Berners, Lambert

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Berners,Lambert
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Berners, Lambert
WORKS: Berners
Champagne Charlie – ‘Come on Algernon’; ‘Polka’; Nicholas Nickleby – Suite; The Halfway House – Suite
Merchant Seamen – Suite;
Anna Karenina – Suite
PERFORMER: Mary Carewe (soprano); Joyful
Company of Singers; BBC Concert Orchestra/Rumon Gamba


In the days where there really was a British film industry – before the post-war era eroded its propaganda role, and television then took all the money – even composers as erratic as the ultra-gifted Constant Lambert found themselves being put through their paces by its relentless demands. Lambert’s own suite from Merchant Seamen is standard patriotic fare, written and scored with expertise. So is his score for Anna Karenina (starring Vivien Leigh), where Lambert’s ballet‑conducting credentials made him a natural for a story with a Russian setting. The result (here expertly assembled into a suite by Philip Lane) resembles Tchaikovsky scored with post-Rimsky-Korsakov sumptuousness. The remaining suites are from scores by Lord Berners: these are flawlessly skilled and entertaining, if inconsequential minus the original visuals. Mary Carewe has engaging fun with ‘Come on Algernon’ from Champagne Charlie. Rumon Gamba secures orchestral playing that is both deft and precise. Malcolm Hayes