Albert William Ketèlbey (1875–1959) occupies his place in British musical history for a particularly distinctive body of ‘narrative music’. Far from creating anything specificially British, Ketèlbey sought a peculiarly exotic sound in works such as In a Monastery Garden
(1915), In a Persian Market
(1920), In a Chinese Temple Garden
(1923) and In the Mystic Land of Egypt
(1931). In his Bells Across the Meadows
(1921) we hear distant church bells introducing a typically broad Ketèlbey melody into which they cleverly blend. Ketèlbey was born in Birmingham, was educated at Trinity College, London, and was a church organist and theatre conductor before establishing his reputation with his famous body of compositions.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 1996