, January 2009
Sydney Torch worked frequently with the BBC Concert Orchestra (the orchestra on this CD), and for many he is remembered for his weekly broadcast ‘Friday Night is Music Night’. The London Transport Suite was commissioned by the BBC for their Light Music festival of 1957 and was inspired by the withdrawal of the ‘Brighton Belle’ on the London-to- Brighton railway service. Each of its three movements represents a mode of transport: The Hanson Cab, Rosie, the Red Omnibus and The 5:52 from Waterloo. All the music here is tuneful, at times wistful and nostalgic, at others bright and breezy—All Strings and Fancy free is both. Barbecue sounds like a Scottish snap, while the Trapeze Waltz is reminiscent of the circus music of Satie. The Concerto Incognito is very much in the Warsaw Concerto mould, and the Petite Valse (also with piano) is more robust than its little suggests. The Mexican Fiesta and Samba Sud produce some fine local colour and are very jolly, while the Slavonic Rhapsody (with two piano) is more robust than its title suggests. The Mexican Fiesta and Samba Sud produce some fine local colour and are very jolly, while the Slavonic Rhapsody (with two pianos) is a fun work, drawing on the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Knipper, Borodin and Khachaturian, to form an entertaining if outrageous pastiche. The longest work is the Duel for Drummers, which as its title suggests, is a tour de force for the percussion department; it has some ideas which are reminiscent of Eric Coates and a new surprises, including a cockerel crowing, and a desert-island storm in the central movement. It ends with a lively galop. Barry Wordsworth conducts with flair, and the recording is excellent.