Strings Afire — The Golden Age of Light Music
Track-listing below
GUILD GLCD 5191 [70:14]
Strings Afire opens with its title track, a sleek, galvanizing affair with modish percussion, vintage 1961, courtesy of Clebanoff and his orchestra. It heralds yet another release in this series and this one finds fiddles to the fore. Frederick Fennell offers sophisticated, smoothly upholstered Gershwin, whilst Helmut Zacharias wields his violin with intent: he has a vibrato the width of the old Missouri and his lower strings throb and moan like a bull fiddle. His spotlit playing earns a footnote in the annals of dodgy fiddle leader solos.
Far better to listen to the droll arrangement of As Time Goes By, played by ‘Roger Williams, his piano and orchestra’, as billed. Ron Goodwin’s trademark excellence pervades Skin Diver’s Ballet, though it’s actually Cyril Stapleton’s orchestra that interprets it – and very adroitly too. The Group-Forty Orchestra, a steady favourite throughout this series, offers swinging strings whilst colourful Latino warmth infiltrates Veradero with its slinky B section slinkily presented by Camarata.
There’s a neat conjunction of Guild Light Music Regulars on a 1959 Boosey & Hawkes LP, namely Dolf van der Linden (called ‘Nat Nyll’ on the label, presumably for contractual reasons) and the composer Leonard Trebilco, who went under the name ‘Trevor Duncan’. The tune is Valse Mignonette. It’s a typically charming effusion. Picture-postcard pieces – David Rose’s Piccadilly for instance – mix and match with character studies such as Leroy Anderson’s deft and wittily orchestrated China Doll, though here the playing is taken by Fennell once again. Corrida (played by Richard Hayman and his orchestra) has matador panache, whilst Ray Martin, who was born in Vienna as Raymond Wolfgang Kohn, gives us some busy, suitably hard-working strings in his Assembly Line.
Grieg and Halvorsen might have appreciated Anthony Tamburello’s piece Goblin’s Gavotte; they would certainly have enjoyed Robert Farnon’s playing of it. There’s some succulent Japanoiserie in Evening on Tokyo’s Sumida, a piece by Dorothy Britton and played by Norrie Paramor. Classical hues come courtesy of Percy Faith in Alfvén’s Swedish Rhapsody, and then a couple of less well-known leaders appear: Tony Osborne offers a lush The Secret of Happiness and Roberto Capelli brings plenty of brio to Ernest Tomlinson’s Carefree Character. Veterans Xavier Cugat and Charles Williams also appear, parading their wares most successfully.
Indeed this is something of a fiddle fancier’s delight and with good transfers and outstanding documentation there’s nothing to fault.
Jonathan Woolf
Something of a fiddle fancier’s delight.
Strings Afire
'S Wonderful
Adieu Tristesse (Felicidade - from 'Orfeu Negro')
As Time Goes By
Skin Diver's Ballet
Champs Elysées
I Can Dream Can't I
Valse Mignonette
Herbstgold (Autumn Gold)
Very Nice Man from 'Carnival'
China Doll
Assembly Line
Goblin's Gavotte
Evening On Tokyo's Sumida
My Man - Mon Homme
Swedish Rhapsody - Midsummer Vigil
The Secret Of Happiness
Carefree Character
All Through The Day from 'Centennial Summer'
Clebanoff and his orchestra
Frederick Fennell and his orchestra
Helmut Zacharias and his Magic Violins
Roger Williams, his piano and orchestra
Cyril Stapleton and his orchestra
Group-Forty Orchestra
Pete King and his orchestra
New Concert Orchestra/Dolf van der Linden
Hans Georg Arlt and his orchestra
David Rose and his orchestra
Cyril Ornadel and the Starlight Symphony
Richard Hayman and his orchestra
Eastman-Rochester ‘Pops’ Orchestra/Frederick Fennell
Ray Martin and his Concert orchestra
Robert Farnon and his orchestra
Norrie Paramor and his Concert Orchestra
Xavier Cugat and his orchestra
Percy Faith and his orchestra
Tony Osborne and his orchestra
The Light Symphonia/Robert Capelli
Bruce Campbell and his orchestra
Charles Williams and his Concert orchestra