More goodies emerge from the Music While You Work stable of Decca releases made between 1942 and 1947. Some were released in the label’s epochal ‘ffrr’ process and you can immediately hear the significantly improved sound quality. The repertoire is obviously light, often bright, frequently breezy, leavened by a swathe of light classical offerings.
Harry Fryer is an ever-present and contributes a peppy offering from the pen of Francesco Canaro, and it’s also especially nice to hear his band playing Eric Coates’s stirring London Calling, which was on the flip-side. A sequence of engaging waltzes, an obvious place for producers of the Decca series to mine for engaging music to accompany tasks, is one of the spines of this selection of 26 sides. Ronnie Munro was especially good at bringing out the geniality of such music, as he shows in pieces by Gungl, Waldteufel and Johann Strauss II. That said, he also gets some swagger into Waldteufel’s Estudiantina. One also has the engaging experience of hearing the various bands he directed – either his Waltz Orchestra or his Scottish Variety Orchestra. I’m assuming the band personnel varied, because the repertoire here overlaps – maybe they were much the same players. Wynford Reynolds was the genius behind the whole series and he and his band present Cockney Capers, a spruce and amusing opus.
We can also chart the use of light classical, often violin-based pieces. Richard Crean was the maestro for that, as he shows in well-known pieces by Raff, Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, and Fibich, though his elastic rubati in the Raff are taken almost to breaking point. Harry Davidson enjoys popularity in this series, and there is a Scotch Snap or three in his performance of Careless Cuckoos whilst Harold Collins excavates an old favourite in Ethelbert Nevin’s Narcissus.
Once again commendations are due to Guild for the notes and high level of presentation. They have also done well to source these discs, some of which are not so easy to find these days, and all too many of which have been rather taken for granted over the years.
After The Rain - Francesco Canaro [2:53] HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Amoretten Tanz - Joseph Gungl [2:57] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Cockney Capers - Peter Crantock, pseudonym of Clive Richardson and Tony Lowry [3:19] WYNFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Barcarolle - Jacques Offenbach [2:53] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Careless Cuckoos - Ernest Bucalossi [2:48] HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Cavatina - Joseph Joachim Raff [3:14] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
The Druid's Prayer Waltz - Gordon Davson [2:56] HAROLD COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Estudiantina - Emile Waldteufel [2:48] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS SCOTTISH VARIETY ORCHESTRA
Chant Sans Paroles - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [2:52] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Dolores Waltz - Emile Waldteufel [3:11] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Narcissus - Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin arr. Philip Green [3:12] HAROLD COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Heyken's Serenade No. 1 - Jonny Heykens [3:04] DAVID JAVA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
London Calling March - Eric Coates [2:51] HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
The Frolicsome Hare - Herbert Ashworth-Hope [2:42] WYNFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Melody In F - Anton Rubinstein [3:15] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mon Bijou (My Jewel) - Charles E. Le Paige [3:11] HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Parade Of The Tin Soldiers - Leon Jessel [2:23] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Promotions – Waltz - Johann Strauss II [2:49] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Poeme - Zdenek Fibich [3:16] RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Pomone – Waltz - Emile Waldteufel [3:00] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Santiago - A. Corbin arr. Aubrey Winter [3:13] HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Unrequited Love - Paul Lincke [2:50] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
The Jolly Airmen – March - P. Beechfield-Carver [3:17] HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
The Mascot Waltz - Edmond Audran [3:01] HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Naila - Rhythmic Paraphrase - Léo Delibes arr. Arthur Lange [3:02] HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
The Grenadiers – Waltz - Emile Waldteufel [2:58] RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA