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THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIGHT MUSIC - The 1950s
Liza (I & G GERSHWIN, KAHN) – David Rose & His Orchestra
Caravan (ELLINGTON) – Philip Green & His Orchestra
Marching Strings (ROSS) – Edmundo Ros & His Orchestra
Fandango (PERKINS, BRADFORD) – Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra
Heart-O-London (WILLIAMS) – Charles Williams & His Concert Orchestra
Hey Presto! (WILSON, arr. DUNCAN) – New Concert Orchestra/Frederic Curzon
The Melody Maker (GAY) – Roberto Inglez & His Orchestra
Proud Canvas (FARNON) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Festival (ADDINSELL) – Mantovani & His Orchestra
Blue Moon (RODGERS, HART) – Paul Weston & His Orchestra
Dancing Bells (MARTIN) – Grosvenor Concert Orchestra/Peder Van Zuider
Granada (LARA) – Monty Kelly & His Orchestra
Petite Waltz (HEYNE) – Billy Cotton & His Band
Shortcake Walk (TORCH) – Sidney Torch & His Orchestra
Flirtation Waltz (HEYWOOD) – Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra
Angel Cake (MORLEY) – Dolf Van Der Linden & His Orchestra
Waltz Of The Bubbles (ROSE) – David Rose & His Orchestra
Sportsmaster (BUSBY) – Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Paris Interlude (WHITE) – Music By Camarata
At Last, At Last (TRENET) – Ray Martin & His Orchestra
Roller Coaster (BUSCH, DELUGG) – Henri Rene & His Orchestra
The Moon Was Yellow (AHLERT) Stanley Black, His Piano & His Orchestra
Piccadilly Spree (WATTERS) – New Concert Orchestra/R. De Porten
Champagne March (HENMAN) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Jungle Fantasy (Esy MORALES) – Percy Faith & His Orchestra
Parade of the Film Hits – Broadway Melody, Laura, Wedding Of The Painted Doll, Please, Over The Rainbow, A Fine Romance, Be My Love, La Ronde, The Trolley Song – Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino
Recorded c.1950-53
GUILD GLCD 5103 [77.52]

This is the third of Guild’s Light Music series to come my way and finds the genre in still rude health, just before the advent of the LP in Britain – most of these pieces were issued on 78 and have been expertly transferred with good notes from David Ades. The mix is pretty much as before with the composers and arrangers spreading their compositional wings widely to accommodate American popular music, film, a slice of Spanishry and the spry Marches that still had some constituency in post-War Britain. David Rose proves himself a master of the medium of course but Philip Green’s take on Ellington’s Caravan doesn’t win any prizes for subtlety. Marshall Ross’s Marching Song (Marshall Ross was actually conductor Ray Martin under a pseudonym – a fairly common practice at the time) will be best known in the UK as the signature tune to Top of the Form. But what you may not know is the middle section, a kind of jazzy trio, which adds a contemporary gloss on the up-tempo March. His Dancing Bells is spruce and perky but just a bit too twee. Charles Williams was always one of the most successful composers and his Heart-O-London throws in Cherry Ripe for good measure along with some bells. Colouristic devices were always in vogue for the arranger and orchestrators – witness the prominent xylophone in Granada or the solo piano in Joe Heyne’s Petite Waltz as played by Billy Cotton and his Band. But Sidney Torch is made of sterner stuff in Shortcake Walk where we find Ragtime, blue grass, fiddle and banjo and hoe-downery in one compact song – Torch always flirted with the genre and he’s on fine form as is his band. Dolf van der Linden – the Dutchman who recorded for Paxton on 78s – turns his hand to some David Rose-style pizzicati in Angel Cake and Edward White mines Gershwin for Paris Interlude (post-War austerity Britain clearly looked on with admiration at things Parisian as other songs in this series have shown; Sidney Torch’s Wagon Lit in the 1940s volume is probably the acme of yearning for starched sheets, wooden cubicles and fast untroubled transport).

One of the pleasant features of these discs is to look at the record companies producing this kind of music – publishing houses or film producers and the like, alongside the well-established commercial concerns. So alongside Parlophone, Decca and HMV we have Chappell, Polygon, Paxton, Essex, MGM and Boosey & Hawkes. There was a place for such music then and there is still now – any more, Guild?

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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