Frederick Fennell - Country Gardens (APE)
Frederick Fennell – Country Gardens (APE)

Orchestra: Eastman-Rochester “Pops” Orchestra, London “Pops” Orchestra
Conductor: Frederick Fennell
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Mercury
Size: 346 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Grainger: Country Gardens
02. Grainger: Shepherd’s Hey
03. Grainger: Colonial Song
04. Grainger: Children’s March
05. Grainger: The Immovable Do
06. Grainger: Mock Morris
07. Grainger: Handel In The Strand
08. Anonymous: Danny Boy (Traditional) Irish tune from County Derry
09. Grainger: Spoon River
10. Grainger: My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone
11. Grainger: Molly on the Shore
12. Coates: The Three Elizabeths – Halcyon Days
13. Coates: The Three Elizabeths – Springtime in Angus
14. Coates: The Three Elizabeths – Youth of Britain

Rustic, Stirring and Decidedly British

This is a classic album from the Mercury Living Presence series, translated from the realm of vinyl to that of compact disc, and it’s nice to know that this release will continue to live on in that form. Frederick Fennell leads the Eastman-Rochester Pops orchestra through eleven Grainger tunes, most of them standards such as Country Gardens, Shepherd’s Hey, Mock Morris, Molly on the Shore and of course the Irish Tune from County Derry. The performance reek of band rather than orchestra and bluff exuberance rather than restrain, all of which are good things. Though born in Australia and a resident of the U.S. for almost the last 50 years of his life, the music here is indelibly British. The latter part of the album is devoted to Eric Coates’ The Three Elizabeths Suite, which attempts to evoke the spirit of Britain by referencing Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II before her assumption of the throne, and her mother Elizabeth of Glamis. It’s pretty much in the vein of British Light Music, which should be expected given the identity of the composer. here Fennell leads the London Pops Orchestra in a performance that is a bit more concert hall than bandstand in flavor, but which still retains a lot of boisterous enthusiasm. Though more than a half century old, these recordings still sound fresh and alive, and they provide a bracing tonic. Recommended.

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