Friday 11 August 2023


Whether or not you remember – even hold as beloved – those childhood immortals Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin before they were appropriated by Walt Disney back in 1966, I think you'll enjoy Enchanted Places, a double-CD recording of A. A. Milne's verses (and Pooh's inimitable 'Hums') from the quartet of nursery classics: When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the-Pooh, Now We Are Six and The House at Pooh Corner – all of them accompanied by irreplaceable decorations by the magnificent Ernest H. Shepard.
Today, however, I guess there many Pooh-lovers who will be unfamiliar with the musical settings that were composed during the height of Mr. Milne's public popularity; although if you mention titles like 'They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace', 'Hush, Hush, Whisper Who Dares (Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers)', 'Halfway Down the Stairs' and 'Cottleston Pie', then you may recall having heard them sung by performers as diverse as Gracie Fields, Robert Tear, David Tomlinson and Burl Ives – not to mention Robin and Rowlf from The Muppets!
The music was the work of H. Fraser-Simson, a popular composer of British light music and the long-running operetta, The Maid of the Mountains, and these delightful settings that have endured for almost 100 years and are now available on this new double-CD – the first-ever complete recording of the Milne/Fraser-Simson collaboration – released by EM Records.
The songs are performed by baritone Grant Major, accompanied at the piano by John Kember and singer and pianist deftly present the songs with considerable wit and a lightness of touch that is perfectly suited to the verses’ delightful mix of humour, sentiment, nostalgia and nonsense.
I might, immodestly, add that there's a cameo appearance by Yours Truly on Disc 2, narrating Milne's amusing introduction to his song, 'The King's Breakfast', and I also wrote the liner notes telling the story of Mr. Milne and Mr. Fraser-Simson and their enchanting collaboration, illustrated with rare Milne family photos from my persoanl collection.
This recording will certainly please all lovers of light verse and light music and will delight the young and the young-at-heart.
Enchanted Places is available from Amazon HERE

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