> British Light Music Classics No. 4 [IL]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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British Light Music Classics No. 4
Marshall ROSS(Ray MARTIN 1918-1988) Marching Strings (as used in Top of the Form)
Peter HOPE (b. 1930) Jaunting Car
Trevor DUNCAN High Heels
Frederic CURZON (1899-1973) The Dance of the Ostracised Imp
John FOULDS (1880-1939) Keltic Lament
Charles WILLIAMS (1893-1978) Rhythm on the Rails (as used in BBC Morning Music)
Eric COATES (1886-1957) By the Sleepy Lagoon (as used in Desert Island Discs)
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960) Jamaican Rumba
Albert KETÈLBEY (1875-1959) In a Monastery Garden
Charles WILLIAMS A Quiet Stroll (as used in BBC Farming)
Percy FLETCHER(1879-1932) Demoiselle Chic
Jack BEAVER (1900-1963) Cavalcade of Youth (as used in The Barlows of Beddington)
Frederic BAYCO (1913-1970) Elizabethan Masque
Henry BALFOUR GARDINER (1877-1950) Shepherd Fennel’s Dance
Charles ANCLIFFE Thrills
Frederick ROSSE (1867-1940) The Doge’s March
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Petit Suite de Concert
The New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp
recorded on 11 and 12 April 2002
HYPERION CDA67400 [77:53]

This fourth compilation, in Hyperion’s hugely successful British light music is another winner. Here are another nineteen sunny, foot-tapping melodic gems; music most of us know by tune if not by name.

The most significant inclusion is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s lovely full four-movement Petite Suite de Concert in a really beguiling realisation by Corp’s New London Orchestra. The opening ‘La caprice de Nanette’ charmingly mixes the coquettish with feminine flutter and daintiness. The second most familiar movement, the dreamily romantic ‘Demande et Réponse’ proved to be so popular that it was ultimately arranged as a song. The final movements, ‘Un sonnet d’amour’ and ‘Tarantelle frétillante’ do not have the same appeal and frankly form a disappointing ending to the album.

Many of the pieces come from composers who worked in radio and films. Indeed Eric Coates’s ‘By the Sleepy Lagoon’ (inspired not by some Pacific Island but by a seaside view in West Sussex) is still used to introduce BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs. Charles Williams who worked on over a hundred British films and wrote ‘The Devil’s Gallop’ for BBC Radio’s Dick Barton Special Agent, is represented here by his catchy and evocative ‘Rhythm on the Rails’ and his gentle, pastoral ‘A Quiet Stroll’. Jack Beaver was also a member of the Gaumont-British Pictures composing team and we hear his march ‘Cavalcade of Youth’, a stirring mix of Elgarian and Waltonesque influences. Arthur Benjamin also enjoyed a successful career writing for the silver screen and included is his most popular composition, ‘Jamaican Rumba’. One of the earliest contributors to the cinema was Albert W. Ketèlbey whose extravagant music often accompanied silent films. His sentimental but colourful, ‘In a Monastery Garden’ (complete with sugary male voices) is featured.

The collection commences with Marshall Ross’s jaunty ‘Marching Strings’ and Peter Hope’s trotting rhythms underpinning his wistful ‘Jaunting Car’ from The Ring of Kerry. Of the other works I would especially mention the imposing ‘The Doge’s March’ from Frederick Rosse’s The Merchant of Venice, Frederic Curzon’s mischievous ‘Dance of an Ostracised Imp’ and the John Fould’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Keltic Lament’ (a real find from an unjustly neglected British composer).

Some eighty minutes of sheer delight, familiar light pieces known by their tunes if not by their titles – a real tonic. Played with charm and verve by Corp’s New London Orchestra.

Ian Lace

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