Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Great British Experience

Recently I have found that I am becoming nostalgic and listening to music for an earlier time especially British Light MusicThe genre has its origin in the seaside orchestras that flourished in Britain during the 19th and early 20th century. These played a wide repertoire of music, from classical music to arrangements of popular songs and ballads of the time. From this tradition came many specially written shorter orchestral pieces designed to appeal to a wider audience. Notably, even serious composers such as Sir Edward Elgar wrote a number of popular works in this medium.  I remember when Dad and Mum took us to Scarborough and we would go to the Spa n the waterfront and listen to the Orchestra.

It was a wonderful experience for a ten year old boy to listen to a live orchestra playing beautiful melodies.  I have also been listening to a BBC 2 radio program hosted by Alan Titchmarsh who plays a eclectic combination of music similar to that which I listened to growing up when we listened to BBC radio.  This album relates to many of the light music that were used for BBC radio and television programmes. 

The track listings is as follows

1. Devil's Galop - Charles Williams Concert Orchestra. Charles Williams was a composer of light music whose themes were used in very many films but uncredited.  This theme was used on BBC's Light Programme serial Dick Barton.  It was often used often to give a sense of dramatic urgency to a chase scene.
2. Calling All Workers - Eric Coates Symphony Orchestra. was the theme song for a radio program called Music While You Work. which was started during World War II to help factory workers become more productive by playing non-stop popular/light music at an even tempo. For a period, a third edition was broadcast in late evening for night-shift workers. After the war, the broadcasts continued on the newly-formed BBC Light Programme.  I remember listening to this on Summer days when Mum used to listen to it. My Grandma Grimshaw also used to listen to it. 
3. Westminster Waltz - Robert Farnon & His Orchestra.  This piece was always played on the Light Programme.
4. Puffin' Billy - Clifford, Hubert & MLO This was the theme of one of my Favorite radio shows called Children's Favorites and would listen to all the requests. Never made one of my own.  Children's Favourites was a BBC Radio programme from 1954 broadcast on the Light Programme on Saturday mornings from 9:00. A precursor (from 1952) had been called Children's Choice after the style of Housewives' Choice.
The programme played requests from children of all ages. For most of its run, the programme was frequently introduced by Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac). McCulloch's grandfatherly tone was quintessentially 'old-school' BBC. His opening words "Hello children, everywhere!" were his "catch-phrase", though a modification of his much earlier closing words "Goodnight children, everywhere" on Children's Hour.  Some of the Favorites were things like the Laughing Policeman and Teddy Bears Picnic
5. Horse Guards (Whitehall) - by Haydn Wood was the theme tune of Down your Way a radio programme that traveled around Britain and interviewed people in the towns it visited.  It was always interesting listening to the different accents and different sounds from the places.  Using your imagination you almost felt as though you were there.
Richard Dimbleby (right) and his producer John Shuter (behind right) at Southfleet, Kent, interviewing the pub landlord of the "The Ship" Mr. and Mrs. George Clinch and their 3 daughters.
Originally presented by Stewart MacPherson (from 1946 - 1950) , then Richard Dimbleby (from 1950 - 1955) followed by Franklin Engelmann and in 1972 by Brian Johnston, visited villages and towns in the British Isles and interviewed colourful local characters, then invited them to choose a piece of music.
6. In Party Mood - by Jack Strachey was the theme song for a very popular radio show called Housewife's Choice  It played a wide range of (mostly popular) music designed to appeal to housewives at home during the day. Like many other BBC radio shows in the era of very limited broadcasting competition, it achieved massive audiences, and is very closely identified in the public mind with its era. 
7. By The Sleepy Lagoon - Another piece by Eric Coates that was used for the theme of Desert Island Discs and the theme is still played today on the show which is still going strong on BBC 4.  The premise of the show is to invite renowned people and ask them to choose eight different recordings that they would take with them if they were wrecked on a Desert Island.   
8. Girls In Grey - Another piece by Charles Williams Girls In Grey" was a tribute to the Women’s Junior Air Corps) which jauntily serenaded the airwaves circling round the mast of Alexandra Palace at the start of each "BBC Television Newsreel
9. Silks And Satins - by Peter Yorke was the theme tune for Emergency Ward 10. Emergency – Ward 10 is a British television series shown on ITV between 1957 and 1967. Like The Grove Family, a series shown by the BBC between 1954 and 1957, Emergency – Ward 10 is considered to be one of British television's first major soap operas.
10. March - Dunn, Vivian & Light Music Society Orchestra  This piece is the theme of another medical programme Dr. Finlay's Case Book
11. Barwick Green - by Arthur Wood is used as the theme song for the Archers a radio programme that has been in continuous broadcast since 1950.  It would be on in my house where my mother would listen to the problems of a rural English family.  It still is going strong on BBC 4 and has Internet listeners of over one million. 
12. Runaway Rocking Horse - is a piece written by Edward White who ran a ballroom orchestra in Bristol after he had served in the RAF during the war.
13. Girl From Corsica - written by Trevor Duncan. In 1959, he composed his two most famous works The Girl From Corsica and the Little Suite. The first of these was used as the theme music for the BBC Television serial of Francis Durbridge's The Scarf; the opening March from the second was used as the signature tune for Dr. Finlay's Casebook.
14. Non Stop - by John Malcolm was the theme tune for ITN news.
15. Skyscraper Fantasy - by Donald Phillips. Skyscraper Fantasy was probably his best-known work, although its transatlantic style sounded more like the work of an American composer, than a Londoner 
16. Headless Horseman - by Ron Goodwin was a light music composition that Goodwin is most known by 
17. On A Spring Note - written by Sidney Torch is the composer's most recognizable piece. The piece On A Spring Note is considered to be one of Torch's best works and is still regularly played and recorded by Modern Cinema Organists. In 1953 the BBC decided that it needed a new programme whose brief was: "to help people relax after the week's hard work and put them in the right mood for a happy weekend". With Sidney Torch's full participation, the formula for "Friday Night Is Music Night" was devised - with such foresight that the programme survives to this very day. The BBC Concert Orchestra had been formed the previous year, and Torch conducted them for almost twenty years in this series, until his retirement in 1972.
18. Sea Songs March - by Ralph Vaughn Williams was the theme song for a British comedy about an overweight school boy Billy Bunter at Greyfriars school.
File:Floreat Greyfriars.jpg

19. PC 49 by Ronald Hanmer was the theme of the show PC 49
Brian Reece as PC 49 & Joy Shelton as Joan
20. Canadian In Mayfair - Composed by Angela Morley but was born as Wally Stott but ended up as Anglela Morley.  She underwent a sex change operation in 1972. The piece was written as a tribute to Robert Farnon her mentor.  She also wrote the music for Dallas and Dynasty.   
21. Dancer At The Fair -Written by John Fortis. Not much known. 
22. Las Vegas - by Laurie Johnson was the theme for the show Animal MagicJohnson also wrote the theme for Moonraker.

23. Starlight Roof Waltz - By George MelachrinoMelachrino died by falling asleep in his bathtub and drowning at the age of 56.
24. Evensong - by H. Easthope Martin.  Martin, born in Stourport, studied piano, organ, harmony and composition (with Coleridge-Taylor) at Trinity College London. His Evensong, variously arranged for piano, organ and orchestra, became very popular, but apart from An Old Time Tune which also appeared in various versions, the posthumously published Souvenirs for piano and a few other piano solos, the bolero Castanets, for violin and piano, and Two Eastern Dances for orchestra premiered by Sir Henry Wood at the Proms, his output was primarily for the voice: anthems, such as Holiest Breathe an Evening Blessing and Holy Spirit Come O Come, and songs. 
25. Knightsbridge - written by Eric Coates was the theme tune for In Town Tonight   In Town Tonight was a BBC radio programme broadcast on Saturday evening from 1933 to 1960. It was an early example of the chat show, originally presented by Eric Maschwitz.
Its theme music was the Knightsbridge March by Eric Coates. Its introductory sequence had a voice crying "Stop" to interrupt the sound of busy central London, before an announcer said "Once more we stop the mighty roar of London's traffic ..." At the end of the programme the voice would say "Carry on, London".

Well Happy Wednesday.  England drew today.  Another example of the great manager. 

No comments:

Post a Comment