Sunday 29 November 2020

John Ireland (1879-1962): Adam lay ybounden

Brierley after Holman Hunt

Advent Sunday is here once again. For Christians, this is the first day in a season of preparation leading up to the Nativity on 25 December. The liturgical theme of today is the Judgement to come, its causes, its certainty, and the way of escape. Much of the day’s liturgy reflects on the Coming of Christ, the End of the World and a personal need for divine forgiveness.

It is interesting that the Anglican Church’s Prayer Book Gospel for the Day is Matthew 21.1-13. This text, which is a description of Palm Sunday, provides a picture of Jesus coming in meekness and humility and casting out the works of darkness. 

One of the loveliest carols sometimes heard at this time is John Ireland’s short ‘Adam Lay Ybounden.’ The text was written by an anonymous author. It is included in a manuscript now in the British Library (Sloane 2593, ff.10v -11). It is dated to around 1400.

Theologically, these words are a meditation on the fall of humankind, but with a twist. If Adam had refused the apple offered to him by Eve (as explained in Genesis 3.6) then Mary would never have given birth to Jesus and she would not subsequently to be the Queen of Heaven.  The opening verse reminds the reader that Adam was to have been kept in bonds for 4000 years. I guess that simply means that humanity is subject to sin. The third verse muses on the cosmic consequences of Adam’s action, whilst the last stanza blesses our early ‘father’ for the action he did. For today, stripped of its allegorical language, this carol is a meditation on the sinful nature of humanity which can be read in the news each day, and the Christian’s notion of salvation through the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ.

Adam lay ybounden
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter 
Thought he not too long. 

And all was for an apple, 
An apple that he took, 
As clerkès finden, 
Written in their book. 

Né had the apple taken been 
The apple taken been, 
Né had never our lady 
Abeen heavʼné queen. 

Blessèd be the time 
That apple taken was, 
Therefore wmoun singen 
Deo gracias!

Ireland wrote ‘Adam lay ybounden’ in 1956. The carol was for conceived for unaccompanied mixed chorus – soprano, alto, tenor and bass. It is not known when it was first performed. The score was published by E.H. Freeman & Co. Ltd., in 1956. (University Part Songs and Anthems No,115).  Musically, the composer is looking back to his younger days. Anyone who knows Ireland’s music will be conscious of the self-referencing to his well-known The Holy Boy in this carol. The Holy Boy was originally written for piano in 1913, as the third of four Preludes. It immediately became popular and was subsequently arranged for a wide variety of instrumental and choral forces.  Philip Lancaster (‘The Part Songs of John Ireland’ in ed. Foreman, Lewis, The John Ireland Companion, Boydell Press, 2011, p.296)  suggests that despite ‘Adam lay ybounden’ ‘aping’ The Holy Boy it is ‘a setting that deserves attention, both for its beauty, its simple directness, and in its embodiment of Ireland’s style.’ Certainly, the modal flavour and the shape of the melodies are ‘immediately identifiable’ as being by the composer. Finally, Lancaster notes that ‘Ireland is hugely successful at portraying innocence, imbued with a unique melancholy.’

Fiona Richards, in her masterly study of the composer (The Music of John Ireland, Ashgate 2000, p.62) explained that in the last few years of Ireland’s life he ‘rediscovered his interest in writing for the church.’ This resulted in several new works and some revision of old ones. It does not imply that he resolved personal dilemmas over High and Low Church or his interest in Paganism.

In 1957, John Ireland made a setting of Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd. This was for solo voice. It remains unpublished. Two years later, he wrote a fine Meditation on John Keble’s Rogation Hymn for organ: this was to be his final composition.

Many settings of ‘Adam lay ybounden’ have been made, including examples by Boris Ord (1897-1961), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) in his A Ceremony of Carols (1942), Peter Warlock (1894-1930) and the present example by John Ireland (1879-1962).

There have been several recordings of John Ireland’s ‘Adam lay ybounden’ over the years. The earliest would seem to be Worcester Cathedral Choir conducted by Donald Hunt. This was released on the superb Abbey label. (LPB 803) in 1979. It was part of an album devoted to Ireland’s choral music.

The most convenient recording appears on the Naxos label. The CD (8.573014) was made by the Lincoln Cathedral Choir conducted by Aric Prentice. This carol is grouped together as ‘Four Unaccompanied Carols, also featuring ‘New Prince, New Pomp’ (1927), ‘The Holy Boy’ (1913, arr.1941) and ‘A New Year Carol’ (1941). This remarkable disc also includes a wide range of Ireland’s other church music. This version of this carol has been uploaded to YouTube.


Thursday 26 November 2020

Lennox Berkeley: A Diminutive Vignette from 1950

Whilst researching Benjamin Frankel’s Overture: May Day, I came across a small article in the highly respected journal, The Stage (31 August 1950). The sentiment expressed here is largely universal amongst composers. However, his prognostications about the future of music were a little out of kilter. 

VIEWPOINT: LENNOX BERKELEY, without wishing to suggest that he feels personally aggrieved at being omitted (for he insists that he has had generous treatment in the past), thinks it a pity that so few contemporary composers figure  in this season's ‘Proms’. Maintains that it is not enough for a young composer's work to have the honour of a first hearing; new works must be repeated. to give listeners a chance of becoming familiar with them. An important composition can rarely be appreciated in a single performance. Says that the crop of young people seeking a career in music is as likely as ever to produce outstanding talent, which ought not to be forced in any one direction. A creative bent will always reveal itself. Agrees, however, with Ravel, that it is a mistake for young people to dabble in composition until they have mastered the technicalities. His own training was based on a long and intensive study of the classics. Thinks the present-day trend in music is to avoid strident discordances. ‘Shock tactics’ have had their day. A greater simplicity in harmonic patterns will mark the style of the new musical period we are now entering. (The Stage 31 August 1950, p.12)

It is correct that Lennox Berkeley did not feature in the 1950 Promenade Season. To be fair, over the years he has had some 37 performances at this Festival. And ‘recently’ he had works included in the 1949 and the 1951 seasons.  In 1950 Berkeley completed his Sinfonietta, his Elegy and Toccata for violin and piano, op.33/2 and the rarely heard Theme and Variations op.33/1 for solo violin.

There were surprisingly few ‘novelties’ at that year’s Proms. Only one has remained in the repertoire: Bartok’s Viola Concerto (currently, some 20 recordings listed on Arkiv). British premieres included Bax’s Concertante for orchestra and piano solo (left hand), the above-mentioned Overture: May Day by Benjamin Frankel, Gordon Jacobs’s Symphonic Suite for orchestra and Elisabeth Lutyens Viola Concerto. These are typically known only to enthusiasts of each composer. Even Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on the Old 104th Psalm Tune for piano, chorus and orchestra is hardly one of his most popular and successful pieces. From abroad, Leo Sowerby’s Organ Concerto and Arthur Honegger’s Prelude, Fugue and Postlude are rarely heard, despite being of considerable interest.

It is difficult to argue with Lennox Berkeley that it is desirable that young composers master the technicalities before presenting their masterpieces to the musical public. That said, there is a school of thought the says technique is elitist. Just compose… I think Berkeley is correct.

Lennox Berkeley misjudged the progress of music in the following decade. He did not seem to forth-tell Darmstadt, Boulez, Integral Serialism, Indeterminacy, and the rise of the avant-garde so prominent in the succeeding 30 years.  ‘Shock Tactics’ certainly predominated for better or worse during this period. Listeners had to wait until the 21st century to be ‘beguiled’ by ‘a greater simplicity in harmonic patterns’ so prevalent in the insipid music of Einaudi and his cohort. To be fair to Lennox Berkeley, some of this ‘simplicity’ was foreseen by the Minimalist composers, who began their experiments in the early 1960s but flowered during the 1970s. Then the whole field of modern music exploded into a multiplicity of diversity: Rock/Pop/Classical/Jazz Fusions, Eclecticisms, Neo-Romantic and Neo-Classical, New Complexity, Ambient, Computer Music…

It would have taken a well-connected fortune-teller to have predicted all this.

Monday 23 November 2020

From the Ground up: The Organ of Peterborough Cathedral

This CD of organ music from Peterborough Cathedral is exactly how I like a recital to be. There are a few old favourites, some new pieces and one or two works that I have only a vague recollection of having heard before. And, it goes without saying they are all brilliantly played by David Hill. 

This CD opens with Walter Alcock’s (1861-1947) sizeable Introduction and Passacaglia which was completed in 1933. The liner notes explain that the work was dedicated to Alcock’s friend and fellow composer, Harold Darke. It was first heard at that year’s Three Choirs Festival in Hereford.  Despite some introverted (dare I say dreary) moments in the Passacaglia, this work builds up to an impressive climax. It is interesting to recall that Alcock played organ at three 20th century Coronations at Westminster Abbey: Edward VII George V and George VI.

I first heard Herbert Murrill’s vibrant Carillon (1949) for organ whilst page-turning at a recital in the early 1970s. It is a piece that I have relished ever since. The work is a miniature toccata with complex rhythms, shifting metres, a pentatonic melody, and bold chords. Likewise, I enjoyed Murrill’s lovely Postlude on a Ground also composed in 1949. It creates a mood of strength, mitigated by repose that would seem at home in any Anglican cathedral or parish church. The Prelude begins quietly, before building up to a loud conclusion. It is characterised by well-wrought and interesting counterpoint. Herbert Murrill is a composer who I know precious little about.  I must investigate…

The Passacaglia by John E West (1899, not 1910, as stated in the liner notes) is relatively short, yet there is much variety and considerable opportunity for the organist to explore the tonal resources of a large romantic organ such as at Peterborough Cathedral. Much of the music is restrained, but some of the variations explode into life. It is an elegant and valuable new discovery for me. 

The lovely ‘Reverie’ on the Hymn Tune ‘University’ (1922) by Harvey Grace creates a numinous atmosphere. It is appropriate as an introductory voluntary for a Book of Common Prayer Evensong in any Cathedral or Parish Church where they do not employ a music group to entertain the ‘audience.’ Grace’s other work is more upbeat and intense: Resurgam (Fantasy–Prelude for organ) (1922) is really a recital piece. The work’s opening is restrained but soon builds up into a considerable display of fireworks. There is a quieter moment before the long final peroration. Look out for the marvellous glissando towards the end. The clue to this work’s overall mood is that the hymn tune ‘Resurgam’ is often used to sing ‘Blessing, honour, thanks and praise, pay we, gracious God, to thee.’

I did not know the short ‘Ground’ by the Jacobean composer Orlando Gibbons. This is a delightful piece that works its contrapuntal magic on the ‘ground bass’ first heard in the opening bars. It progresses through some charming and witty variations, with the highlight being a passage of ‘dazzling semiquavers.’ A ‘Ground’ was published in the important Musica Britannica series Volume 20. The liner notes state that it was in Volume 26. This would appear to be ‘Consort Music’ by John Jenkins. 

Complimenting this piece is Healey Willan’s Choral Prelude on a melody by Orlando Gibbons which was composed in 1950. This tune is often used to accompany the words ‘Jesu Grant me this I pray’. Willian’s prelude is perfectly stated in its soft and slow sense of resignation.

The masterwork on this CD is Willan’s splendid Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue (pub.1919). I was surprised that the date given in the liner notes is 1969. The composer had died the previous year.  The piece was written because of a challenge from his friend Dalton Baker. Baker had stated that it took a German ‘sense of order’ to compose a worthy passacaglia. Willan began the piece on board a train whilst returning to his summer home at Lake Simcoe, in southern Ontario, Canada. The work is clearly inspired by Bach, Reger and Rheinberger, but resulting in a completely convincing and original composition. There is an element of theatricality in some of this work’s progress. The Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue remains one of the great organ works of the 20th century. It is given a superlative performance here.

Why is the date of Richard Blackford’s Prelude and Passacaglia for organ kept a secret? It is not given in the liner notes, nor is it easy to find this detail online. Blackford is published by Nimbus and Novello, but their respective webpages did not help me find the date of this piece. For some reason, the score is not available from Nimbus until 6 November 2020. The composer’s website does not refer to this piece. According to the liner notes it was composed for the present organist, and I understand that this is the work’s first recording, so it may be its premiere performance too. This nine-minute work has some interesting moments, but if I am honest, I found it a little tame. On the plus side, it does make some interesting use of the ‘colours of the organ’

The magnificent organ currently at Peterborough Cathedral dates to 1894. William Hill built a new organ, which incorporated some pipework from earlier instruments. In 1930 it was rebuilt with electro-pneumatic action and some revoicing, by Hill, Norman, and Baird. Half a century later, the organ was restored by Harrison & Harrison. After a fire in the Cathedral in 2001, the instrument was repaired and reinstated in 2004-05.  The organ specification, which is given in full on the booklet specifies that the current instrument has 89 speaking stops, over four manuals and pedals. In 2016, the entire instrument was re-tuned to ‘standard pitch’ (A-440Hz) and a new unenclosed Tuba Mirabilis was installed.

The liner notes, written by Dr Richard Longman, are impressive and include all necessary information about the music and the composers. A long biography of the soloist David Hill is included. Hill has had a glittering career and is one of the most prominent organists in the country. He has more than 80 records and CDs to his credit.

This is an excellent new disc of organ music that majors on late 19th/early 20th century music, with Orlando Gibbons Ground and Richard Blackford’s contemporary piece being the honourable exceptions.

Track Listing:
Walter ALCOCK (1861-1947) Introduction and Passacaglia (1933)
Herbert MURRILL (1909-51) Postlude on a Ground (1949); Carillon for organ (1949)
John E WEST (1863-1929) Passacaglia in B minor (1899)
Harvey GRACE (1874-1944) Reverie on the Hymn Tune ‘University’ (1922); Resurgam (Fantasy–Prelude for organ) (1922)
Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625) Ground (Musica Britannica, no 26) (?)
Healey WILLAN (1880-1968) Choral Prelude on a melody by Orlando Gibbons (1950) [3:15] Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue (1916)
Richard BLACKFORD (b.1954) Prelude and Passacaglia for organ (??)
David Hill (organ)
Rec. Peterborough Cathedral, 22-23 August 2018, and 29 July 2019
With thanks to MusicWeb International where this review was first published.

Friday 20 November 2020

Benjamin Frankel’s Overture “May Day”: Worker’s March or Rustic Ramble Part 2

A second key performance of the Overture: May Day was heard during the 1950 Promenade Concert Season at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 August 1950. The London Philharmonic Orchestra under Basil Cameron gave an ‘irresistible’ account of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and an ‘equally distinguished’ presentation of his Piano Concerto No.4 with Moura Lympany as soloist. Colin Mason (Manchester Guardian, 26 August 1950, p.3) noted that this Overture, at least to London audiences, reveals Frankel’s leanings toward the film music, rather than his recent string quartets. He concluded that ‘it is a fine work, entirely un-symphonic in character, but convincingly justifying its sub-title ‘panorama.’’ Other music heard that evening included Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture, John Ireland’s Concertino pastorale and J.S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537, op 86 in the Elgar orchestration. 

A long review of this Prom Premiere was given in The Stage (31 August 1950, p.12). The author develops the notion of the worker/reveller dichotomy. They consider that ‘Panorama’ may give a ‘clearer indication of the scope of the work.’ The title ‘seems rather arbitrarily chosen as a fulcrum for a roving, occasionally satirical, comment on life.’ The critic felt that the work was ‘characterised by finished craftsmanship’ and that is a ‘sincere expression of contemporary thought.’ Finally, Basil Cameron’s conducting of the work was ‘unobtrusive, self-assured and comprehensive…’

Harold Truscott, recalling the Proms performance felt that the Overture ‘was attractive, but [displayed] no integration.’ He concludes by suggesting that ‘form is a much-abused word, but it has a meaning, which is the coherence that gives speech a connected significance. There is none here: a pity for the work is worth it.’  (Music Survey, December 1950, p.136)

An important review of the Overture’s score was given in Music Survey (March 1951, p184-5). Ralph W. Wood considered that ‘the obvious fault to find with ‘May Day’ is that it is ‘bitty’ (15 changes of tempo in some 240 bars), that in fact it bears all too much resemblance to [Donald] Tovey’s bête noire, a series of introductions to introductions.’ Tovey was a well-known musicologist, musical analyst, and composer.  On the other hand, Frankel’s response to this criticism would be that the work is subtitled ‘panorama’ and that ‘it is futile’ to ‘base a judgement on standards irrelevant to his intentions.’  Wood, like many other critics, picks up on the ‘brilliance of the orchestration.’ Elaborating on this, he suggests that this ‘brilliance is of a rather special kind, extraordinarily economical, extraordinarily sure and clear and quite Berliozian in its persistent thrusting towards each instrument’s technical idiosyncrasies and favourite sonorities.’

It was to be two years later, in 1952, that Benjamin Frankel resigned from the Communist Party of Great Britain. Frankel became concerned about the Party’s ‘illiberal attitude towards culture, and music in particular’. Like several other party members, he was outraged by the ‘show trials’ and executions of alleged spies in Prague.           

In the mid-1990s, CPO Records bravely began to issue a series of CDs devoted to Benjamin Frankel’s music. It was a joint project with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This included all the Symphonies, the Violin Concerto, the String Quartets and a good selection of other orchestral pieces and chamber works. Sadly, with one or two exceptions the project stopped there. Apart from a few film scores and the inevitable Carriage and Pair, and an early recording of the String Quartet No.5, Frankel has been left high and dry by the recording industry. One important exception was the remarkable Hyperion disc (CDH55105) featuring the Clarinet Quintet. Other composers on this CD included Arnold Cooke, Elizabeth Maconchy, Herbert Howells, and Josef Holbrooke.

The first CD in the cycle of symphonies, features the Symphony No.1, op.33 and Symphony No.5, op.46. As a ‘filler’, the Overture: May Day, op.22 is the final track. See below for details.  Three reviews of this performance of the Overture will be of interest.  Hubert Culot (MusicWeb International, 2 September 2002) wrote that ‘The earliest work on the first CD is the Overture May Day op.22 written in 1948 and performed at the Proms in 1950. It is comparatively light - full of vitality and colour. It would have become a popular item; had it been performed more regularly.’ In another review (MusicWeb International, 2 August 2002) of this work, Rob Barnett, thought that ‘the Mayday Overture is a work of cleanly blown crystal fanfares, militaristic, bustling, not carefree, even the final triumph glares and whinnies.’ Looking at the overall production of the CD, The Gramophone (July 1994, p.44) reviewer MEO reported that ‘The performances are first-class and so are the recordings.’

Kennaway, Dimitri, British Music Society Lecture-Recital on Saturday, 6th May 2006
Kennaway, Dimitri, Biography of Benjamin Frankel, (Wayback Machine)
Orr, Buxton. Liner Note CPO 999 240-2, 1995
Pages of The Times, Music Survey, Liverpool Post, The Stage, etc.

Frankel, Benjamin, Overture: May Day, op.22, Symphony No.1, op.33; Symphony No.5, op.46 Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Werner Andreas Albert CPO 999 240-2, (1995). Included in the boxed set of the Complete Symphonies CPO 999 661-2 (2002) and on the compilation CD Discover New Worlds with Werner Andreas Albert CPO 999310 (1995).

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Benjamin Frankel’s Overture “May Day”: Worker’s March or Rustic Ramble Part 1

Two hermeneutical tools are required to appreciate Benjamin Frankel’s Overture: May Day. Firstly, his left-ward political leanings at this time and, secondly, the fact that when this work was composed, Frankel had been writing film and radio music for some years. This was an important part of his career which would continue until his death. Dimitri Kennaway (2006) notes that Frankel was attracted to the ‘ideals of Communism, along with many contemporary colleagues, seeing it as the antidote to the advancing Nazis.’ Frankel finally joined the Party in 1941. Fellow musicians who also became members included Alan Bush, Elisabeth Lutyens and Bernard Stevens.

The Overture: May Day was completed in 1948, a couple of years before its premiere in 1950. Other works written by Frankel around this time included the String Quartet No.4, op.21, the Early Morning Music for oboe, clarinet and bassoon and the Three Poems for cello and piano.  His masterpiece, the Violin Concerto ‘In memory of the Six Million’, op. 24 would be completed in 1951. There were several film scores dating from this time, including London Belongs to Me (1948), Trottie True (1949), and So Long at the Fair (1950).

The imperative of this Overture need to be resolved. It was well put by I.K. in his review of the then newly published miniature score by Augener. (Music and Letters, October 1950, p.374). He wonders if May Day is for the ‘workers’ or ‘mere lasses and lads.’ He thinks that this is ‘not clear from this robust and high-spirited hotch-potch, in which the instruments of the orchestra are flung about with joyous abandon.’ Certainly, the May-Day holiday is of ancient origin. Historically, it was observed on the first day of that month and was traditionally celebrated with ‘merrymaking and festivities.’  On the other hand, in 1899, 1st May was set aside to commemorate the Labour Movement in several countries around the world, including for some, the United Kingdom. Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day celebrates the ‘historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement.’ As a Communist, this would have been grist to Frankel’s mill. Listening to this Overture does not remind me of May Queens and Kings, floral garlands, and dancing round the maypole in the village green. Despite some humour, the tone of this music is serious and not rustic. I guess that the ‘call’ for the workers prevails.

The formal construction of the Overture has been described (Kennaway 2006) as being ‘kaleidoscopic’. Another adjective that suggests itself is ‘episodic.’   This ties in with the works subtitle ‘Panorama’ which indicates a sweeping filmic overview of the topic. There is no obvious first and second subjects, development, and recapitulation.  Buxton Orr (1995) has noted ‘Frankel’s extraordinary ability to conjure up a wide variety of moods and descriptions in a few well-chosen bars.’  This ‘panorama’ presents ‘scenes bucolic, grotesque, urban and rural dances, the sentimental, the ironic, the sincere and deeply felt, all painted with ever changing orchestral colour.’ It is a work that will remind the listener of Frankel’s great achievements as a film score composer.

The Overture typically presents a bustling mood often enhanced by fanfares for brass and percussion and even the strings. Occasionally there are moments of tranquillity and reflection. But the general mood seems to be of unresolved conflict. That said, the conclusion of the piece does provide a mood of ‘ultimate calm and reflection’ before concluding with a loud and positive up-swing in the orchestra.

The aesthetic of this work tends towards the ‘lighter’ end of the musical spectrum, without being ‘popular.’ Kennaway (2006) has described it as ‘occasional’.  The same author reminds the reader that part of this work originally featured in Frankel’s score for the naval wartime documentary The Broad Fourteens.

Benjamin Frankel’s Overture: May Day was given its World Premiere by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on 17 January 1950. The orchestra was conducted by Hugo Rignold. Other music that evening included Richard Wagner’s Forest Murmurs, Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, Paul Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The cellist was Enrico Mainardi. 

The Liverpool Post (18 January 1950, p.3) dryly reported that Frankel’s work ‘is apparently a comment on modern life in a modern idiom and has some striking orchestration, in which the brass especially distinguished itself.’  The composer was in attendance.  An interesting critique of this concert appeared in Music Survey (Spring 1950, p.276) H.B. Raynor noted that the Overture ‘gave an impression of lively orchestration and vigorous cinematic romanticism…’

Kennaway, Dimitri, British Music Society Lecture-Recital on Saturday, 6th May 2006
Kennaway, Dimitri, Biography of Benjamin Frankel, (Wayback Machine)
Orr, Buxton. Liner Note CPO 999 240-2, 1995
Pages of The Times, Music Survey, Liverpool Post, The Stage, etc.

Frankel, Benjamin, Overture: May Day, op.22, Symphony No.1, op.33; Symphony No.5, op.46 Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Werner Andreas Albert CPO 999 240-2, (1995). Included in the boxed set of the Complete Symphonies CPO 999 661-2 (2002) and on the compilation CD Discover New Worlds with Werner Andreas Albert CPO 999310 (1995).

To be concluded…

Saturday 14 November 2020

The Classical Piano Concerto: Johann Baptist Cramer

There will be few pianists who have not encountered Johann Baptist Cramer’s 86 Études for the piano, op.84. Whether they retain the popularity of yesteryear is a matter of debate. What is not in contention is Cramer’s massive contribution to piano technique in the first half of the nineteenth century. These Études were part of that revolution. So much so, that Beethoven himself regarded them as ‘the chief basis of all genuine piano playing.’

My first introduction to Cramer’s Piano Concertos was on an old Vox Box production featuring several ‘early romantic’ concertos. This set included works by Clementi, Field, Ries, Czerny and Hummel. Cramer was represented by his Piano Concerto no. 5 in C minor, op.48. Akiko Sagara was the soloist, with the Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Cao.

In 2002 Chandos began what promised to be series of Cramer’s piano concertos. Nos. 2, 7, and 8 were released on CHAN 10005 (reviewed here). Howard Shelley was the soloist and was accompanied by the London Mozart Players. The CD was praised for its brilliant pianism and attentive and lyrical performances. Unfortunately, the venture collapsed. In 2018, Hyperion assembled the same performers to recommence this scheme. The first volume included the Concerto No.4 in C major, op.38 and No.5 in C minor, op.48 (Hyperion CDA68270). It was reviewed for MusicWeb International by David Barker and Marc Rochester. I have not heard this recording.  Two years later, we have the present CD. The only outstanding work is the Concerto de Camera (1812). This may not ‘count’ in this survey

A few words about the composer may be helpful. Johann Baptist Cramer was born in Mannheim on 24 February 1771. The following year the infant was brought to London by his parents. As a child he studied violin and piano with his father and subsequently had formal musical training with C.F. Abel and Muzio Clementi.  In 1788, Cramer began to tour extensively as a concert pianist. He was acclaimed throughout Europe.  Making his permanent home in London, Cramer shared his time between performance, teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, publishing, and composition. Much of his time was spent in Paris. In 1828, Cramer, Robert Addison, and T. Frederick Beale had set up a music-publishing house, J.B. Cramer & Co.  in London.

It is interesting that Cramer was self-taught as a composer. Despite this lack of training he wrote a vast amount of music, including nine piano concertos, more than a hundred piano sonatas and a small amount of chamber music.  Johann Baptist Cramer died on London on 16 April 1858.

The liner notes provide the context for Cramer’s piano concertos. These were composed between 1792 and 1825 and were devised to showcase his ‘skills in modern piano techniques, notably his prowess for intricate figurations, complex embellishment and legato playing.’ This was hardly an original approach to writing music. Other big names in the piano world did the same thing. For example, John Field, Ignaz Moscheles, Daniel Steibelt, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and Michael Dussek produced equally attractive and 
demanding concertos. Most of Cramer’s Piano Concertos were premiered at his annual benefit concerts in London.  

I do not wish to provide a detailed discussion of these three concertos. I will give a few general remarks.  All three works lie on the cusp between the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic.’ However, much of the music makes a backward glance to Mozart, especially in the concluding ‘rondos.’ All this music is characterised by ‘grace, elegance and clarity.’ It has been said the Cramer’s music is not as dramatic as Clementi’s, less rich than Dussek’s and less sentimental than Field’s. (Grove’s Dictionary). What Cramer has achieved is a subtle and often sensuous balance between a classical tone and the most advanced techniques of piano playing available at that time. There is little here that anticipates the overblown concertos of the romantic era. It should be noted that the three works on this CD cover a span of some 20 years. It is fair to say that there is not a whole lot of stylistic development. But, to me, that is not a problem: Cramer has created an ideal form and he continued to use it. Just because the music is largely conservative in sound, does not mean that it lacks value, interest, and enjoyment. 

It is redundant to state that the performances by Howard Shelley and the London Mozart Players are superb. Equally superfluous is to note the excellent recording. It is up to Hyperion’s usual high quality.

The extensive liner notes by Professor Jeremy Dibble, make essential reading. They are printed in English, French and German. I guess that I am a little disappointed in the cover design for ‘The Classical Piano Concerto’ series. For me, it presents an image of dullness and pedantry which is the antithesis of these present concertos.

 It is good that the Cramer Piano Concerto project is now completed (the above exception noted) after some 18 years. The listener will enjoy the present CD if they enjoy music that is stylish, melodic, and technically intriguing.  I have always regarded Johann Baptist Cramer as an honorary Englishman. We should be proud of his achievement in all the musical avenues he explored. Yet, he is absent from the concert halls: his name is lacking from the BBC Proms Archive listings.  I would rather hear his music than much of the ‘established repertoire from that era. And that, I dare to say, includes Beethoven. If I want to listen to urbane and sophisticated piano music, I turn to Cramer’s work. Finally, let us hope that one day an enterprising record company will turn its attention to all the piano sonatas.

Track Listing
Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858)
Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat major, op.10 (c.1792)
Piano Concerto No.3 in D major, op.26 (c.1796)
Piano Concerto No.6 in E flat major, op.51 (c.1812/13)
Howard Shelley (piano/conductor), London Mozart Players
Rec. St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, London on 16-17 July 2018 (no.6), 5-6 September 2019 (nos.1 & 3)
With thanks to MusicWeb International where this review was first published.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Eileen Joyce plays Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu, op.66

Despite Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu, op.66 being one of the composer’s best loved pieces and possibly over-played, I have always enjoyed it. Popularity should never breed contempt, in the world of music. I cannot quite remember when I first heard this work. I do recall that amongst a pile of sheet music that I inherited from a Lancastrian uncle was an arrangement of this piece by Victor Ambroise. On the cover was a lovely picture of Eileen Joyce as well as the first bar of the music. Even in this arrangement it was beyond my skill. It had been published by Chappell and Co., London in 1947. Several years later I caught up with Joyce’s performance of the original work. The recording had originally been made on 18 December 1939 and had been released on Parlophone E11432 as a 12” record. It was coupled with the gentler, but equally delightful Berceuse, op.57.  In 1987, HMV had released an extraordinary 2-LP collection, The Eileen Joyce Album (HMV EX29 12713). Included there was her charming performance of the Fantasie-Impromptu.  Unfortunately, I never possessed this album, but was only able to borrow it for a few days from a friend. I also missed out on subsequent reissues of the work on The Art of Eileen Joyce HMV OXLP2900254 and latterly Eileen Joyce in Pearl (GEMM CD 9022).

It was to be nearly thirty years until I heard it again on the remarkable Eileen Joyce - The Complete Parlophone and Columbia Solo Recordings 1933-1945 issued on APR 7502. In 2018, Decca Eloquence released a 10-CD boxed set, Eileen Joyce: The Complete Studio Recordings (ELQ4826291). Clearly, by definition, the Fantasie-Impromptu and the Berceuse were included here. 

It was to be nearly thirty years until I heard it again on the remarkable Eileen Joyce - The Complete Parlophone and Columbia Solo Recordings 1933-1945 issued on APR 7502. In 2018, Decca Eloquence released a 10-CD boxed set, Eileen Joyce: The Complete Studio Recordings (ELQ4826291). Clearly, by definition, the Fantasie-Impromptu and the Berceuse were included here.

 The Internet is replete with the history and analysis of Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu. However, a few comments and notes may of interest. It was composed between 1833 and 1834 but remained unpublished until after the composer’s death. The autograph score is dated ‘Paris Vendredi 1835’. It was long wondered why Chopin withheld this work. Arthur Hedley (Chopin, London, 1947) posited that the reason was that that main theme and formal construct bore too much resemblance to Ignaz Moscheles’s Impromptu in Eb, op.89. Another theory put forward by Ernst Oseter (1947) was that Chopin detected similarities with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, op.27, no.2 ‘Moonlight’ and therefore chose not to publish it.

The work is now regarded as having been dedicated to Mme d’Esté. (Baroness Frances Sarah d'Est née Kibble). Fortunately, an exceptionally precious album belonging to the baroness has been preserved. This was re-discovered by Anton Rubenstein in 1960. In this Album, next to entries by Cherubini, Rossini, famous singers Rubini, Lablache, and pianists - Moscheles and Hiller, there is an Impromptu in C sharp minor [Op. 66]. This is in Chopin’s handwriting. The premiere of the Fantasie-Impromptu was given by Marcelina Czartoryska in Paris, during March 1855.

From the early days of Chopin scholarship, the work has received mixed reviews. The nineteenth century musicologist, Frederick Niecks, was dead against the publication of Chopin’s posthumous works, but in the case of the Fantasie-Impromptu considered that ‘he would not like to have lost this piece’. He styled it the most valuable of the posthumous publications made by Julian Fontana in 1855. However, Niecks did not advance excuses of plagiarism as the reason for Chopin withholding the piece. He wrote ‘I suspect he missed in it, especially in the middle section, that degree of distinction and perfection of detail which alone satisfied his fastidious taste.’ A later critic, James Huneker, (Chopin: The Man and his Music, London, 1901) felt that the trio section was ‘saccharine and mawkish’. Critics never agree.

The Gramophone (February 1940, p.323) reporting on the 1939 Parlophone release, is fulsome in praise insisting that ‘this record may be in every way highly recommended.’ The unsigned reviewer considered that ‘the ‘Berceuse’ is tenderly and beautifully played.’ The critic felt that ‘undoubtedly, the first section of the posthumous Impromptu is the best. Miss Joyce plays it with delightful verve and sparkle: and with exemplary clarity.’ Contrariwise, they considered that ‘she cannot save the trio from dullness, but she certainly saves it from sentimentality and…its slight longeurs [a tedious passage in a book or a piece of music] only make more welcome the return of the first part.’ Not an opinion I would agree with: Joyce’s playing of the middle section is, for me, near perfect.

Moving forward into the 21st century, Christopher Howell, reviewing the APR CD for MusicWeb International (12 March 2010) suggested that ‘The Fantaisie-Impromptu has marvellous impetus in the outer sections and the middle section is warmly done. The Berceuse is very nicely handled, again warm if a little plain.’ In his review of the Eileen Joyce: The Complete Studio Recordings, Stephen Greenbank considers that ‘Chopin is represented by a dazzling Fantasie Impromptu, and thankfully she [Joyce] doesn't over-gild the lily in the romantic middle section. The Berceuse is a gentle lullaby, where sensitive pedalling achieves a pearl-like sonority with rich pastel shades’. (MusicWeb International, May 2018).

Listening to Eileen Joyce’s performance displays a remarkably fresh performance of the opening section of Fantasie Impromptu with its rhythmical difficulties beautifully handled. As for the trio she brings sweetness and beauty. I can do no better than echo the opinion of the reviewer in the Liverpool Daily Post (22 February 1940) who insisted that Eileen Joyce has released a ‘wonderfully dexterous record of the Berceuse and Fantaisie Impromptu of Chopin’ [complete with] miraculous finger work.’ Add to this a sensitive and always beautiful interpretation, makes this my ‘go to’ version of this wonderful, if hackneyed, piece.

Eileen Joyce’s 1939 performance of Frederic Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu, op.66 can be heard on YouTube, as well as the records and CDs noted above. Do not let a bit of hiss spoil enjoyment of this stunning recital.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Vilém Tauský: Coventry-Meditation for string quartet (or string orchestra) (1941)

Many listeners will recall Vilém Tauský for his regular appearances on the long-running BBC radio programme – Friday Night is Music Night. One unfortunate result of this association was that he was ‘pigeon-holed’ as a ‘light music’ conductor and composer. The truth is remarkably different. For one thing, he was a respected conductor. It was estimated that he had conducted more than 125 operas over his working life. 
Furthermore, he was an active proponent of ‘modern’ classical music. 
Vilém Tauský was born in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) on 20 July 1910. He came from a musical background with his mother (apparently) having been a singer in Gustav Mahler’s Vienna Court Opera and a composer uncle who wrote the once-popular operetta, The Dollar Princess. Tauský’s musical alma-mater was the Janacek Conservatory in Brno. Being Jewish, he suffered persecution from the German occupiers of the Czech state. Soon, he escaped from his home country and ended up in London by way of military service with the Free Czech Army in France.

After the war, his career include directorships of the Carl Rosa Opera Company and the Welsh National Opera.  Between 1956 and 1966 Tauský was principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and it was during this period that his appearances with Friday Night Is Music Night made him renowned. Another important appointment was as Director of Opera and Head of Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1966 and 1991. Vilém Tauský died in London on 16 March 2004.

Eighty years ago, on the night of the 14th November 1940, some 449 German bombers blitzed the West Midland City of Coventry. The raid lasted for 14 hours. Thousands of citizens were killed or wounded. After the ‘All Clear’ sounded at 6:16 am on the morning of the 15th, the residents surveyed the damage. More than 2300 homes were destroyed as well as a large proportion of the city’s industrial and civic infrastructure. This included destruction of St Michael’s Cathedral, several public buildings including hospitals, post offices and police stations. Power and gas supplies were cut. No trains could get in or out of the city.

In 1940 Tauský had been based at Leamington Spa with the Czech Free Army. Some 4000 troops were deployed around the town, with their headquarters at Harrington House, now demolished. During this posting, Tauský conducted the Czech military and brass bands.

Tauský composed the present Meditation on the day after the Coventry Blitz. His unit had been mobilised to search the ruins for survivors. The music was inspired by the suffering and bravery of the civilians and the destruction of the Cathedral.

These is nothing challenging about Vilém Tauský’s haunting Coventry-Meditation. It is composed in a ‘relaxed’ 20th century tonal style. Rather than ramp up the tensions, Tauský has written his piece in a style that nods towards the English Pastoral School, rather than an austere Mid or Central European style. That said, the musical material was derived from the St Wenceslas Chorale, one of the oldest hymns in that nation’s musical history. It remains an ‘iconic symbol’ for the Czech nation.  The mood of the Meditation is dark and plaintive, but also lyrical. A reviewer has noted that when the music is agitated and dissonant, this does not last long, but soon recaptures its strangely optimistic mood.

It could be argued that the composer was paying homage to some of the most ‘popular’ composers in his adopted homeland, such as Vaughan Williams or Gerald Finzi. On the other hand, it was a positive response to a tragic and horrific event. It is a piece of music that could be used during Remembrance services and concerts. As noted above, the work is positive, and does not agonise, like say, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for strings. It remains an unfortunate fact of British musical life that this deeply moving, and well-wrought work is not in the public view. If given a chance it could and should become an important contribution to the concert repertoire. Maybe it could even be played on Classic FM.

The work, in its string quartet version, was premiered by the Menges Quartet on 17 March 1942 at one of Myra Hess’s legendary National Gallery Concerts in London. Sometime later, the composer arranged the Coventry-Meditation for string orchestra.

Listen to the string orchestra version of Vilém Tauský’s  Coventry Meditation on YouTube here  (after a long spoken introduction at about 2:06) and the String Quartet version here.

Thursday 5 November 2020

Researching Leonard Salzedo

Many people begin their exploration of a composer by examining the listing in Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The online edition gives a short entry of only 142 words for Leonard Salzedo. Additionally, there is a (very) selective list of his compositions. Unfortunately, this ‘starting point’ does not give a bibliography. Turning to the next port of call, Wikipedia is a little more helpful, always bearing in mind the dangers of assuming that this platform has been peer reviewed. In this case, it gives a good biographical sketch of the composer. One or two of the links do not work.  As of September 2020, there is no entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

For a detailed exploration of Leonard Salzedo’s music the listener can do no better than turn to Paul Conway’s 20-year-old essay on MusicWeb International.  It begins with a biographical overview of the composer followed by a detailed discussion of some 15 works including the Symphony No.2 and the ballet The Witch Boy. The final part of this paper incorporates a ‘complete’ list of works which includes all the film scores and incidental music, with and without opus numbers.

Of great interest is a linked article by the oboist, publisher, lecturer, and author Jennifer Paull. This contains an appreciation of the composer as friend and collaborator as well as a discussion of ‘the brouhaha surrounding Leonard Salzedo’s final composition [performed] on the second anniversary of his death.’ It concerns the ‘pirating’ of the premiere performance of Salzedo’ Improvisations for Musette and Piano, op.143 (1997). It makes a fascinating read. The work in question was written for Paull and showcased the ‘musette’ which is the ‘piccolo’ member of the oboe family. After the shenanigans, on both sides of the Atlantic, the work was renamed Iberian Improvisations.

Finally, Conway’s essay links to the Impulse Music website entry for the composer: this is a blind link. The ‘Salzedo’ page is now located at their new website. This includes a concise biography of the composer, his catalogue of works, details of publishers and an incomplete list of recordings. There is also information about ‘recent’ concert performances. These finish in 2018, long before ‘lockdown.’ This seems to be a joint effort with the Leonard Salzedo Society (founded in 2018).

One of the main tasks of the Society is to digitalise Salzedo’s scores on Sibelius. To this end, all ten string quartets have been published. Over the years, several of these quartets have been recorded by the Archaeus Quartet. However, this ensemble have now disbanded, so the Society is investigating other avenues to bring this project to a conclusion. Another venture is organising for the composer’s centenary during 2021 (24 September) where it is hoped to have at least one London-based concert devoted to his music.

Of major importance, are the web resources linked from the Impulse webpage to the Society’s social media pages. From this unassuming homepage, the reader can be directed to Facebook which includes a considerable amount of information, facts, and photographs. There are also links to the Society Instagram account and Twitter page. I guess this is a good place for browsing. On the other hand, I always find that Facebook (and the other platforms) can be quite clunky for formal research purposes. And there appear to be no essays or articles about the music. A bibliography would be of great interest. One wonders if the information on these social media pages is ‘backed up’ and available for all time.  The Society subscription is £30. Members receive a regular newsletter and a free copy of the latest Archaeus CD of Salzedo’s String Quartets.

Monday 2 November 2020

Peter Hope: ‘Through the Crystal’ (a 90th Birthday Celebration)

On 2 November 2020, the British composer Peter Hope is 90 years old. Due to Coronavirus this celebration will be muted, at least as far as live events are concerned. Those of us who are fortunate to have met Peter, will know him to be a charming and delightful gentleman. Much of this personality rubs off into his wide-ranging catalogue of compositions. His first major work was a Concerto for trumpet and orchestra, written in 1952. He has been composing ever since (and, happily, continues to do so). 

Whatever style or genre is used, Peter Hope’s music is always well-written, approachable, and thoroughly enjoyable. In recent years he has composed several ‘concert hall’ works which are largely tonal, but considerably more serious than his most of his light music. Hope’s most famous piece is undoubtedly the beguiling Ring of Kerry Suite. This splendid example of the light music composer’s craft won the Ivor Novello award in the early 1960s. Over the years, Hope added a considerable body of work to ‘music libraries’ - places where producers of radio and TV programmes would search for suitable soundtracks. One piece, News Tune, was famously used as the theme to the BBC TV News from 1969 to the early 1980s.

Much of Peter Hope’s achievement has been that of an arranger. He has worked with many well-known singers including Jessye Norman, Stuart Burrows and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Many of his character pieces have appeared under the pseudonym of William Gardner. Eagle eyed readers will notice that the track-listing below indicates that some of these pieces were performed by Hope’s own orchestra, The William Gardner Orchestra.

The reader will be pleased that I am not going to give a detailed discussion of each one of these 58 tracks. Some general comments will apply. Stylistically, these pieces are all light-music. Alas, this soubriquet is often used negatively. In other words, it is often deliberately opposed to ‘serious’ or ‘art’ music. Providing a succinct definition of the genre is also quite difficult. A good rule of thumb is that given by the Light Music Society: Light Music bridges the gap between classical and popular music, although its boundaries are often blurred. It is music with an immediate appeal, music to entertain and to enjoy. It has a strong emphasis on melody…’ Many of the works on this double CD can be defined as being three or four minutes long, sometimes descriptive, and nearly always deploying an immediately engaging theme and a contrasting middle eight. Philip Scowcroft has added that: ‘Good light music should have an artistic value to it. The pieces should exhibit good constructive principles as well as being competently orchestrated.’ One final thought, and this is important. Light music should be listened to. It must not be allowed just to wash over the audience. It is not just background music, although it can be used as such. I have found that I am often moved more by a short piece of ‘light’ music than some more serious pieces of music by the famous ‘Masters’.

Peter Hope’s music ticks all the above boxes. Each piece is well-crafted, presents a single ‘thought’ that can be easily digested and employs great workmanship in instrumentation and formal design. Every number charms and delights, with one or two providing slightly deeper thoughts.

What are my favourites?  Well that is difficult, but I guess it would include the groovy West One, the delicious Zaza, the jazz infused Burt’s Back, the swinging One Jump Ahead and Big Time, the skittish Irish Imp, the cool Swing Easy, and the eye-catching Beach Girls. And it is good to hear the Rings of Kerry Suite again. This really is a little masterpiece.

The batting order seems to be arbitrary. If I had been assembling this CD, I would have arranged the pieces by genre or possibly chronologically. For example, I would have gathered the ‘Test Card Tracks’ or ‘Potter’s Wheel’ music, the ‘jazz’ numbers, and then those with a soft ‘rock’ or ‘pop’ beat. As there are no descriptive liner notes, each piece comes as a bit of a surprise. That said the titles often (but not always) gives a good clue. Some can suggest more than a single thought: does The Shadows-sounding Night Flight imply a plane journey or a ‘flitting’ or perhaps Rockin’ Chair could be inspired by Bill Haley – it is not.

All these tracks have been previously released on record between 1965 and 1980. Bearing in mind that the masters were made on 2” tape, the quality of the sound is remarkable.

The booklet does not include details of when and where each track was recorded, or equally of interest, which LP or CD it was previously issued on. There is a short interview with Peter Hope as well as a brief paragraph from the Test Card Circle. A photo of the composer from back in the day and with long hair makes us all feel old! The gatefold CD cover and the booklet are designed with ‘rock’ or ‘pop’ art in mind rather than some fusty classical layout. It is FAB!

This is a fantastic compilation of some of Peter Hope’s most tuneful music. I loved just about every track. I advise listeners to take these tracks a few at a time. As with all light music, I tend to allow the title to flash an image into my mind. This usually works and leads to considerable enjoyment and appreciation.

I understand that there are many more examples of Peter Hope’s light music ‘in the can’. It is hoped that there may be further releases from Mozart Record. Finally, it would be great if CD companies would invest in recordings of Hope’s ‘concert hall’ works as well as his vocal and chamber pieces. Let us hope we do not have to wait until Peter Hope’s 100th Birthday before being able to enjoy more of his considerable achievement. 

Peter HOPE (b.1930) ‘Through the Crystal’ (a 90th Birthday Celebration)
Rec. 1965-80
Mozart Records MR120120 [72:42+75:19]

Track Listing:

1. Through the Crystal (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Music (2:27)
2. Away from it All (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:20)
3. Early One Morning (Trad. arr. Peter Hope) The Sound and the Voices (2:48)
4. Bavarian Ramble (William Gardner) Anthony Wood and His Orchestra (2:27)
5. Music Box Waltz (William Gardner) Hans Hatter and His Orchestra (1:36)
6. Big Time (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:44)
7. Burt’s Back (Peter Hope) The Brian Dee Quintet (2:40)
8. Petit Point (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (3:10)
9. Small Town (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:14)
10. Cast a Shadow (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Music (2:45)
11. Bitter Fruit (William Gardner) The Voices of Jack Wolfe (2:15)
12. Close Crop (William Gardner) Hans Hatter and His Orchestra (2:30)
13. Feed Back (William Gardner) Raphael and His Band (2:36)
14. Gilded Cage (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:33)
15. Bluebells (William Gardner) The Raphael Light Orchestra (2:56)
16. Bandit (William Gardner) Perry / Gardner Orchestra (2:48)
17. Skin Deep (William Gardner) The Voices of Jack Wolfe (2:09)
18. West One (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Orchestra (3:19)
19. Hand in Hand (William Gardner) Anthony Wood and His Orchestra (2:29)
20. Smoke Signals (William Gardner) The Neil Richardson Big Band (2:14)
21. Nature Trail (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:18)
22. Hot Line (William Gardner) The Voices of Jack Wolfe (2:11)
23. Sky High (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:41)
24. Irish Imp (William Gardner) Anthony Wood and His Orchestra (2:00)
25. One Jump Ahead (Peter Hope) Walt Peters and His Orchestra (2:42)
26. Rodeo Express (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (1:54)
27. Lavender’s Blue (Trad. arr. Peter Hope) The Sound and the Voices (2:42)
28. Zaza (William Gardner) Perry / Gardner Orchestra (2:11)
29. Love Tokens (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:47)

1. Ring of Kerry 1. Jaunting Car (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (2:26)
2. Ring of Kerry 2. Lough Leane (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (3:41)
3. Ring of Kerry 3. Killorglin Fair (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (3:12)
4. Farewell (William Gardner) Hans Hatter and His Orchestra (2:29)
5. Minor Degrees (Peter Hope) The Brian Dee Quintet (3:37)
6. Beach Girls (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Orchestra (2:40)
7. Moving On (William Gardner) Raphael and His Band (2:35)
8. Ride on the Wind (William Gardner) The Voices of Jack Wolfe (2:23)
9. Night Flight (William Gardner) Perry / Gardner Orchestra (2:26)
10. Rockin’ Strings (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Orchestra (3:01)
11. In This Time (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Music (2:35)
12. Swing Low (Trad. arr. Peter Hope) The Sound and the Voices (2:16)
13. Afterglow (Peter Hope) William Gardner and His Orchestra (2:36)
14. Public Image (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:47)
15. Shuttle Service (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:46)
16. Sweet Inspiration (William Gardner) Hans Hatter and His Orchestra (2:32)
17. Hurry Hurry (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (1:04)
18. Breakdown (William Gardner) The Voices of Jack Wolfe (2:04)
19. Rare Breed (Peter Hope) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:19)
20. Going Your Way (William Gardner) Anthony Wood and His Orchestra (2:23)
21. Rockin’ Chair (Peter Hope) Hans Hatter and His Orchestra (2:29)
22. Serenade in Rhythm (William Gardner) Perry / Gardner Orchestra (2:26)
23. Balalaika Melody (Trad. arr. Hope) New Raphael Singers (2:31)
24. Face Lift (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:46)
25. Harry’s Happy Now (Peter Hope) Art Deco Orchestra (2:18)
26. Sunshine Girl (William Gardner) The William Gardner Orchestra (2:30)
27. Underpass (William Gardner) Raphael and His Band (2:35)
28. Swing Easy (William Gardner) William Gardner and His Music (2:29)
29. Irish Legend 1. The Fianna (Peter Hope) Orchestra Raphael (3:03)