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July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
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Houses of the Wind

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June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

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CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

The Golden Age of Light Music — Light Music While You Work 3
rec. 1943-46 for Decca Music While You Work

Experience Classicsonline

Fairy On The Clock - Sherman Myers [3:08]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Samum (Symphonic Foxtrot) - Carl Robrecht [3:17]
Harry Fryer and his orchestra
With A Smile And A Song (from "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs") - Larry Morey, Frank E. Churchill [2:49]
Reginald Pursglove and his orchestra
Flapperette - Jesse Greer [2:39]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Step Lightly - Peter Anderson [2:56]
London Coliseum Orchestra/Reginald Burston
Twinkle-Toes - Hugh Raeburn [2:58]
Wynford Reynolds and his orchestra
Casino Tanz - Ferenc Gungl [2:59]
Ronnie Munro and his Waltz orchestra
Rag Doll - Nacio Herb Brown [3:17]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Flash Of Steel - Sidney Colin [2:53]
London Coliseum Orchestra/Reginald Burston
Gold And Silver Waltz - Franz Lehár [3:10]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Wedding Of The Rose - Leon Jessel [2:55]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
The Juggler - G. Groitzsch [2:43]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
The Devil Ma Cares - Beechfield Carver [3:12]
Harry Fryer and his orchestra
Fairies On The Moon - Montague Ewing [2:40]
Wynford Reynolds and his orchestra
Valse Bleue - Alfred Paul Margis [3:01]
London Coliseum Orchestra/Reginald Burston
Up Guards And At 'Em - Gordon Mackenzie [3:13]
Harry Fryer and his orchestra
Doll Dance - Nacio Herb Brown [3:14]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Where The Lemon Trees Blossom - Johann Strauss II [2:59]
London Coliseum Orchestra/Reginald Burston
Three Jolly Brothers - Robert Vollstedt [3:03]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Marche Tartare - Louis Ganne [3:00]
Harry Davidson and his orchestra
Rhythm Of The Clock - Eddie Hunt, Peter Kane [2:52]
Wynford Reynolds and his orchestra
The Way To The Heart – Intermezzo - Paul Lincke [2:48]
Harry Davidson and his orchestra
Wren's Serenade - Joseph Engleman [2:54]
Harold Collins and his orchestra
Marche Russe - Louis Ganne [2:53]
Harry Davidson and his orchestra
Mon Rêve Waltz - Emile Charles Waldteufel [2:59]
Ronnie Munro and his Scottish Variety Orchestra
Grand March from "Carmen"- Georges Bizet [3:13]
Richard Crean and his orchestra

The radio programme ‘Music While You Work’ was first broadcast on the BBC in June 1940. This morale-boosting aid to wartime factory production spawned another arm via the necessity to produce recordings when radio programmes — provided live by studio bands — were not available. Thus it was that Decca, using mostly their own contracted artists, filled the breach and produced, starting in 1942, their popular ‘Music While You Work’ (MW) label. All the 26 cuts in this third volume of Guild’s series come from MW discs made between 1943 and 1946.
So no Mahlerian soul searching, no Brucknerian organ swell, no Renaissance polyphony. What was wanted was Ronnie Monro and Casino Tanz or Nacio Herb Brown’s Doll Dance — things peppy, toe-tapping and topical. These light tunes in dark times lifted the spirits. They still do today if you’re not too high-minded to enjoy the fare on offer. Harold Collins was a Decca regular and a frequent presence in this volume, and he brings a deal of badinage, with piano and accordion to the fore, in Flapperette. The lady concerned was clearly good fun. His performance of Rag Doll is delightfully dapper. Harry Fryer and his orchestra are here too, offering a somewhat saucily orchestrated Samum. Reginald Burston and his London Coliseum Orchestra offer up plenty of March brio in Step Lightly. He also serves up an Empire March of resounding panache in the shape of Flash of Steel — it reminds me of Colour Sergeant Bourne’s sardonic riposte in the film Zulu; “And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind it”. The theme is reprised via the Wellingtonian Up Guards and at ’Em played by Harry Fryer’s band. The tune is by Gordon Mackenzie, the spirit Churchillian.
Wynford Reynolds brings drollery to Twinkle-Toes. There’s a dose of popular Lehár courtesy of Harold Collins in The Gold and Silver Waltz — many of these tunes are inevitably dances, waltzes and marches, and there is a surfeit of Fairies too. There’s a Fairy on the Clock and also Fairies on the Moon. Cripes. In this context it’s engaging to hear the near exotica of pieces by Louis Ganne whose light classical status was not ignored by elite instrumentalists. Here we have two of his postcard genre works — Marche Tartare and Marche Russe.
So, even within a necessarily circumscribed series there’s enough variety to keep ennui at bay, and interest to the fore. When backs were to the wall, Decca got the toes tapping.
Jonathan Woolf


































































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