is melodic impulse, even in the thorniest double-stopped passages, the violin maintains a singing line. … It wasn’t too long ago that I purchased a Dutton CD containing the world premieres of two British violin concertos, one by Haydn Wood, dated 1905, and the other by Lionel Sainsbury, written in 1989, and it was the rapturous beauty of the Sainsbury that swept me away. The Soliloquy is every bit as stunning as his concerto. Sainsbury is a composer whose work I’m eager to explore further.”
- Jerry Dubins, Fanfare, July/August 2013

Review in Audiophile Audition, December 2012

“... a passionate unaccompanied piece... supremely well conceived for the violin...”
- Gary Higginson, Musicweb-international, December 2012

Review in Audiophile Audition, October 2012
"... offers much for the soloist to do... this very plaintive work for solo violin is certainly challenging but the net effect is serious throughout. Sainsbury has also written a Violin Concerto which, on the heels of this Soliloquy, I would like to hear. Navona sticks to its mission statement in providing interesting and diverse music. This is a nice collection. Many thanks too for the interactive (enhanced) CD, on which composer’s notes and scores are included."
- Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition, October 2012
Details on the Dutton website
Cello Concerto CDLX 7284

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Review in The Strad, July 2012 :
Benchmark performance of two rare concertos
“Lionel Sainsbury’s vibrant Concerto of 1999 is heart-on-sleeve music, painted in bold colours, and could hardly find more enthusiastic interpreters than Wallfisch and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The soloist’s role here is one of an extrovert leader, and Wallfisch, brings vitality and a range of emotion to the part, his beautifully focused sound taking on an urgency in its high reaches in the first movement and soaring eloquently in the intense slow movement.”
- Janet Banks, The Strad, July 2012
Review in Gramophone July 2012:
Editor’s Choice: one of the month’s “must-hear recordings”.
“... thrilling... a work of expressive range and intensity realised in commanding style...”
- Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone, July 2012
Review at Audiophile Audition:
Two Neo-Romantic British Cello Concertos provide an abundance of melodies, but the Sainsbury is a contemporary masterpiece
“There is a brief whiff of the orient in the theme of the first movement… rhythmic and motivic development alternate with the cello’s cry, and the brass answers fervently. Resolution arrives in the quietly intense adagio, whose beauty and sadness rivals that of Mahler. The folk-like, dramatic, and brilliantly orchestrated allegro changes the mood, but the adagio stays in the memory. Raphael Wallfisch is a passionate soloist and Martin Yates and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra accompany superbly. Anyone who loves the music of Samuel Barber or William Walton will love this wonderful concerto, a real discovery for this music lover. The performances and sound of this disc are of the highest order. Don’t miss the Sainsbury Cello Concerto, which will appear on my ‘Best of 2012 List’.”
- Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition,
7 June 2012
Audiophile Review
Review in Tempo Magazine :
"The Sainsbury Cello Concerto is no prey to the fashions of the late 20th century and may seem old-fashioned to many. However, it displays a mastery of style and technique that is wholly admirable. But more than this, it shows a composer with the vision and individuality to be different and not to follow the fleeting fashions and fads of present-day compositional concerns. Written in a style that owes a lot to Walton and Sibelius and to some extent French composers like Dutilleux, the piece achieves a homogenous expressiveness. The result is a passionate and often intense concerto which works well and has no shortage of expressive contrasts or dynamic tuttis, with some wonderful solo cello cantilena passages. I felt that its occasional restrained languour, especially in the slow second movement, had something of the Mediterranean about it. By contrast the third movement is in an effervescent ‘Irish’ jig style, heavily syncopated, with contrasting pastoral allusions.

Both performances are excellent and powerfully committed. Special thanks must go the the superb soloist Raphael Wallfisch and to the conductor Martin Yates."
- Raymond Head, Tempo Magazine, September 2012
Review at Crisis Magazine :
Listen, and Take Heart: Music that Shines Through the Darkness
"Last year I briefly but very enthusiastically reviewed the Dutton Epoch release of Lionel Sainsbury’’s Violin Concerto. The review actually brought me into contact with the composer, and we were able to meet in London and attend a concert together. At that time, he told me that Dutton would be bringing out a recording of his Cello Concerto, with cellist Rafael Wallfisch and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, under Martin Yates. I have been very anxious to hear it and wondered if it would meet the high standards of the violin work. The verdict is in: it does. This is another open-hearted, totally accessible, and immensely appealing composition. Few composers anchor what they do so completely in gorgeous melody. Sainsbury sets up an exclamatory, endearing theme and then discourses upon it in a way that does not tire. The results, animated by an energetic rhythmic pulse, are exhilarating. There is something unabashed about this music in its emotional directness - a kind of joyful innocence, a generosity of spirit. The final allegro dances off in a spirited jig. Wallfisch digs in, partnered by the Royal Scottish forces. It is no small attraction that the Sainsbury work is accompanied by the John Foulds Cello Concerto (CDLX 7284). If you wish to dispel gloom, to be stirred in your heart, to move to music even if you are sitting in your chair –- try the Sainsbury concertos."
- Robert R.Reilly, Crisis Magazine, August 1, 2012 ,
Audiophile Review
Reviews in Fanfare Magazine
“If you enjoy the Romantic cello, you owe it to yourself to buy this disc. Raphael Wallfisch is wonderfully persuasive in both concertos. His burnished, patrician tone (beautifully caught by Dutton's Dexter Newman) is a delight throughout, as is his broadly expressive phrasing and technical expertise. Martin Yates is a fine collaborator, allowing his soloist plenty of room to relax and deploy all his art in these poetic works.

Sainsbury's idiomatic writing for the instrument, expressive lyricism, and homophonic richness are allowed full sway... you will discover that it's impossible to get this music out of your head.”

- Barry Brenesal, Fanfare, Sept/Oct 2012
“These two first recordings offer a plenitude of pleasure to all lovers of English repertoire in general and of the cello in particular.“

- Paul A. Snook, Fanfare, Sept/Oct 2012
Blog by Tzadik at nocturna-artificialia.blogspot

“This Dutton Epoch disc of two British Cello Concertos is an absolute knockout. I bought it for the John Foulds concerto which is an excellent early work. (I have always been quite fond of Foulds's exciting, often exotic and exotically inspired orchestral music; not unlike Holst, Foulds was interested in the musics of other cultures and lands, India especially was one such inspiration). However I actually enjoy even more Lionel Sainbury's Cello Concerto from 1999 (which is a world premiere). It really impressed me, and it makes me eager to hear more of his music.
This is what is said about the disc on Dutton's own site:  
The Foulds concerto at last! This is a beautiful, romantic programme. In his booklet notes, Malcolm MacDonald describes Foulds Cello Concerto as “a youthful essay in a melodious late-Romantic idiom ... a succession of memorable tunes in superb orchestration.” He goes on to find the coupling – the Cello Concerto by Lionel Sainsbury – as “unabashedly tonal and opulent melodic language, recalling the neo-romantic idiom of great 20th century composers such as William Walton and Samuel Barber.”
- Tzadik, 12 October 2014

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Violin Concerto CDLX 7245

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Review at The Absolute Sound
“Romanticism has proved more durable than seemed possible a half-century ago, when the brutal violence and icy pointillism of Pierre Boulez were all the rage and Samuel Barber was considered as passé as ornate Victorian furniture. But romantic music, with its gorgeous melody, rhapsodic expansiveness, sumptuous orchestration, and ardent emotion— though it never really left—is not only back, it’s back in style. Witness the 1989 Violin Concerto of Englishman Lionel Sainsbury (born 1958)… lots of passion, solo display, and melodic flights that take the violin soaring above the orchestral ferment below. This is music that will make you breathe deeper and remember with fond regret the misspent days of your long-ago youth. It’s hard to see how these glorious performances - with stellar playing by Lorraine McAslan - and the vivid, spacious, natural sonics could be bettered.”

- Mark Lehman, 16 May 2013 Absolute |Sound
Review in Classical Lost and Found “RECOMMENDED BEST FIND”
“Dutton scores again with the world première recording of Sainsbury's Violin Concerto of 1989, which at forty minutes is on a grand scale… the opening Allegro is rhythmically agitated, invigorating… The Andante is a beautifully written rhapsodic offering with spun-out melodies that ends with the auburn glow of an autumnal sunset… The final Allegro begins with a Waltonian march-like motif; throughout the movement this lurks behind the scenes in rondo fashion, and is worked into a triumphant concluding coda along with remembrances of past major themes. Although the soloist is given several opportunities along the way to demonstrate their technical prowess the music never becomes an empty display of plumage. With this release Lorraine McAslan continues her invaluable survey of little known British violin works, playing with the same enthusiasm and authority that has characterized her previous CDs. She receives outstanding support from the BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth.”

Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found; 23 July 2010
Fanfare Magazine Review:
"unabashedly romantic… reinforcing the primary power of melody as one of the essential foundations of musical expression… reinvigoration of the Walton tradition… the music is fraught with many interesting and appealing ideas, especially a jazzy main theme in the first movement that returns spectacularly in the finale… the material is more than pleasurable, and Sainsbury not only knows how to orchestrate but also gives his soloist plenty of interest to do up front.

Lorraine McAslan gives a breathtaking reading… total identification with the spirit of the score… superb support from the wonderfully versatile BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth. While the relatively ugly receive the adoration of the cognoscenti, this release proves conclusively that beautiful and communicative music-making is alive and well. No lover of the English violin literature can afford to be without it."."

Paul A.Snook, Fanfare, September/October 2010

Gramophone Review:
Assured concerto whose time has surely come, played by a dream team

"... Even more satisfying but just as English in its sensibilities is the meaty and substantial Concerto by Lionel Sainsbury. Its three movements, lasting 40 minutes, are hugely challenging for the soloist and McAslan meets them head on, whether soaring with lyrical passion in the upper reaches (try the opening minutes of the finale) or with glorious cello-like sonority on the G-string. It's a terrific performance, one that will surely encourage others to take up this assured, artfully structured work of prolific melodic invention."

Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone July 2010

Review in BBC Music Magazine:

"Anyone who thrills to the sound of the Khachaturian Concerto will find the Sainsbury especially conducive... underpinned by the tonal impulses that continue to drive mainstream music to the present day… Lorraine McAslan soars aloft, shading her ecstatic cantabile with portamentos reminiscent of Jascha Heifetz – indeed at times Heifetz’s classic West Coast recordings of the 1950s are brought irresistibly to mind. McAslan plays both concertos as though they were among the most treasured in the repertoire… The BBC Concert Orchestra provides devoted support and the recording is out of the top drawer."

RECORDING * * * * *

Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine, October 2010

Review in International Record Review:
"I regard this as a very worthwhile issue, and the Dutton team deserves to be warmly congratulated on it... Sainsbury’s Violin Concerto speaks to us in a language of ‘traditional’ harmony and counterpoint… we must applaud a composer whose strength of character enables him to express himself naturally and fluently in a form that neither Elgar nor Puccini would have had difficulty in grasping… One can easily imagine that many music lovers, particularly those keen to keep up with the latest developments in art, will dismiss Sainsbury’s Concerto out of hand after a few minutes because, superficially, it does not ‘sound’ very modern; such a dismissal would cause them to miss the subtleties and expressive qualities of his music. …the second movement is genuinely inspired: this is quite magnificent music – surely the heart of the work – and much of the finale is on a similarly high level."

Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, June 2010

Review in Elgar Society Journal:
"I found myself pleasantly surprised by the Lionel Sainsbury... an unfairly neglected piece, it has echoes of Walton, and is written in a totally accessible and immediately attractive style... played with verve and commitment by Lorraine McAslan."

Martin Bird, Elgar Society Journal, June 2010

Musicweb International review:
"... big-boned and generous-hearted, a treasurable and magnificent work... the first movement is Elgarian yet interlaced with Tippett-like motifs and the sort of nervy energy often associated with Constant Lambert. The central Andante mesto is touchingly tender and romantic in the manner of the Barber and Korngold yet spliced with the contemplative peace of Finzi’s Introit. The finale, Allegro molto, moves through episodes of rustling euphoria, marcato energy and stirring power... ."

Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International, April 2010

Review in Classic FM Magazine

"Fans of the English tradition and of the somewhat suppressed strand of 20th century tonal music will adore this premiere recording…"

Jessica Duchen , Classic FM Magazine, August 2010
Classic FM’s The New CD Show David Mellor referred to...

"... the very jazzy orchestral tutti that opens the first movement… I really have enjoyed this Dutton-Epoch CD, which is why it’s my ‘choice for the curious’ for this Saturday afternoon… well worth having… Lionel Sainsbury likes to write melodic music, but that doesn’t mean facile music… this it not music to be frightened of because it’s written in our time and you think it might be aggressive and unmelodic: this is anything but…"

The New CD Show, Classic FM, 3 July 2010
Review in Catholic News Agency
"... In the remaining space, here are some recent treasures I can briefly urge upon you. I have been completely blown away by the Violin Concerto by Lionel Sainsbury, on a new Dutton CD (CDLX 7245), with violinist Lorraine McAslan and the BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth. After listening some six times, completely addicted to the main theme, I finally looked at the CD jacket cover to discover that this melodic, syncopated charmer was written in 1989 - and not in the 1930s or 1940s where I had placed it. It sounds like William Walton at his most rhapsodic. If you want your spirits lifted and your heart warmed, here is the work to do it. Anyone who loves British music will find in this piece a reason to fall in love with it all over again. Gorgeous playing by all concerned."

Robert R. Reilly, 10 March 2011
Lorraine McAslan, Barry Wordsworth and Lionel Sainsbury at the recording of Lionel’s Violin Concerto
with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Watford Colosseum, 30 November/1 December 2009
(photo credits: 1: Horst Kolo, 2: Lewis Foreman)
Two Nocturnes for strings
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland;
(English String Miniatures 6 on NAXOS)
Sample from Cuban Dance No.2
Molto Lento
Sample from Cuban Danve No.2
Mesto Seper
.........Two Nocturnes for strings

Sainsbury's Two Nocturnes for strings were first performed by William Boughton and the English String Orchestra at Malvern in 1994.

In September 2006 they were released as part of Naxos 'English String Miniatures 6', with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland, garnering glowing reviews:

"… the most powerful music on this disc is that of the Two Nocturnes of Lionel Sainsbury… melody of Elgarian beauty…"
Colin Scott Sutherland, December 2006

"… lovely miniatures, unmistakably English in character… unusually beautifully written for the medium ..."
Gwyn Parry-Jones, October 2006

"… damask, dark and marmoreal - developing a Mahlerian heat… a grand melody, often piercingly emotional..."
Rob Barnett October 2006

the above 3 reviews in full at

"…the piece that will really haunt you is the first of the Two Nocturnes by Lionel Sainsbury, an ineffably touching miniature that makes one want to hear more from this gifted composer"
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone, December 2006

"… darkly dramatic, the first anguished chromaticism, the second tentative lyricism…"
J.Scott Morrison, Middlebury, VT, USA, September 2006

"… a pair of dusky, but lovely Nocturnes by Lionel Sainsbury…"

Bob McQuiston November 2006 (www.clofo.com) October 2006

"… most sophisticated musically are Lionel Sainsbury's Two Nocturnes…"

David Vernier www.classicstoday.com

The score contains much divisi and requires a minimum strength of 6/6/4/4/2.

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