Artists Media

‘The Cambridge Buskers Collection’ CD Box Set – CD Review

The Cambridge Buskers – Michael Copley (flute, recorder, ocarina, crumhorn) and Dag Ingram (48 bass accordion) – in the 1970s were students at Cambridge University who shared a passion for classical music. They began busking for fun at folk clubs and in the streets, and then went busking around Europe, where they were fortunate to be spotted by a Deutsche Gramophon representative who offered them a recording contract. The duo made a highly successful career out of their stylish and impeccable busking, performed often on radio and TV, toured the world performing the popular works of the great classical composers, and made several albums. Eventually Dag Ingram left, and was replaced by accordionist Ian Moore, and the new duo was renamed ‘The Classic Buskers’, who are still working today.

‘The Cambridge Buskers Collection’ 4 CD Box Set, digitally remastered and issued by the Australian record company Eloquence, contains the following albums: ‘Soap Opera’ (1982), ‘The Cambridge Buskers Handel Bach’ (1985), ‘The Explosive Sound of The Cambridge Buskers’ (1985), ‘Another Serious Album’ (1981), ‘Not Live From New York’ (1979), ‘A Little Street Music’ (1977), ‘Between Pub & Podium’ (1977), ‘King’s Parade’ (1978).

This box set is a virtual summary of most of the best-known works and composers of classical music, and the performances of The Cambridge Buskers on these recordings are fresh and inspiring throughout. The duo’s playing is always spot on, with Michael Copley’s instruments taking the lead much of the time, with the accordion playing neat harmonies. There is one solo accordion track – JS Bach’s famous ‘Toccata in D’ – usually heard on a pipe organ or a large accordion, and played here very capably on a 48 bass accordion!

The four CDs contain over 130 tracks, featuring music from Rossini – ‘Barber of Seville’, JS Bach – ‘Toccata in D minor’ (accordion solo), Vivaldi – ‘Four Seasons’, Handel – ‘Water Music Suite’, Elgar – ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, Ravel – ‘Bolero’, Mendelssohn – ‘Violin Concerto’, Wagner – ‘Ride of the Valkeries’, Dvorak – ‘New World Symphony’, JS Bach – ‘Brandenburg Concerto’, Schubert – ‘Unfinished Symphony’, Chopin – ‘Minute Waltz’, Monti – ‘Czardas’, Tchaikovsky – ‘Nutcracker Suite’, Bizet – ‘Carmen’, Handel – ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, Tchaikovsky – ‘The 1812 Overture’, Mozart – ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’, Rossini – ‘William Tell Overture’, Scott Joplin – ‘The Entertainer’, Verdi – ‘La Traviata’, Mozart – ‘The Magic Flute’, Verdi – ‘Rigoletto’, Grieg – ‘Peer Gynt Suite’, Tchaikovsky – ‘Swan Lake’, and lots more.

This great value for money box set is widely available via several internet sources, including Amazon UK, Presto Classical, MDT, Foyles, Europodisc, Proper Records, etc.

Rob Howard