Sea Images
The Best of David Fanshawe

Composer: David Fanshawe
Silva Screen
RRP: £11.99
Available 20 March 2006

Representing the very best of David Fanshawe's 36 year recording career, this collection underlines the diversity of his music from
Trafalgar, a celebration of the Bicentenary of The Battle of Trafalgar to African Sanctus, the Latin mass harmonised with traditional African music and Flambards, the theme from the popular 1970s television costume drama...

If you are unfamiliar with the works of David Fanshawe then this collection is a wonderful introduction to his varied and sometimes incredibly beautiful work.

While some of the orchestrated scores are relaxing, and at times patriotic (in the case of Trafalgar) other tracks (Sirocco - The Desert Wind) show their age due to the use of instruments that were popular at the time. For example, Sirocco has extensive use of the "wacca wacca" guitar that you just don't hear these days.

For me, personally, the most beautiful tracks come under the Sea Images and Choral sections on this album. Dover Castle is probably my favourite track, but I also loved African Sanctus, which sees an unorthodox mix of Latin Mass harmonised with traditional African music which was recorded by the composer on his journeys on the River Nile between 1969 and 1973. This mix of influences is interesting and creates something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Listening to the theme from Flambards was interesting as it seems so much more catchy than I remember it.

There are annoying tracks like When the Boat Comes In, which is distracting due to the fact that the singer puts a bizarre regional accent on "boat".

This collection also contains some interesting notes on each of the tracks included. These explain the background to each piece which should, if you like what you hear, move you to pick up more of the composers work.

I'd recommend this as an introduction to Fanshawe. You'll probably find, like me, that you'll be compelled to seek out the full recordings of some of the work represented here.

Nick Smithson

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