This two-hour, live concert recording of Girlfriends is the world-premiere recording of Howard Goodall’s spectacular Second World War epic, and is also the debut album of the London Musical Theatre Orchestra. Produced and arranged by Howard Goodall, the album also features fab new orchestrations by Simon Nathan.
Goodall’s score is rich and contemplative, capturing quintessentially British patterns of speech, as the story explores the bravery, camaraderie, solidarity and humour between the women in the WAAF. Conducted by LMTO’s leader Freddie Tapner, soft and sentimental strings and woodwind take centre stage, with a few bursts of swing drums throughout.
The album features an all-star cast, led by Lucie Jones and Lauren Samuels. There are some epic, all-female choruses, not least in the stunning finale, which builds slowly but surely, building on repeating vocal motifs, combining in gorgeous note clusters, as string tremolos shimmer in the background.
It’s unusual for a musical theatre album to run at such a long length. Flighty songs like “A Bit Like Errol Flynn” and “We Dance On”, and moments of rhythmic swing like in “Lonely Scar”, Battle Dress Blues” and “Stay Don’t Run”, come as a welcome break from Goodall’s overall emphasis on slow, romantic writing. But it’s so exciting for LMTO to finally have a recording out there, and what a debut.
Girlfriends is out on Spotify, iTunes and everything, so get listening!