Iain Sutherland Concert Orchestra
Alto ALC 1392 (79:30 mins)
Tracks incl. The Dambusters, By the Sleepy Lagoon, Coronation Scot, Sailing By, Devils’ Galop, Vanity Fair, Spitfire Prelude, Headless Horseman, Intermezzo – Escape to Happiness, and Jamaican Rumba
This is a winning release. Recorded 1983-88, it joins a highly recommendable series on this super-budget label: the others being ALC 1192 ‘The Merrymakers – 20 British Light Classics’, ALC 1206 ‘Manhattan Playboys – 20 American Light Classics’, ALC 1250 ‘Orient Express – 20 Europe & Beyond Light Classics’, and ALC 1324 ‘Blue Tango’ – Very Best of Leroy Anderson’.
Born in 1936 (a very good year!) Iain Sutherland is, of course, an acclaimed expert in our kind of music, and has been awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for Lifetime Achievement and his unique contribution to British Music.
Following a career as an orchestral and session violinist he was conductor of the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra from 1967 to 1972, a regular invitee of the BBC Concert Orchestra on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ from 1973, and was principal conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra in the 1980s, as well as working with many other UK and European orchestras.
In 1988 Sutherland formed the City of Glasgow Philharmonic Orchestra, which he continued to conduct until 1997. His recordings are regularly heard on Classic FM.
This compilation contains many of the ‘usual suspects’, as can be seen above. But there are also some less familiar items to keep long- time collectors like your reviewer interested, such as Lilliburlero and The Lark In The Clear Air, two Peter Hope arrangements of traditional tunes, Rosemary by the underappreciated Frank Bridge, whose most famous pupil was Benjamin Britten, Venetian Carnival by Ronald Binge, Men Of Harlech (Welsh Rhapsody) by Edward German, March Glorious, the theme for the BBC TV series ‘The Great War’ by Wilfred Josephs, and The Fair Day (Irish Symphony) by Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty. Other composers represented are Trevor Duncan, Charles Williams, Percy Grainger, Sir Edward Elgar, and Malcolm Arnold.
The excellent re-mastering is by Paul Arden-Taylor, and it is always good to have the booklet notes written by the conductor.
There is much to enjoy here and, at around £6, it would be a perfect introduction to light music for anyone still to discover its appeal.
© Peter Burt 2019