At the opening of the CMS autumn season we welcomed Paul Guinery, well known to radio 3 listeners, to share his love of popular English music of the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.
Paul has a varied career, apart from the BBC, performing classical solo recitals, joining and touring with chamber ensembles, and accompanying and collecting an enormous stock of vintage popular sheet music. Later this week he is travelling to the US with empty cases to spend time with an agent, a woman who gathers and sells a vast amount of vintage music. He will return with the cases full!
Paul started his lecture recital by saying that melody is essential to popular music, it is full of catchy tunes that errand boys used to whistle, and contrary to some current opinion much of it is extremely well crafted and complex, worthy of more detailed attention.
He introduced his varied programme of pieces with professionally researched interesting information about the composers, including the well-known, such as Noël Coward and Ivor Novello and many, that I for one, had not heard of. He explained that light music is often transcribed for various instruments and he himself had made his own arrangements of several of the pieces he played.
Most outstanding was his version of Richard Addinsell’s well-known Warsaw Concerto, written for the film Dangerous Moonlight. It was a tour de force which brought the first half of the concert to a magnificent climax. Paul has a lively sense of humour which interspersed with his virtuosic and sensitive piano technique made for a very enjoyable evening.