Thursday, 24 January 2008

Bill Worland’s Broadstairs Suite


I really recommend Bill Worland's Broadstairs Descriptive Suite produced on the British Composers Series [Cameo 2017] It is not a new CD -but is one that I have been listening to this week.
I realise that it is ‘light music’ and to some people this may offend their highbrow notions. But this is ‘light music’ of a very high quality, invention and construction. Interestingly the work was written or assembled over a period of some 40 years! The 'Broadstairs' consists of five movements, which although claiming to be 'descriptive' are also quite simply enjoyable.
The first movement depicts the main bay in the town - Viking Bay and Pierremont Park. It opens quietly and is perhaps an early morning reflection on the scene. Nearby is the holiday house of Princess Victoria before she became Queen. Look out for Worland’s musical portrayal of the merry-go-round.
Stuff and Nonsense nods towards the local Dickens Festival. Lots of locals dressing up in pseudo period costume and ‘promenading.’
I love the Pavilion Waltz -so typical of its era. Most of the seaside orchestras have now gone (except Bournemouth!) - and this piece has a certain sadness about it that perhaps laments these lazy hazy crazy days gone by.
There is a street in Broadstairs that is called Serene Place. The fourth movement echoes this calmness. Certainly this street could be used as a film set - and I guess it has been.
The last movement tips its hat to Dickens once again. This time it is Bleak House and Joss Bay - where the great man wrote a number of his famous novels. Joss Bay has associations with smugglers.
Altogether this is a gentle work. It is consummate and deserves our attention.
I love the seaside - and this Suite makes me feel nostalgic for the days gone past - on the beach, in the swimming pool and looking for hermit crabs in the rock pools playing cricket on the beach with my father…
... I will be musing on Worland over the next few months too!
MuscWeb Review (he is obviously not quite as enthusiastic as I am!)

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