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CD: MDT

The Golden Age of Light Music: Strings in Rhythm
see end of review for track listing and performers
rec. 1953-59
GUILD GLCD5167 [77:59]

Experience Classicsonline

If there’s a company that does more for Light Music than Guild then I’ve never come across it. The discs emerge forged from the Vulcan’s Forge of their endeavour, and quite a few end up on my desk. This latest doesn’t differ markedly from the others - a good cross-section of entertaining tunes, adeptly arranged by leading practitioners, and played by first class orchestras; that’s the determining series of factors.
 
It’s good therefore to hear the gutsy and unambiguous strains of Percy Faith essaying Victor Herbert’s Habanera, and equally so to encounter Frank Chacksfield and his snappily voiced Swinging on a Star in this Roland Shaw arrangement. Tempos and moods are cannily varied throughout the run of twenty-eight tracks, which allows, for instance, an evocative In the Heat of the Day. Greenwich Village, written by J George Johnson and played by the New World Theatre Orchestra, gets a rather blowsy work-out; the alto sax solo could do with a bit of Benny Carter, and the big chordal piano and full production work tends to grate.
 
No one yields to me in admiration for the great fiddle-leader Georges Boulanger and his own recordings have given me huge pleasure over the years. The poor man assuredly wouldn’t have liked what Hans Georg Arlt and his merry band of Teutons do to Da Capo. This is the kind of recording for which sea sickness tablets were invented. A phalanx of percussionists does their worst - but at least the fiddles are divided left and right,which is the least one expects given that the leader had been a pupil of that eminent violinist Max Strub.
 
By immediate contrast we have the alternately garish and then, much better, refined orchestration by Paul Weston who essays Kern’s In Love In Vain. Norrie Paramor and the boys knock out some cod Italiana in Sunset on the Tiber and Carmen Dragon (crazy name, crazy guy) gives us a spirited La Cumparista. These dance-patterned numbers exert quite a spell even when things are just too Technicolor for optimum pleasure. One can luxuriate in Hal Mooney’s succulent strings, indulge in the big vibrato of Helmut Zacharias and his Magic Violins, overlook the bongos in Geoff Love’s You Are My Heart's Delight (not very Tauber), and guffaw at the pure corn served up by Monty Kelly in Neapolitan Nites Mambo. There’s a tango accordion in Ray Martin’s appropriately punning Tango of Regret and a sassy version of I Got Rhythm by Kostelanetz. Farnon goes for the whizz bang in the last track, Strauss’s Fireworks Polka in Farnon’s own arrangement and with his own band - but credited to the ‘Jack Saunders Orchestra’ on the label.
 
The booklet notes are, as ever, assured; the sound in these 1953-59 recordings attractive.
 
Jonathan Woolf

Track listing
Habanera (from 'Natoma') [2:50]
Percy Faith & His Orchestra
Swinging On A Star [2:44]
Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra
You Do Something To Me [2:04]
Victor Silvester And His Silver Strings
In The Heat Of The Day [2:43]
Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra
Greenwich Village [3:30]
The New World Theatre Orchestra
La Colpa Fu [1:48]
The Orchestra Of The 6th Sanremo Festival
In A Sentimental Mood [3:01]
Philip Green And His Orchestra
Da Capo [2:10]
Hans Georg Arlt And His Orchestra
In Love In Vain (from 'Centennial Summer') [2:51]
Paul Weston & His Orchestra
Poor Little Rich Girl [2:30]
Peter Yorke & His Concert Orchestra
Sunset On The Tiber [2:47]
Norrie Paramor & His Concert Orchestra
La Cumparsita [5:00]
Carmen Dragon And The Capitol Symphony Orchestra
Cancer [3:02]
Hal Mooney & His Orchestra
Maria La O [2:26]
Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins
You Are My Heart's Delight (from the musical 'Land of Smiles') [3:00]
Geoff Love & His Orchestra
Sweetheart Of All My Dreams [2:30]
Ronald Binge And His Orchestra
Neapolitan Nites Mambo [3:11]
Monty Kelly And His Orchestra
Rain [2:28]
Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra
La Cucaracha [1:54]
Pépé Gonzalez And His Orchestra
Let's Beguine [2:40]
Otto Cesana And His Orchestra
Tango Of Regret [2:12]
Ray Martin And His Orchestra
La Petite Gavotte [2:41]
Dolf Van Der Linden And His Orchestra
Horizonte [2:47]
Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra
I Wished On The Moon [3:05]
Jackie Gleason And His Orchestra
I Got Rhythm [2:55]
Andre Kostelanetz & His Orchestra
Glamour - Tango [3:52]
Werner Muller And His Orchestra
Sugar Loaf [2:13]
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Fireworks Polka [2:52]
Robert Farnon & His Orchestra
 


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