British Light Overtures, Volume 3
Producer Philip Lane’s British light music collections on ASV have tended to divide opinion. Many purchasers have welcomed the opportunity to hear new music that does not make too great demands on the listener. At the same time, lovers of more traditional British light music have felt that its good name was being used to benefit compositions which scarcely belong to a genre that largely expired around 1970.
This third collection of ‘light overtures’ balances the rival schools of thought as well as any. While Carey Blyton’s The Hobbit and Matthew Taylor’s The Needles most obviously stray beyond the light music palette as we knew it, the other works are generally traditional in style, and all are eminently enjoyable. The best known is Quilter’s charming Children’s Overture, which proves to have much in common with the Overture to a Fairy Tale by Bruce Montgomery, composer of music for Carry On films. Particularly rewarding is the regal and stately Hampton Court overture by Montague Phillips, who has been neglected in the light music revival.
Other newer pieces contain little to scare lovers of traditional British light music. Matthew Curtis’s Open Road is a tuneful and racy piece, and the Comedy Overture by Adam Saunders – a composer still in his thirties – lives up to its name. With typically incisive and sparkling performances from Gavin Sutherland and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, there is something to please everyone here.