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The Golden Age of Light Music

Honey Child (Joyce Cochrane arr. Farnon)
Gypsy Fiddler (Raphael)
Carnavalito (Linda, Zaidiver)
Romantic Interlude (Clive Richardson)
Magic Circles (Ray Martin)
Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be (Trad., arr Cordell)
Television March (Eric Coates)
April in Portugal (Ferrao)
Cactus Polka (Trad., arr. E. H. Plumb, G. Waiter)
Kashmiri Song - from 'Four Indian Love Lyrics' (Amy Woodforde-Finden)
Rainbow Run (Edy Mers)
Prelude To A Memory (Frank Chacksfield)
Goodwood Galop (Robert Farnon)
The Roundabout (Edward White)
Spring Morning (George Melachrino)
Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvorak, arr. Yorke)
Sand In My Shoes (Victor Schertzinger)
Canadian Capers (Chandler, White, Cohen - arr. Morley)
Rhapsody In Rhythm (Henry Croudson)
The Jolly Brothers (Robert Volistedt)
From Here To Eternity (Karger Wells)
Parade Of The Clowns (David Rose)
One Summer Day (Reginald King)
Ragamuffin (Joe Rixner)
Valencia (José Padilla)
Oklahoma Selection (Rodgers, Hammerstein II- arr. Torch): I cain't say No, Oh what a Beautiful Mornin', People will say we're in Love, Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Out of my Dreams, Oklahoma!
Recorded in London, England 1946-55
GUILD GLCD5104 [78.04]

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And still they keep coming. Guild is proving happily fecund when it comes to their Light Music series and their cover painting of Liz Wright’s Village Cricket promises another welcome helping of nostalgia. I seem to have reviewed all the previous issues in the edition and, like those, this one offers plenty of entertainment and enjoyment.

We open on a high with Farnon – that hardly needs saying – and the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra (itself a name deliberately stirring nostalgic memories in 1949). The legendary Canadian’s harmonic sophistication and ear for colouristic piquancy – here percussive – earns a solid A. Ray Martin, himself an erstwhile Viennese violinist, digs into Raphael’s Gypsy Fiddler with gusto (mining Monti’s Czardas as he goes, it must be admitted). Frank Cordell, arranger and bandleader, certainly does something with the unlikely Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be, a traditional vehicle he submits to a sort of Delian-Vaughan Williamsy rhapsodic freedom – with interlude for solo violin. Eric Coates’ snappy Television March (composer conducted of course) is here next to Norrie Paramor and his band espousing April in Portugal. I know we didn’t get around as much in Coronation Year, 1953, but blimey the battery of clattering percussion suggests Marrakesh or a North African souk rather than the more sedate charms of Britain’s oldest ally.

Apart from the pleasure of lesser known record labels, Polygon, Chappell, Boosey and Hawkes and Bosworth, we have familiar and unfamiliar names – or familiar ones (Walter Goehr) in unfamiliar circumstances – though it’s true that Goehr did his share of pseudonymous work for recording companies. Arrangements are full of vibrancy and colour – Ron Goodwin does good things with Edy Mers’ Rainbow Run – though they can veer to the routine, such as Peter Yorke’s Glenn Millerish take on Dvořák. But admirers of the genre will find much to admire, from the cascading winds in Goodwin’s The Jolly Brothers to the saucy Charles Williams’ version of David Rose’s Parade of the Clowns.

There are, as ever, good potted biographies and recording details and transfers are pretty fine – though the 1951 Charles Williams Romantic Interlude sounds to me rather cloudy and subject to too much treble cut.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Raymond Walker


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