Light Music

In the run-up to Light Fantastic, Radio 3's celebration of light music, Donald Macleod explores the world of British light music with his special studio guest, the singer, conductor and broadcaster Brian Kay - much-loved presenter of programmes including Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night and Radio 3's Brian Kay's Light Programme.


01What Is Light Music?20110620

This introductory programme attempts to answer the question 'What is light music?', and introduces some of the central composers, conductors and orchestras in the genre.

02Music And Movement20110621

Tuesday's programme explores the theme 'Music and movement', in a sequence of pieces reflecting light music's fascination with different modes of transport.

Composers from Charles Williams to Richard Rodney Bennett have capitalized on the different rhythmic opportunities suggested by trains, planes, cars, horse rides - or even good old shanks's pony.

There's also a discussion of the importance to light-music composers of 'library music'; much of the music familiar to us from signature tunes started life as publishers' commissions, with no specific end use in mind.

03Going Places20110622

Wednesday's programme presents a selection of light music gems suggested by the theme 'Going places', a whistlestop survey of the various ways that different composers have reacted to their surroundings in music - some as arrangers, many as writers of short fripperies and others who brought home from their travels a more substantial musical souvenir.

04Novelties, Evergreens, And Folk20110623

Thursday's programme presents a selection of novelties, evergreens and traditional music - all staples of the light composer's art.

Novelties in particular have inspired the use of wonderfully colourful orchestration, no more so than in Robert Farnon's 'Jumping Bean'; as with much of this repertoire, if you don't know it by name, you'll almost certainly know the music when you hear it.

05 LAST20110624

In the final programme of the week, Donald Macleod and Brian Kay explore the continuing legacy of British light music, picking out ten of the leading composers still working in this enduringly popular genre.