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Childhood Memories – Volume 2
Experience Classicsonline

Frank PERKINS (1) Popgun Patrol [3:02]; Gilbert VINTER (2) Dance of the Marionettes [3:20]; Alan PERRY [real name Ernest TOMLINSON] (3) Jack-in-a-Box [2:37]; Roger ROGER (4) Hunt the Slipper [2:11]; José FONTAINE (5) Dance of the Pirate 4:13]; Robert DOCKER (6) Ourselves when young [7:23]; Horace SHEPHERD (7) The Magic Garden [2:28]; John BRATTON (8) The Teddy Bears’ Picnic [3:01]; Cecil WHITE (9) A Fairy Ballet [3:06]; Nacio Herb BROWN (10) Doll Dance [3:06]; Josef ENGELMAN (11) "Tales from a Fairy Book" Suite in 4 movements [5:49]; Callo ECKLEBE (12) Parade of the Imps [2:48]; Charles WILLIAMS (13) Sleepy marionette [2:51]; Peter YORKE (14) Whipper-snapper [2:39]; Robert FARNON (15) Toyland Tattoo [2:06]; Douglas BROWNSMITH (16) See-saw [1:48]; Hans MAY [real name Johannes Mayer] (17) Nine Naughty Gnomes [3:00]; Charles WILLIAMS (18) Drummer Boy [1:30]; Dolf van der LINDEN (19) Marionette March [2:49]; Henry CROUDSEN (20) Pirouette [2:51]; Walter COLLINS (21) Paper Hats and Wooden Swords [3:09]; Len STEVENS (22) Golliwog on the loose [3:20]; Julius STEFFARO [real name Jan STOECKART] (23) Pinocchio March [2:50]; Fred HARTLEY (24) Scherzetto for Children [4:00]
Frank Perkins and his Pops Orchestra (1); New Concert Orchestra conducted by Dolf van der Linden (2,3); Roger Roger and his Champs Elysees Orchestra (4); Dolf van der Linden and his Orchestra (5,14,19); London Promenade Orchestra conducted by Walter Collins (6); Danish State Radio Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon (7,15); Barnabas von Geczy and his Orchestra (8); Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra conducted by Sir Dan Godfrey (9); Nat Shilkret and his Orchestra (10); West End Celebrity Orchestra (11); George Grohrock-Ferrari and his Orchestra (12); Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra (13); International Radio Orchestra (16); The Harmonic Orchestra conducted by Hans May (17); Queens Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon (18); Louis Voss and his Orchestra (20); Hilversum Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anton Durem (21); New Century Orchestra conducted by Sidney Torch (22); Hilversum Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hugo de Groot (23); BBC Television Orchestra conducted by Eric Robinson (24): Recorded in various locations between 1927 and 1957

Guild’s by now extensive series has restored many fascinating and enjoyable recordings to circulation, and its attraction to those with a special interest in the genre is obvious. For them, no doubt, the mere announcement of the issue of each new CD in the series is sufficient incentive to order them. There is much to be said for this approach, but there must be others who take pleasure in light music of this period without wanting more than a handful of examples on their shelves. I can give them immediate reassurance – this is a prime candidate to be part of that handful. The items are varied and well chosen, including a number of relatively rare pieces. The theme of childhood can be interpreted in many different ways, so that although there are certainly several typical "light, bright" pieces they do not over-dominate as has been the case on some other occasions.

Roger Quilter’s Children’s Overture is well known but it is by no means alone in using a series of nursery rhymes as the basis for a longer work. Robert Docker’s "Ourselves when young" and Fred Hartley’s "Scherzetto for Children" each adopt a similar plan in markedly different styles. Both are pleasing but the latter is of especial interest and ingenuity. The notes apologise for the sound quality in this item as it had to be taken from optical film track, but I had no trouble in quickly adjusting to it and thoroughly enjoying it. It is also a good reminder of the quality of Hartley’s arrangements which could easily form the basis for another CD in this series, perhaps mixed with the ITMA arrangements by Clive Richardson.

Other highlights include stylish arrangements of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic and the Doll Dance, and Gilbert Vinter’s delightful Dance of the Marionettes, but the more I listened the more I enjoyed almost everything on the disc. Perhaps the short Suite by Josef Engelman lacks individuality - indeed the last movement ("Ali Baba") is much too reminiscent of "In a Persian Market" for its own good - and Peter Yorke’s "Whipper-Snapper" does outstay its welcome after the first few seconds. Apart from these, however, I found this a well compiled collection with a high proportion of unfamiliar but worthwhile items. The transfers are well up to the usual high standards of this series, and, as always, the notes by David Ades are very interesting but maddeningly deal with only a minority of the composers represented here. Presumably there is information about the rest in other notes in the series but that it of little consolation to the purchaser who has only this disc.

Each time I have listened to this disc I have increased admiration for the musicality, ingenuity and professionalism of those working in the field of light music in the first part of the last century. Guild deserve considerable success with this and the other discs in this series which bring their work back into circulation.

John Sheppard


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