I imagine that few people will have visited Swanage or Corfe Castle in the Isle of Purbeck for a holiday and not made their way to Lulworth Cove. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the Dorset coast and justly deserves its status as a World Heritage Site.
Charles Shadwell wrote a fine tone poem musically depicting the mood of this beauty spot.
However the problem with Lulworth Cove is that it is way too short. The composer has generated a surplus of good things for this score which are almost wasted on the three minute span of this work. I guess that the reason is that the piece was tailored to suite one side of a 78 rpm record, so he probably had little choice.
Jonathon Woolf at MusicWeb International has written that this piece is full of ripe romanticism, with a fine rippling waves lapping into the shore.
Fundamentally the work has three main elements. Firstly a series of chords that sound somewhat disconnected, almost as if the listener has arrived in the middle of a storm. Secondly there is a barcarolle like tune played on a solo oboe gently accompanied by a barcarolle like figure on the orchestra, and lastly there is a sweeping romantic string passage. Effectively these three elements are repeated and juxtaposed to each other with two climaxes. On the second appearance of the romantic string theme the flutes add highlights that suggest sea spume and the cry of gulls. Before the final climax there are a series of interesting modulations. The work closes with an evocation of a call summer’s day.
Certainly I would like to hear a modern version of this piece with a full symphony orchestra however I am grateful to the recording on the Golden Age of Light Music: Charles Williams conducts the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5107