Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Eric Coates: Sound & Vision (ATV) March

I have always had a soft spot for Eric Coates ‘television’ music. I am not sure that I can remember them being played in their original capacity, but I have long enjoyed hearing them on record and CD.
As Naxos point out in their sleeve notes to their recording of this present tune, Coates was the ideal man to produce these important ‘trademark’ pieces. In fact, in the late forties and fifties he was regarded as ‘king of light music.’ In 1946 Coates had written a piece for the BBC called simply T.V. March. This coincided with the resumption of television broadcasting after the Second World War. In 1948 he composed the Music Everywhere March for Rediffusion. For those that may not recall Redifussion was a company that relayed television signals by way of relay networks. No aerial was required!

In 1955 Coates wrote the Sound and Vision for Associated Television (ATV) and finally, the following year he revamped the 1937 Seven Seas March for Television South Wales and the West (TWW) These marches or signature tunes tended to be used when the programmes ‘started up’ often about 5pm. In those days television was not a 24-hour enterprise as it is now.

In spite of Geoffrey Self’s view that this Sound and Vision March was of lesser quality than the re-titled Seven Seas March for TWW I have long felt that this is an attractive work that is both rousing and at times almost wistful – certainly in the quieter and slower trio of this tune. Certainly Coates makes excellent use of melodies and counter melodies.

Rob Barnett on MusicWeb International has written that this march ‘concisely sums up Coates’ gift for cock-a-whoop flat-cap jauntiness. There’s even a doff of the ‘titfer’ to Sousa.’
Currently the Sound and Vision March is available on two recordings – Naxos and Dutton Epoch

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