Lots of familiar music for the over fifties who listened to the radio before T.V. was in almost every household. The London Suite and the Three Eizabeths Suite are fit to play in any concert hall, and The Dam Busters March is as rousing now as when it was written. Happy listening for anyone who enjoys British light music.
Light Orchestral Music is basically a British institution, and one that Eric Coates not only took to his heart but excelled at, and virtually made his own. It is impossible to listen to these 2 CD's without smiling and, if of my generation, remembering the playing time that Eric Coates music had in the 40,s & 50's on the Home Service (Radio 4).
This collection is particularly special, not just for the superb performances, and recording standard, but for the inclusion of a piece featuring Jack Brymer rarely playing the Sax! All the 'favourites are there including, "Sleepy Lagoon", "Dam Busters" March, Knightsbridge March, and many, many others.
This CD is an incredible bargain at £5. For a style of music that is not meant to be taken too seriously, it often has considerable depth and poignancy: some of these beautiful, innocent melodies seem to transport you to London in the 1920s, and you can imagine what it was like.
There are no disappointments, and some real (and largely little-known) gems such as At The Dance, the Saxo Rhapsody, Westminster from the London Suite (a gorgeous melancholy tune and completely different from the knightsbridge march which succeeds it) and Springtime In Angus from the Three Elizabeths suite, which features attractive solo work on the cor anglais. Thoroughly recommendable!
I originally bought this excellent double CD because it featured `The Three Elizabeths Suite' - the first of them, `Halcyon Days' being used as the signature tune for the television adaptation of `The Forsyth Saga', all those years ago.
But the whole of the music - with the possible exception of the `Saxo Rhapsody' - is an absolute joy, especially the `London Suite' and the `London Again Suite'. It's a trip down Nostalgia Lane, to remind us of the time when it was great to be part of Great Britain; it's not now, of course, nor will it ever be again so that alone makes this recording all the more poignant.
A must-have for all us oldies - plus anybody else who loves Coates' music.
From Sir Arthur Sullivan and Edward German onwards Britain has produced many fine composers of light music but none has been finer than Eric Coates (1886-1957). With a solid background of playing the viola in orchestras conducted by some of the most eminent conductors of the age he quickly established himself as a composer with an astonishing facility for writing memorable tunes. But there was much more to him than that : he had a consummate orchestral technique that could create one wonderfully-crafted work after another. Although his music was immensely popular in his day (particularly with radio listeners) he suffered from a snobbish attitude by the musical Establishment, which tended to regard light music as inherently inferior to 'classical music'. In fact, Coates was a far more gifted composer than many so-called 'serious' composers, whose new works tend to be heard once, perhaps at the BBC Proms, and are then hardly heard of again. The fact that he never received a State honour is nothing short of scandalous. For a time after his death, few new recordings of his music were issued but in recent years there has been a welcome revival of recordings, some of which have been the work of the redoubtable conductor and arranger John Wilson, a great Coates champion. These EMI recordings, shared by three different orchestras, date from the middle 1950s and the early 1970s and include many of his best and most popular works. His three big 'hits' are included : the Knightsbridge March from the London Suite, By The Sleepy Lagoon and the Dam Busters March, but there are even more treasurable items. For example, he surely wrote nothing more tenderly beautiful than Spring Time In Angus (Elizabeth of Glamis), the second movement of the Three Elizabeths Suite (which, to the delight of Coates enthusiasts, was played at the 2013 BBC Proms); and there is something superbly Elgarian about the alternately solemn and resplendent Elegie, Langham Place, from the London Again Suite. Perhaps his masterpiece is the totally delightful Cinderella Phantasy, a 15-minute musical interpretation of the most popular of all fairy tales, a work brimming with charm, wit and gaiety. All this music may be 'dated' but it is dated in the best sense, recalling a time when British light music was at its peak, giving pleasure to thousands. Although the earlier, mono, recordings in the set are sonically less vivid than the later ones every one of the works recorded is worth listening to.
Eric Coates represents British light music at its best. Whilst being easy to listen to, each piece is well-constructed and brilliantly orchestrated. Coates demonstrates an outstanding ability for melody-writing, and his music has a romantic quality which could not be anything but British. I am sure that Sir Edward Elgar would approve if he had lived to hear Coates' delightful music. It will send an exciting shiver down your spine, whilst bringing a tear to your eye. These are excellent performances by some of Britains finest orchestras under some of our finest conductors.
Many well-known Coates pieces here but you could buy this purely for the Saxo-Rhapsody recording and be more than satisfied - this IS the most beautiful orchestral piece for saxophone ever written in my opinion. A couple of listens and the opening theme will be haunting you for ever! I think that it's a shame that Coates is often categorised as a composer of light music as this work is up there with 'The Lark Ascending' for conveying lyrical emotion. Strangely, there are very few other recordings available to compare this to. It could be argued that the original Sigurd Rascher (the work was commissioned for him) version is a better performance and is of course essential listening for saxophone players but sadly this was pre-war and doesn't have the comfortable sound quality we expect today, so get this version and you'll not be disappointed.