In London Town
Noel GAY (1898-1954)
Concert Overture: Me And My Girl (The Lambeth Walk) (1937) arr. Iain Sutherland [7:48]
Eric COATES (1886-1957)
London Suite (1933): ‘Knightsbridge March’ [4:34]; ‘Covent Garden’ [5:02]
Robert FARNON (1917-2005)
Westminster Waltz (1956) [2:49]
Wally STOTT (1924-2009)
Rotten Row (?) [2:22]
Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
Overture: The Yeoman of the Guard (1888) [5:47]
Clive RICHARDSON (1909-1998)
London Fantasia (1941?) [2:49]
Frederick LOWE (1901-1988)
My Fair Lady (1956) ‘Get Me to the Church On Time’ [3:21]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
arrangement of Greensleeves (1934) [4:31]
Sir Edward GERMAN (1862-1936)
Four Dances from Merrie England (1902) [7:21]
Alan ABBOTT (b. 1926)
London Bridge is Falling Down (1952) [2:40]
Ronald BINGE (1910-1979)
Elizabethan Serenade (1951) [3:15]
George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759)
Water Music Prelude (1717) (2:41)
Roger QUILTER (1877-1953)
Three English Dances (1910) [7:23]
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
The Sea Hawk (Suite) (1940) [7:18]
The Philharmonic Concert Orchestra/Iain Sutherland
rec. originally released on LP, dates unknown, from Iain Sutherland’s Radio Clyde archives
SOMM SOMMCD 0117 [70:45]

This collection bubbles along in great high spirits, kicking off with a joyous suite from Noel Gay’s musical Me and My Girl. The Gershwin influence is obvious and the tunes will set toes a-tapping. Set in the London of the 1930s, the show opened in the West End in 1937 and was revived in the 1980s. Me and My Girl is best remembered for its tune, ‘The Lambeth Walk’.
Eric Coates, known as ‘The Uncrowned King of Light Music’ was indelibly associated with London and the City inspired so much of his music. Two of his London cameos from his first London Suite are included: The stirring ‘Knightsbridge’ March which introduced the very many In Town Tonight programmes and the bustling ‘Covent Garden’ with its haunting ‘Cherry Ripe’ motif. Both pieces are taken at lively tempi just as Eric Coates, himself, would have wished.
Another haunting melody associated with London’s Westminster district is Robert Farnon’s Westminster Waltz with Iain Sutherland’s reading, gaily romantic. So too is his interpretation of Wally Stott’s cheery trot through Rotten Row. Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guard Overture receives all due pomp and ironic wit as the music reminds us of the Tower of London.
Clive Richardson’s London Fantasia scored for piano and orchestra has all the trimmings of the 1940s - the music is meant to be reminiscent of the wartime Blitz - and is an uninhibited romantic concoction influenced by Hollywood and British war film scores such as those for Love Story and Dangerous Moonlight (The Warsaw Concerto). As an antidote we have a comic take-off of Stanley Holloway’s cheeky ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’ from My Fair Lady. Then serenity descends with Vaughan Williams’ beautiful arrangement of the traditional air, Greensleeves. Handel’s Water Music Prelude returns to the pomp of the Royal Court.
Alan Abbott’s take on the old nursery tune London Bridge is Falling Down bustles along cheerily until slower tempi introduce a note of romantic nostalgia.
Sir Edward German’s light music has been unjustly neglected until recent times and it is good to have a recording of his sunny, vivacious and grandly patriotic Four Dances from Merrie England. Welcome, too, are Roger Quilter’s sophisticated Three English Dances. Charming and vivacious, these are dances associated with happy Mayfair evenings.

Ronald Binge’s Elizabethan Serenade is probably one of the best-known and best-loved pieces of light music and the Philharmonic Concert Orchestra players clearly love its intricate cross-rhythms. The concert closes with another Elizabethan influence, Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s music for the Errol Flynn 1940 swashbuckler The Sea Hawk. Here we have an extended treatment of the film’s Main Title with Iain Sutherland pulling out all the zestful and romantic stops. A rousing performance this; to be compared well with any presently on disc.
Sparkling performances of some of the cream of light music.  

Ian Lace  

Sparkling performances of some of the cream of light music.