John Wilson’s first album in a series of recordings of the orchestral works of Eric Coates, using his own definitive editions of the scores. includes the suites The Jester at the Wedding and London, and the miniature overture The Merrymakers. Infectiously idiomatic playing from the BBC Philharmonic! Eric Coates was born on August 27th, 1886, at Hucknall. Coates showed an interest in music at an early age, studying first the violin and then the viola with George Ellenberger, a pupil of Joachim, and harmony with Dr Ralph Horner in Nottingham. At the age of twenty he arrived in London determined to make a career in music despite some family misgivings. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied viola with Lionel TertisRead more and composition with Frederick Corder. Eventually, in 1919, when neuritis in his left hand made playing the viola more and more difficult, Eric Coates turned exclusively to composition. Eric Coates' work is in the tradition of polished melodic light music started by Sir Arthur Sullivan and continued by Edward German.
Wilson is relishing every second of the music. The BBC Phil is in great nick, and Stephen Rinker’s engineering brings sound of clarity and fidelity, every detail, dynamic, and subtlety captured perfectly.
Volume 1 implies we are to get more like this and they can’t come soon enough. Eric Coates is surprisingly undervalued, even with the resurgence of interest in light music. There are some very familiar pieces here – The Merrymakers, By a Sleepy Lagoon, London Suite – alongside the ballet The Jester at the Wedding and two symphonic rhapsodies. All engaging and here splendidly played by the BBC Phil under one of the real champions of light music, John Wilson.