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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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The Golden Age of Light Music – Buried Treasures
Kenneth ESSEX (real name Rufus Isaacs) Castles In The Air [2:32]
Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, 1952
Robert FARNON Swing-Hoe [2:34]
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon, 1951
Stanford ROBINSON Valse Serenade [4:30]
BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader Alfred Barker)/Stanford Robinson, 1946
Larry COLEMAN, Alfredo CORENZO Venezuela [2:30]
Wally Stott and his orchestra, 1954
Ray MARTIN Parlour Game [2:59]
Harmonic Orchestra/Wal-Berg, 1950
Leroy ANDERSON Penny Whistle Song [2:25]
Sidney Torch and his orchestra, 1953
George MELACHRINO London - 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
John HOLLIDAY Dickon O'Devon [2:15]
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams, 1946
Edward WHITE Effervescence [2:49]
Dolf van der Linden and his orchestra, 1954
Malcolm LOCKYER Pizzicato Rag [3:01]
Malcolm Lockyer and his orchestra, 1954
Trevor DUNCAN Rhythm For Romance [2:42]
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
William HILL-BOWEN The Girl From Cuba [2:51]
William Hill-Bowen and his orchestra, 1953
Anita MISHELL 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
Charles ANCLIFFE Secrets [3:07]
Harry Davidson and his orchestra, 1952
Lambert WILLIAMSON 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]


With such an intriguing title as Buried Treasures, this volume is bound to whet the appetites of the curious and that includes me! What we have is an assorted number of lesser-known works that were composed in the latter half of the forties and early fifties. This was a time when studio dance orchestras, led by the likes of George Melachrino and Sidney Torch, were employed to fill the airwaves on the BBC Light programme (the equivalent of Radio 2) throughout the day in programmes like ‘Music while you work’. Many were in fact used as theme tunes to TV programmes and may well be remembered from this association. Some of the orchestras like the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra and Mischa Michaeloff’s orchestra are not likely to be remembered, however. Others like the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra with Robert Stolz were only known in Britain through their 1949 Decca recording.

What we have is a mixture of generally dreamy background music interspersed with certain lively numbers. Much of the material meanders and is not so special to my ears, but then one comes across something really attractive and interesting. The most scintillating and rhythmic items are for me those by De Groot, Ancliffe and Holliday and Melachrino.

De Groot’s Automation is imaginatively scored with a heavy chugging steam train rhythm in 2/4 time. Its melody that maintains good momentum, and is in fact reminiscent of White’s Puffing Billy. Surprisingly, it was written with patrol cars in mind to accompany the closing credits of Fabian of the Yard TV series. Ancliffe’s elegant two-step Secrets is descriptive of Edwardian gentility with its imagery of opulence while the Country Gardens appeal of Dickon o’Devon conjures up an image of spirited Morris dancers. A charming piece; it was used as the title music for TV’s ‘At the Luscombes’. Although from the pen of John Holliday it could have been composed by Grainger, German or even Coates. Some of the most memorable and recognizable tunes are found amongst the Stolz’s melodies from The White Horse Inn.

The transfers from the 78rpm originals are excellent and the booklet gives interesting background information of the association these items have with TV productions of their day. The disc is ideal for giving the listener a background ambience.

Raymond Walker

 



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