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Monday, April 16, 2007

BAFTA TV Music Nominations + CD REVIEW - British Light Miniatures: Vintage TV & Radio Classics

The music award nominations for this year's BAFTA Tv Awards have been announced, and I'd hate to have to be the one to chose a winner from this little lot. They are:-

Planet Earth - George Fenton
Tsunami: The Aftermath - Alex Heffes
Prime Suspect: The Final Act - Nicholas Hooper
Jane Eyre - Rob Lane

British Light Miniatures: Vintage TV & Radio Classics
Music by Various Composers
Naxos 8.570332 (EU)
22 Tracks 75:49 mins

This generous collection of music used in largely British TV and radio programmes over the years, yields some familiar and not so-familiar material, depending largely on your age, really.
Beautifully performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the batons of Paul Murphy and Gavin Sutherland, some of the material has had to be reconstructed especially for this recording. It's all highly listenable and there are numerous lovely waltzes and stirring marches from a whole variety of composers, some whose names are more familiar than others. Among the most famous are Ralph Vaughan Williams, Eric Coates, George Melachrino, Hubert Bath and John Dankworth.
There's really not a dud track here and the music is of such high quality that it is impossible to chose my favourites, but to help guide you as to just what's on offer, I make the following observations:-
Vaughan Williams' "Sea Songs" is a quick maritime march, which was utilised for the Billy Bunter TV series and includes a version of "Portsmouth," which of course Mike Oldfield would make very famous a few years on. "Waltzing With Sullivan" by Gilbert Vintner is based on Sir Arthur Bliss' tunes. Eric Coates was of course responsible for one of the most famous film marches ever, that of The Dam Busters. Here, he provides another sprightly march, with a grand bridge, in "Sound and Vision (the ATV March)." Fritz Spiegl and Manfred Arlan were responsible for the "Radio 4 UK Theme," which consists of variations on popular airs, including "Rule Britannia," "Danny Boy," "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor," "Men of Harlech" and "Early One Morning." "Non-Stop" was the familiar ITV news theme for many years, and was composed by John Malcolm. Hubert Bath's "Out of the Blue" will be familiar to listeners of BBC radio sports programmes; whilst I suppose almost every Brit will remember Ashworth Hope's "Barnacle Bill" as the popular theme for Blue Peter, which is still used today. Montague Phillips' "Dance Revels" yields a very familiar mazurka; with the album's closing track being another familiar piece, whcih was composed by John Dankworth for Rediffusion TV, the adventurous "Widespread World."
I have only mentioned a few of the more familiar selections above, but there are equally good gems among the lesser known material on offer.
The accompanying booklet includes Philip Lane's brief guide to each work and its composer (s). A splendidly enjoyable collection of light music.


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