> British Light Music Classics 4 [RJW]: Classical CD Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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British Light Music Classics 4
Ray MARTIN (1918-1988) Marching Strings (1952), used for BBCís Top Of The Form
Peter HOPE (1930-) Jaunting Car (1965)
'Trevor DUNCAN' (1924-) High Heels (1949)
Frederic CURZON (1899-1973) Dance of an Ostracised Imp (1940)
John FOULDS (1880-1939) Keltic Lament (1914)
Charles WILLIAMS (1893-1978) Rhythm on Rails (1956), used for BBC Morning Music
Eric COATES (1886-1957) By the Sleepy Lagoon (1930), used for BBCís Desert Island Discs
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960) Jamaican Rumba (1938)
Albert W KETÈLBEY (1875-1959) In a Monastery Garden (1910)
Charles WILLIAMS (1893-1978) A Quiet Stroll (1952), used for BBC Farming
Percy FLETCHER (1879-1932) Demoiselle Chic (1914)
Jack BEAVER (1900-1963) Cavalcade of Youth (1950), used for The Barlows Of Beddington
Fredric BAYCO (1913-1970) Elizabethan Masque (1957)
Henry Balfour GARDINER (1877-1932) Shepherd Fennel's Dance (1911)
Charles ANCLIFFE (1880-1952) Thrills (1917)
Frederick ROSSE (1867-1940) The Doge's March (1905)
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Petite Suite de Concert (1910): La caprice de Nanette; Demande et réponse; Un sonnet d'amour; La tarantelle frétillante
The New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp
Rec London 2001 DDD
HYPERION CDA 67400 [77.53]

When Hyperion published the first disc in this series, with its almost forgotten TV interludes from the early Alexander Palace days of post-war television, few suspected that its sales would rocket. Built on this tide of interest in British Light Music we now have Volume 4.

Scanning down the list one is probably familiar with the works of composers like Ketèlbey, Coates, Curzon, Ancliffe and Coleridge-Taylor. But one also spot composers known in name alone. We know nothing of the style of Rosse. Duncan, Fletcher and Gardiner all produced sheet music which, in its time, sold well, but few, if any, of their works have ever been recorded (see British Overtures ASV). We are grateful to Hyperion and Ronald Corp for giving these works an airing when maybe the lead for many of them should have come from the BBC. Many pieces receive their première public recording on this disc. Many of you will recognise pieces like Duncanís well-known High Heels yet will struggle to remember where you heard them.

I was most interested to come across Rosseís Merchant of Venice and wonder how such an enchanting piece could have been so forgotten. Likewise, the prim charm of Williamsí A Quiet Stroll was a delight to hear along with the rarely heard third and fourth movements of Coleridge-Taylorís Petite Suite. In contrast I could have managed without Jamacian Rumba and Marching Strings, which to me conjure up a somewhat different genre.

Signature tunes, unlike concert works, are often wished to be heard Ďas the listener remembersí and in this Corp does not disappoint. But played by a larger orchestra much is added to the pieces and this is enhanced by the with more sensitive dynamics available with modern technology. The pace is good and the playing is of a high standard.

In the recording the orchestra is nearly too far recessed for optimum recording quality (and my tastes), particularly in the early numbers, but fortunately the first strings seem to have escaped this attenuation and the situation improves by the time we get to the third track.

The detailed and interesting notes by Andrew Lamb are provided in English and usefully sketch each composerís background and the purpose of each composition.

Raymond J Walker

see also review by Ian Lace

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