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Scenic Grandeur – The Golden Age of Light Music
Sequoia (1956) [2:52]
Kermit Leslie and his orchestra
Golden Highway (1957) [2:38]
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
Scenic Grandeur (1956) [2:02]
Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Robert Farnon
Green (1956) [4:03]
Symphony Orchestra, cond. By Frank Sinatra
October Mist (1957) [2:12]
David Rose and his Orchestra
Great Panorama (1956) [2:17]
Robert Farnon and his orchestra
Whispering Pines (1957) [3:06]
Mahlon Merrick and his Orchestra
Gideon FAGAN
Pastoral Montage (1947) [3:14]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, cond. Robert Farnon

The Tall Ships (1957) [3:19]
Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, cond. Kurt Rehfeld
Salvatore CAMARATA
Evening Mist (1954) [4:29]
Conducted by Camarata
Seascapes (1947) [2:38]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Quiet Countryside (1948) [2:59]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch
Cloudland (1950) [2:54]
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Hills of Brecon (1954) [2:54]
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Atlantic Crossing (1956) [2:33]
Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Melody at Moonrise (1946) [2:51]
New Concert Orchestra/Frederic Curzon
Table Bay (1956) [2:33]
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Open Skies (1957) [3:13]
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Yacht Race (1949) [2:34]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Still Waters (1953) [3:23]
New Concert Orchestra/Frederic Curzon
Frederick Peter HARGREAVES
Piper in the Heather (1954) [2:13]
Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra
Dolf van der LINDEN
Forest Fantasy (1954) [2:59]
Dolf Van Der Linden and his Orchestra

Victor YOUNG
Arizona Sketches (1956) [9:15]
Victor Young and his Orchestra
[Recordings re-mastered from a variety of recorded sources and the dates given are the original record release date, not the date of composition]
GUILD GLCD5145 [76:03]


Experience Classicsonline

The title of this disc might make you think immediately of vast scenic vistas with mountains, forests and awesome sunsets. There’s an element of that in the music, but booklet writer David Ades is quick to broaden the scope of the disc to take in other scenic scales, such as “a wild-flower meadow in the morning mist” (?!). The titles of much of the music here are certainly grand (Sequoia, Atlantic Crossing, Open Skies), but nothing on this disc really captured my imagination as the title suggests. Instead it’s a collection of rather forgettable trivialities, which has its attractions, but doesn’t really make for repeated listening.

Tracks such as Sequoia, and The Tall Ships are good at evoking mood. The latter is particularly effective for the feel of a seascape, and it feels like it could have been lifted out of a film of the time (it wasn’t). Table Bay has a nice feel to it. But is this really the Scenic Grandeur the title promises us? On the whole the gentler music is more successful. Whispering Pines has an attractive line for the woodwind (at last a break from the slushy violins!) and Scenic Grandeur (track 3) has a nice kick-back-and-relax feel to it. Similarly, Evening Mist and Still Waters are gently evocative in an entirely predictable way. Some of the titles, however (and, I’m afraid, the music that goes with them), just sound a bit naff: Quiet Countryside anyone? The longest track on this disc, Arizona Sketches is probably the most successful because it’s the most varied, with sound-pictures ranging from a music-box to the vast sweep of the Grand Canyon. 

I suppose my fundamental problem with this disc is the lack of variety. Yes, the simple aspects of tone and speed vary from track to track, but nearly all of these tracks feature a simple, steady pulse, while the main theme appears in gushing, effulgent tone on the first violins. It then recedes into the background and is repeated by the lower strings while ornamented by the wind. It’s when the instrumentation changes slightly (and that doesn’t happen often) that you really notice a track. After a while the general feel gets a bit wearing and you long for something a bit different. 

All of this aside, if you like this style of music then you’ll enjoy this disc. To a Light Music Philistine like me, it’s probably better to listen to the tracks with long intervals in between. If you do that then you’ll probably get more from this disc. Just don’t expect the “Sweep” that the title promises you.

Simon Thompson 



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