50 minutes of classical compositions composed by Johnny Douglas with THE DULCIMA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
The Conquest is a 12 minute symphonic poem in 3 parts describing a romantic story between a young man and a young woman.
The first movement 'The Awakening' begins with a subdued opening as the young man awakes followed by much activity as he goes about his busy working life. The whole orchestra works up to a climax as he suddenly sees the girl of his dreams and the strong theme is heard for the first time, played by the strings and the woodwind. Gradually you can sense the excitement as the young man chases and courts the girl, and the delight in his success is reflected in the music at the end of the movement.
In the second movement 'The Romance' develops and the young couple fall in love. The solo oboe describes the scene and introduces the beautiful romantic melody around which this movement is built.
In the third movement 'The Rapture' the main theme is repeated and plans for the future are made. You can feel the emotion and anticipation, involving each section of the orchestra. A repeat of the lively theme from the first movement announces that they marry and the whole orchestra celebrates as it performs a variation of the main melody for a grand finale.
The Blue Damsel-Fly (solo flute – Jane Pickles)
Usually found in warm climates, and in pairs, the blue damsel-fly hovers and darts around over ponds, swimming pools and relatively still water. Johnny Douglas was inspired to write this melody as he was sitting by a swimming pool in Tenerife watching the Damsel-flies hovering over the water.
The Aftermath is a symphonic poem in 5 parts
The first movement 'The Vision', The second movement 'The Attainment', The third movement 'The Dream', The fourth movement 'The Fulfilment', The fifth movement 'The Acclamation'.
The Weeping Willow
What a joy in this day and age of moronic crassness of mindless repetition of words as well as so called music to have something so refreshingly lovely to listen to. It is a gem and what I find so upsetting is that it is the modern pop rubbish which sells the millions and the good recordings with inherent musicality are ignored. It is indeed a sad reflection upon the mind set of the modern generation. But I wish you every success with it - it deserves to be heard and enjoyed by a wide public.
George Orchard, South Wales
I have been trying to track down a beautiful piece of music that was broadcast on the BBC Radio 2 programme recently. It has taken me some time to track this down because I was driving on the M25 at the time and could not take down the details. I finally e-mailed Desmond Carrington, who was good enough to reply and told me that the CD he played was "The Conquest", second movement.
Frances Else, Surrey
I heard a record on Radio 2, which I thought was really beautiful... The tune was called "Weeping Willow".
June Hughes, Telford, Shropshire
I am writing to add our congratulations to what must be very many others. I am of course referring to your latest album. The symphonic poems are all very beautiful, each in their way, telling their own story, the arrangements being superb. For me, if there is a favourite it must be the "The Blue Damsel-Fly".
Peter Nicholls, Surrey
Thank you so much for the CD. I think it’s a masterpiece. Congratulations! I loved the "Damsel-Fly". So evocative.
Ann Marie Norman, Hampshire
This is a superb record, and I mean it. But who am I? Just a listener. It is without doubt the best record of Johnny Douglas. Congratulations! The orchestra plays beautifully and balanced; the dialogue between soloists and the orchestra (how many people) is perfect. This is another kind of music than the loud and crying sound of today.
Gaston Durieux, Antwerp, Belgium
When I first wrote to you I said something to the effect of, "Wonderfully arranged, wonderfully conducted, wonderfully played and wonderfully recorded", about your Living Strings records. Can I add to that about your latest effort, "Wonderfully conceived, wonderfully composed and wonderfully produced".
George Orchard, South Wales
Thanks for sending me the CD... I enjoyed listening to John’s excellent music and thought the performance and recording first class.
Ron Goodwin, Berkshire
Received your CD - and even if no one would have told me that it was a "Johnny Douglas" creation, I would have known it - It is a joy to listen to it.
Ethel Gabriel, A & R Producer RCA. USA
Thank you for the CD... "The Conquest" - I love the slow movement.
Graham Danton, BBC Radio Devon
IN TUNE - INTERNATIONAL
The name of Johnny Douglas is a highly respected one in British music circles. For many years he has delighted us with his compositions, immaculate arrangements and the high standard of his orchestra on Decca and other labels with several very tasteful CDs on his own Dulcima label.
This collection contains a selection of Johnny's own works for a large orchestra with the emphasis on original music in the best traditions of the light orchestral field.
The orchestra, led by one of the most distinguished concert masters in Raymond Cohen, generate a magnificent spread of sound with exceptional clarity from the large bank of strings. The music is full of pace and variety of mood and is extremely melodic. The stereo sound engineering is outstanding.
Don't be put off by the rather lofty sounding track titles, this is high quality music beautifully arranged and performed. I'll use that word again in describing Johnny Douglas and his music – immaculate!
JOURNAL INTO MELODY
Johnny Douglas recently took a large orchestra into the Whitfield Street Studios, in London, and the result is this impressive CD. In the booklet notes, Johnny's daughter Norma Camby explains that, at the end of 1999, her father fulfilled a lifetime's ambition and began composing the first of several classical compositions. To be honest, I think that the word 'classical' could be misleading to some people; in my humble opinion this is superior light orchestral music, beautifully written and scored, and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. These are not light cameos, but full-bodied works, blessed with strong melodies and - most important - accessible. You can enjoy this music from the first hearing, although I have found that the more I play it, the more I get out of it. During his long and impressive career, Johnny has been involved in more than 100 LPs, many under the name 'Living Strings'. He also wrote the charming music for that memorable film “The Railway Children”. His previous albums on Dulcima have been popular with RFS members, and I am certain that everyone who appreciates real light music of a descriptive nature will find this new release very satisfying. For me, it has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2001.