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Music In The Air (LLOYD, arr. TORCH) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch
Just One Of Those Things (PORTER) – Billy Ternent & His Orchestra
Melody On The Move (RICHARDSON) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams
Out Of My Dreams (RODGERS, HAMMERSTEIN II) – The Geraldo String Orchestra
Linda Chilena (OREFICHE, CONNELLY) – The Stanley Black Orchestra
Laura (RAKSIN) – Morton Gould & His Orchestra
Golliwog’s Cakewalk (DEBUSSY, arr. DOUGLAS) – Mayfair Orchestra/Walter Goehr
Manhattan Square Dance (ROSE) – David Rose & His Orchestra
Runaway Rocking Horse (WHITE) – Orchestre Raymonde/Robert Preston
Woodland Revel (MELACHRINO) – Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino
Music for Romance (SHERWIN, MASCHWITZ) – Albert Sandler & His Palm Court Orchestra
Canadian Caravan (FARNON) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams
Waltz from "TheThree Bears" (COATES) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Eric Coates
Metropolis (BROWN) – New Century Orchestra/Sidney Torch
Gorgeous Hussy (GRAY) – The Harmonic Orchestra/Hans May
Ascot Enclosure (YORKE) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams
Ten Green Bottles (Trad. arr. HANMER) – BBC Variety Orchestra/Charles Shadwell
Wagon Lit (TORCH) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch
Roving Fancies (WOOD) – The Regent Classic Orchestra
"The Way To The Stars" – Film Themes (BRODSZKY) – Two Cities Symphony Orchestra/Charles Williams
Theatreland (STRACHEY) – New Concert Orchestra/Jay Wilbur
Dancing Tambourine (POLLA, arr. GOULD) – Robin Hood Dell Orchestra/Morton Gould
"Blue Skies" – Selection (Irving BERLIN) – Blue Skies, Always, Heat Wave, Getting Nowhere,A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody, You Keep Coming Back Like A Song, Blue Skies –Louis Levy & His Music From The Movies
Recorded c.1943-49
GUILD GLCD 5102 [76.41]


Guild’s new Light Music series opened with an Introduction to the genre [review]; the next two move forward decade by decade. The 1940s saw the emergence of a new generation of composers and arrangers; some, like Robert Farnon had cut their teeth on the service bands that proliferated during the War whilst others like Stanley Black had been active as instrumentalists and arrangers in the demi-monde between light music arranging and after hours bottle-club jazz gigs (accompanying tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins on record was not the least of Black’s distinctions). Of course the older guard – Eric Coates, Charles Williams, both excellent string players as well as composers – still held their place as did the Palm Court pleasantries of Albert Sandler. But Canadian Robert Farnon and English-born David Rose led the way with a dazzling command of the modern light orchestra and arrangements of versatility and ebullience – as well as exhibiting the necessary ability to concentrate those moments into a four minute span. Radio and the post-war resumption of mass recording fed the enthusiasm for music of this kind and some of the results can be heard here.

Highlights there are a-plenty from the concertante violin part in Sidney Torch’s arrangement of Music in the Air to the pizzicato drive of Charles Williams’s playing of Melody on the Move (the orchestral pizzicato was a feature of David Rose’s arrangements). Geraldo interpolates an atmospheric harp into Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Out of My Dreams whilst Stanley Black spices Linda Chilena with real exotica. Who is the Louis Kaufman-like fiddler player in Morton Gould’s Laura? Rose’s Manhattan Square Dance is a fascinating number – all pizzicato, pluck and brio and perky rhythm with its admixture of Khachaturian and a strongly Anglo-American undercurrent. Runaway Rocking Horse, played by the Orchestre Raymonde under Robert Preston, opens like VW’s Wasps and Woodland Revel comes courtesy of Melachrino’s rippling cascades of string choirs. But it’s Farnon who really stands out; Canadian Caravan has a silken, swaying direction nourished with harp glissandi and high yet vibrant string writing that fully intoxicates. Still, the medium of Light Music is a capacious mansion and welcomes the saucy metropolitan keyboard stuff of Jack Brown as much as Peter Yorke’s updated Elgarianisms. Humour is never far away either and the arrangement of Ten Green Bottles leaves one in no doubt that they have been alcoholically drained – complete with portentous, pompous brass. Haydn Wood’s Roving Fancies is winningly lyrical and delightfully orchestrated whilst Morton Gould is on hand to pull out virtuosic stops on Dancing Tambourine – not as innocently childlike as it sounds.

As these performances show the range of Light Music was considerable and its practitioners and executants of the highest calibre. As the dawning of the LP loomed the procedures were in place for the genre to stake its renewed place after the privations of the War and its immediate aftermath.

Jonathan Woolf

The Golden Age of Light Music - an Introduction

The Golden Age of Light Music - 1940s

The Golden Age of Light Music - 1950s

MusicWeb's British Light Music Composer Garland pages

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