Acclaimed conductor in good company choosing Eastbourne

New recording from well-known conductor
New recording from well-known conductor

What is it about Eastbourne that attracts musicians and theatre-people to choose it as their place of residence?

Some have lived here for quite some time; and it seems they still keep coming. A relative newcomer is the distinguished

Scottish conductor Iain Sutherland.

He has waved his baton for many a fine orchestra, notably the BBC Concert Orchestra, where for the long-running programme Friday Night is Music Night he would be required to watch not only the music but also the clock: it went out “live” for years!

When asked why he chose Eastbourne, he pointed out that his famous predecessor on “Friday Night is Music Night” was Sidney Torch, who lived in Meads, and that Colonel Fred Harris (Director of the Grenadier Guard Band) also chose Eastbourne. Iain has been busy here, speaking to Rotary, to Sussex Opera and Ballet Society (which is based in Eastbourne) and to the Eastbourne Ashridge Circle, which is probably England’s most successful “lecture” organisation.

He regrets, however, that so many Tribute shows have almost taken over the superb Bandstand, once home to top-class band concerts.

Iain has, not surprisingly, conducted a large number of recordings. I have recently been listening to 23 tracks devoted to the music of Leroy Anderson.

All the favourites are there: Sleigh Ride, Blue Tango, The Typewriter, Jazz Pizzicato, and so on. But there are as well a number which were quite new to me. I was specially taken with Trumpeter’s Lullaby, which was composed at the request of the principal trumpeter in the famous Boston Pops Orchestra.

Too many re-issues of this lighter kind of music fail to give vital information, presumably assuming that no-one would be interested enough to read it. It is, however, a delight to discover that Iain himself has written a paragraph about every item, sometimes offering insights that enhance one’s listening pleasure.

The Trumpeter, for example, was composed as a response to a request for something other than the usual fanfares and bugle-calls. What we have, therefore, is a lullaby for trumpet.

The recordings date from the eighties, and are superbly transferred under the title “Leroy Anderson Favourites”, catalogue number ALC 1324.

By Robin Gregory