The British Hyperion label productions of British Light Music are winning golden reviews and, I hope, reaching a wide public. Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra can provide "the real thing" much better than can central European orchestras attempting the same repertoire.
A 2000 production is the 1916 musical play "The Maid of the Mountains". Immensely successful in its first London run, "The Maid" held the stage for decades thereafter and was still being performed in the 1960s. An original cast recording, offering execrable sound and some "refained" diction, exists. Production values in this CD are all that could be wished. The style, diction and sentiments of the period are well-caught by the performers, the sound quality is excellent, and almost 80 minutes of music and dialogue is included.
The music was originally provided by Harold Fraser-Simpson. After a trial run of the production, some additional songs were added (including three show-stoppers) with music provide by James Tate, a brother of the soprano Maggie Teyte.
The plot and the dialogue, although no longer tenable, provide for love, betrayal and reconciliation on the serious level, and for husband and wife banter, horse racing allusions, and "dirty work at the cross roads" threats on a lighter level. A light-hearted duet, "Over here and over there", would have had poignant overtones for 1917 theatre goers.
Here are good tunes, that you can whistle afterwards, and want to hear again. Here is charm and nostalgia. I hope Hyperion and Ronald Corp get busy with more of Harold Fraser-Simpson's works, including his incidental music to "Toad of Toad Hall".