Wednesday, 12 June 2013

BBC Light Music Festival 1958

I was investigating the first performance of Phyllis Tate’s London Fields suite which was first given at the BBC Light Music Festival of 1958. A review of this work will be the subject of a future posting on this Blog. However the Festival itself makes an interesting study. It was sponsored by the BBC and London County Council. There were a series of Saturday concerts beginning on 31 May of that year and continuing at weekly intervals until 5 July. It is the list of novelties that will interest enthusiasts of both English music in general and light music in particular.
There were some eight commissioned pieces including:-
John Addison’s Conversation Piece for piano and orchestra
Geoffrey Bush’s Concerto for Light Orchestra
Hubert Clifford’s Cowes Suite
Iain Hamilton’s Concerto for Jazz Trumpet and orchestra
Alun Hoddinott’s Four Welsh Dances
Spike Hughes, The Nonsensical Tailor, a scherzo
Phyllis Tate’s London Fields, a Suite
Dennis Wright’s Casino Carnival.
Of these novelties, there are three currently available on CD – the Hamilton, the Hoddonitt and the Tate. In addition, there were works performed at these concerts by Arthur Benjamin, Robert Farnon, Reginald Tisley, Gilbert Vintner and William Walton.
Some day I will go and dig out the programmes for these concerts and see just exactly what was played. However, the piece that would be my desideratum would be Hubert Clifford’s Cowes Suite. The reviewer in The Times suggests that this work was ambitious and used “conventional gambits effectively.”
And lastly, one fact I learnt – Spike Hughes was the son of the Irish composer Herbert Hughes. And Herbert studied with Charles Villiers Stanford. So the reported Irishry of The Nonsensical Tailor may well have filtered down from the irascible G.O.M?

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