The Birmingham Studio Orchestra
Conducted by Frank Cantell
As one of the original members of the Royal Philharmonic Society, and as one of the leading composers of his own day - the first half of last century - Sir Henry Bishop was an outstanding figure in the English world of music. He was an industrious composer for the stage, especially for the Opera at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, but his fame today rests rather on some of his smaller pieces, like the song ' Lo, hero the gentle lark.' One reason for the disappearance of his operas is no doubt the poor quality of the librettos which were provided for him; as listeners may hear in this Overture, the music has many of the qualities which entitle it to a lasting popularity.
He wrote sacred music also, as well as three volumes of the 'National Melodies,' for which Moore wrote the poetry; he did notable work, too, in editing older music.
The Overture to The Miller begins with a pompous, slow section in which first oboe and then flute have melodies, interrupted ever and anon by emphatic outbreaks from the whole orchestra. Then there is a lively section with a bustling theme in which most of the orchestra shares, with the woodwinds in turn having little solo phrases. It finishes, in faster time, with still more robust vigour, and then there is a little arietta with a solo for cornet. That leads to a waltz where oboe, bassoon, and cornet in turn play the theme, clarinets afterwards taking it up. The rhythm grows more lively and finishes the Overture with a sense of real bustle and energy, still in the waltz measure.