Two Nocturnes for strings Op.17

William Boughton and the English String Orchestra premiered these two miniatures at Malvern, UK in 1994, and they are included on ‘English String Miniatures 6’ (NAXOS 8.557753) played by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland. The Nocturnes were performed most recently at Piedmont College Chapel, Demorest, Georgia, USA in 2021. Directed by Heather Strachan, the Piedmont Conservatory Strings combined players from the university and the community in works by contemporary composers Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Lionel Sainsbury and Ola Gjeilo.


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


c.5 minutes

Year Completed



…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

Album Review : English String Miniatures Vol. 6
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

… the most powerful music on this disc is that of the Two Nocturnes of Lionel Sainsbury… melody of Elgarian beauty…

Album Review : English String Miniatures Vol. 6
Colin Scott Sutherland, MusicWeb International

… lovely miniatures, unmistakably English in character… unusually beautifully written for the medium ...

Album Review : English String Miniatures Vol. 6
Gwyn Parry-Jones, MusicWeb International

… damask, dark and marmoreal - developing a Mahlerian heat… a grand melody, often piercingly emotional...

Album Review : English String Miniatures Vol. 6
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International


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