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Byline: Peter Spaull

THE painter LS Lowry was immortalised 20 years ago when Northern Ballet Theatre commissioned a ballet from choreographer Gillian Lynne with music by Carl Davis.

A Simple Man brought to life the Mancunian townscapes and people of a lost age, and was brilliantly danced by a company led by Christopher Gable and Moira Shearer. It was recorded for BBC TV with the BBC Philharmonic under the baton of Carl Davis, and the recording has now appeared for home viewing on DVD on the BBC Opus Arte label.

This is very enjoyable for ballet lovers and those with a nostalgia for Lowry's pictures. There is an introduction by Albert Finney and interviews with Lynne and Davis. An excellent additional to the DVD shelf.

It's a pity that the new BBC Philharmonic CD is not in video, as we would then witness Principal Vacuum Cleaner Kathy Jones, and her collagues and Principal Floor Polisher Fiona Mackintosh going through their paces in Malcolm Arnold's Grand Grand Festival Overture. They are all duly credited on the sleeve alongside leader Yuri Torchinsky and conductor Ruman Gamba. The overture was written for a Hoffnung concert, and his famous cartoon of the 'instruments' is on the sleeve.

The Chandos CD has 10 overtures including the famous Beckus, Tam O'Shanter and Peterloo and the less known Sussex, Fairfield, Anniversary Overtures and Robert Kett. Everything is played with the necessary panache, making for great entertainment.

The orchestra has also released a second volume of Stokowski's Symphonic Bach under the baton of Matthias Bamert, and once again the Manchester band provide the necessary punch when required, contrasting with quieter passages such as Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (Chandos).

The Rhos Male Voice Choir are in concert at Burton Gladstone Hall on the Wirral a fortnight tomorrow. They have made a fine CD for Sain Records of music ranging from Tonight and Somewhere (West Side Story) to opera choruses, spirituals, Welsh hymns and traditional folk songs. This is a fine achievement, and will doubtless be on sale on the night.

The Brodsky Quartet, formed originally in Manchester have been together for 23 years and this month take another step forward by establishing their own record label. Tchaikovsky's second and third quartets form one of their first releases, and with it comes Mood Swings. This is a collection of 14 songs in which they are joined by artists such as Elton John, Sting, Jacquie Dankworth, Richard Rodney Bennett and Bjork.

Many of the songs originate from the quartet's educational work, and we find compositions by pupils from a number of schools including Sir John Leman High School, Beccles, and Whalley Range High School. It is interesting that their songs stand up well alongside the professional numbers.

This disc is not really within the remit of this column, except that it illustrates the excellent work which our classical musicians are doing to get alongside new audiences. Both of these CDs are released on the Brodsky Records label
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 25, 2005
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