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The Golden Age of Light Music
Song of the West
Full track-listing below
GUILD GLCD 5215 [78:11]

Springtime
Full track-listing below
GUILD GLCD 5216 [77:54]

The cover artwork for Song of the West reinforces the disc’s title. This is Cattle Drive by James Walker (1818-89), a painting residing in a Californian collection, and a work of gloriously naïve geometry. What is lacking in quality is more than made up for in its depiction of a familiar scene. There is nothing in this 23 track disc that quite reflects the drama of the cattle drive – at least not in exact sonic analogue – but there is plenty of fun and excitement to be had. Quite the most interesting thing is that so many of the recordings come from England, a feeling you wouldn’t necessarily harbour when it starts with Farnon, Riddle, and Faith.

Farnon’s opener is, in point of fact, a Canadian mini-tone poem but Nelson Riddle unleashes David Rose’s Bonanza TV music from a Capitol LP; can it get much better than Riddle conducts Rose? Thence onward the view of the prairies and plains turns decidedly European. Melachrino turns on the panache and style for Richard Rodgers’s Oklahoma! whilst Victor Young’s music – he is a series evergreen – is represented by the Prairie Sail Car music from Around the World in Eighty Days played by the hardly self-aggrandizing band known as The Cinema Sound Stage Orchestra. One of the earliest tracks comes from a Boosey & Hawkes 78 of around 1948, and it’s Don Gillis’ Ranch House Party from the suite called Portrait of a Frontier Town. Gillis being Gillis this is fiddle cowpokery of a high comic kind. Conductor Stanford Robinson joins in the fun to a considerable degree.

Given also that Guild’s compilers like sudden, often quixotic juxtapositions it’s no surprise that it’s immediately followed by the calming flute and string mood music. This is evoked in Ernest Tomlinson’s pleasing Prairie Sunset. Also fitting is Farnon’s deftly sensitive orchestration of the traditional tune Colorado Trail. There is one especially interesting track, in which Trevor Duncan (that is, Leonard Trebilco) is represented by Overland to Oregon in which eight separate cuts have been fused together to form a ten-minute suite. It’s not on a par with Trebilco’s tone poems, which I have consistently admired when they have appeared in this series, but it is certainly engaging. The earliest track is Sidney Torch’s 1947 conducting of Stampede, though the transfer is too boxy.

Farnon is represented throughout this disc, gutsy in Pow Wow, and slightly bluesy in Tall in the Saddle. Mantovani is full of seductive richness, Curt Andersen ensures some excellent harp and horn work can be savoured in Wilfred Burns’ American Panorama, and Hal Mooney gives California Here I Come a serious makeover. David Carroll honours Tiomkin’s music for High Noon and to finish there’s another 10-minute track, this time Billy Vaughan’s rendition of his Song of the West, arranged by the excellent George Greeley; mucho gusto all-round.

Springtime is a convenient title onto which to hang another 25 representative blooms from the Light Music garden. There could hardly be a better or more appropriate start than Leroy Anderson conducting his own The First Day of Spring, a verdant opus if ever there was one. It’s interesting to hear again from German composer Lothar Brühne (1900-58) who has the extreme good fortune to have had his Spring in Baden Baden conducted on an Ariola LP by no less a conductor than Hans Rosbaud.

Some of the cuts are more generic than others and not all possess too much memorable lyric intensity, but this is part and parcel of the genre. One surprise might be how nicely-coloured and charming is van der Linden’s performance of Stanelli’s excellent Mayflies. But Spring is not all buzz and burgeoning, and we can be grateful that Reginald King’s slow and dreamy Those Far Away Hills was included, played by the Regent Classic Orchestra without a conductor noted on the label. Cedric Dumont despatches Frederic Curzon’s Spring Promenade with spruce elegance – this is a very appealing work – and then there’s the confidently British Rainbow’s Glory, a composition by Cedric King Palmer but performed by Dolf van der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra on Paxton c. 1954. Some Mood Library music is included along the way – Leonard Stevens’ High Cloud is just such an example but it’s especially delightful to hear from one of the masters of the genre, Haydn Wood, and his Spring Song, masterfully played by another great figure, Charles Williams for Chappell in 1945. A much less well-known figure was Felton Rapley – who preferred to use the name Peter Barrington – and his Prelude for Gardenias has an insinuating charm.

Possibly Frederic Baycot has lent an ear, in Forest Mood, to the way Vaughan Williams layered his string writing though there’s also some delightfully elfin orchestration. Wilfred Sanderson’s June is Calling is especially catchy, and Jay Wilbur brings it out splendidly. No one seems to know if Ernest Maxin actually conducts on his Top Rank LP performance, but no matter as it’s enjoyable. There’s a lot of piano on the pre-war recording for Bosworth of Ketèlbey’s Sunbeams and Butterflies but one of the most intriguing discs is the 1945 BBC London Transcription of Charles Williams conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra in Novello’s We’ll Gather Lilacs. It stretches to five minutes.

So, here is another varied and enjoyable selection of discs from the Guild stable – a wealth of interesting labels and a purposeful selection of material.

I’m exhausted. Is Guild ever going to run out of material to transfer or David Ades out of interest snippets to tell us in his notes?


Jonathan Woolf

All Nostalgia reviews ~~ All Guild Golden Age of Light Music reviews

Full track- listing
Song of the West
Gateway To The West - Robert Farnon [3:03]
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA

'Bonanza' - Theme from the TV series - David Rose [2:07]
NELSON RIDDLE AND HIS ORCHESTRA

El Rancho Grande (My Ranch) - Silvano R Ramos, arr. Percy Faith [3:00]
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Oklahoma! - Richard Rodgers [1:55]
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA

Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINOPrairie Sail Car (from 'Around The World In Eighty Days') - Victor Young [1:48]
THE CINEMA SOUND STAGE ORCHESTRA

Ranch House Party (from 'Portrait Of A Frontier Town') - Don Gillis [2:54]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by STANFORD ROBINSON

Prairie Sunset - Ernest Tomlinson [3:00]
BOSWORTH ORCHESTRA

Sioux War Dance - Ray Martin [2:30]
RAY MARTIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Colorado Trail - Traditional, arr. Robert Farnon [4:53]
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Overland To Oregon – Suite - Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Charles Trebilco [9:55]
UNIDENTIFIED ORCHESTRA

Stampede - Herbert Leonard Stevens [2:10]
NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH

Frontier Marshall - Jack Beaver [2:16]
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON 'The Melodi Light ORCHESTRA Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on record label)

Pow Wow - Robert Farnon [2:40]
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Tall In The Saddle - John Cacavas [3:08]
TELECAST ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON

Home On The Range – Traditional [3:06]
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Rocky Trail To A Peaceful Valley - Waters, Hall [2:25]
LEROY HOLMES AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Prairie Rider - Charles Williams, arr. Cecil Milner [2:36]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON

Colorado Sunset - Jack Brown [2:34]
NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH

American Panorama - Wilfred Burns [2:39]
THE SYMPHONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by CURT ANDERSEN

California Here I Come - Buddy De Sylva, Joseph Meyer, Al Jolson [2:40]
HAL MOONEY AND HIS ORCHESTRA

'High Noon' - Theme from the film - Dimitri Tiomkin [2:58]
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Lazy Cowboy - Ruth Guthrie [2:44]
RAY MARTIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Song Of The West - Billy Vaughn, arr. George Greeley [9:58]
BILLY VAUGHN AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Springtime
The First Day Of Spring - Leroy Anderson [3:09]
LEROY ANDERSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA

April Is Coming - Assi Rahbani, Mansour Rahbani, arr. Ron Goodwin [3:02]
RON GOODWIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Tip Toe Through The Tulips With Me - Joseph A. Burke, Al Dubin [3:09]
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Blossom - Mark Charlap, real name Morris Isaac Charlip [2:26]
RICHARD HAYMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Spring In Baden Baden (Frühling In Baden-Baden) - Lothar Brühne [2:34]
BADEN-BADEN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by HANS ROSBAUD

Springtime (Also known as 'Love's Springtime') - Cedric King Palmer [3:12]
THE BOSWORTH ORCHESTRA

Mayflies - Edward Stanelli [3:15]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN ('Nat Nyll' on disc label)

Spring Cruise - Peter Yorke [2:48]
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON ('Melodi Light ORCHESTRA Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label)

Spring Gambol -Harold Smart [2:20]
THE LIGHT SYMPHONIA Conducted by ROBERTO CAPELLI

Mother Nature - Harry Rabinowitz [3:43]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN ('Nat Nyll’ on disc label)

Garden Party - George French [1:59]
L’ORCHESTRE DEVEREAUX Conducted by GEORGES DEVEREAUX

Those Far Away Hills - Reginald King [3:01]
REGENT CLASSIC ORCHESTRA

Spring Promenade - Frederic Curzon [3:43]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CEDRIC DUMONT

Rainbow’s Glory - Cedric King Palmer [2:49]
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS METROPOLE ORCHESTRA

High Cloud - Herbert Leonard Stevens [2:52]
CRAWFORD LIGHT ORCHESTRA (probably STUTTGART RADIO ORCH)

Spring Fashion - Alan Braden [2:38]
GROUP-FORTY ORCHESTRA Conducted by LAURIE JOHNSON

Spring Song - Haydn Wood [2:26]
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS

Prelude For Gardenias - Peter Barrington, real name Felton Rapley [3:30]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON

Forest Mood - Frederic Bayco [2:43]
THE BOSWORTH ORCHESTRA

June Is Calling - Wilfrid Sanderson [3:26]
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JAY WILBUR

April Kiss - Peter Dennis, real name Dennis Alfred Berry [3:13]
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS METROPOLE ORCHESTRA

(I'll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time - Fleetson, Albert Von Tilzer [2:56]
ERNEST MAXIN AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Sunbeams And Butterflies - Albert William Ketèlbey [2:42]
ELITE NOVELTY ORCHESTRA

We'll Gather Lilacs (from 'Perchance To Dream') - Ivor Novello, arr. Sidney Torch [4:59]
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS

Beautiful Spring - Paul Lincke [3:57]
LONDON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC ROGERS




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