> Queen's hall orchestra Light Classics [PS]: Classical CD Reviews- July2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Vol. 1. Robert BUSBY: Up with the Lark. Arthur BENJAMIN: Jamaican Rumba. Charles WILLIAMS: The Voice of London; Rhythm on Rails; Hey Diddle Diddle; Trolley Bus; Devil’s Galop. Robert FARNON: Jumping Bean; Portrait of a Flirt; Pictures in the Fire; High Street; Jaj Mahal; Willie the Whistler. Frederic CURZON: Boulevardier. Sidney TORCH: Shooting Star; On a Spring Note; Wagon Lit; Barbecue; Radio Romantic. Clive RICHARDSON: Holiday Spirit; Melody on the Move. Armstrong GIBBS: Dusk. Eric COATES: Eighth Army March. Clifton PARKER: The Glass Slipper. Len STEVENS: Cinema Foyer; Dance of the Blue Marionettes; Hurly-Burly. Peter YORKE: Sapphires and Sables. Haydn WOOD: Prelude from Moods Suite.

Vol. 2. Jack STRACHEY: Top of the Bill. Vivian ELLIS: Alpine Pastures. Joyce COCHRANE: Honey Child. "Colin SMITH" (Lloyd THOMAS): Looking Around. Geoffrey HENMAN: Champagne March. Robert FARNON: Proud Canvas; The Huckle-Buckle. James MOODY: Palm Beach Promenade. Richard ADDINSELL: Drifting. Jack BEAVER: News Theatre. Haydn WOOD: Snapshots of London Suite. Tony LOWRY: Seascape. Sidney TORCH: Meandering; Amore Mio. Peter YORKE: Quiet Countryside. ERIC SIDAY: Luna Park. Robert BUSBY: Orchid Room. Charles WILLIAMS: They Ride By Night; Exhilaration. Clive RICHARDSON: Jamboree; Outward Bound. Philip GREEN: Pan American Panorama. Michael NORTH: Coliseum March. John HOLLIDAY: Punchinello. Mark LUBBOCK: Moon Lullaby. Montague PHILLIPS: Waltz from Dance Revels.
DUTTON VOCALION CDEA 6021 and 6061 [130.00?]

Budget price


  Vol 1 AmazonUK   Vol 2 Crotchet


Around 1940 many music publishers set up their own recorded music libraries to provide "mood music", much of it specially written for the libraries, for films, especially documentaries and newsreels, radio and later TV, thereby filling a gap where commercial recordings were unavailable or too expensive. A lot of this mood music (or "library music" or "production music") acquired such exposure that it was played regularly in live or broadcast concerts. Some observers regard such miniatures with contempt, but there is obviously skill and musicianship in capturing a mood in three minutes or less and simultaneously thinking up a recognisable, frequently attractive tune.

Chappells were the leading mood music publishers and the QHLO was their in-house orchestra, though it did not work exclusively for Chappells. These recordings, all from 78s, are nearly all from Chappell’s own label and are conducted by Charles Williams, Sidney Torch or Robert Farnon, each of whom composed much mood music, strongly represented here. Between them they muster 22 tracks, of 57 in all. They were giants of British light music and others are here too: Coates, Haydn Wood, Montague Phillips, Clive Richardson, Peter Yorke, Vivian Ellis, Richard Addinsell and Frederick Curzon, together with lesser-known names – Clifton Parker, Len Stevens, Joyce Cochrane (Honey Child was recorded by Gracie Fields), Jack Beaver, James Moody, Eric Siday, Tony Lowry, John Holliday, Michael North (composer of the ITMA March), Mark Lubbock, Robert Busby, "Colin Smith", Jack Strachey and Geoffrey Henman – many of them "backroom boys".

The transfers (the digital remastering is by Michael Dutton) have been excellently managed and there is much to enjoy here, though few listeners will want to hear either disc at a sitting. Recommended.

Philip Scowcroft

see article on the Quenn's Hall Orchestra at the Robert Farnon Society pages

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