The Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra


The training for RAF musicians is clearly wide, varied and of a very high standard. Not to be outdone by their wind band colleagues the three violins, viola, cello, bass and piano who together make up the RAF Salon Orchestra have recorded, again under Tony Faulkner, a delightful disc of music by Fred Hartley.

Hartley (1905-80) was a Scottish pianist, composer and conductor of light music, that much needed idiom which seems to have all but died out. 

There are 22 tracks with descriptive titles such as A Cocktail of Happiness, Dreamy Afternoon, Whisky Galore. Alongside these are inventive and surprising arrangements of light music classics such as The Rose of Tralee, Loch Lomond, and The Irish Washerwoman, who is obviously having a great time.

Hartley was clearly a gifted musician as all of the original works and the arrangements are aurally stunning. The RAF musicians play impeccably and idiomatically.  The disc is 73 minutes of total joy.

Review by Paul RW Jackson