This is a CD for all who have a nostalgia for that particularly British style of light music, for it is rarely featured now on radio stations in the way it was when I was young. In fact my own enthusiasm for music, that essential inspiration which led to me devoting my working life to writing it and talking about it, was not Bach or Beethoven, Wagner, or even, for an adventurous musical child of the early 1950s, Stravinsky or the Second Viennese School, but the light music featured around so many BBC programmes. It was its tunes, its orchestration and often its sheer and very evidently polished skill that made me want to find out how to make it for myself.
It was composers like Robert Farnon (who sadly died earlier this year)
[listen -- track 13, 0:00-0:52]
and Ronald Binge
[listen -- track 9, 0:00-1:02]
that first stirred my musical instincts. And many are featured here on this second in the series devoted to what are justifiably called British Classics. Eric Coates and Albert Ketèlby (he who invented the accent in his name to enable a rise above a Birmingham birth), Frederic Curzen and Armstrong Gibbs, Sydney Bains, Peter Hope and Ernest Tomlinson -- all are here with music that so many of us may recognise but often be unable to attribute.
The memories are ignited with the gentleness of Geoffrey Toye's Haunted Ballroom
[listen -- track 7, 0:43-1:24]
or the vigour of Charles Ancliffe's Nights of Gladness
[listen -- track 2, 0:28-1:13].
It may simply be the firelight, the cocoa, and something comforting on the 'wireless' introduced by The Old Clockmaker by Charles Williams
[listen -- track 10, 0:00-0:56].
This CD is for all who treasure such memories -- and can admire the skill that goes into the writing of such deceptively simple pieces. And beyond that there is a British Light Music Society under the chairmanship of Ernest Tomlinson, that is a mine of further information.
Copyright © 27 December 2005
Patric Standford, Wakefield UK
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ROBERT FARNON (1917-2005)
British Light Classics 2
2564 62020-2 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 64'26" 2005 Warner Classics
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Barry Wordsworth, conductor
Peter Hope (born 1930): Mexican Hat Dance; Charles Ancliffe (1880-1952): Nights of Gladness; Archibald Joyce (1873-1963): Dreaming; Meyer Lutz (1828-1903): Pas de quatre (Faust Up-To-Date); Ernest Bucalossi (1859-1933): The Grasshopper's Dance; Frederic Curzon (1899-1973): The Boulevardier; Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942): The Haunted Ballroom; Ernest Tomlinson (born 1924): Concert Jig (Silverthorne Suite); Ronald Binge (1910-1979): The Watermill; Charles Williams (1893-1978): The Old Clockmaker; Albert Ketèlbey (1875-1959): Bells Across The Meadow; Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960): Dusk (Fancy Dress); Robert Farnon (1917-2005): Jumping Bean; Sydney Baynes (1879-1938): Destiny; Trad arr Hamilton Harty (1879-1941): Londonderry Air; Eric Coates (1886-1957): Covent Garden (London Suite)
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