This is a motley bag
reminiscent of the medleys issued by Lyrita in the days of the
LP. Artists, composers and orchestras are mixed in some variety.
Nothing wrong with that and of course there are welcome discoveries
to be made.
The British composers
are represented by original compositions and some arrangements.
These latter include tinkerings with works by Field, Bizet and
Philip Lane seems to be here, there and everywhere in the British
light music revival. His overture is lively, unassuming, bumptious,
cheeky, playful and bright. It was inspired by Lane's visit
to Bayeux and the
playing of French carols in the Christmas marketplace.
The Lane does not take
itself over-seriously and neither does the three movement John
Field concertino. Jennifer Stinton, whose recordings on Collins
Classics made such an impact, here takes the solo flute in smoothly
modest sentimentality - sub-Chopin mode. Things become more
lively and swaggering in the Mozartean scherzo - a natural for
a signature tune.
Haydn Wood's British
Rhapsody has missed the limelight. It dates from 1945 and
seemingly includes no original British folk-tunes. Instead the
composer seeks to catch through his own ideas the spirit of
Britain's folk heritage. There's a long-lined Butterworth-like
melody at the start which looks to A Shropshire Lad.
We also get a Shepherd Fennel type dance at 3:12.
There’s twittering hornpipes and a grand melody heavy with sentiment
just a shade of Danny Boy about it. At the time this
must have seemed very much out of date: now its charms are easy
to accept and it has none of the lapses into tawdry to which
Coates was occasionally prone.
might recall an EMI Melodiya LP of Rimsky-Korsakov's concertante
works for solo wind instrument and military band. They were
written together circa 1877-1878 while Rimsky was inspector
of military bands. These included the Glinka Variations which
here are given the Philip
Lane treatment opening
the way for John Anderson's oboe. The writing is typically winsome.
But the oboe does not have things all its own way. There are
some wonderfully hoarse and throaty contributions for and from
the horns at 4.02 onwards.
Anthony Hedges' Festival
Dances are from 1976. Their allegro vivace has a
distinctive toe-tapping American accent rather like Bernstein
but with a British 'kick'. The bittersweet lyrical idea at
4.01 has the tang of Rawsthorne. The Lento is a lovely
sustained piece with a suspicion of Rózsa's theme for El
Cid. The allegro assai picks up on the brilliance
of another British master, Malcolm Arnold - his best film music
with a slightly alcohol befuddled hiccup. Overall this is a
very successful piece of ebullient entertainment with its own
green heart in the lento.
Carlo Martelli studied
at the RCM with William Lloyd Webber, became a prized violist
with various London orchestras, composed in modest quantity and wrote music
for British films. The rather voluptuous Debussian Romance
is adapted from the love music for the Hammer film Curse
of the Mummy's Tomb. He made many arrangements for string
quartet of English folk songs. The one played here is an expansion
for string orchestra with satisfying attention to swell, delicacy,
pacing and some fine breathy counterpointing. The Aubade
recalls the composer's solitary rural walks. It is the quintessence
of lilting English pastoralism; crudely speaking: Finzi-lite.
All the Martelli items are played by Neil Thomson and his orchestra.
Addinsell wrote Harmony
for False Lovers in 1945 and here it is heard in an arrangement
from the published piano solo by the conductor Gavin Sutherland.
It is one of those melancholy ‘romantic concerto’ moderatos:
fetching, but over and done with in less than three minutes.
The role of Leonard
Salzedo in the last three tracks is as arranger of three well
known items from Bizet's Carmen. They were made in 1984
for dancing by the London City Ballet. The music is well known
and these are sleek and professional arrangements catering for
the practicalities of a cut-down pit orchestra. The three movements
are crowned by a blessedly cooling flute and harp dominated
By the way, volume
1 is Dutton CDLX7147 and includes works by Carlo Martelli (what
happened to the promised recording of his symphony on Dinemec,
I wonder), Adam Saunders, Geoffrey Wright, Gavin Sutherland,
Herbert Chappell, Adam Langston, Philip Lane and
Some pleasingly inventive
music here ... sincere, amicable and light on the aural palate.