I was privileged to visit Air Lyndhurst Studios in Belsize Park this morning to be present as the highly-respected composer Debbie Wiseman MBE conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in recording her theme entitled ‘Salute’ for Classic FM. Debbie is the composer in residence for the station and the theme is set to be released as a single on Remembrance Day. Debbie is recognised as one of the UK’s most successful female music ambassadors and her film music credits include 1994’s Tom and Viv (nominated for two Academy Awards) and 1997’s Wilde (Nominated for Best Original Film Score, Ivor Novello Awards), while amongst her many TV music credits are A Poet in New York (2013), The Whale (2013) and Lost Christmas (Winner of Best Kids TV Movie / Mini-series, International Emmy Awards, 2013). Debbie was awarded an MBE for services to the film industry in 2004.
Salute was being recorded to contribute to the immensely valuable work being undertaken by The Defence & National Rehabilitation Centre Programme. Its Director, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman GBE KCB, gave a moving and informative speech to the Orchestra at the outset of the session. This not only explained the subject matter of the piece for all in the room, but also put the project into context for the musicians, who often remain unaware of how a particular recording is to be used.
The new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall will provide world-class medical services for injured military personnel and a £300 million investment will see the defence rehabilitation services currently delivered at Headley Court move to a new purpose-built location near Loughborough.
It is planned the new facility will be four times the size of Headley Court and will improve and advance the cutting-edge treatments already available to injured members of the armed forces. The new defence rehabilitation centre will provide immediate access to on-site patient diagnosis and treatment plans, greater advances in medical research and better outdoor facilities to support early stages of recovery.
I had arranged for photographer Jonathan Stewart to capture stills of the session and, thanks to the goodwill of the production team, he was able to shoot the fifty plus musicians in the iconic studio. Air Lyndhurst was established in 1992 by former owner and legendary producer Sir George Martin and has been the base for numerous artist and soundtrack recordings. In fact, Coldplay had been in the same studio only the day before and some of their equipment could still be seen in the corridors.
The instantly memorable recording begins with strings establishing a rhythmic tension before the principal melody played by Paul Archibald (trumpet) and Andy Findon (piccolo) takes centre stage. The theme builds to an evocative climax and should prove immensely popular with classical and mainstream commercial listeners alike. It was certainly wonderful to hear Paul, Andy and other top British musicians of the calibre of Orchestra leader and violinist Matthew Scrivener, Dave Stewart (bass trombone), Skaila Kanga (harp) and bassists Chris Laurence and Stacey Watton at close quarters.
Please listen out and buy ‘Salute’ and help the Programme in its crucial work.