London Fantasia – Clive Richardson – Sidney Torch and his Orchestra – Parlophone E.11451

A paragraph from the Robert Farnon Society website seems the best way to describe how Clive Richardson’s ‘London Fantasia’ came to be.

“Towards the end of the war the publishers Lawrence Wright asked Richardson to compose an eight-minute work similar to Richard Addinsell’s hugely successful "Warsaw Concerto", which had been featured in the 1941 film "Dangerous Moonlight" The work was originally conceived as "The Coventry Concerto" being a tribute to the Midlands city where Clive Richardson had been stationed.
But as the score developed, the composer realised that it was more suited to our capital city, and it eventually appeared in 1944 as London Fantasia. It portrayed a day in the life of a city being blitzed.”
In the beginning two versions were recorded, both with composer Clive Richardson at the piano. The Columbia recording featured Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra while at Parlophone Sidney Torch and his Orchestra were used.
(A third recording of the piece by Mantovani and his Orchestra with Monia Liter playing piano was issued in 1946.)
I have chosen to upload the Sidney Torch recording as this was the version purchased by my parents and which, as a youngster, I played endlessly. The love of it has never waned.
Also, as it comes from an Australian pressing, it has a quieter surface allowing more detail in the orchestration with greater dynamic range, a fact noted by Devon’s Robert Parker when he digitally remastered it in 2002 for one of his Metronome compact discs..

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