Like all of the works here these transcriptions are very obviously the work of a master of his craft, capable of achieving the varied effects that he felt the various pieces require. The Debussy goes much further than mere good workmanship. It uses a gong, various bells, two harps and organ pedals as well as a large orchestra to create a complex texture of often very quiet sounds. I can’t imagine that Debussy would have orchestrated it like this, but that does not invalidate it as the working of another highly imaginative musical mind on the original piano piece.
The largest piece on the disc is the "Pictures at an Exhibition", again arranged with great imagination and freedom, but inevitably inviting comparison with Ravel’s version of 1922. Whilst I greatly enjoyed Wood’s version it has to be said that in terms of imagination and ability to illuminate the implications of the music Ravel wins almost all the way. Perhaps that impression may be due in part to the greater familiarity of the latter but side-by-side comparison does confirm this view. The late Arthur Jacobs’ book about Sir Henry lists many other arrangements, including more Bach, some of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies and various pieces by Handel.
I very much hope that this well filled and well recorded disc will have the success it deserves and that it will soon be followed by recordings of some of Sir Henry’s other arrangements.
John Sheppard, Musicweb-international.com
"These are unashamedly big boned, romanticized orchestrations. Mussorgsky's 'Picture' has been immortally orchestrated by Ravel but Wood's version holds its own extremely well. Braithwaite and the LPO play all works with utter conviction and this tribute to one of the great conductors of the past should be snapped up without delay. Lewis Foreman's brilliantly evocative notes are also essential reading and Lyrita's recording is also top drawer quality." Gerald Fenech, classical.net