Actor, broadcaster and comedian Alexander Armstrong stars as narrator in this irresistible album of world premiere recordings, which revels in the magical colours of childhood memories. Not Now, Bernard is an all-time classic story by David McKee, set to music by Bernard Hughes (b.1974) with melodic charm and a subversive sense of fun. Alexander Armstrong recounts it along with companion piece Isabel’s Noisy Tummy as well as Hughes’ The Knight Who Took All Day, which challenges chivalric convention with its subversive story of female empowerment. Conductor Tom Hammond and members of the Orchestra of the Swan shape compelling interpretations, enriched by Armstrong’s gleeful narration. They also raise a riot of sound in Malcolm Arnold’s Toy Symphony (1957), complete with quail cuckoo, guards whistle and gloriously irritating toy trumpets. The albums mood darkens in John Ireland’s haunting melodrama Annabel Lee, a spine-tingling setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s final poem presented here in Bernard Hughes’ specially arranged chamber version, before Armstrong breezes through Judith Weir’s brilliant Thread! (1981), an early work inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry’s cartoonish images.