The Art of the Arranger Volume 2 - The Golden Age of Light Music
rec. 1953-61
Track details below
More artful arrangers take their cue from the series title to display their wares in this latest release from the seemingly endless well of the Light Music genre. As ever the compilation ranges entertainingly, keeping ennui at bay, keeping to the brief of never repeating the same track - something of a feat given how many discs have been released. And it keeps up the high level of booklet notes; and transfers present no problems in this selection either.
Buddy Bregman gets things rolling with a lushly romantic A Wonderful Guy complete with quasi-symphonic ending. There are long piano and sax contributions in These Foolish Things, a Wally Stott performance (or, as here, Angela Morley) though it’s not their finest hour: very utilitarian. Hugely better, indeed several leagues better, is David Rose’s work on And This Is My Beloved which is luxuriously played and sports some great counter-melodies. There’s a thoughtful and colourful performance of Soliloquy (from Carousel) from Cyril Ornadel and the Starlight Symphony.
Oh, Lady, Be Good starts all languorous and sexy, then bursts into life via piano interjection, all courtesy of the elite Frederick Fennell and his orchestra. Mantovani offers shimmering and cascading strings at slow tempo in When You Wish Upon a Star and goes on to dole out a very classy September Song (from Knickerbocker Holiday). Percy Faith exudes rude health and vigour in his work on Zandunga - Jesusita e Chihuahua - or The Dancing Donkey if you prefer, whereas it’s pure sophistication from the upholstered Morton Gould in Where or When.
Compilers in this marque are not above amusing juxtapositions, or themes within themes - there are a number of instances of that in this extensive series. For example, they put Farnon’s arrangement of The Lincolnshire Poacher - jolly, and naughty - next to Frank Cordell’s sensitive arrangement of Yesterdays. Then again there are things that really do sound a bit naff, like William Hill Bowen’s chi-chi If Ever I Would Leave You - all open plan Swedish furniture and School of 1961. The same orchestra, The Living Strings, but this time directed by Johnny Douglas (but for the same label, RCA Camden), turns in opulent work on the gull-and-wave infused Ebb Tide, composed by Robert Maxwell (no, not THAT one).
We also hear an old parlour favourite in the shape of Anton Rubinstein’s Romance, dished up nicely by Melachrino, and Scheherazade themes by David Carroll (Rimsky-Korsakov, a classically inclined diptych - see what I mean about Guild’s ‘theme within theme ideas?). This last is played pretty straight for four minutes, and then the cats go crazy for 30 seconds. Finally, Charles Williams and his concert orchestra take on The British Grenadiers. This superior arrangement, a fantasy in effect, is by Clive Richardson and he certainly shows Farnon a clean pair of heels when it comes to traditional English fare.
Plenty of variety once again, therefore, in Guild’s latest. Meat, vegetables and a light garnish all round.  

Jonathan Woolf 

Plenty of variety once again, therefore, in Guild’s latest. Meat, vegetables and a light garnish all round. 

Guild's The Golden Age of Light Music

Track listing
A Wonderful Guy (from South Pacific) - The Conrad Salinger Orchestra/Buddy Bregman [2:53]
These Foolish Things - Angela Morley and her orchestra (as ‘Wally Stott’) [2:30]
And This Is My Beloved - David Rose and his orchestra [4:00]
Soliloquy (from Carousel) - Cyril Ornadel and the Starlight Symphony [4:51]
Oh, Lady, Be Good - Frederick Fennell and his orchestra [3:27]
When You Wish Upon a Star - Mantovani and his orchestra [3:59]
East of Fifth (a.k.a. Seaside Stroll) - Robert Farnon and his orchestra [2:12]
September Song (from Knickerbocker Holiday) - Mantovani and his orchestra [2:48]
Zandunga - Jesusita e Chihuahua - Percy Faith and his orchestra [3:27]
The London I Love - Frank Chacksfield and his orchestra [3:09]
Where or When (from Babes in Arms) - Morton Gould and his orchestra [4:34]
The Lincolnshire Poacher - Robert Farnon and his orchestra [2:55]
Yesterdays - Frank Cordell and his orchestra [3:22]
A Little White Gardenia - Ronald Binge and his orchestra [3:29]
Dancing on the Ceiling - Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra [3:02]
The Paratroopers' March (Marche des parachutistes) - Ray Martin and his orchestra [2:07]
If Ever I Would Leave You (from Camelot) - The Living Strings/William Hill Bowen [3:22]
Ebb Tide -The Living Strings/Johnny Douglas [3:36]
Volveré - Ambrose and his orchestra with strings/Laurie Johnson [2:07]
Romance - The Melachrino Strings/George Melachrino [3:51]
Ill Wind - Nelson Riddle and his orchestra [2:59]
Elizabeth and Essex Love Theme - Ron Goodwin and his orchestra [2:31]
The British Grenadiers - Charles Williams and his concert orchestra [2:51]
Scheherazade Themes - David Carroll and his orchestra [4:37]