Thursday, 19 June 2008

Jack Strachey: Theatreland – a Light music classic

Theatreland is one of those evocative pieces that makes us want to jump into that black taxi cab, clamber aboard the Routemaster bus or get on the Piccadilly Line and head off to where the footlights are blazing and the curtains going up on the very latest musical or West-End play.
Jack Strachey Parsons (1894 - 1972), known as Jack Stratchey, was an English composer and songwriter.
His greatest hit was probably the song These Foolish Things which was written for the London revue Spread It Abroad. However, he is also the composer of the well-known In Party Mood which featured as the theme music of Housewife’s Choice which ran until the demise of the Light Programme in 1967. It is a tune that one still hears people whistling!

Theatreland was written by Strachey in 1940 and was probably intended as film library music that could be used by Movietone and other newsreel makers. However it took on a life of its own in the concert hall and radio programmes.

The work is in 'march' form although the trio does not contrast with the main march quite as much as convention expects. The work opens almost immediately with a bouncing swing that suggests excitement and anticipation. The whole point of the work seems to be to keep the momentum going without let or hinder. There is no room here for lovers sipping cocktails or having quiet assignations. It is the theatre that matters! Hyperion present the music in the original orchestration by Don Bowden (1906-1966) which is certainly effective in creating the right mood.
Jack Strachey also wrote some evocatively titled pieces which include Eros in Piccadilly, Shaftsbury Avenue and Mayfair Parade. Surely these must be ripe for revival?


British Light Music Classics Volume 3 Hyperion CDA 67148

1 comment:

CLAP!CLAP!CLAP! said...

Sorry, but can I here this?can y help me with a small explanation? Thks