welcome addition to the Guild series has been issued alongside
disc of the 20s and 30s.
characteristic of these 1940s numbers generally lies in the quality
of their melodic structure while those of the 1950s are characterised
by novelty of orchestration, with use of saxophone and vibraphone
as well as a shift towards a more jazzy style. Screaming strings
are a novelty that was favoured during the ’fifties.
Of the 1940s section,
unusual wind combinations found in Michaelis’s Turkish Patrol
in Lew Stone’s arrangement provide appeal. Born before the turn
of the century, Stone had a long career and was one of the country’s
popular dance-band leaders. He also played music for film soundtracks
around 1933. For his various bands he managed to attract some
of the best musicians available.
Down with the Curtain is a rousing piece, punctuated
with miniature fanfares. The appearance of the RAF Central Orchestra
on this disc is welcome. The orchestra featured on a short-lived
RAF label yet made use of the cream of British musicians called
up for national service. Recorded by this orchestra, the energetic
Over to You and velvety Song of Loyalty
reveal totally different styles from the pen of the versatile
Eric Coates. Over to You was used as the signature
tune for a TV series, ‘Saturday Night Out’ in the ’fifties.
was pleased to hear music by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
with its descriptive piece, The Old Clockmaker.
The orchestra was owned by Chappells and retained its title after
the Queen’s Hall was bombed in May, 1941. The music publisher
had set up a division for recording mood music for use by professionals
in 1941, with Charles Williams directing operations. This piece
of mood music, written by him, could not have benefited from the
superb acoustic of the Queen’s Hall and was likely to have been
recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios. It was used by the BBC in
their ’forties children’s radio series ‘Jennings at School’.
played by Albert Sandler’s Palm Court orchestra brings memories
of BBC popular broadcasts of ‘Grand Hotel’, transmitted between
1943 and 1948. The orchestra’s composition gives a characteristic
feel that reminds us of the Palm Court style that survived until
the end of the ’forties. The theme from Hitchcock’s film, Spellbound
is particularly well known and here is played by Wally Stott,
who also wrote the ‘signature’ for ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’, and
provided a band for productions like ‘The Goon Show’.
the 1950s section, an interesting find is Irving Berlin’s The
Piccolino: this is nicely handled by Stanley Black and
is well played by his Kingsway Orchestra. Laurie Johnson, famous
for his ‘Avengers’ theme tune, provides a modern identity to Rimsky-Korsakov’s
Song of India, but I find the decoration he uses
somewhat intrusive and repetitious. The opening raindrop imagery
used by Ray Martin sets the scene for A Garden in the Rain
in a slow foxtrot setting.
the Rush is a bustling, catchy number with a strong rhythm.
This is provided by cellos playing a slow rising scale that is
set against a vivacious string passage. The piece is evocative
and provides a vivid atmosphere. Likewise, Brühne’s Sport
and Music is bright, flows well and is full of the fun
of a Busby Berkeley musical.
It’s interesting to
hear that Guild have had much positive feedback that has resulted
in listeners offering long-forgotten records found in their attics,
some of great rarity and strong historic appeal. The Guild series
characterised by their excellent restoration and transfers now
numbers 35: the trend is likely to grow.
Raymond J Walker