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British Light Classics
Eric COATES (1886–1957)
The Merrymakers – Miniature Overture (1922) [4:13]
Knightsbridge March (from London Suite) (1933) [4:16]
Ronald BINGE (1910–1979)
Elizabethan Serenade (1951) [3:27]
The Watermill [3:59]
Albert W KETÈLBEY (1875–1959)
In a Persian Market (1920) [5:44]
Eric COATES
By the Sleepy Lagoon – Valse (1930) [3:03]
Calling All Workers – March (1940) [3:05]
Percy GRAINGER (1882–1961)
Country Gardens – Morris Dance Tune (1908) (arranged by Artok) [2:11]
Irish Tune from County Derry (Londonderry Air) (1902/1911 arranged 1913) [3:30]
Trevor DUNCAN (pseudonym for Leonard Charles TREBILCO) (1924 – 2005)
March (from A Little Suite) (1807) [3:05]
Albert W KETELBEY
In a Monastery Garden (1915) [5:34]
C Armstrong GIBBS (1889–1960)
Dusk (from Fancy Dress – Dance Suite, op82) (1936) (arranged by Wilbur) [3:28]
Percy GRAINGER
Mock Morris (1910) [3:42]
Shepherd’s Hey – Morris Dance Tune (1908/1909) [2:07]
Albert W KETÈLBEY
Bells Across the Meadows [4:48]
Eric COATES
Oxford Street March (from London Again Suite) (1936) [3:26]
Bonus tracks: Original Radio Classics
Charles WILLIAMS (1893–1978)
Devil’s Galop (Dick Barton, Special Agent) [2:47]
Arthur WOOD (1875–1953)
Barwick Green (from the Suite: My Native Heath) (The Archers) (1922) [2:46]
Ray MARTIN (1918–1988)
Marching Strings (Top of the Form) [2:38]
Ronald BINGE
Sailing By (Late Night Shipping Forecast) [2:55]
Robert FARNON (1917–2005)
Portrait of a Flirt (In Town Tonight) (1947) [2:44]
Ambrosian Singers, Philharmonia Orchestra/John Lanchbery (Ketèlbey), Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra (Devil’s Galop), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Reginald Kilbey (Calling All Workers), John Scott Orchestra (Sailing By), Light Music Society Orchestra/Vivian Dunn (Watermill, Binge, Gibbs, Grainger), London Symphony Orchestra/Charles Mackerras (Sleepy Lagoon), Pro Arte Orchestra/Gilbert Vinter (Merrymakers), Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch (Farnon), Ray Martin and his Concert Orchestra (Martin), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Groves (Knightsbridge, Oxford Street), Sidney Torch and his Orchestra (Wood), Studio Two Concert Orchestra/Reginald Kilbey (Elizabethan Serenade)
Re-issues from 78 rpm discs and 33 rpm LPs, recorded between 1948 and 1978. ADD
CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 2282852 [73:37]

 

Experience Classicsonline


A bright and breezy collection culled from various sources in the EMI archives, and most welcome it is too, complimenting, as it does, the wonderful Light Music series from Guild, for it gives us more recent recordings of some old favourites.

Ketèlbey was once as famous as Elgar, indeed, the older composer praised a Piano Sonata written by the 11 year old Ketèlbey, but, unlike Elgar, he became a millionaire because of his music. In more recent times critics have been scathing about these trifles but in performances as good as these directed by John Lanchbery they seem quite fresh, and they emphasise a real feel for the period. Nothing wrong with that. It’s this slightly faded charm which is so endearing about his work. How can you fail to go weak at the knees at the sound of the bird calls in In a Monastery Garden? It would melt even the hardest heart.

It’s impossible to hear Devil’s Galop without thinking of the radio series which used the music as its signature tune – Dick Barton, Special Agent. The music seems to embody the exploits of ex-Commando Captain Richard Barton who, on a daily basis, with the help of his mates Jock Anderson and Snowy White, solve a bewildering variety of crimes and undertake much derring–do! Strangely, Devil’s Galop wasn’t written for the serial but was composed as a piece for a Recorded Music Library where it was discovered by chance and it fitted the radio programme like a glove. Williams and his players give a belting performance!

Calling All Workers was used as the signature music for the BBC music programme Music While You Work. Begun in June 1940 with the intention of helping the war effort, it had been realised that the productivity of manual labour could be raised by offering a non-stop medley of popular music played at an even tempo, to accompany the working day in factories. Coates’s bright march was the perfect introduction. 

Sailing By is one of Binge’s loveliest inspirations, played daily, and still going, to introduce the BBC’s late night shipping forecast, who can forget the marvelous names we are treated to? – beginning Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire… Scott’s orchestra give a delightfully relaxed performance. 

The Light Music Society Orchestra and Vivian Dunn have the lion’s share of this disk. And quite right too. I have long cherished their LPs of British light music and this is a good example of those marvelous discs. The Grainger pieces are stylish and rhythmically crisp and bright – most exciting is the very full orchestral version of Shepherd’s Hey, where the ending is full of fireworks. Binge’s The Watermill and Armstrong Gibbs’s Dusk are simply charming. Let’s have more re–issues of these wonderful LPs – their recording of Ernest Tomlinson’s First Suite of English Folk-Dances must be heard again. 

Mackerras and Vinter each give stylish Coates interpretations and Farnon’s famous Portrait of a Flirt is given a boisterous performance by the great Sidney Torch, who also directs a free–wheeling performance of Arthur Wood’s only known piece Barwick Green from his Suite My Native Heath – which should be given in its entirety for it is a true delight. 

Martin’s Marching Strings, with its surprising stamping moment, is great fun and Kilbey gives a sweetly pleasant Elizabethan Serenade. Special mention must be made of Charles Groves’s elegant performances of two of Eric Coates’s most famous marches from his two London Suites. Especially enjoyable is his suave phrasing of the great tune in Knightsbridge. 

This is music to cherish and enjoy and these performances are top notch. The sound is generally very good – some of the extras are of an older vintage and thus sound more boxy but don’t let that worry you, the transfers are excellent. The notes are brief but give enough information about the collection. Don’t be without this scrumptious disk. 

Bob Briggs

see also Review by Jonathan Woolf 





 


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