Here is another in this ASV series, which like its
three predecessors, seeks to get away from British light music’s well
The Rutter and Hurd works, both sparklingly scored,
are based on dance rhythms. The Hurd’s most memorable movement is the
beautiful fourth, of five. Rutter’s music is extremely popular, but
this is, I believe, the Partita’s first recording. It often reminds
me of Malcolm Arnold, represented here by Philip Lane’s orchestration
of the popular Padstow Lifeboat march, originally for brass band.
The longest single movement is David Fanshawe’s Fantasy on Dover
Castle, heroic and sometimes storm-tossed (Fanshawe originally had
the inspiration to compose it during a Channel gale) but with a surprising
colourful, almost ethnic-sounding episode. The Bennett Suite comprises
attractive French folk arrangements. William Blezard seems to be having
a revival on CD lately and his Battersea Park suite, in six brief
movements, is delightful, with recollections of the coconut shy, a boat
on the lake, the merry-go-round, distorting mirrors and a miniature
railway which ambles amiably along. It is astonishing how many light
music composers have been inspired by trains! Finally we have Paul Lewis’
A Miniature Symphony: classical pastiche – one is tempted to
compare this with Prokofiev but his Classical Symphony was not as 'transistorised'
as this, which is all over in five elegant, entertaining minutes.
Performances are again splendid; the RBS and the admirable
Gavin Sutherland enhance their reputations in British light music and
the recording and presentation are once more excellent.