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Roger Quilter: British Light Music

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B000024OJP
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,709 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Roger Quilter is primarily known as a composer of songs and not orchestral music. His songs were sung by some of the greatest names of his day, including Nellie Melba and Maggie Teyte, and are still sung and recorded today. Nevertheless, a disc of his orchestral music is very welcome as a new way to experience this composer. Coming a bit after Sir Edward German (also included in this series), he similarly wrote incidental music for the theater, often dances, well into the 1920's. He was the son of a wealthy baronet and grew up at the family's country home, Bawdsley Manor, a turreted, red brick marvel. He stated that he felt his background may have inhibited his artistic side and that being born poor may have resulted in more interesting works. That's an unanswerable question. His circumstances may have contributed positively to a romantic and imaginative sensibility that may have enhanced the kind of compositions he wrote for plays like Where the Rainbow Ends and his imaginative English dances.

The program begins with his most famous work, the incidental music for the children's play, Where the Rainbow Ends (1911), which became a standard Christmas Holiday offering for decades. It opens however, with a little-known Overture which he discarded which is basically a charming fantasia on nursery rhymes. The music here is the five-movement concert suite he extracted from his score and which opens with the appropriate sense of wonder one would feel upon an arrival in Rainbow Land. The play include Reginald Owen as St.George and two of the children were a 12-year-old Noel Coward and a 14-year-old Hermione Gingold. It's full of Fairies and Goblins, but as the music suggests, they're not very threatening.
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