The Golden Age of Light Music – A Return Trip To The Library
With Pomp and Pride by Cedric King Palmer [2:36]
London Promenade Orchestra/Walter Collins
Happidrome, for pops orchestra by Paul Fenoulhet [2:21]
Group-Forty Orchestra
Lovely Day by Tom Wyler [2:32]
The Harmonic Strings/Tom Wyler
Rue de la Paix by Laurie Johnson [3:02]
Group-Forty Orchestra
Looking Around (The Appleyards theme) by Lloyd Thomas [2:31]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Making Merry, for pops orchestra by Cyril Watters [2:37]
Dolf van der Linden and his orchestra
Wide Horizon, for pops orchestra by Cecil Milner [2:51]
The Symphonia Orchestra/Curt Andersen
Dog Gone, for pops orchestra by George French [2:40]
Group-Forty Orchestra/Eric Cook
Little Debbie by Trevor Duncan [2:05]
New Concert Orchestra/Dolf van der Linden
Secret Serenade, for pops orchestra by Reg Owen [1:42]
The Club Quintet
Dixielander, for pops orchestra by Robert Farnon [1:51]
The Dance Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Transcontinental, for pops orchestra by Anthony Mawer [2:33]
The Connaught Light Orchestra
Holiday Excursion, for pops orchestra by Peter Yorke [2:39]
Telecast Orchestra/Peter Yorke
This Old Man, children's song arr Clive Richardson [3:31]
Group-Forty Orchestra
Rickshaw Ride, for pops orchestra by Jos Cleber [3:09]
The Grosvenor Studio Orchestra
Le Cabaret, Overture to a French comedy, Op.72a by John Foulds [2:46]
London Promenade Orchestra/Walter Collins
Sea Piece, for pops orchestra by Jack Beaver [3:13]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Ascot Parade by Jack Strachey [3:14]
London Promenade Orchestra/Walter Collins
Buffoonery, for pops orchestra by Van Phillips [3:05]
The Connaught Light Orchestra
Man from Mars, for pops orchestra by Dolf van der Linden [3:05]
Dolf van der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra
The Watermill, for oboe, harp & strings by Ronald Binge [2:56]
The Lansdowne Light Orchestra (probably Stuttgart Radio Orchestra)/Kurt Rehfeld
Luccombe Common, for pops orchestra by Trevor Duncan [2:31]
The Symphonia Orchestra/Curt Andersen
The First Waltz, for pops orchestra by Robert Farnon [3:01]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon
Quality Street, for pops orchestra by Fredric Bayco [2:15]
Group-Forty Orchestra
Stratosphere, for pops orchestra by Eric Spear [3:08]
The New Century Orchestra/Sidney Torch
Shades of Destiny, for pops orchestra by Wilfred Burns [2:39]
Regent Classic Orchestra
Blood and Sand, march for pops orchestra by Ronald Hanmer [3:08]
The New Century Orchestra/Sidney Torch
A Machine Ballet, for pops orchestra by Charles Williams [3:16]
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams
rec. 1946-60
GUILD GLCD 5183 [77:28]

The library concerned is not the reference one, or your local one, currently facing an uncertain future, but publishers’ music libraries of recorded music likely to be useful for documentary or entertainment films. The proliferation of such material in the 1940s and 1950s has been profitably exploited by Guild, and it now returns for more offerings from specialist labels set up for this purpose, labels such as KPM Music, Francis, Hunter & Day, Chappell (of course), Harmonic/Charles Brull, and the rare birds of Conroy and Impress. Alongside them, you’ll find Paxton, always a happy hunting ground for the Classical cum Light Music maven.

Guild has sub divided this disc into chapters; ‘Marches’, ‘Romantic’, ‘Animals’, ‘National Character’ — you get the picture. Some chapter headings are represented only by a single track, as is the case with ‘Humorous’, whilst others have spawned a whole sub genre of adherents, as is the case with ‘Light Atmosphere’.

There are the expected big name composers and band leaders and also some much less well known personalities and bands — the conductor-less (or if there was one he’s not mentioned) Group-Forty Orchestra, for example, which has appeared on Guild before but I suspect it will still be a mystery to most.

There’s plenty to invigorate, as ever in this splendidly annotated series. King Palmer courts the Elgarian in his With Pomp and Pride — the first part of the title being a none-too-hidden allusion to the fact that he’s mining Elgar’s Fourth P & C March. The Harmonic Strings get quite sassy on Lovely Day, directed by the composer himself, Tom Wyler, whose real name was Toni Leutwiler, the Swiss born, ex fiddle player who died a couple of years ago. Farnon directs a lusty version of Looking Around with the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra whilst stalwart Dolf van der Linden, masquerading as the more Anglophone ‘Paul Franklin’, presents a zippy piece called Making Merry with witty panache.

It’s unusual to hear Farnon play some cod Dixieland for Chappell — under Guild’s rubric ‘Dance Music’— but the fellers in the band seem to have listened to all the right people; Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman and George Wettling from the sound of it. I wonder who these English musicians were in ‘The Dance Band’, back in 1948?

Clive Richardson’s teasing arrangement of ‘Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack’ comes out as This Old Man but surely Jos Cleber’s Rickshaw Ride is altogether too cosmopolitan to quality as a real ‘National Character’. Mind you, and fortunately, it’s followed by John Foulds’s Le Cabaret, one of Walter Collins’s plentiful Paxton 78s. Van der Linden gets as avant-garde as the genre could get in his own Man from Mars (filed under ‘Novelty’) where Holstian elements prevail. Lovers of Ronald Binge’s evergreen The Watermill will be amused that the performers, the very English sounding Lansdowne Light Orchestra were, in all probability, the very German Stuttgart Radio Orchestra under its equally Teutonic director, Kurt Rehfeld. It’s certainly quite a fast running stream: I’d play it quite a bit slower. There’s a touch of La Valse in Ronald Hanmer’s Blood and Sand March and some chic chicanery in Charles Williams’s A Machine Ballet, which is more ballet than machine, I think.

All these mono tracks sound good, albeit some of the earlier ones are just too dampened down for my own tastes. Otherwise, no quibbles about this one.

Jonathan Woolf

All these mono tracks sound good.