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The Cambridge Buskers Collection
Soap Opera
The Cambridge Buskers Handel Bach
The Explosive Sound of the Cambridge Buskers
Another Serious Album
Not Live from New York
A Little Street Music
Between Pub and Podium
King’s Parade

Michael Copley (flutes, recorders, crumhorns, piccolos, tonette, ocarina etc)
Dag Ingram (accordion)
rec. Hornsey Town Hall, UK, April 1982; Henry Wood Hall, London, UK, December 1983, April 1983; Polydor Studios, London, UK, January 1981; Polydor Studios, Hamburg, Germany, 1976-1978
Remastering: Lennart Jeschke (CD1, CD2); Emil Berliner Studios, Langenhagen, Germany (CD3, CD4)
rec. 1976-83
DG ELOQUENCE 482 1785 [4 CDs: 295 mins]

The Cambridge Buskers were Michael Copley and David (Dag) Ingram, who met as students at Churchill College, Cambridge. They enjoyed a healthy cachet at folk clubs and in 1976 they made their first LP, A Little Street Music, originally called Zwishwn Pinte und Podium, as it was made for – incredible as this may now seem – DG. The duo was very popular on German TV shows and four more LPs followed. Copley continues as a member of The Classic Buskers with Ian Moore but Ingram has seemingly vanished from the radar.

The Buskers’ metier was witty compression of classical tunes. Copley, a multi-instrumental virtuoso brandished the flute, the sopranino, descant and alto recorders as well as various types of crumhorn – though not at the same time, unless it’s those tracks where overdubbing was used. He also had recourse to the piccolo, Garklein Flötlein (me neither), fluge (ditto), tonette and ocarina. Ingram, meanwhile, made do with just the accordion.

The albums’ premise was street music. Soap Opera sees them ransack everything from HMS Pinafore to Kurt Weill. For the ‘Ride of the Valkyries’– in this unique arrangement for crumhorn and accordion – the twosome generates a fiesta of fervour, the throaty medieval rasp of the crumhorn gently cushioned by the fairground insinuations of the squeeze box. Though most of their arrangements last little more than two-and-a-half or three minutes, they deploy an almost Brucknerian span of five minutes for Suppé’s Poet and Peasant overture. The Baroque repertory was much on the Buskers’ musical menu and their Bach and Handel album fillets the Brandenburgs where Evelyn Nallen is on hand to play the second recorder in the medley mélange of all six Concertos, which takes a tardy 97 seconds. It was ambitious to take on Bach’s Toccata in D minor, without fugue, but a nice to touch to include dubbed fireworks in the Royal Fireworks music – there are several instances throughout the discs of dubbing of cannon, birds etc.

The Buskers honoured the classical symphonic tradition too. Their snippets of Schubert’s Unfinished, Mozart’s Jupiter and Dvořák’s New World are veritable feats of compression, though most would have been hard pressed to condense Mahler’s Fourth to 32 seconds as do the Buskers, to the advantage of the symphonic argument, some wits might add. Even getting though all Beethoven’s Nine symphonies in 3:19 is chicken-feed by comparison.

Another Serious Album is a bit of an anomaly as other musicians intrude from time to time. Rather bizarrely bassist Barry Guy makes an appearance or two as does percussionist Robert Howes, harpist Sheila Bromberg and drummer Lennie Clark. Not all at the same time, of course. This is a less zany side of the group; their Pachelbel Canon is more respectful than the Handel-Bach album version that lasted 32 seconds and ended – literally – with a cannon roar filched from a DG Tosca recording. Light-hearted but not frivolous is the watchword for this set. With Not Live from New York however we’re back to zany-meets-droll in the shape of a dying Tchaikovskian swan, though the rest of the album is good. One thing easy to overlook is that you need chops to play La Réjouissance this well. A Little Street Music and Between Pub and Podium occupy the last of four CDs. Here we encounter a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Loch Lomond jostling with Delibes and Rossini for favour. Any ensemble that likes the Laurel and Hardy theme music and Dinicu’s Hora staccato can’t be all bad. As an envoi we hear two rock back-beat numbers from King’s Parade, two traditional pieces called King’s Parade and Piper’s Dance that sound a bit weird in the context.

The fresh-faced musos on the front of the booklet are now older but one trusts no wiser when it comes to their engaging, funny, affectionate leg-pulls. Maybe Ingram will turn up one day clutching a suitcase of outtakes and bootlegs.

Jonathan Woolf

Full track-listing
Il barbiere di Siviglia / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Largo al factotum
Rigoletto / Act 3 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): La donna è mobile
Carmen / Act 2 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Chanson bohème
Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 3 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Dove sono i bei momenti
Semiramide (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Overture
Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden
Die Dreigroschenoper (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Ballade vom angenehmen Leben
H.M.S. Pinafore / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): I'm called Little Buttercup
Il barbiere di Siviglia / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Una voce poco fa
Die Walküre (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): The Ride of the Valkyries
Rigoletto / Act 3 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Bella figlia d'amore
L'italiana in Algeri (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Overture
Don Giovanni, ossia Il dissoluto punito, K.527 / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Deh, vieni alla finestra
La traviata / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Sempre libera
Cavalleria rusticana (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Intermezzo sinfonico
Poet and Peasant (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Overture
Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 1 (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Non più andrai
Orpheus in the Underworld (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers): Can-can
Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F, BWV 1047 - arr. M.Copley & D.Ingram: 1. (Allegro)
Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV 1048 - arr. M.Copley & D.Ingram: 2. Adagio
The 6 Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046/51 - Arr. Michael S. Murray / Transcr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: Grand Finale - Medley
12 Violin Concertos, Op.8 "Il cimento dell'armonia e dell' invenzione" - arr. M. Copley & D. Ingram: Concerto No. 1 in E Major for solo violin "La Primavera
Harp Concerto in B flat, Op.4, No.6, HWV 294 - arr. M. Copley & D. Ingram: 1. Andante allegro
Adagio for Strings and Organ in G minor - arr. Remo Giazotto/transcr. M. Copley and D. Ingram
Water Music Suite - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Overture
Water Music Suite - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Air
Water Music Suite - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Menuet
Water Music Suite - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Finale
Sonata in D, K.491 - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram
Concerto a due cori No.2, HWV 333 - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: 5. Allegro ma non troppo
Messiah - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram / Part 2: 42. Chorus: "Hallelujah"
Abdelazer - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram
Premier livre de pieces de clavecin (1735) - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram / Troisième Suite: Le coucou
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Harpsichord Conc. in F minor/Polonaise from Suite No.2 in B minor
Sinfonies de Fanfare in D major - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 1. Rondeau (Suite No. 1/mvt. 1)
Solomon HWV 67 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Canon in D - arr. M.Copley and D.Ingram: Can(n)on/Kanon(e)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: Toccata
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 4. Gavotte
Concerto grosso in G minor, Op.6, No.8 "fatto per la notte di Natale" - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 6. Pastorale (Largo)
Te Deum (Arr. The Cambridge Buskers)
Sonata No.2 in E flat major, BWV 1031 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 2. Siciliano
Music for the Royal Fireworks: Suite HWV 351 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 1. Ouverture
Music for the Royal Fireworks: Suite HWV 351 - Arr. Michael Copley & Dag Ingram: 5. Menuet I-II
Ouverture solennelle "1812," Op.49 - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers
Il barbiere di Siviglia - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers: Overture
Symphony No.8 in B minor, D.759 - "Unfinished" - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers
Symphony No.4 in G - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers
Symphony No.41 in C, K.551 - "Jupiter" - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers
Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 "From the New World" - Arr. The Cambridge Buskers


 

 




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