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Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Barry Wordsworth.
ASV White Label WHL 2128.
Various orchestras and ensembles.
ASV White Label (2 disc set) CDWLZ 250.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge March, Sir Malcolm Arnold
Divertissement, Bryan Kelly
Romeo and Juliet, Constant Lambert
Elegiac Blues, Constant Lambert
Three Dances for Orchestra, David Lyon
Promenade, Carlo Martelli
Overture for Farnham, Alan Rawsthorne
Celestial Fire, Patric Standford
Alan ABBOTT: London Fragments
Sir Malcolm ARNOLD: Sarabande (From "Solitaire")
Robert DOCKER: Commemoration March
Madeleine DRING: Danza Gaya
John DYER: Marche Vive
David FANSHAWE: Fanfare to Planet Earth
Millennium March
Peter HOPE: Irish Legends / Petit Point / Playful Scherzo / Ring of Kerry
Wilfred JOSEPHS: Aeolian Dances / Ecossaise / March Glorious
Bryan KELLY: Comedy Film / Dance Suite
Alan LANGFORD: Petite Promenade
David LYON: Dance Prelude
Max SAUNDERS: Badinage / Kanikani
Ernest TOMLINSON ("Alan Perry"): Cantilena / Lonely Journey
James Oldfield TURNER: Countryside / Passepied Des Enfants
Gilbert VINTER: April Shower / Dance Suite / March Winds / Mayflowers / Tenderfoot
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Here are two more releases in ASV's series celebrating the best of British light music which refreshingly get away from the same two dozen or so titles (welcome as they are) which crop up on so many other British light music compilations on CD. Although some composers are common to both issues, they are very different. WHL 2128 offers new recordings by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under Barry Wordsworth this time. It begins rousingly with Malcolm Arnold's HRH The Duke of Cambridge March, orchestrated by Philip Lane. I am delighted to see two pieces from the 1920s by Constant Lambert, Elegiac Blues and the 2nd Tableau from the Romeo and Juliet ballet of 1926, brilliantly scored. Another attractively orchestrated work for the ballet is the suite from Patric Standford's Celestial Fire (1968). Two miniatures, Alan Rawsthorne's Overture for Farnham (1967), originally for youth orchestra, and Carlo Martelli's Promenade (1985) are both most entertaining, as are Bryan Kelly's Divertissement (1969), based on French folk melodies, and David Lyon's outstandingly tuneful Three Dances of 1975, are the other items on yet another issue which revives much eminently worthwhile music in excellent performances, well recorded and presented.

A British Light Music Festival comprises no fewer than 51 tracks of which all but three (David Fanshawe's Fanfare to Planet Earth and jaunty Millennium March, both inspired by the year 2000 and the Sarabande from Malcolm Arnold's Solitaire ballet) were "library music" recorded in the 1960s by Mozart Edition (GB) Ltd and are recordings, and in many cases works, which have never been previously publicly released. It goes without saying that there is indeed richness here. Bryan Kelly and David Lyon, surely one of our most ingratiating composers, figure again, Kelly represented by is pleasantly tangy suites Comedy Film and Dance Suite, Lyon by his Divertimento and extended Dance Prelude. Peter Hope is best known as a first-rate arranger and here his suites Ring of Kerry (its first movement, "Jaunting Car", is quite well known) and Irish Legend are at least in part inspired by Irish traditional melodies; his single movements Playful Scherzo and the graceful Petit Point, are also attractive. Gilbert Vinter, who died over 30 years ago, is represented by four charming movements for wind instruments and the Song-Dance for orchestra. Wilfred Josephs, also no longer with us, delights with his Aeolian Dances - transcriptions of Northumbrian tunes - an Ecossaise and March Glorious. And so it goes on. all these tracks have something to commend them. Some are by lesser known figures (one thinks of the elegant Passepied des Enfants and the gently trotting Countrywise by James Turner (1905-90), Alan Abbott's London Fragments, an arrangement of two London tunes, Badinage and Kanikani by Max Saunders (1903-83), the sprightly March Vive for strings by John Dyer 1908-86); others are by better known masters of the light music genre,like Ernest Tomlinson (and his alter ego Alan Perry), Alan Langford and Robert Docker. Considering the age of most of the recordings, they sound very well (thought Docker's Commemoration March comes over rather "boxily") and I have no hesitation in recommending this collection (over 2½ hours music) to all lovers of tunes.

Philip Scowcroft

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