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Prior to the microphone larger churches had excellent choirs and organists producing music better than any other of their day. And, there were the famous secular choirs, such as the world-renowned Huddersfield Choral Society. From 1871 London had 'the nation's village hall' (the Royal Albert Hall) with its gigantic organ (recently restored) and, perched on a hill in North London, there appeared the architecturally astonishing Alexandra Palace, still in constant use with its huge and also recently restored organ.

By the 1930s spellbound audiences listened not only to film music but to cinema organs. These magificent consoles with brilliantly illuminated glass sides rose from below stage level. Music bellowed from organ pipes concealed above the films' silver screen.

All the world came to town on that screen, and television was soon to bring the whole world into people's living rooms.

In the 1960s, The Beatles delivered the fatal blows to light music. By then light music seemed parochial and twee, alongside the excitement of microphone and loudspeaker, cathode ray tube and cinema projector.

On these CDs, to paraphrase the well-known American music critic and composer, Virgil Thomson, 'the performance is more interesting than the music', thanks to Barry Wordsworth and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [listen -- CD2 track 10, 0:00-0:56].


Copyright © 20 March 2007 George Balcombe, London UK


British Light Classics

2564 63410-2 DDD Stereo COMPILATION (2 CDs) 59'34"/64'26" - TT 124'00" 2003, 2005 Resolution Copyright Ltd, 2006 Warner Classics Ltd

Roderic Elms, piano (Cornish Rhapsody); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Barry Wordsworth, conductor

CD1: Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006): Allegro non troppo (English Dances Set 2 Op 33 No 1); Eric Coates (1886-1957): Calling All Workers; Arthur Wood (1875-1953): Barwick Green (My Native Heath); Vivian Ellis (1903-1996): Coronation Scot; Haydn Wood (1882-1959): The Bandstand, Hyde Park (Frescoes); Eric Coates: By The Sleepy Lagoon; Hubert Bath (1883-1945): Cornish Rhapsody; Robert Farnon (1917-2005): Portrait of a Flirt; Trevor Duncan (1924-2005): March (Little Suite); Charles Williams (1893-1978): Rhythm On Rails; Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960): Jamaican Rumba; Edward White (1910-1994): Puffin' Billy; Anthony Collins (1893-1963): Vanity Fair; Charles Williams: Heart O'London; Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Chanson de Nuit; Robert Farnon: Westminster Waltz; Eric Coates: The Dam Busters March; Charles Williams: Devil's Galop

CD2: 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: Jumping Bean; Sydney Baynes (1879-1938): Destiny; Trad arr Hamilton Harty (1879-1941): Londonderry Air; Eric Coates: Covent Garden (London Suite)




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