27 May

Light Music While You Work – Volume 5

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5211

Light Music While You Work – Volume 5

1 After The Rain (Francesco Canaro)
HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 361 1946
2 Amoretten Tanz (Joseph Gungl)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 270 1945
3 Cockney Capers (Peter Crantock, pseudonym of Clive Richardson and Tony Lowry)
WYNFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 408 1946
4 Barcarolle (Jacques Offenbach)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 397 1946
5 Careless Cuckoos (Ernest Bucalossi)
HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 349 1945
6 Cavatina (Joseph Joachim Raff)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 268 1945
7 The Druid’s Prayer Waltz (Gordon Davson)
HAROLD COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 80 1943
8 Estudiantina (Emile Waldteufel)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS SCOTTISH VARIETY ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 219 1944
9 Chant Sans Paroles (Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 268 1945
10 Dolores Waltz (Emile Waldteufel)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 309 1945
11 Narcissus (Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin arr. Philip Green)
HAROLD COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 81 1943
12 Heyken’s Serenade No. 1 (Jonny Heykens)
DAVID JAVA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 176 1944
13 London Calling March (Eric Coates)
HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 361 1946
14 The Frolicsome Hare (Herbert Ashworth-Hope)
WYNFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 408 1946
15 Melody In F (Anton Rubinstein)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 397 1946
16 Mon Bijou (My Jewel) (Charles E. Le Paige)
HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 398 1945
17 Parade Of The Tin Soldiers (Leon Jessel)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 96 1943
18 Promotions - Waltz (Johann Strauss II)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 320 1945
19 Poeme (Zdenĕk Fibich)
RICHARD CREAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 353 1945
20 Pomone - Waltz (Emile Waldteufel)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 270 1945
21 Santiago (A. Corbin arr. Aubrey Winter)
HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 327 1945
22 Unrequited Love (Paul Lincke)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 358 1946
23 The Jolly Airmen - March (P. Beechfield-Carver)
HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 340 1945
24 The Mascot Waltz (Edmond Audran)
HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Not Issued Matrix No. DR 8211-2 1944
25 Naila - Rhythmic Paraphrase (Léo Delibes arr. Arthur Lange)
HARRY FRYER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 69 1943
26 The Grenadiers - Waltz (Emile Waldteufel)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS WALTZ ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 309 1945

All tracks mono

The fact that this collection of music is labelled ‘Volume 5’ should convey at least two significant hints: firstly there have been four previous Guild CDs of similar music; and secondly comments from previous purchasers have indicated that they would still like more from the same source. Fortunately the well has not yet run dry, and it is hoped that the performances by the orchestras who have by now become familiar friends will confirm the high standards that were regularly achieved.

Whereas the title of this collection will mean a lot to British people ‘of a certain age’, it is appropriate to offer an explanation to the younger generation, and Guild Music’s many friends in countries outside the United Kingdom, who may not possess any of the first four volumes. When the full misery of the Second World War was becoming all too apparent in the early months of 1940, the BBC (the sole broadcaster at the time) was persuaded that the public needed cheering up, and morale-boosting radio programmes would be an important addition to other forms of popular entertainment such as the cinema and variety theatres. Radio shows were being relayed to factories to relieve the monotony of mass production, especially in the fields of armaments and other essential war supplies, and it was believed that bright and cheerful music might even increase output.

The result was that a programme called "Music While You Work" was first broadcast on Sunday 23 June 1940 and it soon became something of an institution in British broadcasting, where it was to remain in the schedules for an unbroken run of 27 years.

The man credited with the original idea – and its successful implementation – was Wynford Reynolds. ‘Live’ musicians were usually engaged for the programme, ranging from solo performers such as organists, to small groups, dance bands, light orchestras and military bands. When radio programmes suitable for relaying in factories were not being broadcast, gramophone records were an ideal substitute, relayed over the ubiquitous Tannoy public address system.

Someone at Decca realised that a special series of 78s would fit the bill admirably and their own "Music While You Work" label was born: sensibly they sought Wynford Reynolds’ advice from the outset. These were not intended to be an accurate carbon copy of the BBC broadcasts, and the orchestras on the Decca records (mostly their contract artists) did not necessarily also perform on the radio. But they did succeed in conveying the ‘feel’ of the programme and have provided a fascinating subject for collectors to study over the years.

The first 78s appeared in 1942, and over 400 were eventually released before the final ones were issued in January 1947. Most of the recordings featured dance bands and small groups but many were orchestral and the majority of these may now be found within these five Guild collections.

The series was quickly deleted, and throughout the existence of the label Decca publicity had been sketchy, to say the least. The record buying public was often unaware of what was available, so consequently some of the titles must be quite rare.

Some of the later 78s were recorded using Decca’s revolutionary ‘ffrr’ process which remained a closely guarded secret for some while. It had originally been developed to assist the war effort, and the improved sound quality of several of the later tracks on this CD is evidence of this. With the possible exception of David Java, the orchestras in this collection would have been familiar to radio listeners at the time. Like so many musicians of his era, Harry Fryer (1896-1946) found work playing for silent films and gradually progressed to conducting at London theatres and leading venues in and around the capital. He was a regular broadcaster, both before the war and later frequently on radio in "Music While You Work". The London publishers Boosey & Hawkes contracted Fryer in 1941 to conduct for their Recorded Music Library. By the end of the war he had become a household name and there seems little doubt that, had it not been for his death in 1946 aged only 50, his talents would have been much in demand during the post-war years.

Ronald ‘Ronnie’ George Munro (1897-1989) started his career playing piano in various clubs and bands in London before eventually working regularly with EMI – particularly the HMV ‘house’ orchestra The New Mayfair Orchestra. He contributed numerous arrangements for top recording bands such as Jack Hylton, Lew Stone, Percival Mackey, Ambrose and Henry Hall. In 1940 he was appointed conductor of the BBC’s newly-formed Scottish Variety Orchestra, and Estudiantina is typical of the kind of music for which they became known. After a further spell with a dance band after the war, he formed his light orchestra for radio in the fifties, concluding his BBC career with a sextet which he led between 1962 and 1967. When radio broadcasts dried up, he relocated to South Africa, where he reformed his orchestra, subsequently becoming Head of Light Music for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Considering his musical background, it is likely that Wynford Hubert Reynolds (1899-1958) had little problem in persuading the BBC that he had the necessary knowledge to launch "Music While You Work". He was already on the staff of the BBC as a producer, although he was also an experienced performer. He was born in Ebbw Vale, Wales, and his early musical training at the Royal Academy of Music concentrated on the violin, viola and composition. Like many of his fellow musicians, he provided music for silent films, and eventually joined the Queen’s Hall Orchestra under its illustrious conductor (and founder of London’s Promenade Concerts) Sir Henry Wood. Reynolds became involved with the early days of radio in the 1920s, and it wasn’t long before he formed his own orchestra for concerts and broadcasts, including engagements at seaside venues. In 1941 the BBC gave him the important-sounding title ‘Music While You Work Organiser’ but, due to the strict rules imposed by the Corporation on its own employees, this prevented him from appearing with his orchestra in the programmes. He left this position in 1944, and went back to performing on radio, not only in "Music While You Work" but also, later, in popular shows such as "Bright and Early" and "Morning Music".

Richard Crean (1879-1955) became a familiar name in the 1930s through his association with the London Palladium Orchestra, which was probably the best known British theatre orchestra. In recording terms it was also the most prolific, with almost 150 recordings made between 1927 and the early 1940s, many of them conducted by Richard Crean who was in charge from 1930 to 1937. Before joining the London Palladium Orchestra he had travelled widely as Chorus Master with the Thomas Quinlan Opera Company, before accepting a similar position at Covent Garden with Adrian Boult. Then a spell at Ilford Hippodrome in variety led to his appointment in 1930 at the Palladium, which lasted until he formed his own orchestra which he conducted, on and off, for the rest of his life. For a short while in 1941-42 he conducted the newly-formed BBC Midland Light Orchestra, and like Harry Fryer he was also a contributor to the Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library.

Harry Davidson (1892-1967) enjoyed two successful, and different, careers before and following the Second World War. After various engagements around London and the north-east of England spanning the years 1914 to 1929, he finally secured the highly prestigious appointment as organist at the newly built Commodore Theatre at Hammersmith in London. The Commodore had a fine 18-piece orchestra conducted by Joseph Muscant (1899-1983) and, by the early 1930s it had acquired a loyal national following for its regular broadcasts. After five years Muscant left to take over the Troxy Broadcasting Orchestra and, in July 1934, Harry Davidson stepped into his shoes. Although the orchestra was disbanded during the war, Davidson managed to keep many of his superb musicians together and soon he was broadcasting regularly, notching up no less than 109 editions of "Music While You Work" between 1940 and 1946. In November 1943 his series "Those Were The Days" appeared for the first time, providing listeners at home with a regular helping of melodious old-time dance music. It became a permanent fixture in the schedules with Harry in charge until ill-health forced him to retire in November 1965.

Harold Collins (c.1900 - c.1971) was arold Collins, David Java

at one time MD at the London Coliseum, although he also held positions at various provincial theatres. Originally a pianist, it seems he gave his first broadcast from Plymouth in 1936 where he was resident conductor at the Palace Theatre, and was hired by the BBC for "Music While You Work" soon after its launch. In total he appeared in 227 programmes with his Orchestra, and he also made a good number of records for Decca’s MWYW series, usually with a smaller ensemble in a style that suited the light repertoire that was his speciality – his two tracks in this collection are ideal examples. In later years he was heard in BBC shows "Morning Music" and "Melody On The Move", and through his work with Norman Wisdom he appeared on ITV’s top Sunday evening shows from the London Palladium and the Prince of Wales Theatre.

David Java only made two records for Decca’s MWYW series, and his career is poorly documented. In 1938 he played violin alongside Sidney Sax on several Victor Silvester recordings for Parlophone, and again on some Columbia recordings in 1941 when Oscar Grasso, Alfredo Campoli, Reginald Kilbey and Eugene Pini were among the distinguished violin players whom Silvester employed. After the war David Java supplied orchestras for Lyons’ Corner House restaurant and presumably other similar venues.

Now that we’ve met the orchestras, it’s appropriate to mention some of the music. Among what might be described as the ‘traditional’ works by the likes of Gungl, Offenbach, Waldteufel and Tchaikovsky, there are some light music ‘gems’ waiting to delight us.

First in the spotlight is ‘Peter Crantock’ who hid the true identities of Clive Richardson (1909-1998) and Tony Lowry (1888-1976), for several years the piano duettists ‘Four Hands In Harmony’ in the variety halls and on radio. Richardson in particular was a major light music composer, with titles such as London Fantasia (on GLCD5120), Melody On The Move (GLCD5102), Running Off The Rails (GLCD5156) and Holiday Spirit (GLCD5120). Lowry is remembered for Seascape (on GLCD5145) and as co-composer with Douglas Brownsmith (1902-1965) of Down The Mall (GLCD5116, 5147 & 5171) under the pseudonym ‘John Belton’.

Ernest Bucalossi (1859-1933) provided the last century with a truly memorable piece of light music, The Grasshoppers’ Dance (on Guild GLCD5108 & 5122). On this CD he appears with Careless Cuckoos. Ernest followed in the footsteps of his father, Procida (1832-1918), conducting in various establishments (including leading West End theatres) as well as composing.

Jonny Heykens (1884-1945) was a Dutch composer whose music was particularly enjoyed in Germany. His most popular work became known as Heyken’s Serenade (Ständchen) and it has previously featured in three Guild collections – more traditional versions by Marek Weber (GLCD5120) and Mantovani (GLCD5184), although one should not forget Ron Goodwin’s exciting arrangement early on in his career (GLCD5101). Guild included David Java’s version of Heyken’s Serenade No. 2 in the fourth volume in this series, and by popular request we now feature his recording of the more famous first Serenade.

Herbert Ashworth-Hope (usually called Ashworth Hope 1880-1962) was a successful solicitor as well as a composer – his best-known work being Barnacle Bill which was used as the signature tune for BBC TV’s "Blue Peter" children’s programme. Frolicsome Hare was also well received: Lionel Jeffries’ version is on Guild GLCD5143.

There is space left in these notes for two more composers, both born in Germany, confirming that light music was certainly appreciated in many countries in the last century. Leon Jessel (1871-1942) had a big hit with his Parade of the Tin Soldiers in 1911 (also on Guild GLCD5134, and sometimes called Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers – GLCD5114), and in the same year he achieved equal success with The Wedding of the Rose - four outstanding versions have already appeared on Guild: Jack Hylton (GLCD5106); Ron Goodwin (5120); Commodore Grand Orchestra (5168); and Harold Collins in the third volume of this series (5186).

The other German composer Carl Emil Paul Lincke (born in Berlin 1866-1946) worked as a theatre conductor and music publisher in Berlin around the turn of the century. He spent two years in Paris as musical director of the famous Folies-Bergère, but then returned to Berlin, where he conducted at the Apollo Theatre. A versatile musician, he started with the violin, changed to the bassoon and then finally to the piano. He became known around the world for his Glow Worm (on Guild GLCD5106 & 5143), but this was just one number in a large body of musical works. He was generally considered to be ‘the father of Berlin operetta’, putting him (in German speaking countries, at least) on a par with Johann Strauss and Franz Lehar. He is reported to have composed Unrequited Love (Verschmähte Liebe) after his second wife and child left him.

David Ades

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About Geoff 123
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.