For all its brevity, the reign of Edward VII (1901-10) left a reputation as a period od fun and gaiety. Not all the music in this collection actually composed during the Edwardian era, but all of it reflects the rhythmic styles, the richness of melody and the elegance of orchestration that characterized the light music of the time.
Marilyn Hill Smith is widely regarded as one of the best interpreters of this music around today.
During the Edwardian era British light music flourished in a style that still owed everything to European traditions, rather than to the syncopated American Dance styles that were to change the face of popular music after the First World War.
The Two Parisian Sketches by Fletcher contain the popular swinging waltz ’Bal masqué’ and the delightful ’Demoiselle chic’. Woods swaggering Monmartre march is one of his later compositions in the style of Coates. ’O Who Shall Say that Love is Cruel’ is from German’s Merrie England, probably the best-known British comic opera not by Sullivan. The Grasshopper’s Dance is Bucalossi’s most-loved piece. It has important xylophone and grasshopper effects in the percussion parts.
The tender song ’Sail My Ships’ by Phillips is from The Rebel Maid, his best-known light opera. German composed the ’Nell Gwyn’ dances for Anthony Hope’s play, English Nell. It helped further establish his reputation asa composer of ’olde englishe’ music. The Destiny Waltz was composed by Baynes for the Palace’s equivalent of the Tiller Girls.. Finck’s In the Shadows was also written for the Palace Girls to which they performed a skipping-rope routine.
Monckton had a particular gift for melody; ’Moonstruck’ from Our Miss Gibbs is a case in point. His most enduring score The Arcadians produced The Pipes of Pan a celebrations of the idyllic life in Arcady. Only after ending his collaboration with Monckton and moving to the USA did Caryll achieve his one most enduring hit, the ’Beautiful Lady’ Waltz from The Pink Lady. A Runaway Girl was a Monckton/Caryll collaboration. Monckton added a trio section to create the full-scale orchestral march, Soliders in the Park, heard on this album.
One Christmas Eve in 1912, Ancliffe, an Irish band master, wrote his waltz Nights of Gladness on retunring from service in India. The title eloquently sums up the Edwardian era.
"...The vocal items are nicely contrasted with the orchestral (Robin White conducting the Southern Festival orchestra). This makes a highly enjoyable collection."
Classic FM Magazine - October 1998