Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

PLAY THE GAME Victorian and Edwardian Sporting Songs.

Claud HILL: Cycling Song; James GALLATLY: a Rugger Song; Algernon DRUMMOND: Eton Boating Song; Henry WATSON: The Glorious Twelfth; Herbert PRESTON-THOMAS: The Cricketer's Carol; Franklin ARDELLE; Won't You Come Over and Play Croquet?; Harriet KENDALL: A Game of Tennis; Henry PETHER: Our Football Supper; Odoardo BARRI: The Rival Blues; Harry BALL: The Newmarket Coat; J.C. MACY: Little Tommy Went A Fishing; Herbert SCHARTAU: Caddie; Charles COOTE Jnr: I Won Her Heart At Billiards; Samuel CORBETT: Captain Webb, The Champion Swimmer; Leo KERBUSCH: Mountaineer Song: Thomas CHILVERS: Boxing Song; Alfred SILVER: A Hunting Morning.
Ian Partridge (tenor), Peter Savidge (baritone), Jennifer Partridge (piano). The Song And Supper Club
JUST ACCORD MUSIC JUSCD 001, £9.99 post free from PO Box 224, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 5YJ. E-mail

This highly entertaining disc is both a musical (light musical, basically) experience and a social document. The Victorian and Edwardian eras, notable for ballads and "glees" (partsongs) and more serious music, too, saw an upsurge in the development of sporting activity. Football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, croquet, billiards, cycling, rowing and boxing were either invented or assuming their modern form at that time, while other long-established leisure activities like hunting, shooting, fishing, mountain climbing, swimming and horse racing maintained, even enhanced their importance. All these are represented on this CD which is a neat mixture of parlour songs or concert ballads, a few music-hall songs (Our Football Supper and The Newmarket Coat) and three "glees". One of the latter The Eton Boating Song, the only item on the whole CD that is at all well known. The parlour song/ballads themselves subdivide into humorous (Caddie and Cycling Song), hearty (Rugger Song, Glorious Twelfth, Rival Blues) and sentimental (A Game of Tennis, Cricketer's Carol; and especially I Won Her Heart at Billiards) examples. Most of the items are by British born composers but Kerbusch was German, though domiciled in Ireland, and Ardelle, Macy and Chilvers were American. The composers are an interestingly varied lot. Barri and Coote had a considerable reputation as Victorian Composers of the lighter sort, James Gallatly played lacrosse and wrote many songs for children, Harriet Kendall enjoyed a reputation as a singer, pianist and elocutionist, Pether wrote scads of music-hall songs, as did Ball (The Newmarket Cont, whose horse-racing connections are slim, was written for his daughter Vesta Tilly), Henry Watson established a well known Manchester music library, Alfred J Silver was an organist who composed comic operas and Preston-Thomas was a career civil servant. Claud Hill and the blind Samuel Corbett, a Shropshire man like his hero Captain Webb, are the most obscure English Composers. But all could write good tunes; not a few of them seem to echo the Savoy operas. The lyrics are perhaps less good, generally speaking, though they serve the music well enough. The attractively illustrated, well researched booklet prints all the words and gives details of all composers and lyricists. The performances are splendid. Ian Partridge remains after 30 odd years one of our finest tenors, Peter Savidge, who appears on eight tracks to Partridge's six, conveys well the virility we associate with sportsmen of all kinds (the diction of both is impeccable) and the Song and Supper Club are a stylish "glee party". Jennifer Partridge, one of our finest pianists, has, as I also heard in Doncaster recently in a programme devoted to Ivor Novello, a particular gift for lighter music. I warmly recommend this CD.

Philip Scowcroft

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