The Golden Age of Light Music: Orchestral Gems in Stereo

Tolchard EVANS (1901 – 1978) Lady of Spain (1931) (arranged by Carmen DRAGON (1914 – 1984)) [3:46]  

Jerome KERN (1885 – 1945) She Didn’t Say Yes (from The Cat And The Fiddle) (1931) (arranged by Paul WESTON (1912 – 1996)) [2:22]

Jule STYNE (1905 – 1994) and Leo ROBIN (1900 –1984) Just A Kiss Apart (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) (1949) [3:06]

Charles TRENET (1913 – 2001) La Mer (1943) [2:54] 

Les BAXTER (1922 – 1996) Shooting Star [1:53]

Harry WARREN (1893 – 1981) and Harold ADAMSON (1906 – 1980) Our Love Affair (from An Affair To Remember) (1957) (arranged by Conrad SALINGER (1901 – 1962)) [3:00]

Robert FARNON (1917 – 2005) Mr Punch [2:36]

Fats WALLER (1904 – 1943) Chelsea (arranged by Angela MORLEY (at that time known as Wally STOTT) (1924 –2009)) [3:38]

Nicholas ROUBANIS, Fred WISE, Milton LEEDS, Sidney Keith RUSSELL Misirlou [2:46]

Ivor NOVELLO (1893 – 1951) Glamorous Night (arranged by Peter YORKE (1902 – 1966)) [2:21]

Cole PORTER (1891–1964) After You [2:10]

Einar Aaron SWAN (1903 – 1940) When Your Lover Has Gone (1931) (arranged by Gordon JENKINS (1910 – 1984)) [2:28]

SYLVIANO and BUSCH Le Premier Rendezvous [2:18]

David ROSE (1910 – 1990) Majorca 7:10  

Noel COWARD (1899 – 1973) I’ll Follow My Secret Heart, (arranged by Philip GREEN (1911 – 1992)) [3:20]

Ernesto LECUONA (1895 – 1963) Damisela Encantadora, (arranged by Percy FAITH (1908 – 1976))) [2:32]

Nelson RIDDLE (1921 –1985) Sea Of Dreams [2:36]

Hal MOONEY (1911 –.1995) Dreamland USA [2:48]

Billy MAYERL (1902 – 1959) Marigold (arranged by Ronald BINGE (1910 – 1979)) [2:37]

Ray EVANS (1915 – 2007) and Jay LIVINGSTON (1915 –2001) Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) [2:37]

Henry MANCINI (1924 – 1994) Mostly For Lovers [3:02]

Herman RUBY and Dave DREYER (1894 – 1967) Cecelia (arranged by Dennis FARNON (b.1923)) [2:45]

Gaetano OLIVERO La Vita E Un Paradiso Di Bugie [3:03]

Max STEINER (1888–1971) The Theme From A Summer Place (arranged by Percy FAITH) [2:15]

Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841 – 1894) España [6:51]

Hans–Georg Arlt (SYLVIANO), Warren Barker (STYNE), Les Baxter (BAXTER),

Ronald Binge (MAYERL), Xavier Cugat (TRENET), Frank Devol (EVANS/LIVINGSTON), Percy Faith (LECUONO and STEINER), Dennis Farnon (RUBY/DREYER), Philip Green (COWARD), Gordon Jenkins (SWAN), Henry Mancini (MANCINI), Hal Mooney (MOONEY), Angela Morley (WALLER), Nelson Riddle (RIDDLE), David Rose (ROSE), John Scott Trotter (Misirlou) and Paul Weston (KERN) all conducting “their own” orchestras; Carmen Dragon and the Capitol Symphony Orchestra (EVANS); Leslie Jones and his Orchestra of London (FARNON); George Melachrino and the Orchestra of the 6th San Remo Festival (OLIVIERO); The Conrad Salinger Orchestra/Buddy Bregman (WARREN); Victor Silvester and his Silver Strings (PORTER); Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra (NOVELLO); 101 Strings  (CHABRIER)

Re–issues of stereo recordings made between 1956 and 1959 ADD



There are three different types of light music on offer on this CD; original compositions, arrangements of other pieces and arrangements of songs. As the first four tracks are of the latter variety, let’s start with them.


Carmen Dragon gives a technicolour arrangement, as you’d expect from him, of Tolchard Evans’s great Lady Of Spain, and Paul Weston’s subtle arrangement of Jerome Kern’s She Didn’t Say Yes proves a good foil. A gentle waltz version of a gentle song from that most exuberant of musicals Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Just A Kiss Apart is a lovely song we should hear more of. Charles Trenet’s La Mer is here given a restrained performance which highlights many of the instruments of the orchestra – it’s almost a Guide to the Light Orchestra – but I do miss Trenet’s voice singing the tune! Our Love Affair (from the Cary Grant film An Affair To Remember) is one of Harry Warren’s most heart warming creations and this version, by Conrad Salinger, brings out all the warmth and love in the piece. Peter Yorke’s arrangement of Ivor Novello’s Glamorous Night is certainly enchanting, as is Victor Sylvester’s version of Cole Porter’s After You, perhaps not for dancing but certainly a delight for listening. When Your Lover Has Gone can boast a couple of dozen recordings, its success being guaranteed by its inclusion in the Jimmy Cagney film Blonde Crazy. A beautiful tune in a gorgeous arrangement and performance.

I’ll Follow My Secret Heart is the hit song from Noel Coward’s play Conversation Piece and Philip Green’s arrangement is a study in understatement. It is said that Ernesto Lecuona's compositions influenced the Latin American world in a similar way to Gershwin in the USA, raising Cuban music to classical music status. Damisela Encantadora is a waltz of some energy!

Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera), or, to give it its’ alternative title, Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), was featured in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much, where it was sung by Doris Day – and it subsequently became her signature tune. It won an Oscar for its writers, and who could have expected it to appear in a version for mandolin and orchestra?


I cannot over emphasise the silliness of Cecelia in this lovely arrangement by Dennis Farnon (younger brother of the more famous Robert), while La Vita E Un Paradiso Di Bugie is another love affair. The Theme From A Summer Place seems to me to be beloved of muzak compilers so it’s good to hear it properly here.


Les Baxter’s Shooting Star is a real piece of mood music, with a simple tune repeated several times in various orchestrations. Lovely. Somehow I’ve managed to miss Robert Farnon’s Mr Punch and it is my loss for here is a clever scherzo movement which cannot rest, but quite what it has to do with Mr Punch is beyond me. Leslie Jones and his Orchestra of London show us that this is the way to do it. Chelsea is the second movement (of 6) from Fats Waller’s London Suite which Waller himself recorded in London in 1939. Angela Morley’s arrangement captures the feeling of a lazy Sunday afternoon, in the summer. Misirlou is a popular Greek song which here appears as a tango, amongst other things. Lots of drums give the music its impetus, while woodwind sound an Eastern note.


Le Premier Rendezvous is a fun piece with wire brushes on the drums, muted trumpets and cool flutes. David Rose’s Majorca is an extended tone poem in popular idiom, with lots of Latin flavour. It’s a more popular version (if that is possible) of Chabrier’s España! Nelson Riddle’s Sea Of Dreams has a Summer of ’42 feel about it, perhaps unrequited love is behind the inspiration of this gorgeous miniature. Hal Mooney’s dream is of a different kind, for Dreamland USA is obviously in praise of the American way of life and Mom’s apple pie. Closer to home, Billy Mayerl’s famous Marigold sounds well, in this delicious version by Ronald Binge, as a duet for flutes. Henry Mancini’s Mostly For Lovers is cocktail lounge stuff, with tinkling solo piano and discreet accompaniment.


The disk ends with a version of Chabrier’s riot of Spanish colour España which nods in Chabrier’s direction and adds some rather good things which Chabrier obviously forgot! A terrific ending to a most enjoyable disk. As usual, the transfers are very good, the notes helpful but not exhaustive and the disk well filled.


Bob Briggs


a most enjoyable disk…see Full Review