A new compilation album of sea-related classical music has been released this week in a partnership between the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and radio station Classic FM.
The RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea – partnered with Classic FM earlier this year as part of an initiative to thank the charity’s supporters for their ongoing loyalty and generosity. As part of the thank you campaign, Classic FM invited listeners to vote for their favourite classical tracks that remind them of the sea.
Among the album’s 21 tracks are ones with a connection to towns or places in the south east, including a song composed at Eastbourne, one inspired by the view from a beach in Selsey, and ones whose origins lie in the nation’s capital, London. The CD also features, as one might expect, 'Sailing By' – best known as the theme for the British institution that is Radio 4’s shipping forecast.
The resulting album, 'Sounds of the Sea', is a double CD of music inspired by the sea and dedicated to RNLI supporters. A proportion of the proceeds from each sale will go to the RNLI, to help its volunteer lifeboat crews continue their vital work.
A total of 10,621 votes were cast and choices were mixed. Among the tracks with their roots in the south east region are ‘By The Sleepy Lagoon’, by British-born Eric Coates. Described as a light orchestral piece, it was composed in 1930, with lyrics added in 1940. Coates was inspired by the view on a warm, still summer evening looking across the "lagoon" from the East Beach at Selsey towards Bognor Regis.
Claude Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ also features on the album. The phrase is French for “the sea” and the song was started in 1903 in France but completed in 1905 at Eastbourne in East Sussex.
And no ocean-themed collection could overlook Ronald Binge’s ‘Sailing By’. Known to millions for its nightly play on BBC Radio 4 at 12.45am, before the late shipping forecast, its tune is repetitive, assisting in its role of serving as a signal for sailors tuning in to be able to easily identify the radio station.
Celebrated lyricist Sir Tim Rice, who supports the RNLI, has written the foreword for the CD’s accompanying booklet. He said: ‘There is a deep and lasting connection between music and the ocean. For as long as men have gone to sea, they have sung songs and shanties, and throughout the centuries, countless composers and musicians have been inspired by the sea, seeking to capture its many moods and variations.
‘So when people listen to this music, I hope that it conjures up wonderful images of the ocean and of the courageous lifeboat crews who save lives at sea. However, I also hope it reminds you that the RNLI is a charity, and reliant on public donations. The vital work of the lifeboat crews can only be carried out because of your support, and you too are part of an incredible, inspirational story, one that I hope continues for centuries more.’
'Sounds of the Sea' CD is priced at £9.99 with £1.84 from the sale of each one being donated to the RNLI. It is available from Amazon, HMV, Play.com and www.rnli.org.uk/shop