Eric Coates


Born: August 27, 1886; Hucknall, Nottingham, England   Died: December 21, 1957; Chichester, England  
Eric Coates was perhaps the most important composer of symphonic light music in the first half of the twentieth century outside the Viennese sphere. He took the music genre and made it into as bona fide and influential an art form as that created by any member of the Strauss family. He is often regarded as the Mozart of a music world whose generally light emotional expression is colored by splashy orchestration and perky rhythms. Yet, his music Read more featured an elegance and aristocratic air and could capture moods and, in stage works, story lines with deftly vivid imagery. Among his important compositions are the 1930 ballet Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, revised eight years later and re-titled The Enchanted Garden; and Springtime Suite from 1937. Even though Coates composed music in a less serious genre, he must be regarded nearly as highly as England's other important figures from his time, Vaughan Williams, Sir Arnold Bax, and Gustav Holst.

The youngest of five children, whose physician father was an amateur flutist and whose mother was an accomplished pianist, Eric began study on the violin at age six. Later on he took up the viola. He showed no serious interest in composing until age 20 when he entered the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied viola with Lionel Tertis and composition with Frederick Corder.

In the period between 1908 and 1909, he wrote his first vocal works: Four old English Songs and Stonecracker John. In 1910 he began playing the viola in the Beecham Symphony Orchestra and shortly afterward got a similar post in the Queen's Hall Orchestra, under Sir Henry Wood. He turned out his first orchestral work, the Miniature Suite, in 1911. Two years later, Coates married 18-year-old Phyllis Black, who would write lyrics for him and be of immense help to him throughout his career. Because of a progressive neuritis in his left hand and arm, Coates was exempt from military service during the war years. By 1919, however, the condition forced him to give up his first-chair viola post in the Queen's Hall Orchestra.

In 1927, Coates composed his orchestral suite Four Ways, which achieved considerable popularity. Perhaps his greatest success, though, came with the 1933 London Suite, which contained a section called "Knightsbridge," a march that took on a life apart from the suite when it was used to introduce the BBC radio program In Town Tonight, which became familiar to virtually every British listener during its 27-year run.

When his wife began working for the Red Cross in 1940, Coates was moved to write Calling All Workers, whose theme was subsequently used by the BBC for another radio show, Music While You Work. The orchestral suites Four Centuries (1942) and Three Elizabeths (1944) merely solidified his position now as the composer of the most familiar British music of all time.

In the postwar years, Coates continued to turn out popular scores, like Music Everywhere (1949). The composer continued to be active as a conductor in his last years, taking up the baton at one notable Promenade concert in August 1956, after Sir Malcolm Sargent had led the orchestra in a Tchaikovsky work. The 70-year-old Coates led the ensemble in his Four Centuries Suite and drew an enthusiastic response from the audience. Coates suffered a stroke and died on December 23, 1957. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Overtures from the British Isles, Vol. 2 / Gamba, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10898 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Walter Leigh,  York Bowen,  Smyth, Ethel, Dame  ... 
    Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 2.
    I Heard You Singing / Ben Johnson, James Baillieu
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 9032 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edward German,  Ivy Mason Whipp,  Eric Coates,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Johnson,  James Baillieu
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  • 3.
    British Music / Groves
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564614724 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Eric Coates,  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Henry Walford Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Noel Rawsthorne,  Anne Collins,  Patricia Hogan,  Claudia Lindsey  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Liverpool Chorus,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $75.98
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  • 4.
    Love's Old Sweet Song / Kathryn Rudge, Kathryn Rudge
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 92 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Alan Murray,  James L. Molloy,  Ivor Novello  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Rudge,  James Baillieu
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Battles In Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 578293 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Leonardo Balada,  Roy Harris  ... 
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd,  Salvador Mas Conde,  Marin Alsop,  Dmitry Yablonsky  ... 
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 6.
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5218 Release Date: 01/01/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bronislaw Kaper,  Domenico Modugno,  Roger Roger,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Performer:  Roberto Inglez,  Harry Robbins,  Johnny [John Waldo Green] Green
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Percy Faith,  Roger Roger,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 7.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: By Special Request - David Rose & Sidney Torch
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5219 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Rose,  Bob Merrill,  Will Jason,  Bernie Wayne  ... 
    Conductor:  David Rose,  Sidney Torch
    CD: $9.99
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  • 8.
    The Golden Age of Light Music: The Composer Conducts, Vol. 3
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5214 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Percy Faith,  Rudolf Friml,  Leroy Anderson,  Hal Mooney  ... 
    Conductor:  Percy Faith,  Rudolf Friml,  Leroy Anderson,  Hal Mooney  ... 
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  • 9.
    Elizabethan Serenade / Various
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4725092 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Addinsell,  Kenneth Alford,  Albert William Ketčlbey,  John Lanchbery  ... 
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 10.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
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  • 11.
    British Rhapsody: Music For Viola And Piano
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8035 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Alan Richardson,  Frederick Delius,  Rhian Samuel  ... 
    Performer:  Su Zhen,  Simon Lepper
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  • 12.
    The Definitive Eric Coates
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6231 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Eric Coates
    Performer:  Sigurd Rascher
    Conductor:  Eric Coates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Light Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Golden Age of Light Music: Great British Composers, Vol. 2
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5203 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wally Stott,  Charles Williams,  Haydn Wood,  Vivian Ellis  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Farnon,  William Hodgson,  Sidney Torch,  Stanford Robinson  ... 
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  • 14.
    Dambusters! Organ X-plosion Vol II / Kevin Bowyer
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 8104 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jackson Hill,  Eric Coates,  Arthur Meale,  Arthur Willis  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Bowyer
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  • 15.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Cinema Classics
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5202 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Elmer Bernstein,  Miklós Rózsa,  Richard Addinsell  ... 
    Performer:  Ronnie Aldrich,  Russ Conway
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Al Caiola,  Ken Jones,  Billy Vaughn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Dreamers
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  • 16.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 17.
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5198 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Horacio Nicholls,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Con Conrad,  Arthur Lange  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Fryer,  Ronnie Munro,  Reg Pursglove,  Harold Collins  ... 
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  • 18.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: A Glorious Century Of Light Music
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5200 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerome Kern,  Vernon Duke,  Ron Goodwin,  Jule Styne  ... 
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Paul Mauriat,  Ron Goodwin,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani  ... 
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  • 19.
    Spirit Of England
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1272 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Eric Coates,  Ronald Binge  ... 
    Performer:  Jon Banks,  Martin Souter
    Conductor:  Carl Davis,  Guy Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guards Division Massed Bands
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  • 20.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  André Previn  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 21.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Great British Composers, Vol. 1
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5195 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Haydn Wood,  Frederic Curzon,  Richard Addinsell  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Johnson,  Charles Williams,  Frederic Curzon,  Muir Mathieson  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 22.
    100 Famous Marches
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 1072 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Julius Fucik,  Charles Beisterling,  Harry L. Alford,  Roland Forrest Seitz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band,  United States Army Band,  United States Navy Band  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 23.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haďm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert d'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 24.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Stereo Into The Sixties
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5192 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Herman Clebanoff,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Ron Goodwin  ... 
    Performer:  Russ Conway,  Neill Sanders
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell,  Herman Clebanoff,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Ron Goodwin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ferrante & Teicher
    CD: $9.99
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  • 25.
    Merrymakers - British Light Classics
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1192 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Trevor Duncan,  Ernest Tomlinson,  Hamish McCunn  ... 
    Conductor:  Iain Sutherland
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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