27 May

Invitation To The Dance

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5210

Invitation To The Dance

1 Dance Of The Goblins (La Ronde des Lutins) (Antonio Bazzini)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Paxton PR 610 1954
2 Ballet Égyptien - 1st Movement - Allegro Non Troppo (Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph Luigini)
THE EMBASSY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by MICHAEL FREEDMAN
Embassy WEP 1031-S 1959
3 Dance Of The Tarantulas (William Blezard)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CEDRIC DUMONT
Boosey & Hawkes O 2204 1951
4 Moonspun Dreams (John C. Egan; Allan Flynn, arr. Ivan Caryll)
HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia DX 1814 1952
5 Mexican Hat Dance (F.A. Partichela, arr. Ronald Hanmer)
MICHAEL FREEDMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (‘Jacques Leroy’ on disc label)
Embassy WLP 60002 1960
6 Pirouette (Montague Phillips)
TELECAST ORCHESTRA Conducted by ELLIOTT MAYES
Chappell C 591 1957
7 Apache Dance (Jacques Offenbach)
HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LF1059 1951
8 Banner Of Youth - March (Sidney Torch)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Chappell C 724 1961
9 Piccolo Polka (Meredith Willson)
MEREDITH WILLSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA Solo piccolo: PAUL RENZI
Brunswick LA 8628 1953
10 Cresta Blanca Waltz (Morton Gould)
MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LM-2006-C 1956
11 The Dancing Cane (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM 794 1954
12 Ascot Gavotte (from "My Fair Lady") (Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe – arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 695 1956
13 Calypso In D (Yellow Bird) (Trad, arr. Helmut Zacharias)
HELMUT ZACHARIAS AND HIS MAGIC VIOLINS
Polydor 45151 1958
14 Feliciana (Frank Perkins)
FRANK PERKINS AND HIS ‘POPS’ ORCHESTRA
Brunswick LA 8708 1955
15 Song Of Tonfano (Anthony Mawer)
HILVERSUM RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUGO DE GROOT
De Wolfe DW 2706 1961
16 Vive Le Sport – March (Roger Roger)
ROGER ROGER AND HIS CHAMPS ELYSEES ORCHESTRA
Chappell C 574 1957
17 Evening Bells (Carste; Ralph Maria Siegel)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (‘Van Lynn’ on disc label)
Brunswick LAT 8074 1955
18 Fifth Avenue Waltz (Robert Mersey)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by MALCOLM LOCKYER
Chappell C 635 1959
19 Dance Ballerina Dance (Carl Sigman; Sidney Keith Russell)
WERNER MÜLLER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca SLK 16 234P 1962
20 Golden Slippers (Trad. arr. Rickey Marino; Felix Slatkin)
FELIX SLATKIN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Liberty LSS 14024 1962
21 Interval Waltz (Vivian Ellis)
THE NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Boosey & Hawkes O 2408 1962
22 Rhumba For Romeos (Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Trebilco)
THE NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by MONIA LITER (‘Paul Hamilton’ on disc label)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2378 1960
23 Pretty Polka (Geoffrey Henman)
THE NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by MONIA LITER (‘Paul Hamilton’ on disc label)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2402 1961
24 Venus Waltz (Ron Goodwin)
HANS GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
25 Millionaire’s Hoe-Down (Wayne Robinson; Caesar Giovannini; Herman Clebanoff)
CLEBANOFF AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury PPS 6019 1961
26 Invitation To The Dance (Carl Maria von Weber)
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LK 4161 1956

Stereo: tracks 2, 19-25; rest in mono.

Eric Coates, the famous English composer of Light Music, once observed: "my marches aren’t intended for marching and my waltzes aren’t meant for waltzing". This oft repeated quote is not an entirely accurate description of everything he composed, but it does indicate that marches and waltzes (especially the latter) have provided inspiration for many composers who simply decided that they should be listened to rather than danced. This applies to a good number of the titles on this CD, although there are also many where the intention is definitely in favour of active participation, rather than purely passive listening. It will also be noted that a few numbers are not strictly dances, but somewhere in their titles the word ‘dance’ or ‘dancing’ appears, clearly suggesting what the composer had in mind.

Our first three pieces of music fall into the latter category. The exciting Dance Of The Goblins by the Italian Antonio Bazzini (1818-1897) was originally called "Scherzo Fantastique for Violin and Piano" and it must have demanded considerable aptitude from both musicians. Probably the full orchestra makes it even more exhilarating.

Ballet Égyptien composed in 1875 by Frenchman Luigini (1850-1906) was a true gift to comedians during the earlier years of the last century: would the sand dancers Wilson, Keppel and Betty have been so popular without it? The version in this collection is a rare stereo recording conducted by Michael Freedman (1911-1979) who, as a young man, studied the violin and at the age of 16 was offered his first engagements in West End theatre orchestras. Thereafter he tended to concentrate more on the art of conducting, and at various times worked with Toscanini, Furtwängler, von Karajan and Cantelli. However, like all musicians needing to pay the bills he used his talents widely, and in the early 1950s he was a violinist in the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Gradually he became known as a conductor through his BBC broadcasts, and also appeared on television with an orchestra of lady musicians – Michael Freedman and his Debutantes, who can be heard on GLCD5150 and 5155. He made a number of recordings for Oriole records, and the Embassy label, which Oriole produced for Woolworths.  The Oriole recordings were always credited to him but Embassy sometimes used the pseudonyms Serge Lamont, Lionel Hale and Jacques Leroy. As the last named he also appears on this CD conducting a spirited arrangement of Mexican Hat Dance. This comes from the fertile imagination of Ronald Hanmer (1917-1994), a very prolific English musician who claimed that he was always fully employed throughout his professional career. This embraced composing (over 700 works), arranging (especially for amateur theatricals and brass bands), and film scores.

The English pianist and composer William Blezard (1921-2003) was closely associated with Joyce Grenfell for many years, but she was just one of many distinguished performers for whom he was the accompanying pianist of choice. Dance Of The Tarantulas was one of his early compositions, from a time when he was also in demand for film work. Although he continued to write, he seems to have preferred broadcasting and the concert hall, rather than production music.

The first on the list intended specifically for dancing is Moonspun Dreams, which the record label tells us is a "Dream Saunter". It comes from a prolific series of Old Time dance records by Harry Davidson (1892-1967) and his Orchestra for EMI’s Columbia label. After a distinguished career as an organist and conductor, in November 1943 his long-running radio series "Those Were The Days" appeared for the first time, providing listeners at home with a regular helping of melodious Old Time dance music.

Londoner Montague Fawcett Phillips (1885-1969) worked in the same areas as his peers Eric Coates and Haydn Wood, except that most of his ballads possibly lacked something which would have made them popular to the masses, and thus they have tended to be forgotten. But Phillips did succeed in a musical genre that failed to survive the last century, the operetta: his "Rebel Maid" (1921) still gets occasional amateur performances, helped by its ‘hit’ song The Fishermen of England. Disliking the influences of jazz and syncopation in the 1920s, Phillips thereafter concentrated on ‘traditional’ orchestral music, much of it in lighter vein such as Pirouette.

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was actually born in Cologne, Germany, but he is widely regarded as one of the leading French composers of the 19th Century. His Apache Dance has survived numerous comic interpretations, but thankfully Harry Fryer (1896-1946) shows it some respect. He packed a lot into his relatively short career, and became a household name in Britain largely through his regular appearances on the "Music While You Work" radio programme.

Sidney Torch, MBE (born in London, Sidney Torchinsky 1908-1990) is well-known in Britain for his numerous Parlophone recordings, as well as his long tenure as conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in the "Friday Night Is Music Night" BBC programme. He wrote some excellent light music cameos for the Chappell Recorded Music Library, and he conducted the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra for many of them, such as his bright and breezy march Banner Of Youth.

Meredith Willson (1902-1984) will always be remembered for his hit musical "The Music Man", which was a big success on Broadway and later a Hollywood film. But he also composed and conducted some attractive pieces of Light Music, some to be found on an early Brunswick 10" LP called "Encore". Several have already appeared on Guild CDs, and Piccolo Polka can now be added to the list.

Morton Gould (1913-1996) became one of the most highly respected American composers, and his distinguished career was crowned with a Pulitzer Prize (for his Stringmusic, commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich for the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington) just a year before his death at the age of 82. Like other prolific composers who have achieved fame with a number of their works, some of his remaining output gets unfairly neglected. Gould’s Cresta Blanca Waltz seems to fall into this category, which may make it a pleasant surprise for many listeners.

David Rose (1910-1990) was one of the biggest names in American light music circles during the middle years of the 20th century. Born in London, England ‘lost’ him when the family moved to the USA when he was aged just four, but he retained a love for his birthplace and in his later life his fascination with steam railways often brought him back across the Atlantic. A prolific composer and arranger, he is an established Guild favourite, and Dancing Cane may have been one of his lesser known works, but it has the hallmarks of the master musician stamped all over it.

Another Guild favourite is Toronto-born Percy Faith (1908-1976) who moved permanently to the USA in 1940 where he quickly established himself through radio and recordings. From the 1950s onwards his fame spread internationally, due to the great success of his numerous long playing albums. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Faith arranged all his own material, and he was quick off the mark to record an album of music from "My Fair Lady" when that musical caused such a stir as soon as it opened on Broadway. Many of the tunes have become familiar standards, but the score was packed with so many good numbers that some have been almost forgotten, such as Ascot Gavotte.

Helmut Zacharias (1920-2002) was a German child prodigy who rose to prominence in the 1950s when the American Forces Network in Frankfurt described him as ‘the best jazz violinist in the world’. During his long career he composed over 400 works and his album sales exceeded 13 million. When he turned his attention to the traditional West Indian song Yellow Bird he decided to rename it Calypso in D.

Frank Perkins (1908-1988) studied music in both America and Europe and he became noticed in 1934 following a successful collaboration with lyricist Mitchell Parrish which resulted in Stars Fell on Alabama and Emmaline. In 1937 he was engaged as an arranger by Warner Bros. in Hollywood, where he remained until the mid-1960s. Later he tended to concentrate more on light orchestral works for concert performance producing some pleasing melodies such as Feliciana. In 1962 Frank received an Oscar nomination for his work scoring the musical "Gypsy".

In 1955 the English composer Anthony Mawer (1930-1999) started contributing occasional mood music pieces to London publishers De Wolfe, before joining the staff in 1959, where he remained until 1965. During this period he composed almost 500 titles exclusively for them, and Song Of Tonfano is just one of many delightful melodies he has created – several have already reached a wider audience through Guild. One could question whether this piece should appear in a collection of dance music, but film directors in ballroom scenes where the action concentrates on two actors always seem to need smoochy music like this. Perhaps it could be described as a very slow, slow foxtrot.

The French composer/conductor Roger Roger (1911-1995) is a prolific contributor to Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ collections. Vive Le Sport is one of those marches which Eric Coates defied listeners to try to dance.

Dolf van der Linden (real name David Gysbert van der Linden, 1915-1999) was the leading figure on the light music scene in the Netherlands from the 1940s until the 1980s. As well as broadcasting frequently with his Metropole Orchestra, he made numerous recordings for the background music libraries of major music publishers. He also made transcription recordings for Dutch radio and other companies. His commercial recordings (especially for the American market) were often labelled as ‘Van Lynn’ or ‘Daniel De Carlo’. The opening of Evening Bells may make one wonder where the melody is going, but it soon evolves into a very appealing tango.

Englishman Malcolm NevilleLockyer (1923-1976) became well-known to the British public largely due to the fact that he notched up almost 6,000 broadcasts during his prolific career. After war service in the Royal Air Force, he was engaged as pianist and arranger with the famous Ambrose band, and he also worked with Cyril Stapleton and Robert Farnon before forming his own orchestra for broadcasting in 1951. He discovered a talent for composing and scored some thirty films and television series, in 1960 succeeding Harry Rabinowitz as the conductor of the BBC Revue Orchestra. On this CD he conducts Fifth Avenue Waltz by New Yorker Robert Mersey (b. 1917) who as well as being a composer and musical director, produced some of Columbia Records’ most successful 1960s vocals, such as the Andy Williams hit Moon River.

Werner Müller (1920-1998) is also a well-established Guild favourite, sometimes under his familiar pseudonym ‘Ricardo Santos’. By the early 1960s his orchestra had become firmly established internationally, and Dance Ballerina Dance comes from one of his top-selling albums of that era.

Felix Slatkin (1915-1963) was born in St Louis, Missouri, and he became a leading violinist and conductor. His entertaining version of the traditional melody Golden Slippers was created not long before he died in 1963 from a heart attack aged only 47.

Boosey & Hawkes’ New Concert Orchestra provide three contrasting dances by leading composers. Vivian Ellis (1903-1996) will always be remembered in light music circles for Coronation Scot (on GLCD5120 & 5181) and Alpine Pastures (GLCD5169). They were both for Chappells, but later he wrote several highly regarded works for Boosey & Hawkes, including his charming Interval Waltz. Regular collectors of this Guild series of CDs will already be familiar with the music of Trevor Duncan (real name Leonard Charles Trebilco, 1924-2005), and among the best-known are his first success High Heels (on Guild GLCD 5124), Grand Vista (GLCD 5124) and Panoramic Splendour (GLCD5111). He could turn his hand to many varied styles, and Rhumba For Romeos finds him in a Latin-American mood. Herbert Geoffrey Henman (b. 1896) was known for writing popular songs in the frothy style that was in vogue before World War II. He also contributed to stage shows, and one of his best known pieces of light music was Champagne March (on GLCD5103)for the Chappell Recorded Music Library. Pretty Polka appears to have been his only work accepted by Boosey & Hawkes for their mood music library. During the 1930s Haydn Wood orchestrated some of his melodies, and even lent him £2,500 in 1949 to buy a house in Sussex. The last two titles by the New Concert Orchestra were conducted by Monia Liter (1906-1988), at the time the Recorded Music Manager at Boosey & Hawkes.

Venus Waltz by Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) originally appeared on a Parlophone LP ‘Out Of This World’. The German violin maestro Hans Georg Arlt (1927-2011) gave it his usual polished performance. This leads us to a barn-storming performance of Millionaire’s Hoe-Down by Chicago-born Herman Clebanoff (1917-2004).

Our final track is the light classical work which gives this collection of music its title. The German composer Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786-1826) wrote Invitation To The Dance (sometimes called Invitation To The Waltz) as a piano work; it was highly regarded and was orchestrated at different times by Berlioz and Liszt. In 1956 it was the turn of the Mantovani Orchestra, in which the glorious cascading string sound briefly surfaces, but this recording (which has been edited) is basically true to the best-known version of this popular work.

David Ades

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Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.