Ronald Binge: Elizabethan Serenade
Famed for his light orchestral music, the works of Ronald Binge capture the essence of quality British classical music. From Sailing By, to The Watermill, Binge’s works are full of character and are still treasured today. Elizabethan Serenade was composed in 1951 and originally entitled Andante Cantabile. Binge soon changed the name in 1952 to represent the post-war optimism and the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.
The piece gained lots of success including an Ivor Novello Award and also being used as the theme tune to BBC’s Music in Miniature. It remains one of Binge’s most popular works, often finding space in concert halls today.
Opening with an alternating three-note motif between the strings and flutes, the main melody is soon played out by the upper strings. The bouncy 3/4 time keeps the character of the music alive as the tune bounces between various parts of the orchestra. The three-note pattern returns throughout the serenade, often stopping the melody in its tracks, before moving aside to let the melody grow.
As this is an example of light music, Binge’s orchestrations utilise the players in really interesting ways. Although the orchestrations aren’t always rich with harmony, Binge is able to unite his forces to create a charming orchestral work. After another repetition of the three-note theme, Elizabethan Serenade comes to a quite finish.
Full of optimism and charisma, Ronald Binge’s Elizabethan Serenade is perhaps one of his most charming works. Easy going and quirky, this work is a quintessential example of British light music.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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