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July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
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CD: Crotchet

The Golden Age of Light Music - A Trip to the Library
see end of review for details
rec. 1937-1958. ADD

Experience Classicsonline

The booklet with this disc describes the way in which music publishers established collections of recorded music which could be used as background or interlude music for film, cinema newsreels, radio and television. Usually these recordings were not issued commercially unless they had already become popular. Not all of the music here was actually written for this purpose. Arthur Wood’s Suite “My Native Heath” was written in 1924 when he was a staff composer with Boosey and Hawkes. At that time they published such Suites and other items for the use of the many light music orchestras and ensembles that existed then. The back of the sheet music often used to advertise their “orchestral club” which offered a regular diet of such works, and I suspect that this and several of the other items on this disc were first published in this form. That does not mean however that they were not later included in the publisher’s record library and can therefore properly be included here.

Having said that, what we have here is yet another feast for anyone who enjoys light music of this period. Highlights included George Melachrino’s fantasy “Come landlord fill the flowing bowl”, Kurt Rehfeld’s “Fiddlers’ Frivol” (sic) and Ronald Hanmer’s “Children’s Hour”, but the variety and quality of the music is outstanding. Two of the earlier compositions included are also particularly enjoyable - Arthur Wood’s “My Native Heath” (how different the original orchestration was from that now heard on The Archers), and Rust’s “Life’s Laughter Overture”. Arthur Benjamin’s Overture to an Italian Comedy is slightly out of place here - it would fit well into a “normal” orchestral concert - but it is another gem. However the craftsmanlike quality of all the composers and performers is apparent throughout the disc even in those few pieces that are of somewhat lesser musical interest. It may be worth pointing out that the Melachrino item has had a short vocal section removed, but what remains does not seem noticeably lacking and the disc as a whole is well filled with over 77 minutes of well restored recordings - only a few sound their age and even this is no impairment to enjoyment.

One interesting aspect of this disc is the number of composers and performers who appear under pseudonyms. This has applied to other discs in this Guild series but seems to apply especially here. Thus Clive Richardson writes as Paul Dubois, and Willi Lautenschläger as José Armandola, and amongst the performers Robert Farnon becomes Ole Jensen. This was obviously a normal procedure at that time possibly for contractual reasons but it is good that these bizarre disguises are carefully set out in Guild’s usual meticulous listing. As usual again the notes are excellent, although again as usual not all of the items or composers included are discussed. This is nonetheless a very enjoyable collection, one of the best in the series, yet again reminding us of the glories of the light music genre around the middle of the last century.

John Sheppard 

Harry RABINOWITZ Livin’ it up [2:44]
Trevor DUNCAN (real name Leonard Charles Treblico) The Girl from Corsica [3:51]
Paul DUBOIS (real name Clive Richardson) Jacaranda Melody [2:55]
Bruce CAMPBELL Popsy [2:38]
Jack BEAVER Helicopter Journey [2:29]
Ivor SLANEY Country Canter [2:35]
Norrie PARAMOR Dinner at Chasons [2:10]
Robert FARNON Stardom [2:47]
Kurt REHFELD Fidder’s Frivol [3:12]
Roger ROGER Tele-ski [2:11]
Peter DENNIS (real name Dennis Alfred Berry) Sunday Driver [2:56]
Ronald HANMER Children’s Hour [2:45]
Henry CROUDSON Serenade to the Moon [2:45]
Pat LYNN Remembrance [2:53]
Edward WHITE Dance of the Dew Fairy [1:29]
Leslie BRIDGEWATER Bromsgrove Fair [2:32]
Trad arr George MELACHRINO Come Landlord fill the flowing bowl - Juke Box Fantasy [3:22]
Arthur BENJAMIN Overture to an Italian Comedy [5:54]
Haydn WOOD A Love Song [3:13]
Montague EWING Clown with a tambourine [3:03]
Charles WILLIAMS The Invaders [1:28]
Ten Days Leave [1:27]
Frank TAPP Fighter Command [2:44]
Arthur WOOD My Native Heath - Suite [6:01]
José ARMANDOLA (real name Willi Lautenschläger) In Buddah’s realm [2:51]
Friedrich Wilhelm RUST Life’s Laughter - Overture [2:52]
Connaught Light Orchestra (Rabinowitz, Paramour); New Concert Orchestra, Charles Dumont (conductor) (Duncan), Stanford Robinson (conductor) (Benjamin); Danish State Radio Orchestra, Robert Farnon (conductor) (Dubois, Farnon); The Grosvenor Studio Orchestra, Dolf van der Linden (conductor) (Campbell); Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Kurt Rehfeld (conductor) (Beaver, Rehfeld); Hudson Ensemble, Walter Warren (conductor - real name Meyer de Wolfe) (Slaney); Roger Roger and His Champs Elysées Orchestra (Roger); Symphonia Orchestra, Theo Arden (conductor) (Dennis); L’Orchestre Devereaux, Georges Devereaux (conductor) (Hanmer); The Louis Voss Grand Orchestra (Croudson, Rust); Bosworth’s Dance Orchestra (Lynn); London Promenade Orchestra, Walter Collins (conductor) (White); New Century Orchestra, Sidney Torch (conductor) (Bridgewater); Melachrino Orchestra, George Melachrino (conductor) (Melachrino); Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, Charles Williams (conductor) (H.Wood, Williams); London Concert Orchestra (Ewing); West End Celebrity Orchestra (Tapp); Regent Concert Orchestra, William Hodgson (conductor) (A Wood); Regent Classic Orchestra (Armandola)



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