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The Golden Age of Light Music
By Special Request
: David Rose and Sidney Torch
Full track-listing below
rec. c. 1946-62
GUILD GLCD 5219 [73:04]

Christmas Lights

Full track-listing below
rec. c.1955-61
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5222 [77:27]

By Special Request
Two of the brightest lights in the Light Music genre share disc space in this release from Guild. David Rose, though British-born, spent most of his life in America, whilst Sidney Torch was born in London of Ukrainian parents who preferred a surname of illumination to that of Torchinsky.
 
All the 27 tracks were recorded circa 1946 to 1962, thus only four (all Rose’s) are in stereo. For the remainder we have mono 78s and LPs sounding in good estate. One notable feature of the Guild transfers is that surface imperfections are cannily masked and clean-sounding copies result. I have not always been quite so convinced by the transfers of their 78s which come across rather airless and treble-starved but I won’t deny that any residual surface damage has been dealt with very well.
 
To the sides, then. Just under half of the 14 Rose tracks are his own compositions. One of his lively hits was the Theme from Carnival, and his orchestra’s zippy strings play it with verve. It’s good to hear his take on Gershwin, in this case Fascinating Rhythm, with a circumspect piano role and plenty of contagious wit to be heard. Thus far these all derive from MGM LPs released between 1954 and 1961, but Guild has also got its hands on some c.1948 Australian (and one American) World Service Program discs. Cole Porter’s Love for Sale gets classy treatment in this sequence whilst the waltz that courses through Richard Heuberger’s Suddenly is idiomatically presented. Perhaps the most attractive of all – though that’s to pick one cherry amongst many – is the subtly voiced and orchestrated Rose composition Lovers’ Serenade, recorded for MGM around 1955 It’s good also to hear Rose’s version of the River Kwai March and – of course – The Stripper.
 
No stripping for the more military toughness of Torch. His sides range from c. 1947 to 1951, a smaller stretch that takes in examples from Parlophone, as well as the odd Columbia, Chappell and Francis Day and Hunter 78. London Playhouse is gloriously redolent of time and place – one can almost see the fog and headlights and helmeted policemen. In general his selection is jolly, light and occasionally quixotic. He plays Eric Coates’ A Song by the Way, not one of his best-known, and there’s a touch of the exotic – and indeed Ravel’s La Valse – in Louis Gensler’s composition Speakeasy. Meanwhile Fiddlin’ for Fun sounds cut from the same cloth as Fiddler’s Folly and it largely is – though the latter is a Len Stevens tune arranged by Torch, whilst the former is a French tune. The most romantic piece is Pale Moon, a delightful effusion evocatively played by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, though the sound is treble-starved.
 
This Guild series has been stuffed to the gunwales with Rose and Torch, two of the most prolific practitioners in the genre but it’s good to know that there is yet more to come from such eminent masters of Light Music.

Christmas Lights
I reviewed Christmas Celebration [Guild GLCD5185] a few years ago and here, now, just in time for this late-summer review, comes its festive successor, Christmas Lights. The tracks all derive from sessions made between c. 1955 and 1961 – those at least are the release dates of the LPs from which they have been collected. The spine of the disc is Percy Faith. The compiler gurus at Castle Guild have got their hands on two Columbia LPs – CS8176 and CS8033 - and given them a good shake-down, and at one point five tracks in a row are by Faith. Perhaps it would have been better to call the disc ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’.
 
It’s not exactly a great hardship to programme Faith, especially when the festive fare he arranged and conducted proves so consistently alluring. The boldness of Joy to the World contrasts with an excess of saccharine in Away in a Manger and Good King Wenceslas – and oh, those kitschy Christmas choirs, which tend to sabotage an otherwise effective arrangement of It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.
 
We also hear a lush White Christmas courtesy of Frank Chacksfield, who deploys yodel-lite sonorities in Alpine Sleigh Ride, his own tune but flying under the pseudonym of ‘Roger Senicourt’. Billy Vaughn’s wordless chorus gets in on the act in God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and there is some questionable rink-a-dink business during Snowman’s Land from pianist Zack Laurence, with Ken Jones and his orchestra. Rarer, and much better, is Joyce Cochrane’s waltz tune Snowy Mountains, directed by Ludo Philipp on a Charles Brull/Harmonic LP. One of the most relaxing pieces in a disc that has its somewhat pressing moments is the Ray Noble tune By the Fireside, performed with charm and discretion by Stanley Black on Decca.
 
It’s inevitable that some of the Percy Faith production numbers should be somewhat broad, somewhat over-ripe in places but they are essentially warm-hearted and are balanced by some attractive other pieces from a variety of arrangers, performers and composers. It’s never too early to get your Christmas discs.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 
Track-listing
By Special Request
The Magic Music Box
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:16
 
Theme from 'Carnival'
Bob Merrill
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:05
 
Autumn Holiday
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra1:46
 
Penthouse Serenade
Val Burton, Will Jason
David Rose and his Orchestra 3:03
 
Fascinating Rhythm
George Gershwin
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:21
 
Serenade To A Lemonade
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra 3:12
 
Vanessa
Bernie Wayne, real name Bernard Weitzner
David Rose and his Orchestra 3:30
 
Love For Sale
Cole Porter
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:31
 
Whispering Waters
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:05
 
Suddenly (Im Chambre Séparée)
Richard Heuberger
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:46
 
I've Got You Under My Skin (from the film 'Born To Dance')
Cole Porter
David Rose and his Orchestra 3:23
 
Lovers' Serenade
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:40
 
River Kwai March (theme from the film 'The Bridge On The River Kwai')
Malcolm Arnold, based on ‘Colonel Bogey' by F.J. Ricketts
David Rose and his Orchestra 2:26
 
The Stripper
David Rose
David Rose and his Orchestra 1:54
 
London Playhouse
Sidney Torch
New Century Orchestra conducted by Sidney Torch 2:35
 
Nola
Felix Arndt, arr. Sidney Torch
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra
3:02
 
A Song By The Way
Eric Coates
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 3:22
 
Fiddler's Folly
Len Stevens, arr. Sidney Torch
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:36
 
Speakeasy
Lewis Gensler
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:34
 
Whisper While You Waltz (from 'Dear Miss Phoebe')
Harry Parr Davies, arr. Sidney Torch
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 3:01
 
Fiddlin' For Fun (Les Violons s'Amusents)
Faustin Jean-Jean, Maurice Jean-Jean
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:40
 
The Galloping Major
George Bastow, arr. Gordon Jacob
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:27
 
Pale Moon
Knight Logan, arr. Cecil Milner
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Sidney Torch 2:38
 
Cresta Run
Claude Yvoire
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:34
 
Song of Capri (featured in the film 'That Dangerous Age')
Mischa Spoliansky, arr. Sidney Torch
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Sidney Torch 3:14
 
Meandering
Sidney Torch
Queen's Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Sidney Torch 2:30
 
Domino
Louis Ferrari
Sidney Torch and his Orchestra 2:27

Christmas Lights

Joy To The World (Originally based on Psalm 98) George Frideric Handel, Lowell Mason, Isaac Watts, arr. Percy Faith 2:06
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
 
White Christmas - Irving Berlin 3:10
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
 
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Traditional English carol, believed to date from the 18th century 1:44
BILLY VAUGHN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
 
Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly (Based on a Welsh winter carol ‘Nos Galan’, dating from the 16th century) - Welsh Traditional, arr. Percy Faith 2:49
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
 
Snowman’s Land – Vogel 2:03
ZACK LAURENCE, piano, with KEN JONES AND HIS ORCHESTRA
 
Snowy Mountains - Joyce Cochrane 2:53
Symphonia Orchestra conducted by Ludo Philipp
 
Good Christian Men, Rejoice (An old English carol, believed to date back to the 14th century) - Traditional, arr. Percy Faith 2:21
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Good King Wenceslas (Tempus Adest Floridum) (Music based on 13th Century Spring Carol ‘Tempus Adest Floridum’; Words John Mason Neale) - Traditional, arr Percy Faith 3:03
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Snow Ride - Eric Winstone 2:28Unidentified Orchestra Santo Natale (Merry Christmas) - Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, Belle Nardone 3:06
Stanley Black and his Orchestra
 
Hark The Herald Angels Sing - Charles Wesley, Felix Mendelssohn, adapted William H. Cummings, arr. Percy Faith 2:58
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Angels We Have Heard On High (Believed to have French origins in the 18th century)Traditional arr. Percy Faith 2:53
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Away In A Manger (Widely known as 'Luther’s Cradle Hymn'. There are many different musical settings for this carol, and this one is the best-known in the United States)Traditional arr. Percy Faith 2:18
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Gesù Bambino (The Infant Jesus, composed in 1917) - Pietro Yon, arr. Percy Faith 3:02
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
I Wonder As I Wander (A simple American folk song, popular at Christmas in the United States) - John Jacob Niles, arr. Percy Faith 3:49
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Holiday On Ice - Len Stevens 2:28
Unidentified Orchestra
 
Once More It’s Christmas - George Melachrino 2:24
The Melachrino Orchestra conducted by George Melachrino
 
Alpine Sleigh Ride - Roger Senicourt, real name Frank Chacksfield 2:53
Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra
 
It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (An American carol from the 19th century) - Edmund Sears, Richard Storrs Willis, arr. Percy Faith 2:43
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) - Attributed to various composers from the 17th century onwards, especially John Francis Wade, but could have originated as early as the 13th century. arr. Percy Faith 4:05
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
Sleigh Ride - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 2:40
Boston 'Pops' Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler
 
O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël) - Adolphe Adam, arr. Percy Faith 3:44
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
The Skaters’ Waltz - Émile Waldteufel 3:42
Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra
 
Mrs. Santa Claus - Jack Fulton, Lois Steele 2:32
The Melachrino Orchestra conducted by George Melachrino
 
By The Fireside - Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly 2:58
Stanley Black and his Orchestra
 
The Holly And The Ivy; Here We Go A-Caroling - Traditional English carols, arr. Percy Faith 2:10
Percy Faith and his Orchestra
 
The First Noel (The First Nowell) (Believed to be based on an English carol, possibly Cornish, from the 18th century) - Traditional, arr. William Hill-Bowen 2:58
The Melachrino Orchestra conducted by George Melachrino