Eric Coates Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 continues to entertain

This release picks up where the first volume left off. It’s another collection of wonderful music by Eric Coates. Coates’ output was fairly consistent. it’s instantly appealing, modest in scope, and always effective in entertaining the listener.

This release includes popular favorites such as “London Bridge,” and “Calling All Workers.” The cornerstones of the program are three larger, multi-movement works.

“The Selfish Giant” is based on Oscar Wilde’s story. Coates provides a musical language others would adopt for orchestral fairy tales.

“The Enchanted Garden” began as a ballet commission, but soon became a concert staple. Imagine a genial Tchaikovsky (with a British accent) — that was my impression of this delightful score.

The “Summer Days” suite is the earliest, dating from 1919. Originally, I thought it sounded a little cliche, but that was only because so many film composers have “borrowed” from it. This is the original.

Conductor John Wood is a Coates scholar and edited some of these works for performance. He leads the BBC Philharmonic with a surety of purpose. Light classical music — like comedy — is hard. Wood makes it sound effortless.

Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Eric Coates: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
BBC Philharmonic; John Wilson, conductor

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