Nigel Hess is a British composer, best known for his television, theatre, and film soundtracks, which include the theme tunes to Wycliffe, Dangerfield, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, and Ladies in Lavender starring Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The composer found additional fame recently when he wrote a Concerto for Orchestra and Piano for Lang Lang, recorded in 2008 on the UCJ label.
Works by Hess are performed here by the Central Band of the RAF, one of the premier military bands in the UK today, and conducted by Hess himself. The Band is always in great demand, undertaking more than 370 engagements a year, representing the Royal Air Force at every major military event, and performing at all of the principal concert venues in Britain. The Band is also internationally renowned, having the distinction of being the first band outside the USA to receive the John Philip Sousa Citation for Musical Excellence. Past tour schedules have included concerts in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, USA, Australia, and Russia.
New London Pictures takes its theme from today’s modern London. ‘Millennium Bridge’ depicts the pedestrian’s journey across the landmark bridge over the Thames, starting at the Tate Modern Museum, and then onwards towards the imposing St Paul’s Cathedral. ‘The London Eye’ describes the stunning bird’s-eye view of London from the iconic Ferris wheel situated on the South Bank of the River Thames. ‘The Congestion Charge’ alludes to the fee that was imposed on London motorists in 2003, depicting Londoners attempting to go about their daily business in the face of overwhelming odds.
The Old Man of Lochnagar is a children’s book written by HRH The Prince of Wales. The story revolves around an old man who lives in the cliff caves near the royal estate of Balmoral in Scotland, where the Royal Family spends much of its summer holidays. In 2007, the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain received permission to create a new ballet based on this story, for which Hess wrote the score. The concert overture Monck’s March tells the story of General Monck’s strenuous historic journey, involving seven thousand troops, from Coldstream in Scotland to London during the winter of 1660.
Shakespeare Pictures originates in incidental music composed for productions of Much Ado about Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, and Julius Caesar by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and London. The source music was later expanded and re-orchestrated to form the new three-movement suite for symphonic wind orchestra recorded here.