Welcome to Not Now Bernard and other stories, a new album performed by the excellent Orchestra of the Swan under Tom Hammond. Three stories for narrator and orchestra by Bernard Hughes are the main feature, the speaker being none other than Alexander Armstrong.
Speech with music can be dangerous, as I well know from years of working with storytellers. The listener’s brain can get very confused, switching from music to speech being not the most obvious thing, it seems. Bernard’s work is exemplary is this respect – leaving plenty of room in the music for the words to relax in.
And there couldn’t be a more exemplary artist to perform speech parts than Alexander. As my own work Thread! is kindly included at the end of this disc, I wrote in an earlier post about our delight in the studio – surprise actually – at his ability to read contemporary scores and his constantly inventive vocal style. After hearing this disc through several times (a total pleasure) I hoped AA would one day record all the other spoken voice repertoire – Ode to Napoleon, A Lincoln Portrait, the whole lot. But he’s probably too busy.