Eric Coates was the master of light classical music. His compositions were consistently tuneful, appealing, light-hearted and immediately appealing. All without being banal or trite. Now that artistry!

This release launches a multi-disc recording cycle of Coates’ orchestral music. John Wilson spent several years editing Coates’ orchestral music. These new performing editions are the basis for Chandos’ new series.

John Wilson conducts the BBC Philharmonic, and his deep knowledge of this material makes these definitive recordings. Wilson brings out the best in the scores. I’ve heard some recordings where the music sounds like fluff. Not here.

Wilson treats the music seriously, bringing out the heart-felt lyricism of the scores. Coates was a deft orchestrator, and echoes of this music can be heard in countless film score and radio production libraries of the postwar era.

Included are some of Coates’ most popular works, including the Merrymakers and the London Suite. If you’re looking for some entertaining music, get this disc. The BBC Philharmonic has a pleasantly full sound, with just a trace of room ambiance. Not recommended for classical music snobs (but definitely recommended for the rest of us).

Eric Coates: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
BBC Philharmonic; John Wilson, conductor
Chandos CHAN 20036