not get me wrong. I love this kind of music. OK - one can accuse
nearly all of these composers of wearing their hearts on their
sleeves. It is easy to criticize the incipient sentimentality
of most of these numbers. And perhaps the textures, themes and
instrumentation rely a little too much on the clichés of the
day. But this is music to be enjoyed, not studied and analysed.
do not suppose the history of music would be any different if
any of these pieces had not been composed. Yet the world would
be much poorer; this CD is about sitting back and enjoying oneself.
It is all about taking a trip down memory lane. It is allows
us to discover a forgotten country where everything seemed simpler
and the summers were always warm and the skies blue. Forget
the Korean War, austerity and the threat of Atomic holocaust.
This is the most escapist music you can imagine.
look at some of the titles. The CD opens with a lush (“only
grass is lush, France” – English master, Coatbridge High School
1968) number depicting that magical kingdom in Asia
– Shangri-La. Before long we are wandering in Cyril Scott’s
Lotus Land – not the best version of this tune I hasten
to add. But soon we are exploring David Rose’s Deserted City and Cecil Milner’s enchanting Primrose
pleasures of night time and twilight are well represented on
this CD too. We have Joyce Cochrane’s evocative Starry Night
and Under the Stars by the redoubtable Eric Coates. Trevor
Duncan’s dreamy Moon Magic and Al Hoffman’s period piece,
complete with harmonica, A Night of Stars finish off
then the Sea, the Sea! A fair number of these musical paintings
have a nautical feel to them. Robert Farnon’s In a Calm
nods to Fred Delius and is none the worse for that. Peter Dennis’
Packet Boat is a much livelier work that evokes the annual
holiday to the Channel Islands or perhaps the Isle of Man. Angela Morley is a little more philosophical
with her attractive Adrift in a Dream which rates as
one of my favourite pieces on this CD. But the favourite
has to be Lizard Point by Charles Williams. Another reviewer has alluded to Bax’s Tintagel
and this is pertinent. Whilst not being as complex as the masterwork
it is still a fine achievement that presents one of England’s great landmarks on a fine summer’s day rather than in a storm.
few works seem to come in from the warm further climes, however.
I have alluded to Shangri-La. We have a nice arrangement
of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Bali H’ai, we go on Safari
with Belle Fenstock and go Rippling Down a Mountain courtesy
of Hans May.
finally How are Things in Glocca Morra? This is a lovely
heart warming number from Finian's Rainbow. I suppose
that all is well – not only in that little town but in the world
of ’fifties light music.
in all there are twenty-four evocative numbers on this CD. Each
one is a little gem in its own right and deserves to have at
least one version in the catalogue. The sound quality is a tribute
to Alan Bunting and the full programme notes by David Ades are
have alluded to simpler days. This CD is full of sunshine and
hope and the sheer joy of being alive.
see also Review
by Jonathan Woolf