Arnold, Coates, A Wood, Ellis, Bath, Farnon, C Williams, etc

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: A Wood,Arnold,Bath,C Williams,Coates,Ellis,etc,Farnon
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: British Light Classics
WORKS: Works by Arnold, Coates, A Wood, Ellis, Bath, Farnon, C Williams,
PERFORMER: Roderick Elms (piano); RPO/Barry Wordsworth
CATALOGUE NO: 2564-61438-2
This looks like an attempt to make what the marketing people would call ‘The Only British Light Music Album You’ll Ever Need’. All the well-known radio and TV signature tunes are here: What the Papers Say, The Archers, Desert Island Discs and, if your memory goes far enough back, Dr Finlay’s Casebook, Children’s Favourites, Workers’ Playtime and Dick Barton – Special Agent. Most of the other pieces are equally familiar; even Charles Williams’s Heart O’ London, not otherwise in the catalogue, is a pot-pourri of famous tunes (and a pretty feeble one). The Victorian and Edwardian eras are poorly represented, though Elgar’s Chanson de nuit adds a touch of distinction. Under the experienced Barry Wordsworth, the RPO produces highly polished performances, helped by an expansive recording. Roderick Elms does his best with Hubert Bath’s sub-Rachmaninov Cornish Rhapsody. But there’s something perfunctory about much of the orchestral playing, with no lift to the rhythms and no elegance to the phrasing. Rival recordings, notably Ronald Corp’s with the New London Orchestra on Hyperion, may have a little less finesse, but show more obvious enjoyment of the music; and other programmes are more imaginative in their search for the buried treasures of the genre. Anthony Burton