Concerto for violin and orchestra Op.14

First performed by Lorraine McAslan with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Adrian Lucas at the 2002 Worcester (UK) Three Choirs Festival.

In 2009 Lorraine McAslan recorded the concerto with Barry Wordsworth and the BBC Concert Orchestra for Dutton-Epoch (CDLX 7245).


2 Fl (2nd doubling Picc), 2 Ob (2nd doubling CA), 2 Cl, 2 Bsn, 4 Hn, 2 Trpt, 3 Trbn, Tba, Timp, Hp, Strings


c.40 minutes

Year Completed



… a vibrantly beautiful work, alternating drama and poetry… lambent, melodious, inspirational…

Review of first performance at Worcester Three Choirs Festival
Rob Barnett, British Music Society

… teeming with bravado and bravura

Review of first performance at Worcester Three Choirs Festival
Hilary Finch, The Times

… rhapsodic, beautifully crafted

Review of first broadcast on BBC Radio 3
Keith Bramich, Music & Vision

… highly virtuoso with ardent intensity and melancholy reflection… fiery, passionate, emphatic…

Review of first broadcast on BBC Radio 3
Raymond Head, Tempo Magazine

Dutton scores again with the world première recording of Sainsbury’s Violin Concerto which at forty minutes is on a grand scale… the Andante is a beautifully written rhapsodic offering with spun-out melodies that ends with the auburn glow of an autumnal sunset… 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.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found

unabashedly romantic… reinforcing the primary power of melody as one of the essential foundations of musical expression… a 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 with 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.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Paul A.Snook, Fanfare

… 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.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

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. The BBC Concert Orchestra provides devoted support and the recording is out of the top drawer.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine

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.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review

… big-boned and generous-hearted, a treasurable and magnificent work… 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…

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

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

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Jessica Duchen, Classic FM Magazine

… 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 with violinist Lorraine McAslan and the BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth. It sounds like William Walton at his most rhapsodic. I listened some six times, completely addicted to the main theme. 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.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Robert R. Reilly, Catholic News Agency

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… 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 – nor the vivid, spacious, natural sonics – could be bettered.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos
Mark Lehman, Absolute Sound

… beautiful musical ideas… striking, ethereal…

Performance Review
Jackie Harris, Worcester Evening News


  • 2010

    Lionel Sainsbury & Haydn Wood: Violin Concertos

    Dutton-Epoch CDLX 7245

    Performed by Lorraine McAslan, violin; BBC Concert Orchestra | Barry Wordsworth, conductor

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