Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Jack Beaver: Cavalcade of Youth

I recently wrote in these pages about Percy Whitlock’s Dignity & Impudence March for Orchestra. I suggested that if it were as well known as Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance offerings it would be as highly regarded. The same sentiment applies the little known, but well respected composer Jack Beaver and his Cavalcade of Youth.
Beaver (1900-1963) is perhaps best known as a ‘backroom boy’ in the world of music: he worked for the BBC and the Gaumont -British Film Company where he provided the scores for dozens of films, radio and TV programmes. Perhaps his most famous film score is that for The Thirty Nine Steps.

The Cavalcade of Youth was first heard in a 1950’s radio play called 'The Barlows of Beddington.' It became an instant hit. Rob Barnett at MusicWeb suggests that Beaver “leans on Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and Capriccio Italien for Cavalcade of Youth and then pulls off a nice dignified trio melody.” My similitude would be William Walton. All the elements are here –the opening fanfares, the jaunty march and the impressive, moving and finally triumphant trio tune. Perhaps it lacks the dissonant ‘bite’ of Walton -but it certainly has the power and the interest. The only downside is that the music, which was written in 1950, does not really seem to relate to the present iPod and Gamesbox generation of youth!

Cavalcade of Youth on Hyperion


Richard Lewington said...

Oh yes it does! I have Cavalcade of Youth on my iPod, although I admit I am 62!

John France said...

Thanks for your comment!! Great that you have light music on your iPod - I do too!!!