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The Golden Age of the Light Music - Stereo into the Sixties

Experience Classicsonline

Cole PORTER (1891-1964), arr. Brian FAHEY (1919-2007) Night and Day (from the film The Gay Divorcee) (1960) Cyril Orandel and the Starlight Symphony [3:20]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937), arr. Rayburn WRIGHT (1922-1990) Bidin' my time (1961) Frederick Fennell and his Orchestra [2:45]
Wayne ROBINSON, Caesar GIOVANNINI, Herman CLEBANOFF (1917-2004) Bobsled (1961) Clebanoff and his Orchestra [2:15]
Annunzio Paolo MANTOVANI (1905-1980) Italia Mia (1961) Mantovani and his Orchestra [2:41]
Ron GOODWIN (1925-2003) London Serenade (1961) Ron Goodwin and his Orchestra [2:31]
Don BANKS (1923-1980) Coney Island (1961) The Sinfonia of London conducted by Douglas Gamley [6:18]
Gus KAHN, Edward ELISCU, Vincent YOUMANS (1898-1946) Carioca (from the film Flying Down to Rio) (1961) Jack Shaindlin and his Orchestra [3:22]
Vernon DUKE (1903-1969), E.Y. HARBURG (1896-1981) What is there to say? (1961) David Rose and his Orchestra [2:20]
Jerome KERN (1885-1945), arr. Morton GOULD (1913-1996) Jockey on the Carousel (1961) Morton Gould and his Orchestra [3:34]
Harry Vousden PURCELL, Harry PARR-DAVIES (1914-1955), arr. Johnny DOUGLAS (1920-2003) Pedro the Fisherman (from the film The Lisbon Story) (1960) The Living Strings conducted by Johnny Douglas [2:02]
Joe HEYNE PETITE Waltz (1961) David Carroll and his Orchestra [2:10]
Jaime TEXIDOR (1884–1957) Amparito Roco (1960) Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra conducted by Frederick Fennell [2:22]
Hugo FRIEDHOFER (1901-1981) One Eyed Jacks (Love theme from the film) (1961) Ferrante and Teicher at two pianos, with Orchestra and Chorus [3:03]
Percy FAITH (1908-1976) Lisa (1961) Percy Faith and his Orchestra [3:26]
Heinz ROEMHELD (1901-1985), Mitchell PARISH Ruby (from the film Ruby Gentry) (1961) The Melachrino Orchestra conducted by George Melachrino [2:49]
Henry KAIKIMAI, G.H. STOVE, arr. William Hill BOWEN (1918-1964) On the Beach at Waikiki (1961) The Living Strings conducted by William Hill Bowen [3:00]
Charles WILLIAMS (1893-1978) (Dream of Olwen (from the film While I Live) (1960) Russ Conway (piano) with Michael Collins and his Orchestra [3:55]
Richard ROGERS (1902-1979), arr. Frank CORDELL (1918-1980) Nobody’s Heart (1960) Frank Cordell and is Orchestra featuring Neill Sanders (horn) [2:44]
Paul Francis WEBSTER, Dmitri TIOMKIN (1899-1979) The Alamo (theme from the film Green Leaves of Summer) (1960) Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra [2:26]
WAL-BERG (1910-1994) Fete Circassienne (1960) Wal-berg and his Orchestra [6:57]
Eric COATES (1886-1957) Mayfair – from suite In London Again (1961) Eric Jonson and his Orchestra [5:47]
Victor Popular YOUNG (1900-1956), Harold ADAMSON (1906-1980), arr. Robert FARNON (1917-2005) Away out West (from the film Around the World in Eighty Days) (1960) Robert Farnon and his Orchestra [3:23]
All Tracks are in Stereo.
Dates refer to recording, not composition.
I can still remember being taken to my Uncle John’s house to see his new stereogram. I cannot recall the exact date, but it would have been around 1962. I am not sure what I expected, but the stereo effects record was rather fun. There were a number of LPs stored inside the unit, with some rather attractive covers, including what I later discovered to be Henry Mancini’s soundtrack for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At that time it all seemed so modern and up to date. However, that defined my Uncle and Aunt – they had just recently acquired a Kenwood Mixer and regularly holidayed in up-and-coming Spanish Balearic seaside resorts. Some fifty years down the road and sound systems have changed. We have enjoyed stereo, quadraphonic sound, 8-track and cassette tapes. Vinyl disappeared, only to make a comeback amongst enthusiasts. Just when we thought that perfection had been reached with the audio CD, someone invented iTunes and the MP3 player. I certainly do not know what will come next: perhaps an electro-organic download direct to one’s brain? However my Uncle John’s stereogram impressed me – even if the tunes he played on it did not. I was just beginning to enjoy pop music, whilst he was into Henry Mancini, Percy Faith and Mantovani. I have come to like this music now, without losing my love of the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Led Zeppelin.
This new release from Guild Light Music is quite simply a stunning re-pristination of this ‘fab’ music. This is not to belittle the original ‘stereo’ tracks and vinyl LPs where all of these tunes have their origin. It is just great to hear these tracks digitally re-mastered and restored (by Alan Bunting).
I always smile at the number of musicians that are involved in some of these ‘light music’ tunes – for example, the Spanish inspired ‘Pedro the Fisherman’ from The Lisbon Story and lasting just a fraction over two minutes was written, arranged, rearranged and fettled by Harry Vousden Purcell, Harry Parr-Davies, and Johnny Douglas. ‘Bobsled’ - a classic example of ‘music on the move’ and so typical of the nineteen-fifties is ‘dished up’ by a trio of composers. Somehow, Havergal Brian managed to write his massive two-hour long Gothic Symphony all by himself. Fortunately this CD does have a fair few ‘original’ works by ‘single’ composers.
A visit to ‘Italia Mia’ by Mantovani depicts a perfect picture of that romantic country. Then Ron Goodwin’s jaunty ‘Serenade’ to London describes an era before, but possibly anticipating, the ‘swinging sixties’. Have you ever been to Coney Island? It is now a former shadow of its American Dream heritage, but still a great place to visit. The hamburgers are good too. Don Banks’ vision suggests romance, a stroll along the boardwalk from Brighton Beach and all the fun of the fair. It is one of my favourite tracks on this CD. Who could not fall in love with Percy Faith’s musical description of the beautiful ‘Lisa’?
I am not sure if Joe Heyne’s amusing ‘Petite Waltz’ comes from a show or is a stand-alone number; however it a fine piece complete with harpsichord continuo! Still in ‘Sunny Spain’ the rather martial ‘Amparito Roca’ by Jaime Texidor balances the sunshine with the pizzazz of the bullfight or fiesta.
Not sure about being On the Beach at Waikiki: it just does not impress me. However Richard Rogers’ ‘Nobody’s Heart’ is a good example of a dreamy, romantic number that must have been the soundtrack to many lovers’ evenings sitting listening to the stereogram and sipping Liebfraumilch.
Good old-fashioned, traditional ‘light music’ is represented with a fine version of Eric Coates ‘Mayfair’ from his London Again Suite. We move from ‘The Smoke’ to lands somewhere in the Caucasus region of Eurasia with the exotic ‘Fete Circassienne’. This was composed by a certain Wal-Berg –real name Voldemar Rosenberg!
There are a fair number of ‘standards’ from films and the shows. The CD opens with a great curtain-raiser – a version of ‘Night and Day’ from The Gay Divorcee with music by Cole Porter. The next ‘musical’ song is the Gershwin brothers hit ‘Bidin’ my Time’ from Girl Crazy. This is performed by the redoubtable Frederic Fennell. It is a lovely relaxing, slow-tempo piece featuring high strings, solo piano and Glen Miller-like muted brass. ‘Carioca’ from the well-loved film featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Flying down to Rio is given the full Latin-inspired works. I enjoyed Vernon Duke’s number ‘What is there to say?’ written for the Ziegfeld Follies. These were a series of Broadway revues popular in the 1930s inspired by the Folies Bergères in Paris. Equally inspiring is the Jerome Kern number ‘Jockey on a Carousel’. This foxtrot started life in the RKO picture I Dream Too Much starring Lilly Pons and Henry Fonda. Still on films, One Eyed Jacks was a 1961 production featuring Marlon Brando in the lead role and as director. In spite of the rather vicious nature of the film, the music written by Hugo Friedhofer is impressive. Another film that has its ‘dark’ moments is Ruby Gentry starring Jennifer Jones and Charlton Heston. However the music epitomises romantic Hollywood.
As a youngster, I used to watch The Billy Cotton Band Show with my parents. One of the guests who featured regularly was Russ Conway. He is usually famed for his up-tempo music such as ‘Side-Saddle’ and ‘China Tea’. So it is good to hear his interpretation of the ‘Dream of Olwen’ from the film ‘While I Live’ with music by Charles Williams. Conway plays this tearjerker with consummate skill. I would challenge listeners hearing this work ‘blind’ to think it was anyone other than a ‘great’ concert pianist.
All film buffs will be stirred to recall John Wayne, Patrick Widmark and a youthful Frankie Avalon in The Alamo. The CD concludes with the exciting music from the film Around the World in Eighty Days –‘Away out West’. Once again three composers and arrangers have contributed to the success of this powerful number.
Nothing more to say about this fantastic CD – except to Guild - ‘Just keep them on coming!’

John France


































































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