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Buried Treasures – The Golden Age of Light Music
Kenneth ESSEX (real name Rufus Isaacs)
Castles In The Air [2:32]
Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, 1952
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon, 1951
Valse Serenade
BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader: Alfred Barker)/Stanford Robinson, 1946
Venezuela [2:30]
Wally Stott and his orchestra, 1954
Parlour Game
Harmonic Orchestra/Wal-Berg, 1950
Penny Whistle Song
Sidney Torch and his orchestra, 1953
- March [4:27]
Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino, 1947
Philip GREEN
Song of Soho: Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra [6:27]
– from the film "Murder Without Crime".
Associated British Picture Corporation Orchestra/Philip Green; pianist William McGuffie, 1950
Dickon O'Devon
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams, 1946
Edward WHITE
Effervescence [2:49]
Dolf van der Linden and his orchestra, 1954
Pizzicato Rag
Malcolm Lockyer and his orchestra, 1954
Rhythm For Romance
New Concert Orchestra/Frederic Curzon, 1953
Leighton LUCAS
Target For Tonight - Theme from the Film [2:18]
Leighton Lucas and his orchestra, 1947
Hugo de GROOT
Automation [2:11]
Celebrity Symphony Orchestra/Hugo De Groot, 1953
arr. George MELACHRINO
There Is A Tavern In The Town – Juke Box Fantasy [4:03]
Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino, 1947
The Girl From
Cuba [2:51]
William Hill-Bowen and his orchestra, 1953
Serbian Sunset [3:56]
Mischa Michaeloff and his orchestra, 1951
Edward STANELLI, real name Edward Stanley de GROOT
Atlantis [8:22]
Sidney Torch and his orchestra, 1948
Secrets [3:07]
Harry Davidson and his orchestra, 1952
This Is The Business [2.26]
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch, 1948
Robert STOLZ
Selection of Popular Melodies: Don't Ask Me Why, Springtime In Vienna, White Horse Inn, Hallo! Sweet Fairy Doll, Hallo You, The Woods Of Vienna Are Calling, White Horse Inn, Little Melody From Vienna, Spring Parade. [8:12]
The Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich/Robert Stolz, 1949
GUILD GLCD 5118 [77.44]

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The seemingly inexhaustible seam that is Guild’s Light Music series has produced more ore. The big names are here – Robert Farnon, Charles Williams and Philip Green and others conducting various aggregations. And the composers – in addition to Farnon and Green (no Williams this time around) - turn up Leroy Anderson, Hugo de Groot, and the always excellent Ancliffe and Melachrino. So the recipe is much as before except most of these recordings will be unknown to all but the most assiduous cultivators, the most dedicated tiller of the Light soil.

Most were only briefly available or not at all since they emanate from Mood Music libraries but as ever with this series the disparate charms and stylistic variety adds pleasurable tang and keeps listening sharp and keen. Castles in the Air is one of the better-known pieces, though not in this performance by the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra – it’s full of fresh air, boldly confident and with appropriately swirly string writing and it gets things off to a rousing start. Farnon’s Swing-Hoe has a touch – just a touch – of the Leroy Andersons about it and is judiciously perky. Quite a surprise for me to come upon Stanford Robinson in this context but of course he did write for the theatre and operetta, as well as his conducting work with BBC orchestras. His is a sophisticated contribution; rather like an entr’acte actually and very persuasively played, not least by the leader, the redoubtable Alfred Barker.

There’s some post-War slink here – Venezuela – and some genuine Anderson in the shape of his Penny Whistle Song. Melachrino cribs from Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance (No.4) and Cockaigne - for his London-March whilst Philip Green comes on all Gershwin for his pocket piano concerto Song of Soho, whose sub-title Rhapsody for piano and orchestra rather gives the game away. Apart from Rhapsody in Blue he half quotes Blue Moon, which I think takes musical punning to the edge. To balance this Leighton Lucas renews the Elgarian homage in his stirring and justly well-remembered music for the film Target for Tonight.

Genre pieces are to the fore, such as the Pizzicato Rag and the jukebox coins in the slot in There is a Tavern in the Town with its take off of contemporary bandleaders Glenn Miller, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Staid British hips must have swayed slightly at The Girl from Cuba though the czardas in Serbian Sunset are distinctly of the Monti kind. One of the most evocative of all the pieces is Stanelli’s Atlantis – Stanelli was actually Hugo de Groot – which is a rather attractive tone poem devoid of aquatic cliché.

Fine notes from the assiduous David Ades, who must be running out of things to say (but clearly isn’t), and good smooth transfers, except for what appears to be inherent muddiness in the Song of Soho. To be super critical I do think one or two of these tracks are slightly boxy but that won’t spoil your enjoyment of another fine layer of excavation from the Guild production team.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review by Raymond Walker




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