The Works of

BERNARD J. TAYLOR

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Wuthering Heights 

An introduction to the album 
by Bernard J. Taylor

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontė’s 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 Heathcliff" routine.

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.

 

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