Lightly Classical
Full track listing at end of review
rec. 1942-59
GUILD GLCD 5172 [79:34]

Constructed around a classical theme this latest Guild release bursts against two barriers; the 80 minute mark, and the 50 year copyright period. One knows by now that this series offers full value for money. Guild never stints, and jam-packs its product. And they edge ever forward chronologically, so that this disc finishes with recordings made in 1959. The earliest, in fact, come from 1942, via non commercial transcriptions made by one of the greatest figures of the genre, David Rose.

I think we can argue whether ‘Lightly Classical’ is a term sufficient to cover both Rose’s arrangements of Stravinsky, and also Walton’s Façade of which we hear the Popular Song from the second suite, unadorned in the composer-conducted Philharmonia recording. It’s certainly light-hearted but I’m not sure it quite fits the brief. Still, these things can be fruitfully argued.

Things get off to a contrasting start in two David Carroll arrangements, though he went here by the name of Ralph Sterling. In typically upfront 1959 Mercury sound we get Rimsky’s bumblebee in a slashingly saucy arrangement and Debussy, which is all languor and reflection. The Wally Stott/Angela Morley take on Holst’s Dargason from his St. Paul’s Suite came as a welcome surprise to me – it’s boldly etched and very enjoyable. Colourful orchestration informs the reinvention of The Lamp is Low – from an original idea by Debussy, as they used to say in the films, whilst Sidney Torch summons up Lehár’s waltzes with 1940s touches added.

A rather unusual item is Stanley Black’s Overture to a Costume Comedy, a very Beethovenian opus, dashingly dispatched by the London Symphony under Pierino Gamba. This is an original work, written in a lighter vein, but most of the items are arrangements, such as the somewhat treacly Felton Rapley take on Schumann’s ‘Devotion’ served up by Charles Williams. Or the rather glutinous Philip Green version of Tchaikovsky’s Barcarolle; but whoever played the muted and open trombone – he’s excellent. Unlike Black’s pastiche, Farnon turns up with a richly Delian piece called Lake of the Woods whose Debussian wind-piping is also powerfully evocative. This little eight minute tone poem is by some way the longest single piece in this selection.

But Guild’s compilers reprise their propensity for entertaining juxtapositions and they follow this sensitively shaped piece with Khachaturian’s Waltz from the Masquerade suite where Kostelanetz asks for – and gets - some oomph from his New York forces. Later on in the programme we do get the Sabre Dance, a Warner Brothers LP of 1958 and played by John Scott Trotter. Grieg suits the Mantovani strings, with its elite practitioners, and Eric Jupp does full justice to Haydn Wood’s lovely Brown Bird Singing. Clebanoff and his strings are more of an acquired taste, as they douse Massenet in treacle. The disc ends with those Rose Firebird sides, fascinating in their jagged jazz-hued elements.

Well transferred, and splendidly annotated, as ever.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Bob Briggs

Well transferred, and splendidly annotated, as ever.

Full track listing:

Nikolay Andreyevich RIMSKY KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Flight Of The Bumble Bee, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll 1:24
Pierre Challet and his orchestra
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Clair De Lune, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll [4:34]
Pierre Challet and his orchestra
Gustav HOLST
The Dargason from “St. Paul’s Suite” arr. Angela Morley 3:06
Angela Morley and her orchestra as ‘Wally Stott’ on LP label
William WALTON
Popular Song from “Façade” Suite No. 2 [2:22]
Philharmonia Orchestra/William Walton
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
‘The Lamp Is Low’ based on Pavanne arr..Mitchell Parish; Peter de Rose; Bert A. Shefter [2:45]
Frank de Vol and his orchestra
Gipsy Love - Waltz arr. Sidney Torch [5:33]
Sidney Torch and his orchestra
Stanley BLACK
Overture To A Costume Comedy
LSO/Pierino Gamba [3:51]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Portrait Of Clare from the film “Portrait Of Clare” transcribed and arranged from Robert Schumann’s “Devotion” by Felton Rapley [3:16]
Charles Williams and his orchestra
Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph LUIGINI
“Ballet Egyptien” Finale [2:40]
Ronnie Munro and his orchestra
Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Barcarolle, arr. Philip Green [3:00]
Philip Green and his orchestra
Robert Joseph FARNON
Lake Of The Woods [7:52]
Leslie Jones and his Orchestra of London
Masquerade” Suite – Waltz [3:35]
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/Andre Kostelanetz
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Beyond The Moonlight based on Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings Of Song” arr. Dorchas Cochran; Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll [2:34]
David Carroll and his orchestra
Alexander BORODIN
He’s In Love from “Kismet” based on ‘Polovetzian Dances’ from “Prince Igor”
arr. Percy Faith [2:49]
Percy Faith and his orchestra
Edvard GRIEG
Last Spring [4:21]
The Melachrino Strings conducted by George Melachrino
Dimitri Borisovich KABALEVSY
Comedians’ Galop [2:10]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Haydn WOOD
Brown Bird Singing [2:59]
Eric Jupp and the Melodi Strings
Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Theme from “Swan Lake” Ballet Tchaikovsky, arr. Ray Conniff [2:44]
Ray Coniff and his orchestra and chorus
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Meditation from “Thais”- arranged and adapted by Herman Clebanoff and W. Robinson [2:58]
Clebanoff Strings
Sabre Dance from ballet “Gayaneh [2:41]
John Scott Trotter and his orchestra
“The Firebird” Ballet arr. David Rose - Dance Of The Princesses [4:12]; Dance Of Kastchei [3:04]; Berceuse & Finale [4:16]
David Rose and his orchestra