Reviews

GLCD 5195 – Great British Composers – Vol. 1

Various

 

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The Delius Society – Fall 2012

This release in Guild’s long series of light music is special for several reasons. It contains the First stereo performance of Eric Coates’ popular London Suite which appeared on the Westminster label in 1961. Remember that label? And there is the Ballet for Children from the film “Things to Come” with Arthur Bliss himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This stereo track is from a 1959 Decca LP. The other tracks are all mono by and audio restoration by Alan Bunting is so superb, you would have thought these were all new recordings. Note that in the more than 100 CD’s in this series, all with TT’s over 70 minutes, no performance has been duplicated, although many pieces have been.
Many of the tracks are taken from publishers’ library music which firms such as Chappel, and Boosey and Hawks maintained. Others are from commercial releases from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. I especially liked Frederic Curzon conducting his own Dance of an Ostracized Imp with the New Concert Orchestra (1956) and John Ansell’s three movements from “The Shoe Ballet with Charles Williams (born Isaac Cozerbreit) conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra.
But of special interest, especially to those who attended Charles Abramovic’s piano recital at Temple University on October 7, 2012 when he ended the concert with two jazzy pieces by Monia Liter. On this CD we have Monia Liter conducting (as Paul Hamilton) the New Concert Orchestra in Vivian Ellis’s 5-movement suite Holidays Abroad. There is some speculation that Liter may have also orchestrated these short movements. An enjoyable program and recommended warmly.

Memory Lane – Winter 2012

Guild’s The Golden Age of Light Music have found a new slant for their recently released CD, Great British Composers – Volume 1.  It is an eclectic compilation and I can do no better than quote from David Ades’ thorough liner notes: “Among the great composers such as Coates, Wood, Bliss and German in this collection are several others whose names will mean little to most music lovers.” The latter are identified as Jack Beever, John Ansell, Len Stevens, Trevor Duncan and Clive Richardson. Despite having to follow such masterly music as Covent Garden, Westminster and Knightsbridge from Eric Coates’ London Suite these unsung composers acquit themselves exceedingly well. It was also a pleasure to listen to Vivian Ellis’ Holidays Abroad Suite, arranged and conducted by no less than Monia Liter. Former stalwarts of British Dance bands frequently crop up on the playlists of Guild’s CDs and Melodies.
GH