Eric Coates was unequivocally the greatest British composer of light music in the 20th century. His music magically evoked the spirit of all aspects of English life from the century’s early years up until after the Second World War. Volume 2 of John Wilson’s traversal maintains the charms of its predecessor, with Wilson and his BBC forces capturing every nuance of these wonderful scores.

Coates album artwork

This is not just polite, middle class, Church of England, Home Counties “Between the Wars” musical wallpaper, the sort of thing the Celia Johnson character in Brief Encounterwould have had on while she was arranging the hollyhocks or compiling the brass roster at St Anselms. The wartime scores are models of wholesome patriotism:  Calling all Workershas...

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