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OF THE MONTH
Ritchie Symphony 4
OF THE MONTH
British Light Music Premieres - Vol. 4
Ernest TOMLINSON (b.
Aladdin (1974): Jewel Dances: (Ruby; Emerald;
Pearl); Aladdin’s Dance of Joy; Young Man in Love
John FOX (b.
A Surrey Rhapsody (2006)
Jim COOKE (b.
Concert Jig (2004)
(Christopher Perry (hammered dulcimer))
Phillip LORD (1930-1969)
Richard VALERY (1906-2005)
Magic Carpet (1940)
Lionel SAINSBURY (b.
Cuban Dance no.2 (1991)
Adam SAUNDERS (b.
Overture: Pirates Ahoy! (2006)
Carey BLYTON (1932-2002)
Golden Road to Samarkand (1991): Ships of the Desert;
Caravanserai (Songs and Dances); Samarkand!
Peter FLINN (b.
Cinema Suite (2006):
Ogres and Giants; The Magic Potion; Dreamscape; The Clowns;
Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland; Paul Murphy (Flinn, Sainsbury,
rec. Angel Studios, London, 2005-6. DDD
EPOCH CDLX7190 [77:06]
Tomlinson’s farmhouse in rural
Lancashire has for years been the safe home for the scores
and parts of a host of otherwise lost British light music.
There it has been preserved during the darkest days of
the genre and now helps in its re-emergence.
is much more than just an archivist though. His name was
a fixture on BBC light music programmes since the 1950s.
His Aladdin music was commissioned by the then Northern
Dance Theatre. The Jewel Dances are lyrical, nostalgic,
glistening and sparkling. Aladdin’s Dance of Joy is
rowdy by comparison; a touch of Bernstein. The fruity clarinet
line in Young Man in Love is rather Parisian in feel.
There’s little obviously Oriental material here – just in
case you were wondering – and none the worse for that.
Fox has been active as a writer of mood and library
music and his warm Surrey Rhapsody is propulsively
Delian, ecstatic and grand and warmly shining as if evocative
of the Surrey hills and certainly well thronged with bird-song.
Then again there’s a whooping dash or ten of brassy raucousness
just in case we were tempted to bask in the sunshine. The
voice of Malcolm Arnold is fleetingly unmistakable.
Cooke’s Concert Jig adds the exotic flavour of
the hammered dulcimer. The material is British and occasionally
Celtic with a rhythmic patterning that links back to Percy
Lord was born in Rossendale not far from
Rawsthorne’s birthplace in Rawtenstall.
Lord was based in Sheffield, which happens to be the birthplace
of Jim Cooke. Lord’s Nautical Overture made appearances
on the BBC in the 1960s but the score survives only in
the library of the Light Music Society. It’s a rattlingly
rousing overture in the British concert overture tradition.
Valery’s The Magic Carpet, the oldest score
here, is a shock the system with its swooning 1940s big
band sound – a touch
of Glenn Miller here. He was director of music publisher
Cranz and played an important role in revival of the music
of Havergal Brian.
Sainsbury is one of the most
promising lyrical composers on the scene. His Cuban Dance
No. 2 catches the sultry smoochiness of pre-Castro Cuba.
We still await recordings of his rewardingly individual concertos
for violin and cello.
Saunders is from Derby. Written
specially for this collection, Pirates Ahoy! with
its faint echoes of the Back to the Future scores
is swashbuckling, rather cinematographic, colourful, brisk,
witty and full of fun. Just the ticket.
Blyton’s name first crossed my path in a concert
in 1979 in Guildford with the eminently serious and extremely
song-cycle Lachrymae. The suite The Golden Road
to Samarkand illustrates James Elroy Flecker’s poem
of the same name. This time Blyton embraces the recognised
hallmarks, sways, tricks and twists of Oriental mystery.
He is in his lighter vein but everything is laid out with
Flinn studied with Mathias and with Joubert. You can hear the influence
of Mathias in the first movement of the well crafted Cinema
Suite. Malcolm Arnold also puts in an appearance: listen
to the chiming in The Magic Potion which echoes
parts of Arnold’s Fifth Symphony. If there is a lightly
macabre Harry Potter feel to this very recent piece
then what’s the harm in that? The long Dreamscape movement
doffs the hat in Ravel’s direction. The Clowns movement
has the bruising manner of the lighter Shostakovich with
its oompah underpinning. There is a sternly elegiac final
movement called Resolution. After all this suite
was written in memory of Peter Crossley-Holland - whose
tone poems should systematically be recorded. Flinn does
not stop there however. Before the movement is done with
we get mysteriously satisfying woven references back to
Stravinsky’s The Firebird as well as a tam-tam crash
shivering into silence and a dignified valedictory tuba
documentation is by composer, British light music champion
and general all-round dynamo, Philip Lane – one of the principal
driving forces of the light music renaissance.
is another successful enterprising and generous cross-section
of British light music. Dutton can take a bow yet again.
Such tireless commitment and brilliant achievement deserves
not just sales but also industry recognition.
One request: please
record Eric Fogg’s Sea-Sheen in the next collection!
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