Saturday, 21 January 2012

Eric Coates: Television March

Eric Coates’ Television March is a work that has not often been recorded. There are some 15 versions of the Knightsbridge March from the London Suite listed in the Arkiv catalogue. I have found four for this work the march dotted around the ‘net. Not all will be easily available. 
To be fair, the Television March is not in the same class as some of the more famous pieces by Coates. It was composed during 1946 at a time when the composer was musing over the idea of writing an operetta.  The March was completed in May of that year and had been specifically composed for the re-opening of BBC Television. It was destined to be the first music heard on the new service. Geoffrey Self notes that the piece was composed in ‘great haste’ as the BBC had given him little notice. He feels that it is one of the ‘least striking or memorable marches.’ 
I rather enjoy this work. For me it is a piece that is bright and breezy. To be fair the trio of the March may not be up to the standard of his later work for ATV. However the piece fairly rolls along. It is probably hard to for any under the age of 70 to imagine what TV must have been like in 1946. But one thing was sure. It was a time of optimism in the world of broadcasting and, in spite of post-war austerity; it was the beginning of a huge adventure. Eric Coates music does contribute to the excitement of the times. 

The Television March can be heard on YouTube [alas the link has been removed]

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