I’ve been lucky in my music shopping in recent months and ended up with a stack of excellent recordings I’ve been meaning to write up. Let’s start with this one (Warner Classics 2564 60190-2) subtitled Music for strings, featuring the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under three different conductors. Some of the music works a little better than others: Tippet’s Fantasia concertante is a bit of a yawner, but the two chunks of Purcell, arranged by Britten and Stokowski, are both magic, as is Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis and the William Walton pieces from the Henry V movie soundtrack. Rather English in theme, you observe? Well, there’s a non-Englishman, Arvo Pärt—represented by Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten—well, OK, it’s really English. The music is good, and the sound, well the sound is magical; recorded live (and minimally I’d guess) in a London church, it flows out of the speakers like silken tsunami, even the less thrilling numbers caress the ears.