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The Golden Age of Light Music – Light and Latin
Full track details below
rec. 1948-62

Guild’s Light Music series is now well into three figures. This latest release concentrates on matters Iberian and South of the Border and their various musical permutations in recordings made between 1948 and 1962. Just over half are in stereo.
Most of the orchestras and conductors will be very well familiar by now, but unless it was pointed out, via David Ades’ customarily fine notes, you might think that Ricardo Santos was a cavalier of the pampas, and not (in reality) Werner Müller, a regular in Guild’s line-up. His take on Lecuona’s Malaguena is fiery and florid and in full pyroclastic flow. That sets the template for much of the programme, such as Percy Faith’s pungent, brassy Baia and Carmen Dragon’s Tico Tico, a resplendent example of testosterone-packed orchestration complete with Sousa-style trombones and succulently sleek strings, though even Dragon lets up on the Hollywood Bowl Symphony a little to generate some respite and contrast.
It’s great to hear Xavier Cugat once more, recording Poinciana for Mercury, laced with percussion whilst Stanley Black gives us an opulent, indeed quasi-cinematic High in Sierra, another number form the ‘Lecuona Songbook’. Farnon masquerades as plain ‘Jack Saunders’ in his Everest recording of I Love You, the Cole Porter piece but Guild cleverly programmes anther Faith swinger, Brazil to pep up the track-listing. Kostelanetz’s Adios is the earliest disc, dating c.1948 and sports piano, elegant strings and a superior orchestration.
MGM touted the great Ambrose and his orchestra in No Te Importe Saber though in truth this was a piece of smoke and mirrors. The honours were really Laurie Johnson’s, whose arrangement it was. The Brussels New Concert Orchestra sounds unusually sinuous in Berceuse Cubaine but a band and director closer to home was Mexico’s leading Light Music maestro of the time, Mario Ruiz Armengol whose Oracion Caribe is a fine example of the genre. Les Baxter’s piece Quiet Village is played by the Clebanoff Strings and Percussion and turns out to be a postcard picture and even romantic in places. By contrast – nice programming, once again – Brazilian Butterfly is suitably frisky, and The Moon of Manakoora, from the film The Hurricane – played here by Alex Stordahl – is lush. There’s a rarity in the shape of Dennis Farnon – brother of Robert – directing Adios Mariquita Linda on an Oriole LP released in 1962. Stanley Black returns on spunky form for Siboney which prefaces Richard Hayman’s even fruitier Tropical Merengue. To end, Carmen Dragon returns for a six-and-a-half-minute joust with Chabrier’s España in which he gives the French composer as good as he gets.
It ends this wide-ranging and enticing disc on a joyous high note.
Jonathan Woolf

Track listing
Malaguena - Ernesto Lecuona [3:34] Werner Müller And His Orchestra
Baia (Na Baixa do Sapateiro) - Ary Barroso, arr. Percy Faith [3:23] Percy Faith And His Orchestra
Cuban Love Song-Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields, Herbert Stothart [2:49] Paul Weston And His Orchestra
Tico Tico - Zequinha de Abreu [4:19] Carmen Dragon conducting The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Poinciana - Nat Simon, Buddy Bernier [2:48] Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Duerme (Time Was) - Miguel Prado [2:26] Tito Puente And His Orchestra
High In Sierra - Ernesto Lecuona [3:25] Stanley Black And His Orchestra
I Love You (from 'Mexican Hayride') - Cole Porter, arr, Robert Farnon [2:40] Robert Farnon And His Orchestra ('Jack Saunders' on disc label)
Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil) - Ary Barroso, arr. Percy Faith [2:19] Percy Faith And His Orchestra
Beguine By Night - Eric Winstone [2:15] Group-Forty Orchestra
Adios - Enric Madriguera [3:27] Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra
No Te Importe Saber – Touzet [2:08] Ambrose And His Orchestra with Strings conducted by Laurie Johnson
Berceuse Cubaine - Frank Engelen [2:29] The Brussels New Concert Orchestra
Oracion Caribe- Agustin Lara, arr. Mario Ruiz Armengol [3:23] Mario Ruiz Armengol And His Orchestra
Nightingale- Xavier Cugat [2:31] Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Noche De Ronda (Be Mine Tonight) - Maria Toroso Lara [2:50] Tito Puente And His Orchestra
Quiet Village - Les Baxter [3:50] Clebanoff Strings And Percussion
Brazilian Butterfly - Ronald Hanmer [2:50] The Connaught Light Orchestra
Sweet Bolero - Hermann Garst [3:19] Eddie Barclay And His Orchestra
The Moon Of Manakoora (from the film 'The Hurricane') - Frank Loesser, Alfred Newman [3:31] Axel Stordahl And His Orchestra
Cordoba (from 'Cantos Dos Espana') – Isaac Albeniz [3:07] Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra
Adios Mariquita Linda - Marcos A. Jiminez [2:49] Dennis Farnon And His Orchestra
Siboney - Ernesto Lecuona [3:29] Stanley Black And His Orchestra
Tropical Merengue - Rafael Merdina Munoz [2:30] Richard Hayman And His Orchestra
Espana - Emmanuel Chabrier [6:28] Carmen Dragon conducting The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra