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The Golden Age of Light Music – The Lost Transcriptions – Volume 1
Strike Up The Band (Gershwin) – RAF Concert Orchestra/probably Sidney Torch [1:45]
Swing Time Selection (Kern): The Way You Look Tonight, Pick Yourself Up, A Fine Romance, Waltz In Swing Time - RAF Concert Orchestra/probably Sidney Torch [4:43]
Ragging The Scales (Claypole) – Percy Faith and his Orchestra [1:58]
The Butterfly And The Alligator (Rose) – David Rose and his Orchestra [3:00]
If You Please (from the film Dixie) (Van Heusen) – Sidney Torch and his Orchestra [3:23]
Primavera (Elders) – Dolf van der Linden and his Orchestra [3:07]
Pepper Tree Lane (from Hollywood Bowl Suite) (Rose) - David Rose and his Orchestra [1:25]
Balboa Barcarolle (Duke) – Percy Faith and his Orchestra [2:24]
La Bamba De Vera Cruz - Mexican Dance (Traditional) - Percy Faith and his Orchestra [2:18]
Song Of The Flame (Gershwin) – Phil Spitalny and his Orchestra [1:39]
Too Romantic (from Road To Singapore) (Burke) Leith Stevens and his Orchestra [2:40]
Flying Down To Rio (Eliscu) – Carmen Dragon and his Orchestra [1:21]
Solitude (de Lange, Mills, Ellington) - RAF Concert Orchestra/probably Sidney Torch [3:47]
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (from The Wizard Of Oz) (Arlen) - David Rose and his Orchestra [2:53]
The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) (Simons) – The Orchestra in Khaki/George Melachrino [3:30]
Jota (from Spanish Dance Suite) (Collins) – World Concert Orchestra/Philip Green [1:57]
Three Sketches – Enchantment, Whimsy, Day Dreams (Gillis) – Hollywood Salon Orchestra/Harry Bluestone [6:42]
Dance of the Frogs (based on Frog Went A-Courtin’) (Stringfield) – Lewis Williams and his Orchestra [3:40]
Praeludium (Järnefelt) – Army Salon Orchestra/Eric Robinson [2:31]
The Three Men Suite - The Man From The Country; The Man About Town; The Man From The Sea (Coates) The Orchestra in Khaki/George Melachrino [No.1 - 4:50]; The Orchestra of H.M. Royal Marines (Portsmouth Division)/F Vivian Dunn [Nos. 2 and 3; 4:31 + 4:47]
Romantic Overture (Overture Romantique) (Béla) - The Orchestra of H.M. Royal Marines (Portsmouth Division)/F Vivian Dunn [7:25]
rec.1942 – c.1955
GUILD GLCD 5174 [77:39]

Experience Classicsonline

Lost...but found? Let me briefly paraphrase David Adés’s explanatory notes. These recordings were made on transcription discs for broadcasting companies to use. During the war they were made for Forces programmes overseas. None were commercial. Naturally though quite a few have survived. This applies to popular repertoire and also to classical. I’m sure collectors will have come across, for example, US Office of War Information discs. I picked up a batch in Vienna, but there are plenty about the place.

That’s the point of this disc, to present a disc of transcriptions on a variety of labels, from a wide range of bands and orchestras. These, clearly, included the crème de la crème of the brethren; Torch, Faith, Rose, Melachrino, and their Anglo-American confreres, and also Dolf van der Linden, whose one contribution here is songful, but thin-toned. Part of the archaeological fun to be had centres on tunes that might not otherwise have been recorded by the bandleader concerned, and also in enjoying the plethora of Transcription labels; ORBS, VOA, Towers of London, World Programme Service, Standard Program Library, Thesaurus Orthacoustic (nice one!) and the others.

Is that Sidney Torch(insky) grunting away at 0:36 into Strike Up The Band? Grand start anyway. The RAF Concert Orchestra clearly had some good fiddlers on board and they can be heard in The Way You Look Tonight, the first in the Swing Time selection from an ORBS transcription disc of 1942 or 1943. He also furnishes a ripe, but much later If You Please, and an over-decorative Solitude (but with a nice Lou Whiteson fiddle solo). Percy Faith’s VOA disc of Ragging the Scales has some ballsy percussion and fizzing violins. David Rose later reworked the otherwise unknown The Butterfly and The Alligator, so it’s good to make its acquaintance here. Some of these transcriptions are very short. Phil Spitalny and his All Girl Orchestra are accorded a measly 1:39, whilst Carmen Dragon and his orchestra have to make do with only 1:21.

Viola player, composer and conductor Anthony Collins is represented by his de Falla-sounding but actually very different Jota, played by Phil Green c.1955. It’s good to hear Don Gillis’s Three Sketches played by the Hollywood Salon Orchestra conducted by Harry Bluestone – three delightful and succulent miniatures, with the middle one having taken one too many sips from Monti’s Czardas. Lewis Williams gets saucy with Dance of the Frogs by Lamar Stringfield, who obviously enjoyed himself with cod-Americana. And then we have an intriguing sequence of Eric Coates’s The Three Men Suite. The first is a Melachrino performance from 1943 whilst the second and third come from F. Vivian Dunn and The Orchestra of H.M. Royal Marines (Portsmouth Division) from a year later. The same forces end the disc with a good performance of the Romantic Overture, a nineteenth century work by the Hungarian Kéler Béla, or Béla Kéler, or Adalbert Paul von Kéler. Take your pick.

I enjoyed this disc. The performances are pretty rare, and they’ve been collated with acumen, and thoughtfulness. As usual David Adés booklet notes are a model of what such things should be. Great sound as well.

Jonathan Woolf

See also review by Bob Briggs



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