This valuable set from Lyrita reinstates a couple of releases originally on the Unicorn-Kanchana label. The hour-long Requiem (1963) had its birth in the String Quintet from two years earlier, written as a result of the trial of Adolf Eichmann and written in memory of the Jews murdered during the Holocaust. The words are taken from the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, and the short texts have prayers for peace and for consolation. ultimate close, the feeling of peace is affecting, the harmony rocking comfortingly. Josephs's Symphony No.5 was written to a commission in 1970 from the Hull Philharmonic Society. In five movements, this ‘Pastoral’ Symphony is scored for a large orchestra. The opening movement alternates bucolic calm and powerful energy, and the second is light-hearted with a subtle introducing of ‘Sumer is icumen in’. The slow movement is an eloquent contrast to what has gone before, and the last two (the second designated ‘Epilogue’) are a linked portrait of the countryside at night. The early digital sound comes across well and turning the volume up a notch allows things to really snap into focus impressively. The only frustration I felt in auditioning this set is the realisation that Wilfred Josephs's music is sorely under-represented in the catalogue. While hoping for more, this Lyrita release is recommended with enthusiasm.
Peter Joelson, Classicalsource.com