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The Golden Age of Light Music – The Composer Conducts - Volume 3
rec. 1949-62
Full track-listing below
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5214 [73:14]

This ‘Composer Conducts’ release follows the first two on GLCD5177 and GLCD5178 in exploring Light Music composers conducting ensembles in their own music. Many familiar names are here, though the tracks are not invariably obvious or indeed terribly well-known. Thus there’s a double cachet in hearing the composer-conductors themselves in music that can be new to one’s listening experience.
 
You can invariably rely on Percy Faith to deliver punch and brio and Guild has selected entertainingly in plumping for Mucho Gusto, an opus which does precisely what it says on the tin. There’s even a touch of kitchen sink in the orchestration. Friml is represented by one of his late 1959 Stereo Fidelity recordings, Someday – though he lived on until 1972 – which has a big, fat saxophone solo. The effectiveness of Leroy Anderson’s Clarinet Candy, with its four-man solo front-line, would be enhanced by the visuals – one of the soloists is Vincent Abato, by the way, and another is Bernard Portnoy. Hal Mooney’s depiction of Aries is romantic as well as, appropriately, robust.
 
Richard Hayman never lets the side down and series regular David Rose is represented by one of his less familiar offerings, a saucy, quote-heavy A Frenchman in New York, which reverses the American in Paris trope in a chic display of wit. There are clearly some superior soloists in Meredith Willson’s orchestra in their recording of Boy Meets Girl in which a richly romantic tune is graced by some glamorous individual and corporate tone. Laurie Johnson contributes a whooping theme from the film The Moonraker – on an HMV 45 – and regulars Eric Coates and Wally Stott are heard in rapid succession. By a pleasing coincidence, the day before I listened to Coates’s assured Sound and Vision - Associated TeleVision March I found myself outside his old Baker Street flat in London. Farnon’s easeful Journey into Melody is followed by the fast capering of Charles Williams’s The Falcons and the Saint-Saëns-meets-the-Keystone-Kops drollery of Sidney Torch’s Comic Cuts.
 
Alluring Mantovani rubs shoulders with the high octane fuel of Victor Young’s Bright Lights whilst Alfredo Antonini’s juicily orchestrated Twilight Serenade rather puts into the shade Peter Yorke’s Humpty Dumpty. One of the most atmospheric pieces here is Frank de Vol’s Mississippi, which evokes a steamer and its calliope, stylised jazz band, and altogether packs a Grofé-cum-Copland-influenced tone poem into three minutes flat. Great stuff.
 
This release has fine transfers and typically helpful notes – though by now surely even David Ades, with over a century of discs to his credit, must face the booklet note duties with a mixture of enthusiasm and deflation – and can be warmly commended to addicts of this long-running series.
 
Jonathan Woolf

Full track-listing
Mucho Gusto - Percy Faith [2:09] Percy Faith And His Orchestra
Someday (from 'The Vagabond King') - Rudolf Friml [3:37] 101 Strings conducted by Rudolf Friml
Clarinet Candy - Leroy Anderson [2:45] Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra
Aries - Hal Mooney [2:35] Hal Mooney And His Orchestra
El Caballero - Richard Hayman [3:20] Richard Hayman And His Orchestra
A Frenchman In New York - David Rose [2:17] David Rose And His Orchestra
'The Village Of Daughters' (Theme from the film) - Ron Goodwin [2:34] Ron Goodwin And His Concert Orchestra
Boy Meets Girl - Meredith Willson [3:31] Meredith Willson And His Orchestra
Happiness Day - Roger Roger [1:40] Roger Roger And His Champs Elysees Orchestra
'The Moonraker' (Theme from the film) - Laurie Johnson [2:40] Laurie Johnson And His Orchestra
Sound And Vision - Associated TeleVision March - Eric Coates [2:59] Eric Coates And His Concert Orchestra
Romantic Mood - Walter Stott [3:19] Telecast Orchestra conducted by Walter Stott
Here They Are - Hans May [3:07] Harmonic Orchestra conducted by Hans May
Journey Into Melody - Robert Farnon [2:38] Robert Farnon And His Orchestra
The Falcons - Charles Williams, real name Isaac Cozerbreit [2:37] Charles Williams And His Concert Orchestra
Comic Cuts - Sidney Torch [2:58] Sidney Torch And His Orchestra
Sensation For Strings - Philip Green [3:20] Philip Green And His Orchestra
Longing - Annunzio Paolo Mantovani [3:19] Mantovani And His Orchestra
Bright Lights - Victor Young [2:58] Victor Young And His Orchestra
My Love Is In Florence - Guy Luypaerts [2:54] Guy Luypaerts And His Orchestra
Autumn Song - Otto Cesana [2:45] Otto Cesana And His Orchestra
Humpty Dumpty - Peter Yorke [2:37] Peter Yorke And His Concert Orchestra
Twilight Serenade - Alfredo Antonini [3:11] Alfredo Antonini And His Orchestra
Mississippi - Frank De Vol [3:04] Frank De Vol And His Orchestra
Chats De Gouttiere (Alley Cats) - Gérard Calvi and his Orchestra [2:57] Gérard Calvi And His Orchestra


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