This can be considered a companion to Iain Sutherland’s other Alto CD
of light music: The Merrymakers – British Light Classics (review).
These sometimes unfamiliar tracks also shimmy up close to another Sutherland
collection, In London Town
which can also be had on SOMM (review
latter also included some Korngold – a composer whose miniature ‘titles’
overture to Captain Blood
launches this collection with plenty
of slash and rattle and a momentary hint of congestion.
That doyen of light music, Robert Farnon gives us a creamily smooth
and up-tempo swoon in the shape of Manhattan Playboy
stuff. Leroy Anderson’s Forgotten Dreams
in a most beautiful outline – pastel shades painted in tears. Coleman’s
I’m a Brass Band
is raw, uproarious, brash and a bit crass,
I suppose. Irresistible. Gould’s oddly-spelt Pavanne
neon-lonely and jazzy with the odd hint of Bolero
Folks Who Live on the Hill
is all twinkling diamonds and a
sentimental bow-wave. There are no holds barred in Peter Hope’s arrangement
of Marching Thro’ Georgia
. While Cole Porter’s Night and
squeezes out every last drop of cheek-to-cheek smooch and Semprini
cascades. I recall watching Victory at Sea
as a child on BBC1
back in the 1960s. The music was part of the magical pull of the series.
It was written by Richard Rodgers and in this case we hear the marine
wash and salt-soaked drama of Song Of The High Seas
as it is to every other musical sea picture, including Debussy’s La
Jerry Herman’s Overture to the musical Mack & Mabel
coarse and OTT so brace yourself. As with all the other tracks Sutherland
does not hold back and one can see what Sondheim was fondly caricaturing
in his Follies
and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to
. Gershwin’s Walking the Dog
might as well be
with pictures – every side-walk cliché is evoked and milked rotten.
David Rose’s Tiny Ballerina
exploits the genre in eye-brow
deep string sound. Peter Hope again in Mantovani cascade mode in Kentucky
(Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair
complete also with some fairly brutally extruded Delian dreaming. Herbert’s
March of the Toys
nicely combines a wink with a strut. Striding
decades forward brings us to Grusin’s caramel soft focus On Golden
from the 1982 film - idyllic. Back to Richard Rodgers for
the Carousel Waltz
which is cleverly built up in a far from
obvious way. We also return to Anderson’s Trumpeter’s Lullaby
– an exercise in sentimental trumpet staccato.
Gould was for years the magus of the Boston Pops concerts alongside
André Kostelanetz. His American Salute
is a nice potpourri
of familiar march material of the type also rejoiced in by Roy Harris.
Farnon’s How Beautiful is Night
is heard in the composer’s
orchestral original score complete with those Delian overtones again.
The music is almost certainly better known in the vocal version recorded
by Sarah Vaughan. This one is sticky, with sideways glances towards
Finally there’s Bernstein’s swaggering and swaying
overture to West Side Story
playing with the great tunes to
settle the audience into their seats. He even has the orchestra shouting
All in all this is sumptuous stuff and its pretty well documented too
– though anonymously as far as I can see.