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The Golden Age of Light Music
New Town: Production Music of the 1950s

Recorded 1950s
Full track-listing below
GUILD GLCD5224 [78:22]

Mood music, stock music, production music – it’s much the same thing, which is music crafted for the entertainment business. Guild GLCD5220 pursued the theme in the 1940s and now it moves up a decade to give us some refreshing light-hearted tracks from the years 1950 to 1959.

Many of the composers, orchestras, and conductors will be very familiar by now to habitués of this gargantuan series, which is now well into the hundred-plus release mark. There are always delightful niche things to be encountered and sassy interpretations to be enjoyed by some of the best musicians in the business. One can only point to a few highlights and hope that this gives some indication of the pleasure to be encountered over the course of a 25-track CD filled to the foaming brim with music.

The track which lends its name to the disc is Roger Roger’s Industrie dans la Ville, translated into English as New Town and played by the composer with his Champs Elysées Orchestra. A confident work with fine ‘heavy industry’ work rhythms – though not quite Mosolov’s foundry – it’s full of post-war, post-rationing optimism. It’s a theme reprised in Garden City written by Dennis Berry under his pseudonym Peter Dennis and played on a Bosworth disc by the gents of the West End Celebrity Orchestra. You wouldn’t expect Bob Farnon to be absent in a disc like this and nor is he, as he conducts six of the tracks, two with the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, the bulk with the forces of the Danish State Radio Orchestra. Frederic Curzon conducts his own typically melodically generous Galavant on a Boosey and Hawkes disc.

Much less well-known is Anthony Mawer whose Sophisticated Lady is played by The Harmony Fifty under Walter Warren – who was really Meyer de Wolfe on his own label, a disc released in 1956. Modish percussion cluster around Trade Wind, a Wally Stott tune though Peter Yorke’s Flapjack, a witty and playful opus is far better and gets a delicious reading from Farnon. Prolific Ronald Hanmer is represented by Mink for Milady and one still hears Sporting Occasion, composed by Leslie Statham (or Arnold Steck, his ‘public’ name), as it’s used during Wimbledon tennis transmissions on BBC TV.

Eric Siday was a first-class jazz violinist who emigrated to America where he wrote Luna Park, though the honours are here taken by Sidney Torch and the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. Charles Williams contributes To the Brave, a heroic, Elgarian piece interpreted to perfection by Farnon. Then there’s Ken Warner’s Afternoon Tea, genial and charming. Warner retired from music to raise pigs. He was the son of Harry Waldo Warner, the eminent violist, and I’ve been trying to get in touch with the Warner family for a good while: all leads gratefully received. Reginald King is quite well known for his piano miniatures and Rainbow Caprice is a happy illustration of his genial talents. It’s interesting to hear Heinz Herschmann’s The Galleon. It’s a bold, cinematic piece and Herschmann’s history is of interest; born in Vienna he studied at RCM and was widely active in Light Music. Still alive he is also an admired chess player. Sidney Torch’s Red Square Review starts like Matador music then moves off into Sovietana. The final track is by a favourite of mine, Leonard Trebilco, known as ‘Trevor Duncan’. Though this five-minute Boosey and Hawkes piece has apparently been slightly cut it still emerges as a tone poem of High Seas lyricism. Here’s a tip for Guild; if you want to be assured of a good review from me, just keep mining the Trebilco song book. The man was wonderful.

Another excellent instalment then, with super-fine notes into the bargain.

Jonathan Woolf

Full track-listing
New Town (Industrie Dans La Ville) - Roger Roger; ROGER ROGER AND HIS CHAMPS ELYSEES ORCHESTRA 3:28
Dance Of The Hailstones - Kenneth Essex, real name Rufus Isaacs; LOUIS VOSS AND HIS ORCHESTRA 2:39
Brave Prospect - Jack Beaver; DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (‘Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label) 2:38
Galavant - Frederic Curzon; NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by FREDERIC CURZON 3:20
A Promise Of Spring - Robert Farnon; DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (‘Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label) 3:03
Garden City - Peter Dennis, real name Dennis Berry; WEST END CELEBRITY ORCHESTRA 2:52
Sophisticated Lady - Anthony Mawer; THE HARMONY FIFTY Conducted by WALTER WARREN (real name MEYER DE WOLFE) 3:08
Flapjack - Peter Yorke; DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (‘Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label) 3:09
Trade Wind - Walter Stott, later known as Angela Morley; TELECAST ORCHESTRA Conducted by ELLIOTT MAYES 3:11
Sporting Occasion - Arnold Steck, real name Leslie Statham; QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON 2:19
Mink For Milady - Ronald Hanmer; BOSWORTH’S STRING ORCHESTRA 2:47
Luna Park - Eric Siday; QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH 2:28
To The Brave - Charles Williams; DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (‘Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label) 3:05
Midnight Melody - Edward White; NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN 3:25
Afternoon Tea - Ken Warner; STUTTGART RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by KURT REHFELD (‘Lansdowne Light Orchestra’ on disc label) 2:47
The Galleon - Heinz Herschmann; NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CEDRIC DUMONT 3:58
Once Upon A Dream - Bruce Campbell; TELECAST ORCHESTRA Conducted by ELLIOTT MAYES (probably Danish State Radio Orchestra) 3:22
Chiming Strings - Clive Richardson; L’ORCHESTRE DEVEREAUX Conducted by GEORGES DEVEREAUX 3:23
Rainbow Caprice - Reginald King; REGENT CLASSIC ORCHESTRA 2:52
Happy Town - Robert Mersey; THE GROSVENOR STUDIO ORCHESTRA 3:04
Red Square Review - Sidney Torch; QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON 2:43
Carefree - Van Phillips; STUTTGART RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by KURT REHFELD (‘Lansdowne Light Orchestra’ on disc label) 2:30
Pink Fizz - Albert Marland; GROUP-FORTY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC COOK 2:44
The Voyagers - Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Trebilco; NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CEDRIC DUMONT 4:58