Since the age of 25 my beloved John Wilson has been associated with the prolific, ubiquitous English composer Eric Coates (1886-1957): In Town Tonight…Desert Island Discs…Music While You Work…The Forsyte Saga…all these BBC programs’ familiar signature tunes were taken from original works by Coates; while his most famous film music score, The Dam Busters, is well-known, and not just to British concertgoers or aficionados of British WWII pictures.

Rizal by Austin Coates (Oxford, 1968)

John conducted Eric Coates’s short orchestral piece “Dancing Nights” somewhere in time. He’s also an admitted collector of Coates memorabilia and Coates triviabut I’ll bet my beloved Tyneside lad had no idea that Coates’s son, Austin, was a government expert on Asian Affairs; that, like Mister Grumble, he worked for military intelligence; and that, in the 1960s, he wrote for Oxford University Press the definitive biography of physician, poet, novelist, Freemason, Jack the Ripper suspect (very briefly), and intellectual José Rizal, the martyred hero of my people.

Will continue with this posting after I read Coates’s book, which might take some time, as I have to buy it first and it’s not cheap. But I do want to read it.

For my review of John’s just-released recording of Eric Coates’s “Knightsbridge”, click here.


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2 thoughts on “Conductor John Wilson, Filipino Hero Jose Rizal, and the Coates Connection

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