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Roger Quilter: British Light Music
Roger Quilter, Adrian Leaper, Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Roger Quilter: British Light Music
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1


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Gentle Post-Delian Serenades
K. Farrington | Missegre, France | 03/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is one of the more substantial offerings in the Marco Polo British Light Music Series. This was a genre of music that my generation and above listened to in the pram and perhaps even in utero when the Light Programme existed! The major composer Frederick Delius was multi-faceted but he had a strain of gentle music amongst his many faces that certain younger contemporaries picked up upon and explored in various ways. Composers like Bax and Alwyn saw things in his big music, like 'A Song of Summer' and 'Paris' and they took this away and produced works inspired by this side of his oeuvre, producing immense orchestral structures and complex harmonic tapestries. Roger Quilter was of the other sort who was interested in the 'little' Delius. He and others like Cyril Scott picked up Delius' smaller orchestral pieces and songs and took these as their primary source of inspiration. In these composers, the woodwind melodies and the gentle, sliding chromatic harmonies are immediately recognisable of one who has worshipped at the temple of Grez-sur-Loing. Roger Quilter, an exact contemporary of Vaughan Williams, was born of the aristocracy and despaired of becoming an artist due to his blue blood and his lifelong financial security. He was essentially a miniaturist whose major medium was the song but he also worked frequently with staged works, writing incidental music for theatrical productions, two ballets and an opera. His poetical imagination was of the world of fantasy and this fact can defived from the names of the titles on this CD: 'Where the Rainbow ends'; Merry Pranks; Goblins; A Frolicsome Friend'. However,it must not be presumed from this that Quilter's music itself is lightweight and mere puffs per se. He had a sound musical education, studying four and a half years in Frankfurt at the reknowned Hoch Conservatory under Iwan Knorr. He was a practical musician who knew exactly what he wanted to do. He never dabbled in 'modern' compositional methods and remained faithful to a tuneful tonality throughout his life as a matter of personal taste. He was not interested in creating a sensation. He wanted to compose music that gave pleasure to wide audiences and in that he suceeded. He was very well cultured and widely read and set 120 songs to a bewildering variety of texts. The music on this CD, a selection of his orchestral pieces reveals a gentle, cultivated man whose music somehow throws light on an important yet frequently forgotten trait of Englishness that is best exemplified to me by the manner of my late father: kind, unpretentious and yet imbued with a quiet dignity which transcends class or privilege. This is a first class CD with 69 minutes of music that goes well with its sister Marco Polo CD with music by the aforementioned Cyril Scott. The Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony manage this quintessentially English music perfectly in phrasing and balance, both areas that some orchestras might find difficult with such delicate material. Adrian Leaper knows this music very well and brings it off to a tee. It is as if the Light Music Programme has come back to life and we are back in the 1950's!"
Easy Listening
J. R. Brookens | Central Kansas | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I always knew Quilter could write a melody. His art songs are great. This is a great buy, and is full of melodies that'll get stuck in your head for days on end. This recording is well engineered. Who'd have thought this orchestra would capture the British sound? Thank you, Adrian Leaper. Very well done."