Saunders’s Fantasy On National Airs makes for a delightful
start to this travelogue edition of the Golden Age of Light
Music. It’s a quick picture-postcard visit to each of the four
nations which make up the British Isles using four great tunes.
It’s the kind of thing beloved of ITMA which often featured
arrangements of folk-songs as musical interludes.
Brown’s Going Places is a delightfully racy Sunday afternoon
country drive of the kind my dad would take my mum and me on
during the summer. I remember them so well and this simply brought
back the memories. The Leslies’ Enchanted Isle is more
South Pacific than Solent. Mexican Interlude is a quirky
little number, the kind of thing which we used to hear accompanying
a short film at the Saturday morning cinema. Across the border
and into North America for the Park Avenue Waltz – which
is more European than American, but who cares when it’s as well
done as this.
to Europe for Cabaret Time In Paris, a quick jaunt through
some well known tunes which is followed by a sultry arrangement
of Alfred Newman’s Moon Of Manakoora from the film The
Hurricane. This really is quite a beautiful arrangement
with rich strings and subtle wind and brass interjections. This
is the very essence of light music.
Rancho Grande is real cowboy stuff,
and a real hoot to boot, but Victor Herbert’s Streets Of
New York is an odd piece for it seems to be more Scottish
than Big Apple.
Of The Casbah is mock Turkish delight
– it could be a discarded moment from Kismet. One wonders
how it could have become the theme from a TV serial called Destination
Downing Street! It’s as English as sushi! Monte Carlo
is part tango, part rumba, while the Mediterranean Serenade
is a rather gaudy concoction which sits badly by the side of
the somewhat impudent Viennese Lantern Waltz.
Territory is part cod Red Indian
and part wide open space Americana. One of the real winners
on this disk is Ronald Hanmer’s Scherzo: Avignon - taken
from a disc in the composer’s own collection - which marries
a couple of ideas which could have come out of the Polovtsian
Dances with the song Sur
Le Pont d’Avignon. It’s a wonderful
little piece. Adios Mexico is a sultry tango, Taj
Mahal is more restaurant than imposing building but Oliphant
Chuckerbutty’s Fiesta Argentina has a real feeling for
the event it is describing, even if it is obviously by someone
who never travelled to the country involved. This is the second
winner on this disk and it’s followed by the third, Billy Mayerl’s
Mediterranean Cruise which is a sort of potted version
of the kind of thing Ibert described in his magnificent Escales.
This is a real find.
For The Carolines sounds little
like Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime? and has the same feeling
of emptiness to it, very odd indeed. The Poor People of Paris
ups the tempo before Peter Yorke tramps through some well known
Irish melodies - in some odd orchestrations which makes the
piece all the more enjoyable – in Irish Fantasy.
imitation eastern piece – Persian Nocturne – takes us
into the home stretch. It’s very languid and delicately rhythmic.
London By Night is all muted trombones and celesta, syrupy
strings and woodwind arabesques. Lovely stuff. To end we have
the Aarhus Tattoo. It’s a sort of quick-step march and,
in keeping with much of this music, it’s lively and fun.
is yet another fascinating collection of unknown and unusual
pieces brought together in fine transfers and beautifully produced.
As usual there’s something for everyone but for lovers of light
music this is essential listening for we can never have too
much melody and delicious orchestration to tantalize us. Bravo