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The Golden Age of Light Music - The 1950s - Volume 3: Say It With Music
Irving BERLIN (1888-1989)
Say It With Music
Stanley Black and his Orchestra [3:02]
Harold ARLEN (1905-1986)
That Old Black Magic
David Rose Orchestra [3:18]
Mario NASCIMBENE (1913-2002)
Song of the Barefoot Contessa (My Gypsy Heart)
Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra [2:50]
Edward WHITE (1910-1994)
White Wedding
New Concert Orchestra/Dolf Van Der Linden [2:54]
Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975)
Sandpaper Ballet (Leroy Anderson)
Leroy Anderson and his 'Pops' Concert Orchestra [3:17]
Georges AURIC (1899-1983)
Sur Le Pavé (Pavements of Paris)
Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra [2:32]
Richard ADDINSELL (1904-1977)
Out Of The Clouds – theme arr. Laurie Johnson)
Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson with Laurie Johnson and his Orchestra [2:51]
Richard ROGERS and Lorenz HART
Les Baxter and his Orchestra [3:07]
Philippe-GERARD (real name Philippe BLOCH) (b.1924)
Without My Lover
Geoff Love and his Orchestra [2:51]
Eddie HAYWOOD (1915-1989)
Percy Faith and his Orchestra featuring Bernie Leighton, harpsichord [2:35]
Roger ROGER (1911-1995)
The Toy Shop Window
Roger Roger and his Champs Elysées Orchestra [2:33]
Frank PERKINS (b.1908)
Frank Perkins and his 'Pops' Orchestra [2:45]
D ARENDO (real name Arend HONHOFF) (b.1918)
Cyril Stapleton and his Orchestra [2:15]
Len STEVENS (d.1989)
Easy Street (Len Stevens)
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon [2:26]
Philip GREEN (1910-1982)
Wagon Trail (featured in the film Golden Ivory)
Philip Green and his Orchestra [2:30]
Starlight Lullaby
William Hill-Bowen and his Orchestra [2:27]
Arthur SCHWARTZ (1900-1984)
If There is Someone Lovelier Than You arr. Robert Farnon
Robert Farnon Orchestra [2:34]
Benjamin FRANKEL (1906-1973)
A Kid For Two Farthings - theme arr. Wally Stott
Wally Stott and his Orchestra [2:13]
Frederic CURZON (1899-1973)
Savoir Faire
New Concert Orchestra/Dolf Van Der Linden [3:12]
George MELACHRINO (1909-1965)
Waltz - In Water Colours
Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino [3:09]
Arden E CLAR
Port of Spain
Richard Hayman and his Orchestra [2:41]
Oscar STRAUS (1870-1954)
Waltz Dream (Ein Walzertraum)
Augmented Hamburg Radio Orchestra/Harry Hermann [3:26]
Robert FARNON (1917-2005)
En Route
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon [2:37]
Francis MEILLEAR (real name Frank CORDELL) (1918-1980)
Big Ben Waltz
Frank Cordell and his Orchestra [2:05]
Peter DENNIS (real name Dennis BERRY)
Holiday In Hollywood
Dolf Van Der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra [2:57]
Till The Clouds Roll By arr. Gordon Jenkins
Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra [3:16]
Prelude to Peace
Geraldo and his New Concert Orchestra - Sidney Bright, piano [3:21]
rec. 1952-55
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Let’s be honest: this is the sort of music that really gets the old spine tingling. Forget the complex aleatory music by Stockhausen and the incessant minimalism of Reich and Glass and even the integral serialism of Pierre Boulez. This is the kind of music that makes you feel good. Now do not get me wrong – I may not 'groove' to Stockhausen in the same way that I ‘dig’ Zeppelin and 'The Dead' and Robert Farnon but at least I do appreciate what the three above-named masters have done for music. The bottom line is this. If you want the musical equivalent of nursery food then this CD is for you. These tunes are a kind of musical ginger sponge with hot custard.
The numbers on this CD are all from the first half of the Fifties. Tis was a time of change in music – both popular and serious. It was an era when, if you were lucky, you could hear Elvis Presley or Bill Haley on Radio Luxembourg and Stanley Black and Frank Chacksfield on the Light Programme. Younger readers please note that the Light Programme became what is now Radio 2 – and did not have Terry Wogan. On the serious side of the musical equation, listeners were hearing much serialism and the beginning of what many would term anarchy – ‘play these notes in any order you please when you want’ type of tune.  So this CD represents a kind of ‘Third Way.’
Most of the music on this disc I do not know. But it is somehow in my blood. I remember sitting for hours with my elderly, bedridden grandmother listening to the radio – both the Light Programme and the Home Service. And I know that this was the kind of music heard on this ‘medium’ rather than the burgeoning rock and roll, skiffle and ‘beat’ on the ‘Pirates’.  And strangely I have never lost my affection for it. Perhaps, if I am honest, I can warm to some of the melodies and rhythms much more than I do to Beethoven, Mozart and even JSB? Maybe it is the evocative titles? Possibly the memories of a ‘better world’ just before I was born? (Rationing? Hmm.) Maybe the ‘romantic’ part of my nature needs to be ‘patronised’ a little bit more than the classical or intellectual (such as there is)? Or maybe it is just that I prefer Ginger Sponge to Nouvelle Cuisine?
But let’s glance at the music. There are 27 tracks – each and every one of them designed to bring back the memories. Some of the pieces are by ‘big names’ in the world of light music such as Richard Addinsell, Robert Farnon and Frederic Curzon. There are a few ‘musical’ composers here too such as Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. And then there are the ‘classical’ or so called ‘serious’ writers such as Benjamin Frankel and Georges Auric.  Some of the pieces are arrangements of ‘standards’ and many are novelties or original works.
This is less of a themed CD than others in the Guild series – but perhaps that is really irrelevant.
We meet a number of girls on this disc – Frank Perkins’ bouncy Barbara and Arend Honhoff’s Eleanora – the girl with a touch of Spain in her blood. I am not so sure about the Song of the Barefoot Contessa but it has a nice Gypsy swing to it. And of course love is never far away – Philippe-Gerard ‘Without my Lover’ is a little less evocative than it might have been with this particular emotion. Yet this is well balanced by Robert Farnon’s arrangement of the Arthur Schwartz ‘classic’ If there is Someone Lovelier than You. Of course all good lovers will answer NO! And then again lovers can either part or perhaps get married – and if they have been good can join Edward White for a White Wedding.  Or maybe we will grieve our love lost and not be happy Till the Clouds Roll By with Jerome Kern.
Then there are the travel pieces.  We can join Georges Auric on the Pavements of Paris – complete with evocative accordion – as another reviewer has said, “all Gauloises and berets”. Or perhaps we fly to Manhattan with Richard Rodgers.  Now I do not know where Len Stevens situated Easy Street – but I guess it was not the Big Apple – perhaps just up from Knightsbridge? Philip Green returns to the States with his novelty Wagon Trail followed a few tracks later by the absolutely lovely Holiday in Hollywood by Peter Dennis.  This piece evokes less of the Silver Screen than trips to Newquay and St Ives on the Cornish Riviera Express. But that is the beauty of light music - dream as you will! From Hollywood we go En Route with Robert Farnon. Perhaps we will eventually arrive at Arden E. Clar’s Port of Spain.  Let us hope the weather is not like Eddie Haywood’s composition – Rainfall.
Of course the title of the CD is Irving Berlin’s ‘Say It With Music’ and this is the opening track which is presented in a ‘big’ Friday Night is Music Night type of arrangement. Another ‘standard’ follows with Harold Arlen’s That Old Black Magic.
Novelties are represented here with pieces such as the redoubtable Leroy Anderson’s Sandpaper Ballet – it could be by no-one else and Roger Roger’s The Toy Shop Window – complete with marching toy soldiers, rocking horses and dancing dollies.
Richard Addinsell’s film music for Out of the Clouds is a deliciously romantic period piece complete with piano obbligato which is absolutely nothing like the Warsaw Concerto. Benjamin Frankel is well known for his film music – and here we have the theme from A Kid for Two Farthings. It is a pity that he is not so well appreciated for his superb ‘serious’ music.
And then there are the inevitable waltzes and ‘nocturnal’ music. We can dream to Vercolier’s Starlight Lullaby – at least until it ‘goes’ Latin. The Waltz in Water Colours by George Melachrino is a particular favourite of mine.  I seem to remember hearing this played on the Wurlitzer at Blackpool Tower Ballroom when I was an impressionable young lad. Oscar Straus continues the dancing mood with his Waltz Dream before we hear Frank Cordell’s attractive Big Ben Waltz – complete with the chimes.
And last of all we can join Joyce Cochrane with her Prelude to Peace – another big ‘Friday Night’ tune.
Guild have re-mastered this CD well – all these tunes sound much better than I imagine they did when they were released more than half a century ago. For this Alan Bunting must take credit. The liner notes by David Ades are excellent.
Big name bands feature on this CD including the David Rose Orchestra, Leroy Anderson himself, the Robert Farnon Orchestra and many, many more.
If you like this kind of music it is a must for your collection.
John France

see also review by Jonathan Woolf 


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