An introduction to the album
by Bernard J. Taylor
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontės dark, brooding story about tragic
and obsessive love, has haunted me since I first bought a comic book version
of the story at the age of eight. When I visited the Brontė Museum in
Yorkshire shortly after finishing the compositions for the stage version, the
curator of the museum produced for me a copy of the very comic that had
started my love affair with this story - an affair which was additionally
flamed by the early black and white film version of the tale starring Lawrence
Olivier and Merle Oberon.
There was a strange coincidence when it came to the recording of the album.
I was watching "The Last Night of the Proms" on BBC Television -- a
night when the British let their hair down at the Royal Albert Hall in London
and indulge in shamelessly patriotic musical fervor -- when a very pretty
soprano appeared on stage to sing "Rule Britannia". I had not heard
or seen Lesley Garrett before (though I had read about her in the newspapers)
and was immediately struck by her presence. She seemed to reach out and clutch
the entire Albert Hall to her ample bosom. Her performance was electrifying,
and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle. I immediately saw her as
a prospective Cathy.
About two weeks later, Silva Screen Records rang me to say they wanted to
record my songs on a concept CD. They told me that they had Dave Willetts, who
was then starring in the London version of Phantom of the Opera (having
taken over from Michael Crawford) in mind for Heathcliff. They added that they
had just signed up an operatic soprano and were thinking of using her for
Cathy. It was, of course, none other than Lesley Garrett.
The recording of the musical was great fun. It was an enormous thrill to
enter the Hit Factory recording studio in London and hear the Philharmonia
Orchestra playing my music. The darkness of the piece we were recording was
lightened by the vivacious energy of Lesley and the hilarious antics of Dave
Willetts, who among other things entertained us with a "tap-dancing
The show has toured in Australia and Holland. As well, state repertory
productions have been produced in Rumania and Poland. The Polish production
has been running since 1998.