Light Music Society

Hopkins, composer, versifier, pianist and broadcaster, was 90 in 2011. I have been enjoying a celebratory two disc set representing his output, mainly early: three comic poems, a Viola Sonata, a Piano Sonata and part of another, a violin Partita and many light miniatures. John Turner excels in recorder music; a Suite for descant, a Pastiche Suite , tiny dances, curtain tunes really, for Shaw’s Back to Methuselah and Three Seductions. Hopkins’ vocal music is well represented, mainly sung by Lesley-Jane Rogers, often with obbligato from Mr. Turner, particularly charming in Three French Folksongs .

Three bonus tracks revive recordings of excerpt from musicals he composed for Intimate Opera long ago (I remember Three’s Company well). Eight contemporary composers (Andrew Plant, David Matthews, David Dubery, Anthony Gilbert, Gordon Crosse, David Ellis, Joseph Phibbs, Elis Pehkonen) contribute brief tributes; I prefer the purely instrumental ones (John Turner again!) by Matthews, Gilbert, Ellis and Pehkonen. Discs worth investigating.

—Philip Scowcroft