I always feel I've got to speak up for Dame Ethel Smyth as she was born and lived for years locally, Sidcup,being country then of course. She wrote several volumes of autobiography which are worth reading IMO. She knew Brahms and many more composers, was friends with Napoleon III who was exiled in Chislehurst nearby and had strong views on everything. I think she had passionate friendships with women but she certainly had atleast one affair with a man, all in her books.
Back on topic, can the 'greats' write'light' music? The 'Badinerie' from Bach's orchestral Suite no 2,
music by Mozart, Dvorak and others come to mind. And what aboutShepherd Fennel's Dance by Balfour Gardiner, Hely Hutchinson's Carol Symphony for starters?
I'm beginning to wonder what anyone's definition of light music might be. Something short and quick?
Originally Posted by salymap
Hely Hutchinson's "the Young Idea" is wonderful!
Originally Posted by salymap
Elgar wrote quite a bit of Light Music. Does Telemann's unfairly termed Muzak de Table count? And Dame Ethel wasn't above writing entertaining fluff either. I've just been listening Danny Driver's new Hyperion CD of Dale and Bowen which has a couple of miniatures delightfully Light.
Dare I mention Shostakovich?
This is an entertaining collection (for those who enjoy this sort of music; for those who don't it's not entertaining at all).
I see today's programme has some of my most favourite British Light Music, most of it extremely well-known. As this series has concentrated on British works, I think there's room for R3 to investigate light music from other countries and continents. Morton Gould's Symphonettes and Concertettes are enormous fun (for those..... etc)
We could have weeks and weeks of this!
The best definition I know is "music in which the tune is more important than what happens to it." This is due to Andrew Gold, a BBC producer. By that definition, of course, many composers have written such music but when we in the UK use the phrase, are we not usually referring to British light music? Much of this was written by composers who specialised in the genre.
Originally Posted by mercia
Your wisdom in not doing so is commendable.
Originally Posted by hmvman
I think that the issue here is not going to be helpd by broadening the topic to include "light music" from elsewhere, simply because this series concentrates on British - and in almost all cases English - "light music" and this mainly from around WWI up to the 1960s. Yes, Elgar did indeed write "light" miniatures and Malcolm Arnold contributed a number of "light" works to the repertoire, but these composers are far better known, even in their own country, as composers of non-"light" works and it does seem as though most of the repertoire explored in this series was indeed composed by people who specialised in this genre - the Ketèlbeys, the Woods (Haydn and Arthur), the Curzons, the Coatses and a number of other figures whose names have all but passed into obscurity in circles other than those who attempt to keep awareness of this kind of music alive.
It seems to me that, as often as not, the very considerable ability to turn out the kinds of thing that these people did as frequently as they did is ultimately of more inherent interest than what they actually turned out; the sheer professionalism required to get reasonably memorable ideas assembled into miniatures (it's almost always miniatures) where getting the points across is almost as important as the points themselves is undeniable, but even in its heyday much of it seemed to be possessed of some kind of inbuilt anachronism, as though its very presence was somehow dependent to a great extent on the co-existence of those ear-gratingly teeth-on-edgedly clipped BBC English voices uttering bland statements and seeking to create and promote a kind of complacent anglo-Utopia that never existed outside the imaginations of their creators and promoters.
In the recent R4 programme on the subject, I'm surprised that no one thought to mention the fact that the Pump Room Trio in Bath kept this kind of thing alive on a 363-days-per-year basis for decades and (I believe) still does so.
Last edited by ahinton; 21-06-11 at 08:45.
That's a mercy as far as I am concerned. I have never, ever, been able to take Ketelbey seriously and to my mind his music has dated far more than anything by Coates, Tomlinson or Farnon.
Originally Posted by Eine Alpensinfonie