This fourth compilation, in Hyperion's hugely successful British light music
is another winner. Here are another nineteen sunny, foot-tapping melodic gems;
music most of us know by tune if not by name.
The most significant inclusion is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's lovely full four-movement
Petite Suite de Concert in a really beguiling realisation by Corp's New
London Orchestra. The opening 'La caprice de Nanette' charmingly mixes the coquettish
with feminine flutter and daintiness. The second most familiar movement, the
dreamily romantic 'Demande et Réponse' proved to be so popular that it
was ultimately arranged as a song. The final movements, 'Un sonnet d'amour'
and 'Tarantelle frétillante' do not have the same appeal and frankly
form a disappointing ending to the album.
Many of the pieces come from composers who worked in radio and films. Indeed
Eric Coates's 'By the Sleepy Lagoon' (inspired not by some Pacific Island but
by a seaside view in West Sussex) is still used to introduce BBC Radio's Desert
Island Discs. Charles Williams who worked on over a hundred British
films and wrote 'The Devil's Gallop' for BBC Radio's Dick Barton Special
Agent, is represented here by his catchy and evocative 'Rhythm on the Rails'
and his gentle, pastoral 'A Quiet Stroll'. Jack Beaver was also a member of
the Gaumont-British Pictures composing team and we hear his march 'Cavalcade
of Youth', a stirring mix of Elgarian and Waltonesque influences. Arthur Benjamin
also enjoyed a successful career writing for the silver screen and included
is his most popular composition, 'Jamaican Rumba'. One of the earliest contributors
to the cinema was Albert W. Ketèlbey whose extravagant music often accompanied
silent films. His sentimental but colourful, 'In a Monastery Garden' (complete
with sugary male voices) is featured.
The collection commences with Marshall Ross's jaunty 'Marching Strings' and
Peter Hope's trotting rhythms underpinning his wistful 'Jaunting Car' from The
Ring of Kerry. Of the other works I would especially mention the imposing
'The Doge's March' from Frederick Rosse's The Merchant of Venice,
Frederic Curzon's mischievous 'Dance of an Ostracised Imp' and the John
Fould's hauntingly beautiful 'Keltic Lament' (a real find from an unjustly neglected
Some eighty minutes of sheer delight, familiar light pieces known by their
tunes if not by their titles – a real tonic. 'Played with charm and verve by
Corp's New London Orchestra.