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Eric COATES (1886-1957) 
The Definitive Eric Coates - Eric Coates conducts his own compositions 
All of his commercially released recordings 1923-1957 plus bonus CD of Eric Coates compositions conducted by others. 
Details reproduced in the Track-Listing at the end of this review. 
NIMBUS NI 6231 [7 CDs: 8:50:00] 

The reputation of Coates as a light music composer is often under-rated. Sir Edward Elgar told him that he always bought his latest recordings, a favourite of which was Summer Days. If such accolades can come from a revered composer why should the Establishment have a problem in recognising him?
 
Coates had a good professional training: he studied harmony and composition when aged 20, under Frederick Corder at the Royal Academy of Music where Coates gained proficient skills to write good music for both the symphony and light orchestra. He played viola under Thomas Beecham and Henry Wood at the Queen’s Hall where he was exposed the music of many genres. By 1910 Coates had successfully published a number of ballads. However, a springboard to recognition came when Henry Wood asked him to write the Miniature Suite for a 1911 Promenade Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Seven years later he became a freelance composer where song and orchestral writing was to become his sole income. The formation of a British royalty system and a Chappell publishing contract provided an important cushion financially. His actress wife had gained him theatrical contracts yet he never aspired to become associated with stage musicals. Instead, success was assured by the BBC when his Knightsbridge March was used as a signature tune. From this exposure, sheet music and record sales rocketed. Increasing involvement with the BBC during the 1940s and 1950s helped promote Coates’ music as its style was ideally suited to Music while you Work and Workers’ Playtime. I mention this background history because this CD set allows us to chart the development of Coates’s career rather nicely.
 
The 7 CDs allow the curious listener to compare the recordings he made of the same piece at different times where speed and accents are varied. We still find some of the music familiar today - Calling All Workers, London Suite and Sleepy Lagoon in particular.
 
The 27 page booklet by Michael Payne is very informative and charts the pieces in chronological order to provide insight into the workings of the record industry. We learn how after the pieces were written they would be edited to a running length of either 10" or 12" 78rpm records. I found it interesting to learn that the studio choice of cuts did not always match with those of the composer - extraordinary really - but Coates realised that he needed to be tactful and subservient. There are times when his publisher would turn down a piece (Knightsbridge for example) and this would only become recorded because there was time at the end of a studio session. That particular piece happened to be made famous by BBC broadcasts and so publication was belatedly agreed. The inclusion of notes from Coates’ diary makes interesting reading.
 
The 78 record transfers have been excellently mastered with complete removal of all 'shellac' track noise and clicks, yet with no loss of treble frequencies. We are now used to the loving care which engineer, Alan Bunting takes with all his transfers for the Guild series and this care is also taken here. I was interested to compare the acoustic recording with the later Columbia and then Full Frequency Range Recordings (ffrr) boasted by Decca. What we hear is infinitely superior to that heard when played on the steel-needled early electric record-player.
 
One could go as far as saying that a number of Coates’ compositions are inspired as he shows great vitality in his writing and certain romantic melodies are particularly attractive. In tr. 11 (CD3) he achieves a modern take-off of the traditional Viennese waltz, where he turns corners with Strauss, but not crudely so. His planning for The Four Centuries Suite at the outbreak of WWII is carefully researched to provide the styles of musical composition in certain centuries. Having been firmly associated with Columbia up to the war, this was to be his first recording with Decca (1944). Likewise, The Three Elizabeths Suite has a charm with uplifting melodies set within a classical orchestration. To me it seems strange that Coates was not recognised as an outstanding light music composer of his time and decorated accordingly since the establishment will have been aware of his professional training and wide involvement in musical circles.
 
Raymond J Walker
 
See also reviews by Ian Lace and John France
 
Track List - Synopsis
 
CD 1 - 1931-1937 [78.08]
1. The Merrymakers - Overture 4:21; 2. From Meadow to Mayfair - Suite 11:35; 3. Summer Afternoon - Idyll 3:28; 4. Cinderella - Phantasy 12:46; 5. By The Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade 4:36; 6. The Jester At The Wedding : No.1 The Princess Arrives - March 3:00; 7. By The Tamarisk - Intermezzo 4:13; 8. Saxo-Rhapsody 8:46; 9. Summer Days - Suite 8:07; 10. Springtime - Suite 12:20; 11. For Your Delight - Serenade 4:00
 
CD 2 - 1940-1948 [77.57]
1. Footlights - Concert Valse 4:17; 2. Last Love - Romance 3:54; 3. The Seven Seas - March 3:14; 4. I Sing to You (A Souvenir) 3:17; 5. Calling All Workers March 2:59; 6. Fanfare Number 1 0:18; 7. Salute the Soldier March 3:22; 8. Fanfare Number 2 0:26; 9. The Eighth Army March 2:37; 10. The Four Centuries Suite 17.24; 11. The Three Elizabeths Suite 18.06; 12. Dancing Nights - Concert Valse 6:48; 13. London Calling March 2:55; 14. London Bridge March 4:05; 15. London Suite - Knightsbridge March 2:56
 
CD 3 - 1948-1955 [78.33]
1. A Song of Loyalty 3:19; 2. By the Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade 3:15; 3. Bird Songs at Eventide 3:08; 4 . Television March 3:19; 5. Wood Nymphs - Valsette 3:09; 6. London - Suite 13.27; 7. London Again - Suite 12.51; 8. The Three Men - Suite 13.28; 9. The Jester at the Wedding : No.4 - Dance of the Orange Blossoms 3:45; 10. Music Everywhere - Rediffusion March 2:57; 11. The Dam Busters March 2:56; 12. Sound and Vision The A.T.V. Television March 3:00
 
CD 4 - 1952-1957 [78.29]
1. High Flight - March 2:49; 2. Impression of a Princess - Intermezzo 2:58; 3. Wood Nymphs - Valsette 2:46; 4. South Wales and West - Television March 2:47; 5. London - Suite 13:18; 6. London Again - Suite 12:00; 7. The Three Elizabeths - Suite 19:09; 8. The Four Centuries - Suite 20.25
 
CD 5 - Early records [72.05]
1. Summer Days - Suite 9:53; 2. Wood Nymphs - Valsette 3:01; 3. With a Song in my Heart. Symphonic Rhapsody, after Richard Rodgers 7:47; 4. Bird Songs at Eventide 4:01; 5. I Pitch my Lonely Caravan at Night 4:11; 6. I Heard You Singing & Bird Songs at Eventide - Symphonic Rhapsody 4:03; 7. London - Suite 8.08; 8. London Bridge - March 3:07 9. The Jester at the Wedding : No.1 - The Princess Arrives - March 3:21; 10. The Jester at the Wedding : No.4 The Dance Of The Orange Blossoms 3.03; 11. The Three Men - Suite 12.12; 12. Wood Nymphs - Valsette 3:18; 13. Song of Loyalty (The Prayer within our Hearts) 4:16
 
CD 6 - Early and Acoustic records [70.25]
1. Meadow To Mayfair Suite : No.2 4:03; 2. London Again - Suite 11.28; 3. By The Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade 3:20; 4. The Three Bears - A Phantasy 8:52; 5. London Suite - Knightsbridge March 4:01; 6. Television March 3:20; 7. Valse from the Phantasy, The Three Bears 3:07; 8. The Merrymakers - Overture 4:06; 9. Moresque Dance - Interlude 3:37; 10. Joyous Youth - Suite 11.33; 11. Summer Days Suite : At The Dance 3:59; 12. The Selfish Giant - A Phantasy (arr. Lucas) 8:06
 
Bonus CD 7 - 1918-1955 [74.33]
Performances of works which Coates did not record himself alongside alternative and famous performances by other conductors. Including The Peerless Orchestra, Clarence Raybould, Charles Williams, Jack Hylton, Joseph Lewis, RAF Central Orchestra, Sidney Torch, Robert Farnon and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.    
Track List - Complete   
CD 1 [78:08] (1923-1937)
1) The Merrymakers Overture (1923) [4.21] rec. 1931+
From Meadow to Mayfair Suite (1931) [11.35] rec. 1931+
2) In the Country - Rustic Dance [3.12]
3) A Song by the Way - Romance [4.03]
4) Evening in Town - Valse [4.20]
5)Summer Afternoon - Idyll (1931) [3.28] rec. 1934 *
6)Cinderella - Phantasy (1929) [12.46] **
7) By the Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade extended version (1930) [4.36] rec. 1935 **
8) The Jester at the Wedding (‘The Princess Arrives’) March (1932) [3.00] rec. 1934 *
9) By the Tamarisk - Intermezzo (1927) [4.13] rec. 1936 **
10) Saxo-Rhapsody (1936) [8.46] with Sigurd Rascher (alto saxophone) rec. 1937 ***
Summer Days Suite (1937) [8.17] rec. 1937 ***
11) In a Country Lane [2.06]
12) On the Edge of a Lake [2.19]
13) At the Dance [3.42]
Springtime Suite (1937) [12.20] rec 1937 #
14) Fresh Morning - Pastorale [4.01]
15) Noonday Song - Romance [4.17] 
16) Dance in the Twilight - Valse [4.02]
17) For Your Delight - Serenade (1937) [4.00] rec. 1937 #
+ London Symphony Orchestra
* Symphony Orchestra (unidentified) ** Symphony Orchestra (actually London Philharmonic Orchestra) *** Symphony Orchestra (actually London Symphony Orchestra)
+ London Symphony Orchestra; # Light Symphony Orchestra    
CD 2 [77:57]
1) Footlights - Concert Waltz (1939) [4.17] rec. 1940 #
2) Last Love - Romance (1939) [3.54] rec. 1940 #
3) The Seven Seas March (later re-titled South Wales & West) (1937) [3.14] rec. 1940 #
4) I Sing to You (A Souvenir) (1940) [3.17] rec. 1940 #
5) Calling All Workers March (1940) [2.59] rec. 1940 *
6) Fanfare No. 1 (1943) [0.18] rec. 1944 +
7) Salute the Soldier - March (1944) [3.22] rec. 1944 +
8) Fanfare No. 2 (1943) [0.26] rec. 1944 +
9) The Eighth Army March (1942) [2.37] rec. 1944 +
The Four Centuries Suite (1941) [18.04] rec. 1944 ≠
10) Prelude & Hornpipe - 17thCentury [4.21]
11) Pavane & Tambourin - 18thCentury [4.46]
12) Valse - 19thCentury [4.41]  
13) Rhythm - 20thCentury [4.16]
The Three Elizabeths Suite (1944) [17.49] rec.1944 ≠
14) Halcyon Days - Elizabeth Tudor [6.35]
15) Springtime in Angus -Elizabeth of Glamis, The Queen Mother [6.37]
16) Youth of Britain (March) - The Princess Elizabeth [4.34]
17) Dancing Nights - Concert Valse (1931) [6.48] rec. 1945 +
18) London Calling -March (1941) [2.55] rec. 1946 +
19) London Bridge - March (1934) [4.05] rec. 1946 +
20) London Suite - Knightsbridge March (Abridged Version) (1932) [2.56] rec. 1948
+ London Symphony Orchestra; # Light Symphony Orchestra * Symphony Orchestra (unidentified) ≠ The National Symphony Orchestra    
CD 3 [78.33]
1) A Song of Loyalty (orchestral version) (1935) [3.19] rec. 1948
2) By the Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade (1930) [3.15] rec. 1948
3) Bird Songs at Eventide (arranged by H. M. Higgs) [3.08] rec. 1948
4) Television March (1946) [3.19] rec. 1948
5) Wood Nymphs - Valsette (1917) [3.09] rec. 1948
London Suite (1932) [13.27]
6) Covent Garden - Tarantelle [4.43]
7) Westminster - Meditation [4.29]
8) Knightsbridge - March [4.15]
London Again Suite (1936) [12.51]
9) Oxford Street (March) [3.31]
10) Langham Place - Elegy [5.04]
11) Mayfair - Valse [4.16]
The Three Men Suite (1935) [13.08] rec. 1949
12) The Man From the Country [4.09]
13) The Man About Town [4.37]
14) The Man From the Sea [4.22]
15) The Jester at the Wedding No. 4 Dance of the Orange Blossoms (1932) [3.45] rec. 1949
16) The Three Bears - A Phantasy (1926) [9.14] rec. 1949
17) Music Everywhere - Rediffusion March (1948) [2.57] rec. 1949
18) The Dam Busters March (1954) [2.56] rec. 1955
19) Sound and Vision - The ATV Television March (1955) [3.00] rec. 1955
All recordings on CD3 made with New Symphony Orchestra except Music Everywhere with Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra; and The Dam Busters March and the Sound and Vision March with a Concert Orchestra
 
CD 4 [78.29]
1) High Flight - March (1957) [2.49] rec. 1957 *
2) Impression of a Princess - Intermezzo (1956) [2.58] rec. 1957 *
3) Wood Nymphs - Valsette (1917) [2.46] rec. 1957 *
4) South Wales & West - Television March (1937 [2.47] rec,. 1957 *
London Suite (1932) [13.18] rec. 1952 ≠
5) Covent Garden - Tarantelle [4.41]
6) Westminster - Meditation [4.25]
7) Knightsbridge - March [4.12]
London Again Suite (1936) [12.40] rec. 1952 ≠
8) Oxford Street - March [3.29]
9) Langham Place - Elegy [4.59]
10) Mayfair - Valse [4.12]
The Three Elizabeths Suite (1944) [18.49] rec. 1953 +
11) Halcyon Days - Elizabeth Tudor [7.23]
12) Springtime in Angus - Elizabeth of Glamis [7.05]
13) Youth of Britain - March - The Princess Elizabeth [4.41]
The Four Centuries Suite (1941) [21.05] rec. 1953 +
14) Prelude & Hornpipe - 17th Century [6.19]
15) Pavane & Tambourin - 18th Century [5.53]
16) Valse - 19th Century [4.38]
17) Rhythm - 20th Century [4.15]
* Eric Coates and his Orchestra ≠ Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra (section of London Philharmonic) + New Symphony Orchestra of London    
CD 5 [72.05]
Summer Days - Suite (1919) [9.53] rec. 1926 +
1) In a Country Lane [2.43]
2) On the Edge of the Lake (Isle of the Waters) [3.26]
3) At the Dance [3.44]
4) Wood Nymphs [3.01] +
5) With A Song In My Heart (Symphonic Rhapsody after Richard Rogers) (1930) [7.47] rec. 1930. ≠
6) Bird Songs at Eventide (1926) with vocalist Billy Scott-Coomber and Jack Payne and his Band [4.01] rec. 1932
7) I Pitch my Lonely Caravan at Night - Symphonic Rhapsody (1932) [4.11] rec.1933 *
8) I Heard You Singing & Bird Songs at Eventide - Symphonic Rhapsody (1932) [4.03] rec. 1933 *
London Suite (1932) [13.18] rec. 1933 *
9) Covent Garden - Tarantelle [4.41]
10) Westminster - Meditation [4.25]
11) Knightsbridge - March [4.12]
12) London Bridge - March (1934) [3.07] **
13) The Jester at the Wedding: No. 1 The Princess Arrives (1932) [3.21] rec. 1935 *
14) The Jester at the Wedding: No. 4 The Dance of the Orange Blossoms - Valse (1932) [3.03] rec. 1934] **
The Three Men - Suite (1935) [12.52] rec. 1935 ±
15) The Man From the Country [3.55]
16) The Man About Town [4.20]
17) The Man From the Sea [4.37]
18) Wood Nymphs - Valsette (1917) [3.18] rec. 1935 ±
19) Song of Loyalty (The Prayer Within Our Hearts) (1935) [4.16] rec. 1935
* Symphony Orchestra (actually London Philharmonic Orchestra); ** Symphony Orchestra # New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra; + New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra; ≠ The Court Symphony Orchestra; ± Light Symphony Orchestra (actually London Philharmonic Orchestra
 
CD 6 [70.25]
1) Meadow to Mayfair Suite: No. 2 - ‘A Song By the Way’ (1931) [4.03] rec. 1935 *
London Again Suite (1936) [12.40] rec. 1936 **
2) Oxford Street - March [3.12]
3) Langham Place - Elegy [4.20]
4) Mayfair - Valse [3.56]
5) By the Sleepy Lagoon - Valse Serenade (1930) [3.20] rec. rec. 1940 *
6) The Three Bears - A Phantasy (1926) [8.52] rec. 1945 +
7) London Suite - ‘Knightsbridge March’ (1932) [4.01] rec. 1946 +
8) Television March (1946) [3.20] +
9) ‘Valse’ from The Phantasy The Three Bears (1949) [3.07] rec. 1949 ≠
10) The Merrymakers - Overture (1923) [4.06] rec. 1923 (acoustic recording) ≠
11) Moresque - Interlude (1921) [3.37] rec. 1923 (acoustic recording) ≠
Joyous Youth - Suite (1921) [11.33] rec. 1923 (acoustic recordings) #
12) Introduction [4.04]
13) Serenade [3.59]
14) Valse [3.30]
15) Summer Days Suite: At the Dance (1919) [3.59] rec. 1926 #
16) The Selfish Giant - A Phantasy (arr. Leighton Lucas) (1925) [8.06] rec. 1926
* Symphony Orchestra; ** Symphony Orchestra (actually London Philharmonic); + London Symphony Orchestra; ≠ New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra; # The Aeolian Orchestra 
BONUS CD 7 [74.33]
From The Countryside - Suite (1914) [6.59] rec. circa 1918
The Peerless Orchestra
1) Early Morning - In the Meadows [1.36]
2) Afternoon - Among the Poppies [2.05]
3) Evening - At the Fair [3.18]
Miniature Suite (1911) [8.42] rec. 1931
Clarence Raybould conducting Light Symphony Orchestra
4) Children’s Dance [2.16]
5) Intermezzo [2.15]
6) Scene du Bal [4.11]
Joyous Youth - Suite (1921) [8.19] rec. 1942
Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
12) Introduction [2.34]
13) Serenade [2.49]
14) Valse [2.56]
10) Moresque - Dance Interlude (1921) [2.45] rec. 1944
Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
Two Light Syncopated Pieces (1924-25) [5.17]
11) Moon Magic [2.13]
Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra rec. 1946
12) Rose Of Samarkand [3.04]
Jack Hylton and His Orchestra rec. 1926
13) The Selfish Giant - A Phantasy (1925) [8.08] rec.1945
The New Concert Orchestra conducted by John Leon
Four Ways Suite (1927) [12.17] rec. 1934
Joseph Lewis conducting the New Light Symphony Orchestra
14) Northwards - March [4.12]
15) Southwards - Valse (1.17]
16) Eastwards - Eastern Dance [2.47]
17) Westwards - Rhythm [4.01]
18) Mirage - Romance (1928) [2.43] rec. 1942
Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
19) Under the Stars (1928) [3.07] rec. 1946
Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
20) Lazy Night - Valse Romantique (1931) [2.47] rec. 1932
Cedric Sharpe Sextet
21) Over to You - March (1941) [3.09] rec. 1942
RAF Central Orchestra conducted by Wing Commander O. P. O’Donnell MVO
22) Holborn - March (1950) [3.20] rec. 1950
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra
23) Sweet Seventeen - Concert Waltz (1954) [2.44] rec. 1955
The Melodi Light Orchestra conducted by Ole Jensen
24) The Dam Busters March (1954) [3.00] rec. 1955
Central Band of The Royal Air Force conducted by Wing Commander A.E. Sims OBE 

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