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The Golden Age Of Light Music -Bandstand In The Park – Volume 2
Transferred from various 78 rpm discs recorded between 1929 and1955 ADD
Experience Classicsonline

Eric COATES (1886 – 1957) The Dam Busters – Film Theme (1954)
DAVIS Jenny Wren
Robert FARNON (1917 – 2005) Smiles ‘N’ Chuckles
Jaime TEXIDOR (1884 – 1957) Amparito Roca (1925)
Ronald BINGE (1910 – 1979) Flash Harry
Arthur PRYOR (1870 – 1942) The Whistler and his Dog (1905)
John Philip SOUSA (1854 – 1932) High School Cadets
Easthope MARTIN (1882 – 1925) Evensong
John BELTON (pseudonym for Tony LOWRY and Douglas BROWNSMITH (1902 – 1965)) Down the Mall (1927)
Harry PARR-DAVIS (1914 – 1955) Sing As We Go (1934)
Jack STRACHEY (1894 – 1972) Eros in Piccadilly
Eric COATES Knightsbridge (from London Suite)
Eduard WAGNES Die Bosniaken Kommen
Joseph BERGEIM Music in the Park
Arnold STECK (pseudonym for Major Leslie STATHAM MBE) (1905 – 1974) Royal Review
Vivian DUNN (1908 – 1995) Cockleshell Heroes – Film Theme
Hermann STARKE With Sword and Lance
Edrich SIEBERT (pseudonym for Stanley SMITH–MASTER) (1903 – 1984) Over the Sticks
Tony LOWRY Golden Spurs
James L TARVER (b 1916) El Charro
Kenneth J ALFORD (pseudonym for Frederick Joseph RICKETTS) (1881 – 1945) The Great Little Army (1916)
Roger BARSOTTI (b 1901) New Post Horn Galop
A E SIMS March of the Royal Air Forces Association
Karl KOMZAK (1850 – 1905) Vindobona
Alexander BORODIN (1833 – 1887), arranged by Dan GODFREY (1868 – 1939) Prince Igor - llet Dances (1869/1887)
Band of H M Grenadier Guards/Capt George Miller (Knightsbridge, Starke); Band of The Queen’s Royal Regiment/Roger Barsotti (Barsotti); Band of The Royal Marines School Of Music/Vivian Dunn (Dunn); Band of The Royal Netherlands Navy/Capt G Nieuwland (Lowry, Steck); BBC Wireless Military Band/B Walton O'Donnell (Borodin, Martin, Parr-Davies); Black Diamonds Band (Pryor); CWS (Manchester) Band/Alex Mortimer (Siebert); Deutschmeister Kapelle/Julius Herrmann (Komzak, Wagnes); Fodens Motor Works Band (Belton); Grand Massed Bands/James Oliver (Alford, Sousa); Grenadier Guards Band/Major F J Harris (Binge, Tarver, Texidor); Irish Guards Band (Bergeim); William Lang (Cornet Solo) Black Dyke Mills Band/Arthur O Pearce (Davis); New Era Symphonic Band/Michael John (Farnon); The RAF Central Band/Squadron Leader A E Sims (Beechfield-Carver, Dam Busters, Sims, Strachey)


EMI has its GROC – Great Recordings of the Century - and Guild has its GALM, its miscellaneous compilation albums devoted to that amorphous sub-genre known as the Golden Age of Light Music. This one is a continuation of its Bandstand in the Park sub-series with its evocative LNER poster art from 1930; Bridlington by Henry George Gawthorn (1879-1941), all dappled sunlight on the promenade, blazers and knee length skirts, a military band visible in the bandstand; turquoise parasols twirling in the light breeze. A land where the Great Crash never intruded.

Despite the specificity of the cover artwork the dates of recordings range between 1929 and 1955. The disc opens with the last of them, a number that will swell the chests of patriotic Englishmen everywhere; the Eric Coates theme from The Dam Busters, a tune so good even Adrian Boult loved it. That’s followed by a sparkling and virtuosic example of cornet playing from William Lang and the Black Dyke Mills conducted by Arthur O. Pearce. Robert Farnon is heard in cheeky form in Smiles ‘n’ Chuckles whereas there’s a famous old novelty staple in the line-up as well – The Whistler and his Dog. This is played by the Black Diamonds Band on a 1929 Zonophone but it was made famous of course by Arthur Pryor of Sousa’s band.

Easthope Martin’s evergreen Evensong is played smoothly by the elite BBC Wireless Military Band conducted by B. Walton O’Donnell in 1932 whilst the aviation branch of the fighting forces is represented by the Central Band of the RAF. They essay the wholly appropriate The Jolly Airman from 1956 – confident, breezy, post-War optimistic and full of swing. I think it was Terry Jones of Monty Python (and Chaucerian Studies) fame who did the dirty on Harry Parr-Davies’s Sing As We Go - which is again a BBC Wireless/O’Donnell recording - and appropriated its melody for one of his naughty songs. No such fate befell – or has befallen – the confident swagger of Vivian Dunn’s Cockleshell Heroes. His Marines School of Music orchestra is one of the many and varied such bands on this disc. Another is the Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy directed by Captain G. Nieuwland – and a stirring show they make of Tony Lowry’s Golden Spurs. The ‘March King’ – Kenneth Alford – is represented by The Great Little Army which is a typically winning and spruce march. The final track represents two sides of a 1934 Columbia 78; The Prince Igor Ballet Dances in this arrangement by Dan Godfrey and once more in the capable embouchures of the men of the BBC Military Wireless Band under O’Donnell.

Charismatic military blowing has been intelligently harnessed in the interest of a varied programme. If some of the earlier sides are too treble starved for my tastes then the later ones are better. As ever, top notch notes.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Bob Briggs



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