The Golden Age of Light Music: A First A–Z of Light Music
Vivian ELLIS (1903 – 1996) Alpine Pastures (arranged by Sidney Torch) [3:15]
Robert Craig WRIGHT (1914 – 2005), George FORREST (1915 – 1999) Baubles, Bangles And Beads (from Kismet) [3:24]
David ROSE (1910 – 1990) The Christmas Tree [2:26]
JARY and von PINELLI Durch Dich Wird Diese Welt Erst Schön (Through You This World Is Beautiful) [2:38]
John SCOTT TROTTER (1908 – 1975) Escape To Monaco [2:28]
Joyce COCHRANE (1908 – 1988) Flowing Stream [2:50]
King PALMER (1913 – 1999) Going Concern [3:10]
Eric COATES (1886 – 1957) High Flight [3:19]
Allan ROBERTS, Buddy BERNIER and Jerome BRAININ It Wouldn't Be Love (arr. Robert FARNON (1917 – 2005)) [3:59]
Henry CROUDSON (1898 – 1971) Jump For Joy [1:34]
Jose BELMONTE (pseudonym for Philip GREEN (1911 – 1992)) The Kiss [3:00]
Hal MOONEY (1911 – 1995) Leo [2:30]
Sherman MYERS (pseudonym for Montague EWING (1890 – 1957)) Moonlight On The Ganges [2:25]
Joseph F KUHN Noche Amour [3:43]
Harold ARLEN (1905 – 1986) and E Y “Yip” HARBURG (1896–1981) Over The Rainbow [3:35]
SILVESTRI Parole E Musica Words And Music [2:30]
Richard RODGERS (1902 – 1979) Quiet Night [3:14]
José ARMANDOLA Rose–Beetle Goes A–Wooing [2:42]
Jack COLES Sunshine Express [2:53]
Al DUBIN (1891 – 1945) and Joe BURKE (1884 – 1950) Tip-Toe Through The Tulips (arranged by Ronald BINGE (1910 – 1979)) [2:04]
Tolchard EVANS (1901 – 1978): Unless (arranged by Peter YORKE (1902 – 1966)) [2:24]
Percy FLETCHER (1879 – 1932) Vanity Fair (Overture) [5:47]
Vernon DUKE (1903 – 1969) What Is There To Say (from Ziegfeld Follies of 1933) [3:27]
Guy BRAIN (pseudonym for Van BEUNINGEN) Xarafes (arranged by Dolf van der LINDEN (pseudonym for David Gysbert van der LINDEN) (1915 – 1999)) [2:44]
Jeff ALEXANDER (1910 – 1989) Yellow [2:35]
Cécile CHAMINADE (1857 – 1944) Zingara (arranged by Arthur WILKINSON) [3:13]
Hans Georg Arlt (Durch Dich), Warren Barker (Baubles, Bangles), Ronald Binge (Dubin and Burke), Frank Chacksfield (Over The Rainbow), Robert Farnon (It Wouldn't Be Love), Michael Freedman (Eric Coates), Morton Gould (Duke), Gordon Jenkins (Sherman Myers), Andre Kostelanetz (Richard Rodgers), Hal Mooney (Mooney), Angela Morley (as Wally Stott) (Jose Belmonte), David Rose (Rose), John Scott Trotter (Scott Trotter), Dolf van der Linden (Guy Brain) all conducting “his” Orchestra; Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra (Tolchard Evans); The Connaught Light Orchestra (Henry Croudson); The Grosvenor Studio Orchestra/ Dolf van der Linden (King Palmer); Group-Forty Orchestra/Eric Cook (Jack Coles); The Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino (Chaminade); New Century Orchestra/Erich Borschel (Joyce Cochrane); The New Concert Orchestra/Jay Wilbur (Percy Fletcher); Orchestra of the 6th San Remo Festival/ George Melachrino (Silvestri); Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch (Vivian Ellis); Regent Classic Orchestra (José Armandola); The Rio Carnival Orchestra (Joseph F Kuhn); Symphony Orchestra/Frank Sinatra (Jeff Alexander)

Re–issues from 78rpm discs and 33 rpm mono and stereo LPs recorded between 1938 and 1958
GUILD GLCD 5169 [79:15]

For some, light music is the colourful and delightful orchestration of a well known popular or show tune. For others, myself included, light music is the well formed orchestral miniature of three or four minutes duration, usually, but not always, in a bright and breezy style. Whatever your likes in light music this disk has something for everyone.

Starting with Vivian Ellis’ s delightful Alpine Pastures – well known as the signature tune for the long running BBC Radio panel game My Word – in a racy arrangement by Sidney Torch, the magical touch is continued with David Rose’s The Christmas Tree – this series has, I imagine, introduced many people to a lot of Rose’s work previously unknown to them.

I am especially happy that pieces like Joyce Cochrane’s Flowing Stream – as lovely a piece of Englishness as could be – have been included, and to follow it with King Palmer’s jaunty Going Concern – here’s a business unaffected by the recession – and Eric Coates’s march High Flight – a title new to me – makes a nice three piece suite of genuine Englishness.

John Scott Trotter’s Escape To Monaco would, more correctly, be called Escape to Morocco for it has a sultry elegance (as well as a passing mention of the great Cole Porter song In the Still of the Night) which I doubt can be found in Europe! Henry Croudson’s Jump For Joy is a real pleasure, and even if no one is jumping too high there is much joy here.

Sherman Myers’s Moonlight On The Ganges is as much about the Ganges as Trotter’s Escape To Monaco is about Monaco. It’s a lovely nocturne, mind you, with some delightful writing for French Horns. Jose Belmonte’s The Kiss is a passionate tango – and I suspect that the kiss was hot – with a prominent part for accordion, thus some Frenchness is injected into the mix. Fascinating. Hal Mooney’s Leo starts as if it’s going to introduce some 1950s TV cop show but quickly turns into a light romp. This is one of the many highlights of this disk. Joseph F Kuhn’s Noche Amour is another tropical romance, José Armandola’s Rose–Beetle Goes A–Wooing is a marvellous piece of whimsy in the manner of Ernest Bucalossi’s The Grasshopper’s Dance, but without the same number of legs, and with lots of the music hall in it.

Jack Coles’ Sunshine Express is the fast-track cousin of Ellis’s Coronation Scot. Jeff Alexander’s Yellow was written for a concept album recorded by Sinatra’s own label when it opened for business, and it starts and ends as a sort of celebration of a child’s tune but has a more serious middle section. The disk ends with Cécile Chaminade’s Zingara in a nicely conceived arrangement which has all the colour and vivacity necessary for a piece with this name. My favourite amongst the orchestral items is Percy Fletcher’s Vanity Fair, a breezy piece in the John Ansell mould. Great stuff!

Of the songs, Baubles, Bangles And Beads is full of eastern promise, Over The Rainbow has the requisite amount of yearning to it, Robert Farnon’s sensitive arrangement of It Wouldn't Be Love is a subtle piece, but the best of this bunch is Vernon Duke’s What Is There To Say, made all the more memorable by a great performance by Morton Gould and his Orchestra.

I, again, find myself marvelling at Guild’s choice of repertoire, and this idea of an A–Z is a good one for it will make for even more varied programmes in future issues. As usual the sound is very good, the notes helpful and the whole package attractive. How many more times can I say that this is another success for Guild’s Light Music series? As long as they keep making them this good!

Bob Briggs

see also review by Jonathan Woolf

They keep making them this good