Now here is a treat. Stanhope has committed some of his music to CD using a remarkably effective process. No musicians are involved; his orchestra is brilliantly imagined electronically.
The Australian Fantasia is an enjoyably rambunctious work, happily quoting familiar Australian themes, Waltzing Matilda, Road to Gundagai and Advance Australia Fair. Yes, it has been done before, but Stanhope’s orchestration gets them over the line comfortably.
E.G.B.D.S stands for Edvard Grieg by David Stanhope, a somewhat clumsy title for a short work based on Grieg’s Student’s Serenade. I can’t say I warmed to it. It will probably reward further investigation. Three Folk-Elegies is a striking work using English folk songs and dedicated to the memory of Percy Grainger. Again we are in familiar territory, but Stanhope’s arrangements are superb, and I doubt many could tell it was not a real orchestra. His Petite Suite Française has sufficient Gallic style to make the title convincing; again, with wonderfully exuberant writing. The remaining short five pieces, such as Olympic Fireworks and some arrangements of music by Grainger and Fauré are as good.
In a conventional style, most of these are splendid compositions; one has to wonder at our musical establishment ignoring such fine work. No wonder Mr Stanhope has had to resort to his own skills to get this marvellous music before us. I could imagine any audience cheering this music on given the chance.