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The Golden Age of Light Music
Stringin’ Along
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5146
[77:36]
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Victor YOUNG (1900 – 1956) Stringin’ Along [3:20]
Will JASON & Val BURTON Penthouse Serenade [2:51]
Trevor DUNCAN (pseudonym for Leonard Charles TREBILCO) (1924 – 2005) Mam’selle Moderne [2:48]
Kermit LESLIE & Walter LESLIE (pseudonyms for Kermit and Walter LEVINSKY) Rainy Afternoon [3:22]
Reginald KING (1904 – 1991) Heading for Home [2:45]
GIRAUD A New Born Love [2:17]
Ronald BINGE (1910 – 1979) Man In A Hurry [2:41]
Leo LeFLEUR Wedding of the Violins [3:16]
Paul LINCKE (1866 – 1946) Whirl of the Waltz [3:12]
FONTAINE & SPEGUEL Aperitif [3:11]
Vincent YOUMANS (1898 – 1946) Carioca (1934) [2:16]
Otto CESANA Devotion [2:44]
Peter DENNIS (pseudonym for Dennis BERRY) Fresh Up [2:56]
Lewis Wolfe GILBERT (1886 – 1970) & Henry R STERN (b 1874) By Heck [2:00]
Oscar HAMMERSTEIN II (1895 – 1960) & Johann STRAUSS II (1825 – 1899) I’m In Love with Vienna [2:19]
Emile DELTOUR & Fud CANDRIX Polka for Strings [2:11]
George MELACHRINO (1909 – 1965) Gay Romance [3:44]
Xavier CUGAT (1900 – 1990), Fausto CURBELO (b 1915) (arranged by Laurie JOHNSON) Tentacion de Amor [2 :46]
Ray MARTIN (1918 – 1988) Six Proud Walkers (Theme from the BBC TV serial) [2:49]
Vivian ELLIS (1903 – 1996) Flight 101 [2:47]
Ray MARTIN Ballet of the Bells [2:14]
Bernie WAYNE (pseudonym for Bernard WEITZNER) (1919 – 1993) Zsa-Zsa [2:30]
Frank PERKINS (1908 – 1998) The Frustrated Floorwalker [2:58]
David ROSE (1910 – 1990) Bordeaux [2:40]
Robert FARNON (1917 – 2005) Moomin [2:30]
George FRENCH Bobby Sox [2:05]
John Pi SCHEFFER (1909 – 1988) Apple Flap [2:48]
Guy Pierre LAFARGE The Little Ballerina [2:38]
Alfonzo D’Artega (Lefleur); Jackie Brown (Ballet of the Bells); David Carroll (Lafarge); Otto Cesana (Cesana); Emile Deltour (Aperitif); Richard Hayman (Hayman); Andre Kostelanetz (Youmans); Guy Luypaerts (Giraud); Kermit Leslie (Leslie); Werner Muller (Penthouse Serenade); David Rose (Rose); Dolf Van Der Linden (Candrix, Dennis, Scheffer); Bernie Wayne (Wayne); Victor Young (Young) all with their "Own" Orchestra; Ray Martin And his Concert Orchestra (Six Proud Walkers); Frank Perkins And his Pops Orchestra (Perkins); Georges Tzipine and his Salon Orchestra (Stern); Ambrose and his Orchestra with Strings/Laurie Johnson (Cugat); Danish State Radio Orchestra/Rovert Farnon (Ellis, Farnon); London Promenade Orchestra/Eric Rogers (Lincke); The Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino (Melachrino); L’orchestre Devereaux/Georges Devereaux (French); Regent Classic Orchestra (King); Stuttgart Radio Orchestra/Kurt Rehfeld (Binge, Duncan)
Re-issues from 78 rpm discs and early 33 rpm LPs, recorded between 1949 and 1957 ADD

This is a super disk. Don’t let the title mislead you – this isn’t a collection of music for strings, it’s a disk of magnificent miniatures for concert orchestra where the emphasis is on the string section. There’s some real winners here!

Victor Young’s Stringin’ Along gets things off to a fine start. It’s a scherzo piece with a Rachmaninov–like central section with a dreamy piano solo. Lovely stuff. Penthouse Serenade is one of those "Hi honey, I’m home" pieces which we always equate with 1950s filmic domestic Americana.

It’s always a pleasure to hear anything by Trevor Duncan and Mam’selle Moderne is a delightful piece of pizzicato enchantment with a more sustained middle section. Rainy Afternoon brings us back to domesticity while Heading For Home is a fun-packed mini travelogue. A New Born Love is a very graceful waltz which takes its time whereas Binge’s Man In A Hurry doesn’t have any to spare. This is one of the joys of this disk. Wedding of the Violins is a toccata for the fiddles, with a beautiful middle section, which, at the end alludes to Wagner’s Bridal March!

Paul Lincke, he of Glow–Worm fame, offers a suave Whirl of the Waltz which is very Berlinerisch! Another pizzicato piece, Aperitif, lightens the textures and then we’ve got a superb arrangement of Vincent Youmans’s Academy Award nominated Carioca from his score the Astaire/Rogers film Flying Down to Rio. This is one of the most exciting tracks on this disk. More domesticity with Devotion whose spell is broken by the up-tempo Fresh Up, where the music is led, quite discreetly, by the brass. Home-spin Americana in By Heck and heavy Viennoiserie in I’m In Love With Vienna. Polka For Strings – but where’s the Polka? – is one of those Holiday for Strings–type pieces, and none the worse for that, a brilliant toccata for the strings. Waltz-time returns with Melachrino’s Gay Romance – surely a waltz too fast for dancing – and once we reach the middle it all changes and the music fairly races away with itself. South America is visited via Cugat’s sultry and sexy Tentacion de Amor in a fine, and slightly restrained, Laurie Johnson arrangement.

Two Ray Martin pieces follow. Six Proud Walkers was a BBC TV serial and I wonder what it was about for the whistling at the start and reference to the Westminster chimes are fascinating. Ballet of the Bells seems a bit heavy handed for the ballet but as a piece of music it’s most pleasing. Between these two pieces comes Flight 101 – Vivian Ellis having got off the Coronation Scot almost immediately boards an aeroplane! And this couldn’t be more different from his famous train work. No big tune, and sleek contours as befits the new-fangled jet travel.

Zsa-Zsa is a fast and loose piece of high-speed fiddling, with contrasting middle section complete with women’s chorus, and The Frustrated Floorwalker is an hilarious piece of nonsense for the flute and strings. It has a most memorable, quirky, tune. Bordeaux – the drink, the place? A nice interlude by the great David Rose. You’ll know Moomin, written as a tribute to Tove Jansson’s cartoon creation, it’s a delightfully playful work.

We’re overseas for the final three items. Bobby Sox rushes away with infectious humour, Apple Flap includes some very infectious brass writing and, to end, The Little Ballerina includes reference to several famous ballet moments.

There’s much to enjoy in this sparkling collection. The transfers are good, but, as you’d expect, there is some variety of sound because of the various recording dates and venues. The booklet, for some reason, doesn’t discuss, or even bother to mention, some of the pieces on this disk but perhaps that is because, like me, as I trawled the internet for information, I discovered that there simply wasn’t any!!

What a wonderful series this is, full of surprises and the disks are always well planned with lots of variety and interest.

Bob Briggs

 


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