Wednesday, May 9, 2012

British Film and Light Music Appreciation

As if we didn't have enough topics going on at once, today I thought of a marvelous idea.... a series of blogs on British composers. Especially....light music and film composers. If there is any field of music that gets overlooked it's Light Music. Wikipedia defines light music as "a generic term applied to a mainly British musical style of "light" orchestral music, which originated in the 19th century and had its heyday during the early to mid part of the 20th century. The style is a less "serious" form of Western classical music, featuring through-composed, usually shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider audience than more serious compositions. "

Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Where classical music can sometime be "above us" in it's composition, light music is always simple and refreshing while at the same time is very moving. In particular the pieces tend to capture a "mood" or an event, such as "A Day in the Park" and therefore are often referred to as "mood music" as well.

Composer Eric Coates
Light music originates back to the days of the operetta, but did not reach it's prime until the beginning of the early 1930s with the advent of radio. BBC Light Programme ( a radio station created in 1945 ) contributed greatly to the spread of this fine music and for the next 20 years the field reached it's halycon.

Light music is the music of choice to those who enjoy popular tunes but who do not quite have the...ahem..patience...for really heavy classical pieces.( People like me, that is ) The accentuation of the music is placed on melody and therefore even a classic music novice can enjoy these beautiful songs without feeling lost.

Some of the composers we will feature in this series will be Eric Coates ( the creme de la creme of light music composers! ), Ernest Tomlinson, Adrian Leaper, Robert Farnon, Ron Goodwin, Anthony Collins and Sydney Baynes.


AND since we're on the topic of England's finest musical masters we might as well cover that delectable slice of listening pleasure known as British Film Music. The list of legends in this field is practically unfanthomable but a sample of our warblings will include Ralph Vaughn Williams, Arthur Bliss, Charles Williams, Allan Gray, William Alwyn, Anthony Collins, Stanley Black, Clifton Parker., Richard Addinsell..and who can pass up Sir Malcolm Arnold? Not I!

These legendary composers created the rousing/compelling scores to such classics as "Sink the Bismarck"; "49th Parellel"; "David Copperfield"; "The Bridge on the River Kwai"; "An Ideal Husband"; "A Canterbury Tale"; "The Dam Busters" and "Scott of the Antarctic" as well as many, many others.

Each of these composers had a unique style which they contributed to every film, and which consequentily set the tone for the movie and made them as recognizable in theme as their composer's compositions.

Who can think of lovable Miss Marple ( Margaret Rutherford ) without hearing strains of Ron Goodwin's familiar harpsichord melody in their head?

Since I have no concept of order and organization I will just randomly write about these composers at whim....and hopefully by the end of the year will have covered enough composers to give me mateys a thorough overview of these wonderful fields of music. And with a goodly dose of digital music clips tossed in...who knows? you might just come to be as fascinated with the subject as I be!

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