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Haydn WOOD (1882-1959)
Horse Guards - Whitehall (from London Landmarks Suite)
Orchestre Raymonde/Robert Preston [3:11]
Joyousness - Concert Waltz (from Moods Suite)
Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [4:18]
Laughing Cavalier (Haydn Wood)
New Concert Orchestra/Jack Leon [3:01]
London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [3:02]
Roses of Picardy
Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra featuring Freddy Gardner, saxophone [2:33]
Seville (from Cities of Romance Suite)
BBC Variety Orchestra/Charles Shadwell featuring Reginald Foort, organ [2:35]
The Seafarer - A Nautical Rhapsody (Haydn Wood) Intro: Hulla Balloo Balay, Rio Grande, Leave Her Johnnie Leave Her, Drunken Sailor, Shenandoah, When Johnnie Comes Down To Hilo, Roving
Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra [7:38]
Montmartre (from Paris Suite)
Debroy Somers Band [2:47]
Nelson's Column - Overture (from London Landmarks Suite)
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [3:05]
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon [3:11]
Homage March
Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [4:13]
Bird of Love Divine
London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [3:37]
Vienna (from Frescoes Suite)
New Concert Orchestra/Serge Krish [4:07]
Mannin Veen (Dear Isle Of Man)
Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [8:55]
Caprice (from Moods Suite)
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [2:18]
Tower Hill (from London Landmarks Suite)
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [3:15]
I Hear You Calling Me (Charles Marshall arr. Haydn Wood)
London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [4:15]
Torch of Freedom - Grand March
New Concert Orchestra/Jack Leon [2:34]
Stanford Rhapsody (founded on Sir Charles Villiers Stanford's Songs of the Sea) (Haydn Wood) Intro: Drake's Drum, Homeward Bound, Devon O Devon In Wind And Rain, The Old Superb
Debroy Somers Band [8:19]
Recorded 1933-52. ADD


The music of Haydn Wood has been largely forgotten since the 1950s, before which time many pieces were regularly played alongside those of Eric Coates on the BBC Light programme. Some of the melodies linger in our minds following their use as signature tunes for ‘Down Your Way’ and other programmes of the ’seventies.

The career of Haydn Wood may well have taken a different path had it not been influenced by his marriage to concert hall singer, Dorothy Court. Born in Yorkshire, he spent much of his formative years growing up on the Isle of Man, which explains the existence of Mannin veen, written in 1936. An excellent violinist from his teens, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he studied composition under its principal, Stanford. By 1905 he had composed a Piano Concerto and String Quartet and was seemingly locked on the path to becoming a serious classical composer, possibly emulating the stilted output of Stanford.

His marriage changed his direction for ever more, because the songs and ballads written for his wife to perform became good money earners. By 1918, Roses of Picardy grossed £100,000 alone and royalties from recordings all helped cushion a good style of living even before his exposure to the new wireless that not only broadcast his works, but also provided commissions.

On this disc, Wood’s recipe for cheerful and bright, easily accessible music is provided in many different and original forms. The recordings span 1930-1949 and three tracks remind us of the existence of the now long-forgotten Queen’s Hall orchestra; their home bombed in the 2nd World War. After the war when the BBC grew in stature, publishers like Booseys and Chappells launched a series of ‘mood music’ records in return for payment by royalty. These would be internally provided to producers of radio, TV and film to give ready access to incidental background music in return for a royalty. Most of the ‘mood music’ recordings, rightly included here, have been generally unknown to the public.

Wood had the skill to provide styles reminiscent of popular identities: there are numbers that remind us of Edward German (Nelson’s Column, Caprice), William Walton (Torch of Freedom), and Eric Coates (Horse Guards). The Spanish idiom is well conveyed by the fast moving Seville number from his Cities of Romance suite, even if the castanets are almost lost in this recording. Roses of Picardy has a wonderfully good vocal line, which is not done justice by this decorated saxophone arrangement. The composer’s skill as an arranger can be found in his nautical rhapsody The Seafarer [tr. 6] where folk tunes are provided with interesting variations. Perhaps the most catchy is Montmartre with its contemporary Kern/Rodgers image for 1937.

Six other Haydn Wood numbers can be found on other Guild discs. The transfers from the 78 rpm originals are excellent. The booklet gives interesting and useful background information but only in English.

Raymond Walker

see also Review by Jonathan Woolf


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