Philip Lane: Sleighbell Serenade. © 2023 Naxos Rights US, Inc

CD Spotlight

Lush Orchestrations

GERALD FENECH listens to orchestral music by British composer Philip Lane

'... so much to enjoy.'


Born in 1950, Philip Lane began composing at an early age, and by the time he was at Birmingham University he was already having his compositions played by the BBC Midland Light Orchestra. Virtually all of his orchestral works have been commercially recorded and are currently available worldwide. These are often written in the style of British light music, being largely tonal and featuring lush orchestrations. For example, his London Salute was written to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the BBC, and has been adopted as the unofficial theme of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Listen — Philip Lane: London Salute (1982)
(8.555880 track 1, 0:02-0:49) ℗ 2001 Naxos Rights US, Inc :

Cheltenham Ladies' College commissioned a work to celebrate the centenary of its music department. The result was A Spa Overture, first performed in July 1982. Other lighter compositions include the Diversions on a Theme of Paganini, Cotswold Folk Dances, Divertissement for clarinet, harp and strings, A Maritime Overture, Prestbury Park, Three Spanish Dances and a number of works themed around the Christmas season.

Listen — Philip Lane: Sleighball Serenade (Three Christmas Pictures)
(8.555880 track 19, 0:01-0:42) ℗ 2001 Naxos Rights US, Inc :

Other works in the same light vein are the three Wassall Dances, Overture on French Carols and Three Christmas Pictures - a compilation of individual original works: the 'Sleighball Serenade', 'Starlight Lullaby' and the 'Christmas Eve Waltz'.

Listen — Philip Lane: Christmas Eve Waltz (Three Christmas Pictures)
(8.555880 track 21, 0:00-0:50) ℗ 2001 Naxos Rights US, Inc :

Lane's compositions for television have included BBC drama, including The Merchant of Venice and Sir Thomas More, and the children's animated series Captain Pugwash. In 2005 he composed the ballet Hansel and Gretel for the National Youth Ballet. Maybe a vital contribution to the world of music is Lane's efforts to reconstruct film scores that were lost. Addinsell, Arnold and Bliss, among others, all benefitted from this important research.

This delightful recording provides an excellent survey of his concert works and the music is consistently colourful, expressive and full of swagger, particularly the dances.

Listen — Philip Lane: Cleeve Idyll (Cotswold Dances, 1973)
(8.555880 track 13, 2:56-3:46) ℗ 2001 Naxos Rights US, Inc :

This programme was recorded on Marco Polo way back in February 2001, but performances remain vibrantly alive and sound quality is still crystal-clear.

This is an exhilarating addition to this reissued cycle in which there is so much to enjoy. If you missed it first-time round, grab this chance to add to your collection these miniature gems full of joy and colour. The front pictures of the booklet notes are gorgeously eye-catching.

Copyright © 18 March 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



 << Home              Next review >>