Light Music CDs. Some highly recommended releases.

Light Music is ignored by most Record Stores and Radio Stations, yet it is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

You may know it as Easy Listening or Concert Music ... or maybe Middle-of-the Road. Whatever you happen to call it, Light Music offers relaxing enjoyment at any time of the day or night, and we hope that you will return regularly to this page in the Robert Farnon Society website to keep fully informed on the latest releases.

Releases up to December 2010

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For 2010:

LIGHT MUSIC CDs DECEMBER 2010

GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5173

The Pianist In The Spotlight

1 Love Letters (Victor Young, arr. George Greeley)
GEORGE GREELEY, Piano and Orchestra
Warner Bros WS 1319 1959
2 Near You (Francis Craig)
ROGER WILLIAMS, HIS PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
London HA-R 2155 1958
3 Because You’re Mine (Sammy Cahn; Nicholas Brodszky, arr. Paul Weston)
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CS 8042 1958
4 Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You (Marvin Fisher; Jack Segal, arr. George Shearing and Billy May)
GEORGE SHEARING, Piano with BILLY MAY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol T 858 1957
5 Concerto (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA with DON FERRIS, Piano
MGM SE 3748 1959
6 The Way You Look Tonight (from film "Swing Time") (Jerome Kern)
JOE "Mr Piano" HENDERSON, Piano with BILL SHEPHERD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Pye NSPL 83006 1959
7 Soft Sands (Lou Stein)
LOU STEIN, PIANO - with BILL FONTAINE’S ORCHESTRA
London HLZ 8419 1957
8 Silly Billy (Norman [Norrie] William Paramor)
NORRIE PARAMOR AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring NORRIE PARAMOR, Piano
Columbia DB 4004 1957
9 Invitation Waltz (from "Ring Round The Moon") (Richard Addinsell)
SEMPRINI, Piano and Orchestra
HMV POP 384 1957
10 Carnavalito (Edmundo Porteno Zaldivar)
PIERRE DORSEY, HIS PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
Polygon P 1083 1953
11 Vendetta (Ken Jones; Chris Armstrong, better known as Ray Martin)
WINIFRED ATWELL, Piano with CYRIL ORNADEL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Philips PB 332 1954
12 Georgian Rumba (Ivor Slaney)
DOLORES VENTURA, Piano – with Accompaniment Directed by IVOR SLANEY
Parlophone R 4160 1956
13 Can I Forget You (Jerome Kern, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring BILLMcGUFFIE, Piano
Decca LK 4083 1954
14 My Ship (from "Lady In The Dark") (Kurt Weill, arr. Morton Gould)
MORTON GOULD, Piano, AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia ML 4657 1953
15 Legend (Robert Docker)
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO featuring WILLIAM HILL-BOWEN, Piano
HMV C 4038 1950
16 Heart And Soul (Hoagy Carmichael)
ROBERTO INGLEZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Parlophone R 3640 1953
17 Starlight (Otto Cesana)
OTTO CESANA AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring BERNIE LEIGHTON, Piano
Columbia CL 631 1955
18 Punch And Judy Polka (Ronald George Munro)
BILLY MAYERL RHYTHM ENSEMBLE
Parlophone F 2449 1951
19 Mediterranean Concerto (Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA(pianist uncredited on disc label)
R 3313 1950
20 Jungle Bird (Maurice Burman, arr. Stanley Black)
STANLEY BLACK, HIS PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
Decca LF 1055 1951
21 While A Cigarette Was Burning (Charles F. Kenny; Nick A. Kenny)
ART WANER Conducting THE LATIN QUARTER ORCHESTRA
MGM D 124 1954
22 City Centre (Robert Keys)
PALL MALL REVELLERS
Bosworth BC 1080 1939
23 "Mr. Dodd Takes The Air" – Film Selection Am I In Love, Remember Me (Al Dubin; Harry Warren)
CARROLL GIBBONS, piano - AND HIS BOY FRIENDS
Columbia FB 1870 1938
24 At The Court Of Old King Cole (Raie Da Costa)
RAIE DA COSTA, Piano, with RAY NOBLE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
HMV B 6496 1934
Stereo: tracks 1, 3, 4, 5 & 6 ; other tracks mono.

In this collection it is the turn of pianists to take centre stage. Some of them will be familiar as famous solo artists, while others fronted their own groups or small ensembles which bear their name. Occasionally there are the unsung heroes whose work in orchestras often goes unnoticed, although they would surely be missed if they suddenly disappeared.

George Greeley (born Georgio Guariglia, 1917-2007) was an American pianist, conductor and composer who worked extensively in films and television, and made numerous recordings – often accompanying leading artists such as Gordon MacRae, Jane Powell and Jane Froman. During his early career he arranged for popular bandleaders such as Tommy Dorsey. In the 1950s he was a staff pianist at Columbia Pictures, and received particular praise for his work on "On The Waterfront" (1954) and "The Eddy Duchin Story" (1956). In later years he performed as piano soloist and guest conductor with leading orchestras in many countries.

Roger Williams (born Louis Weertz, 1924) is known in his native USA as "The Pianist To The Presidents", because he has been invited so many times to perform at the White House. Undoubtedly he is one of the most popular pianists of his generation, having achieved many hit records, including Near You - the choice for his first appearance on a Guild CD.

Paul Weston (born Paul Wetstein 1912-1996) was originally a pianist, although his particular favourites were saxes and clarinets. When recovering from an accident he was unable to perform so he tried arranging, which proved to be the spur for his future career fronting a world famous orchestra. Because You’re Mine allows us to hear his mastery of the keyboard. In 1971 the Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave its Trustees Award to Paul Weston.

If anyone deserves to be called a ‘Living Legend’ it is surely George Shearing (b. 1919), who became ‘Sir George’ in 2007 when he received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. His unique style of playing has won him countless friends and admirers for over half a century, and he has worked with just about everyone who matters in show business. Choosing a suitable title for his first appearance on Guild was made relatively easy when he teamed up with Billy May (1916-2004) – who showed that he could write just as well for strings as for the big band style that made him famous.

David Rose (1910-1990) needs no introduction to regular Guild Light Music friends. Born in London, his family moved to Chicago in the USA when he was four, and during his prolific career he became one of the biggest names in radio, films, television and – of course – records. Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120) gave his career a sudden boost in the early 1940s, and it proved to be one of the first of a string of memorable compositions that kept flowing from his fertile inspiration. Concerto is perhaps more laid back than many of them, but its glorious harmonies provide the perfect backdrop to the piano of Don Ferris. Composer and pianist Ferris (born Dominic Anthony Frissore, 1919-2006) served in the US Army during World War II, and was a staff organist in the Armed Forces Radio Service where he would have come into contact with Sgt. David Rose. After working for two years as a staff pianist in film studios, Ferris became pianist for the David Rose Orchestra in 1946.

Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson (born in Glasgow, 1920-1980) was a professional dance band pianist at the age of fifteen. During the 1950s he became well-known in Britain, partly due to his friendship with singer Petula Clark, whom he had first met in 1947 at the Peter Maurice music publishers. His biggest hit was his own composition Trudie in 1957, which won him an Ivor Novello Award.

Lou Stein (1922-2002) was an American jazz pianist whose credentials included working with the likes of Glenn Miller, Percy Faith, Jackie Gleason and Benny Goodman – among many other famous names in jazz and popular music. His own melody Soft Sands (on this CD) also received the honour of a recording by Oscar Peterson.

Londoner Norman William (Norrie) Paramor (1914-1979) tended to be better known by the public for his work with pop stars on EMI’s Columbia label, but he also made numerous instrumental recordings and wrote several catchy numbers that greatly appealed, such as his own Silly Billy.

Although his numerous British fans considered him to be Italian, the pianist and composer Semprini was actually born in Bath, Somerset, where his Italian parents named him Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini (1908-1990). No doubt his attractive accent was partly due to the time he spent studying music at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, from which he graduated in 1928. He was a frequent broadcaster, and he used his own composition Mediterranean Concerto as his theme. Surprisingly the Sidney Torch (1908-1990) recording heard on this CD did not mention the name of the pianist on the disc label. At that time Torch’s pianist was often Edward Rubach, and one would have expected him to be credited. This leads to speculation that the composer may have been at the keyboard, or maybe even Sidney Torch himself who was a piano virtuoso as well as a famous organist..

Pierre Dorsey joins our roster of pianists in the catchy novelty Carnavalito. He made a few recordings in the 1950s, but his career does not seem to have lasted.

Among the most successful in terms of hit records was Winifred Atwell (born Una Winifred Atwell,1914-1983) who hailed from the West Indies. During her variety appearances she performed first on a traditional grand piano, then her ‘other’ piano (discovered in a London junk shop) was wheeled on stage allowing her to play the boogie woogie and ragtime tunes that became her trademark. But she was also an accomplished concert pianist, and had studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music where she became the first female pianist to be awarded the Academy’s top grades. In Vendetta she is backed by Cyril Ornadel (b. 1924) and his Orchestra reprising their previous contribution to a Guild CD (Moonlight Fiesta on GLCD5111). Ornadel rose to prominence in Britain during the 1950s, largely due to his weekly appearances conducting the orchestra for the popular television series "Sunday Night at the London Palladium".

Dolores Ventura enjoyed a busy performing and recording career in Britain during the 1950s, sometimes with an orchestra conducted by her husband Ivor Slaney (1921-1998). He was also a successful composer and a fine oboe player, regularly doing session work under top conductors such as Robert Farnon. Four of Slaney’s accomplishments come together in Georgian Rumba: firstly the pianist is his wife; secondly he composed the melody; thirdly he can be heard on oboe – and on top of all that he conducts his orchestra. His previous compositions featured in Guild are Country Canter (GLCD5164), Donkey Doodle (GLCD5131) and The Show Goes On (GLGD5149). His more serious works include a Brazilian Suite and an Oboe Concerto.

William [Bill] McGuffie (1927-1987) is remembered by most music lovers as a fine pianist, often leaning towards jazz, although his occasional work in films proved that he was also a talented composer. His success is all the more impressive, when you consider that the third finger of his right hand was amputated in childhood following an accident. He never let this become a handicap, and in later life he founded his own charity The Niner Club (named after his number of fingers) which raised money for autistic children. During his long career he was the pianist of choice for many leading conductors, and Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was no exception – creating a special arrangement of Can I Forget You to showcase his talents.

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. He generally arranged the works he conducted in the concert hall and on records, and his brilliance as a sensitive pianist shines through every bar of the Kurt Weill classic My Ship. From 1986 to 1994 Gould was President of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Robert Docker (1918-1992) became known to the British public through his many broadcasts as a pianist, but he was also a prolific arranger and composer. His Legend entered the repertoire of many light orchestras, and the George Melachrino (1909-1965) version for HMV was regarded by many as the definitive version.

Roberto Inglez was actually a Scotsman called Robert Inglis (1919-1974) who specialised in Latin American music. He built up a loyal following through his work in leading London West End clubs and his frequent BBC broadcasts.

Italian born Otto Cesana (1899-1980) spent much of his early career in California where he lived from 1908 to 1930. His piano studies commenced at the age of ten, and he became an accomplished organist; he also learned about orchestration and harmony which he put to good use working in radio and Hollywood film studios. Although his recorded output was not large compared with some of his contemporaries, he usually conducted his own compositions which were of a consistently high standard – as already illustrated on several previous Guild Light Music CDs. The pianist in Starlight is Bernie Leighton (1921-1994), mainly recognised as a jazz player who worked with Percy Faith and numerous singers, bands and orchestras from the late 1930s into the 1980s.

Billy Joseph Mayerl (1902-1959) was a Londoner whose expertise on the piano gained him international recognition. Although perhaps best-known for his own cameos (often syncopated), during his regular broadcasts he played numbers by many fellow composers - such as Punch And Judy Polka by Ronald George Munro (better known as Ronnie, 1807-1989). In an extremely varied career, Munro had led a dance band during the twenties and thirties, becoming the first conductor of the Scottish Variety Orchestra when it was established by the BBC in 1940. Later he formed his own light orchestra for radio in the fifties, concluding his BBC career with a sextet which he led between 1962 and 1967. When radio broadcasts of live music in Britain dried up, he moved to South Africa, where he reformed his orchestra, subsequently becoming Head of Light Music for S.A.B.C.

Stanley Black (born Solomon Schwartz 1913-2002) was successful in many areas of music during his long career which began in his teens. From playing piano in Harry Roy’s dance band he became keen on Latin-American music, and later recorded many fine light orchestral albums.

Pianist Art Waner conducted the orchestra at the famous Latin Quarter nightclub, located at 159 Palm Island Drive, Miami Beach. From the 1940s into the 1960s this was a Mecca for top entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett performing for winter crowds of tourists wishing to escape to the Florida sunshine.

City Centre is an early composition by Robert Keys (1914-1999), who went on to become a repetiteur then assistant head of the music staff at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which he joined in 1953. He was widely respected in the profession and a key back-room figure in helping turn Covent Garden into a house of international standing. Previously he had worked with Benjamin Britten at his English Opera Group in Aldeburgh. Such was his reputation that he received many invitations to work on special projects overseas. In retirement he continued to coach young singers, and was secretary of the Robert Stolz Society.

Although he was born in Clinton, Massachusetts, the pianist and composer Carroll Gibbons (1903-1954) made his career mainly in England, which apparently impressed him while studying at the Royal Academy of Music in his late teens. He became associated with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans, but briefly returned to the USA in 1931 where he spent two years with MGM in Hollywood. One of his most popular compositions was Garden In The Rain (Ray Martin’s version is on Guild GLCD5135) which received the accolade of a recording by Frank Sinatra with the Robert Farnon Orchestra in 1962.

The daughter of Portuguese parents, Raie Da Costa (1905-1934) was born in Cape Town, where she studied dancing and music. She wanted to become a ballerina, but an accident forced her to forget this childhood ambition so she concentrated on the piano. In 1924 her mother brought her from South Africa to London, but initially it was hard to get classical engagements. A wise change of career found her concentrating on rhythmic popular numbers, and a recording contract was secured in 1928. From then on she was always busy with broadcasting, stage shows and, of course, records. She was considered by many to be one of the most talented pianists of the time, with an incredible left-hand technique. Sadly she died at the young age of 29 from a cruel illness in 1934, not long after she had recorded her own composition At The Court Of Old King Cole which is the final track in this collection.

David Ades

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5174

The Lost Transcriptions – Volume 1

1 Strike Up The Band (George & Ira Gershwin, probably arranged by Sidney Torch)
RAF CONCERT ORCHESTRA probably conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
ORBS Cut 2448 (2EN 9358) Issue MK 4943 1944
2 "Swing Time" Selection (Jerome Kern; Dorothy Fields, probably arranged by Len Stevens) The Way You Look Tonight, Pick Yourself Up, A Fine Romance, Waltz In Swing Time.
RAF CONCERT ORCHESTRA probably conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
ORBS Cut 173 (2EN 3640) Issue MK 4570 late 1942 or early 1943
3 Ragging The Scales (Edward B. Claypole, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
OA PO 104 1950s
4 The Butterfly And The Alligator (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
World Programme Service (Australia) 006 c1943
5 If You Please (from the film "Dixie") (Jimmy Van Heusen, arr. Sidney Torch)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Towers of London Transcription Disc c1951
6 Primavera (Jupe Elders)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Thesaurus Orthacoustic 1773 1953
7 Pepper Tree Lane (from "Hollywood Bowl Suite") (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
World Programme Service (Australia) 006 c1943
8 Balboa Barcarolle (Vernon Duke, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
VOA PO 125 1950s
9 La Bamba De Vera Cruz – Mexican Dance (Traditional, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
VOA PO 88 1947
10 Song Of The Flame (from the musical "Song Of The Flame") (George Gershwin; Herbert Stothart)
PHIL SPITALNY AND HIS ALL GIRL ORCHESTRA
Thesaurus Orthacoustic 1871 1954
11 Too Romantic (from "Road To Singapore") (Johnny Burke; James V. Monaco)
LEITH STEVENS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Program Library Z-267 1949
12 Flying Down To Rio (Edward Eliscu; Gus Kahn; Vincent Youmans)
CARMEN DRAGON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
World Programme Service (Australia) 099 c1945
13 Solitude (Edgar de Lange; Irving Mills; Edward Kennedy (‘Duke’) Ellington; arr. Len Stevens)
RAF CONCERT ORCHESTRA probably conducted by SIDNEY TORCH (solo violin Lou Whiteson)
ORBS Cut 962 (2EN 5926) Issue No. MK 3105 1943
14 Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (from "The Wizard Of Oz") (Harold Arlen; E.Y. Harburg)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
World Programme Service (Australia) 671 c1943
15 The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) (Moises Simons; Marion Sunshine; L. Wolfe Gilbert)
THE ORCHESTRA IN KHAKI Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
ORBS Cut 3158 (2EN 12663) Issue MK 5593 1945
16 Jota (from "Spanish Dance Suite") (Anthony Collins)
WORLD CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by PHILIP GREEN
World Program Service 10397 c1955
"Three Sketches" (Don Gillis)
17 Enchantment
18 Whimsy
19 Day Dreams
HOLLYWOOD SALON ORCHESTRA Conducted by HARRY BLUESTONE
Standard Program Library T-273 1949
20 Dance Of The Frogs (based on Frog Went A-Courtin’) (Lamar Stringfield)
LEWIS WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Services Z 250 1949
21 Praeludium (Armas Järnefelt)
ARMY SALON ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC ROBINSON
ORBS Cut 2793 (2EN 10538) Issue MK 5509 1944
"The Three Men" Suite (Eric Coates)
22 1 The Man From The Country
THE ORCHESTRA IN KHAKI Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
ORBS Cut 1303 (2EN 6812) Issue MK 3558 1943
23 2 The Man About Town
THE ORCHESTRA OF H.M. ROYAL MARINES (PORTSMOUTH DIVISION) Conducted by Captain F VIVIAN DUNN, MVO ARAM RM
ORBS Cut 1817 (2EN 8104) Issue MK 4194 1944
24 3 The Man From The Sea
THE ORCHESTRA OF H.M. ROYAL MARINES (PORTSMOUTH DIVISION) Conducted by Captain F VIVIAN DUNN, MVO ARAM RM
ORBS Cut 1820 (2EN 8105) Issue MK 4195 1944
25 Romantic Overture (Overture Romantique) (Kéler Béla)
THE ORCHESTRA OF THE ROYAL MARINES (PORTSMOUTH DIVISION) Conducted by Captain F VIVIAN DUNN, MVO ARAM RM
ORBS Cuts 2982/3 (2EN 11563/4) Issue MK 6029 probably recorded no later than 1945

 

What are ‘Transcriptions’ and why have they been ‘lost’? Regular purchasers of Guild Light Music CDs will already be aware that a lot of music is specially recorded by music publishers for the entertainment industry, and only rarely does it become available to the general public via commercial recordings. Numerous gems from this vast pool of light music have already appeared on Guild CDs, and many more await rediscovery.

There is another resource of fascinating material available on Transcription Recordings. Generally speaking the term refers to recordings of live performances made for use by broadcasting organisations before the advent of audio tape. With so many small radio stations all over the USA needing music to fill their schedules, it is not surprising that the major providers of transcription recordings were based in America, although broadcasters and publishers in Britain and Europe soon realised the potential of making their output available to a world-wide audience.

Some names became familiar within broadcasting circles: apart from the majors such as the BBC, transcriptions were issued by Standard, World, Thesaurus and Lang-Worth, to name just a few. The discs came in various sizes - 7" to 12" were usually 78 rpm but the 16" ones were often recorded at 33⅓ rpm, pre-dating the launch of the LP on the domestic market by many years.

During World War 2 transcriptions became commonplace in the USA and they were distributed to American forces via the AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) and broadcast by many other services including AFN (American Forces Network) and AEFP (Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme). Britain established The British Forces Network (BFN) and The Army Welfare Department created The Overseas Recorded Broadcasting Service (ORBS) to record and distribute recordings for use by BFN, other broadcasters and ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association). As well as providing live entertainment the latter was able to reach small groups of servicemen in remote areas by playing the recordings over PA systems installed in vans.

None of these wartime transcription discs were for sale, the intention being that they would be destroyed when the war ended. Fortunately some servicemen decided to keep them as souvenirs, preserving for posterity a unique record of the kind of music that played an important part in the morale of fighting troops. Some of the recordings were significant because they paired performers who were contracted to different record companies, thus making similar commercial release impossible.

The sound quality of these discs is generally good, and modern digital restoration makes them very enjoyable. Only occasionally are there slight traces of distortion, which cannot be removed completely, but their historical importance dictates that they should not be rejected for such minor imperfections.

Armed Services bands and orchestras proliferated during World War 2 but today’s researchers find it extremely difficult to discover hard facts about many of them and, although it is well known that Sidney Torch (1908-1990) conducted The RAF Concert Orchestra, detailed information about this orchestra is almost non-existent.

When Torch was called up for war service in 1941 he was posted to Blackpool where there was a large Royal Air Force Unit that provided entertainment for the tens of thousands of other service personnel in the area. Regular shows by and for the forces were produced at several Blackpool theatres, notably The Opera House, The Grand Theatre and The Winter Gardens where, as Corporal Sidney Torch, he conducted accompanying orchestras of various sizes as well as continuing to make commercial recordings on The Opera House organ. Contemporary theatre programmes show that many well known names from the world of light music were involved with these orchestras, including Leading Aircraftman Len Stevens (responsible for many of the arrangements), Aircraftman Norrie Paramor (who played piano and also arranged), Aircraftman Lou Whiteson (who usually led the orchestra and sometimes conducted) and Aircraftman Ronald Binge (who conducted the station choir, which regularly performed with the orchestra). Although we know that Solitude was arranged by Len Stevens (and the Swing Time selection is probably his work from an RAF radio series called "March Of The Movies"), it is the opinion of several light music experts who have listened to other recordings by the orchestra that the majority are probably Sidney Torch arrangements. It is also very likely that he conducted them but, as Peter Yorke made at least one ORBS recording with the orchestra, we cannot be sure.

The labels on the discs are of little help, since there is no mention of the arrangers or the conductors. Indeed, Swing Time is credited to the RAF Theatre Orchestra but, as matrix numbers confirm it was recorded at the same time as some of the Concert Orchestra pieces, it is reasonable to assume that it is the same orchestra.

By the time the last RAF Concert Orchestra recordings were made Torch had been promoted to the rank of Flying Officer and he was changing his career, from being one of Britain’s finest theatre organists during the 1930s, to a leading light music composer and conductor following his discharge from the RAF in the mid-1940s. These recordings possibly offer a unique snapshot of a period when he was honing his skills as an arranger – something at which he would excel during the following decades, most notably fronting the BBC Concert Orchestra in the radio series "Friday Night Is Music Night".

Details of Percy Faith’s "Voice Of America" recordings are as scarce as those for the RAF Concert Orchestra. VOA issued hundreds of 16" discs to the armed forces featuring Faith and other popular orchestras of the day such as Richard Maltby, Andre Kostelanetz and David Rose. They contained re-issues of their commercial recordings, alternate and out-takes of these recordings and, in Percy Faith’s case, slightly different arrangements of numerous pieces he had recorded commercially. But of most interest are the recordings unique to VOA, three of which are featured here. It has not been possible to date two of them accurately as surviving VOA programme logs only go up to 1950 but, using the dates of the commercial recordings which are on some of the discs as a guide, they are probably from between 1951 and 1955.

David Rose (1910-1990) needs no introduction to regular Guild Light Music friends. Born in London, his family moved to the USA when he was four, and during his prolific career he became one of the biggest names in radio, films, television and – of course – records. Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120) gave his career a sudden boost in the early 1940s, and it proved to be one of the first of a string of memorable compositions that kept flowing from his fertile inspiration. His first appearance in this collection introduces us to a previously unknown composition The Butterfly And The Alligator. It seems to be unpublished – the reason may possibly be due to the fact that the ‘alligator’ theme was later used by Rose in his composition Satan And The Polar Bear (on Guild GLCD5105). The "Hollywood Bowl Suite" is Rose’s tribute to the famous open air arena (opened on 11 July 1922) where so many top performers have appeared – including Tom and Jerry! Pepper Tree Lane is the street at the entrance to the complex (some maps show the name as ‘Peppertree’). David Rose’s second wife was Judy Garland, and he probably made this somewhat bizarre yet appealing arrangement of Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (from her most famous film) during the brief period when they were happily married.

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’.

Many people think of all-girl bands as a World War 2 phenomenon made necessary because of the draft, but musical ensembles consisting of all female players had existed since the 1920s. Ukraine-born Phil Spitalny (1890-1970) fronted a 22-piece orchestra that had 20 years (1934-1954) of coast to coast success in the USA which included concerts, movies and network radio sponsorships. On radio he was introduced as Phil Spitalny and his All-Girl Orchestra featuring Evelyn and her Magic Violin. She was Evelyn Kaye Klein, who helped Spitalny find the women he needed, involving auditions of more than 1,000 musicians mainly in New York and Chicago. Spitalny and Evelyn married in 1946. In later years he retired to Miami and became a music critic for a local newspaper.

Leith Stevens (1909-1970) was an American composer and conductor, best-known for his work in radio and films and television. During World War 2 he was radio director for the Southwest Pacific Area with the US Office of War Information. Later in Hollywood his most notable scores were for space dramas such as "Destination Moon " (1950), "When Worlds Collide" (1951) and "The War of the Worlds" (1953). He worked on hundreds of productions during his long career, and his name cropped up in the credits for numerous TV series especially in the 1960s.

Carmen Dragon (1914-1984) was born in Antioch, California. His first success in Hollywood was collaborating with Morris Stoloff (1898-1980) arranging Jerome Kern’s score for the 1944 Rita Hayworth/Gene Kelly film "Cover Girl" which secured him an Oscar. He worked extensively in radio and television, and was a frequent visitor to recording studios conducting the Hollywood Bowl and Capitol Symphony Orchestras.

George Miltiades Melachrino (1909-1965) was one of the big names in British light music from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born in London, he became a professional musician, competent on clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone, violin and viola, and he worked with many British dance bands in the 1930s. He was also in demand as a singer, and can be heard on recordings with Carroll Gibbons and others. During World War 2 he became Musical Director of the Army Radio Unit, and his 50-piece ‘Orchestra in Khaki’ toured with the ‘Stars in Battledress’. Melachrino was also a regular broadcaster on the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme of the BBC, alongside Major Glenn Miller and Captain Robert Farnon. Post-war he used most of his wartime musicians to form his world famous Melachrino Orchestra, and there are hints of what was to come in the inventive arrangement (by Melachrino?) of The Peanut Vendor. In a display of its versatility, we later hear the same orchestra performing the first movement of Eric Coates’ "Three Men Suite".

It is hardly surprising to discover that Philip Green (born Harry Philip Green, 1911-1982) was involved in transcriptions, since this apparently compulsive worker was responsible for numerous broadcasts, film scores and compositions during a career lasting from the 1920s to the 1980s. His work is already well-represented on Guild Light Music CDs. Jota is a rarely heard piece by Anthony Collins (1893-1963), better known for his Vanity Fair (on GLCD5120).

Harry Bluestone (1907-1992) was born in England, but he made his successful career in the USA where he composed and conducted music for films and television. In this collection he conducts Three Sketches, a rare work by the American composer Don Gillis (1912-1978), whose music is probably receiving more attention from record companies today than it did during his lifetime. Today his best known composition was his tongue-in-cheek "Symphony No. 5½ - A Symphony For Fun". The first movement Perpetual Emotion is on Guild GLCD5156.

Lamar Stringfield (1897-1959) composed symphonic works based on American folk-lore, and judging by Dance Of The Frogs they were not without a touch of humour. He was awarded the Pulitizer prize for his orchestral suite "From the Southern Mountains." In 1932 Stringfield united a group of volunteers to form the North Carolina Symphony, and a Lamar Stringfield Society has been established in his honour.

Eric Robinson (1908-1974) was a personality during the formative years of BBC Television. After 4 years spent playing violin with the BBC Theatre Orchestra he joined The BBC Television Orchestra, which was formed in 1936 and conducted by Hyam Greenbaum. When BBC Television closed down for the duration of World War 2, like so many conscripted musicians, his talents were employed to good use and, on this CD, we hear him conducting the Army Salon Orchestra in Järnefelt’s famous Praeludium. When normal service was resumed after the war, Robinson became the conductor of the BBC Television Orchestra, and was soon a household name through his monthly show "Music For You". Later he went into partnership with George Melachrino and became Managing Director of the Melachrino organisation. His elder brother was the famous conductor Stanford Robinson (1904-1984). Edvard Armas Järnefelt (1869-1958) was a Finnish composer and conductor who became a Swedish citizen in 1909, where he worked for the rest of his life.

The final three tracks feature the Orchestra Of The Royal Marines (Portsmouth Division) conducted by Captain Vivian Dunn, their Director of Music from 1931 to 1953, in which year he was promoted to be Principal Director Of Music, Royal Marines, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Here they perform the second and third movements of "The Three Men Suite" by Eric Coates (1886-1957) which appropriately includes the movement The Man From The Sea.

This collection ends with an attractive concert overture by Kéler Béla (also known as Adalbert Paul von Kéler 1820-1882), a Hungarian composer and conductor well known in Europe during his lifetime. As a young man he played violin in a theatre orchestra in Vienna, but he was soon conducting in Berlin and in 1856 became Bandmaster of the 10th Austrian Infantry Regiment. During the latter part of his life he undertook concert tours in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and England. He composed reasonably prolifically including twelve concert overtures, among them Lustspiel (his most popular work on GLCD5134), and his Overture Romantique which closes this CD. Béla also wrote numerous shorter pieces, including waltzes, galops, polkas, marches and mazurkas. His colourful music, and especially some of the overtures, remained popular well into the 20th century.

David Ades

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LIGHT MUSIC CDs SEPTEMBER 2010

GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5171

War And Peace : Light Music Of The 1940s

1 Down The Mall (John Belton, real names Tony Lowry and Douglas Brownsmith)
CHARLES SHADWELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
HMV B 9487 1946
2 Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca 23535 1944
3 Footlights (Eric Coates)
LIGHT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC COATES
Columbia DX 966 1940
4 Spitfire Fugue – from the film “The First Of The Few” (William Walton)
HALLÉ ORCHESTRA Conducted by WILLIAM WALTON solo violin:
Laurance Turner
HMV C 3359 1943
5 A Cocktail Of Happiness (Wynford Reynolds)
WYNFORD REYNOLDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca Music While You Work MW 130 1944
6 Girls In Grey (Charles Williams)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS
Chappell C 193 1943
7 Humoresque (Antonin Dvorák)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
HMV B 9494 1946
8 “El Alamein” – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Albert Arlen, born Albert Aarons)
JACK PAYNE AND HIS ORCHESTRA with PEGGY COCHRANE, piano
HMV C 3428 1945
9 On A Spring Note (Sidney Torch, real name Sidney Torchinsky)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Chappell C 300 1947
10 Boogie Woogie Moonshine (from the film “Piccadilly Incident”)
LOUIS LEVY AND HIS ‘MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES’ pianist HENRY BRONKHURST
Decca K 1559 1946
11 Voice Of Industry – March (Jack Beaver)
THE NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 002 1946
12 Willie The Whistler (Robert Farnon)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS
Chappell C 259 1946
13 Starlight Roof Waltz (George Melachrino)
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV B 9610 1948
14 “A Matter Of Life And Death” – Prelude from the film (Allan Gray, real name Josef Zmigrod)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS
Columbia DX 1320 1947
15 Olympic Games March (Ronald Hanmer)
NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 043 1948
16 The Fairy And The Fiddlers (Edward White)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JAY WILBUR
Boosey & Hawkes OT 2047 1946
17 Bonaventure (Frederic Curzon)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by FREDERIC CURZON
Boosey & Hawkes O 2042 1946
18 American Serenade (Louis Alter)
MEREDITH WILLSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca DL 8025 1949
19 Marche Fantastique (Leighton Lucas)
LEIGHTON LUCAS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
EMI Mood Music EP 122 1948
20 Short Overture To An Unwritten Opera (Don Gillis)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by RAE JENKINS
Boosey & Hawkes OT 2092 1946
21 Royal Cavalcade (Albert William Ketèlbey)
THE LOUIS VOSS GRAND ORCHESTRA
Bosworth BC 1146 1942
22 Lullaby Of The Bells – Piano Concerto from the film “The Phantom Of The Opera” (Edward Ward)
MANTOVANI AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA featuring GUY FLETCHER, piano
Decca F 8460 1944

In retrospect it is clear that the 1940s had a major impact on the way in which Light Music would develop in the remaining years of the 20th Century. The somewhat genteel world in which many composers involved in the genre were living was shattered when World War 2 broke out in September 1939. Although their style of music would still be appreciated, it had to compete with other developments which would invigorate what some believed was a fading niche of the music scene. Light Music has never had an easy ride, and the fresh impetus provided in the 1940s would itself gradually wane – particularly in the 1970s and 1980s – until another welcome renaissance gathered pace in the 1990s. Although Light Music is not heard today on radio and in the concert hall to the extent that it once was, the paradox is that there has never been a time when there was such a wide choice available for the public to buy on commercial recordings.

Down The Mall is making its third appearance on a Guild CD, and we make no apology for selecting it as the opening number for a second time. It was first included in the second 1930s collection “In Town Tonight” (GLCD5116) played by Philip Green and his Orchestra, from a Parlophone 78 in the label’s ‘bright and breezy series’. But it has always been popular with brass bands, as the famous Fodens Motor Works Band illustrated in “Bandstand In The Park – Volume 2” (GLCD 5147). Essentially Down The Mall is a feel-good piece of light orchestral music, and on this CD it appears in the kind of arrangement (longer pieces in this style were sometimes called ‘concert arrangements’) that was so popular in the 1940s. The record label typically ignored the importance of the arranger, but there are sufficient clues in the music to link it to Peter Yorke (1902-1966), who regularly contributed such pieces for Charles Shadwell to conduct in the “ITMA” radio programme. The composer ‘John Belton’ was actually a partnership of Tony Lowry and Douglas Brownsmith (1902-1965). Charles Murray Winstanley Shadwell (1898-1979) could be heard regularly on BBC radio broadcasts during the 1940s, notably the afore-mentioned “ITMA” and “Music Hall” – the latter always ended with his own march Down with the Curtain (on Guild GLCD5135). Earlier in his career he had been conductor of the Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra, also represented previously on Guild.

By 1942 Albert William Ketèlbey (1875-1959) was no longer enjoying the success of earlier decades, when his pieces such as In a Monastery Garden, The Phantom Melody, In a Persian Market and Bells Across the Meadow had brought him international fame. But he was still writing well-crafted melodies, often for production music companies, as in the case of Royal Cavalcade, the penultimate track in this collection. Later the LP era of the 1950s brought a well-deserved revival of interest in his work. By comparison Eric Coates (1886-1957) frequently pleased the public with melodies in various styles – something he would continue until almost the end of his life with his famous Dam Busters march. Footlights finds him in familiar light-hearted territory, in stark contrast to what was happening in the real world when he conducted it in 1940.

Far more in keeping with the reality of the time was the film “The First Of The Few” which told the story of R.J. Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire fighter aircraft which played a major role in the Battle of Britain, where Germany’s Luftwaffe was defeated by the Royal Air Force. William Walton’s score suited the film to perfection and the Fugue accompanied scenes of the aircraft’s construction and development. The Second World War was also the subject in “A Matter Of Life And Death”, although this was made when hostilities had ceased. Released in the USA as “Stairway To Heaven”, it was selected for the first post-war Royal Command Film Performance in 1946, and has since achieved cult status. Part of the credit must accrue to the music by Allan Gray (real name Josef Zmigrod, 1902-1973) who established his film scoring credentials in the German cinema before moving to England in 1936. His handful of notable scores included “I Know Where I’m Going” (1945), “This Man Is Mine” (1946) (on Guild GLCD 5109) and “The African Queen” (1952).

Still in 1946 we find Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in “Piccadilly Incident”. Again the film is set in the Second World War, and the musical director was Anthony Collins (1893-1963). Boogie Woogie Moonshine lacks composer and arranger credits on the record label, but there are no prizes for spotting that Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata gets a look in, alongside the popular song You Are My Sunshine.

It was during 1941 that Teddy Holmes recruited Charles Williams (1893-1978) to prepare for the launch of the Chappell Recorded Music Library. When the first recordings became available for radio and films (especially wartime newsreels) in 1942, they were competing with existing mood music libraries operated by fellow London publishers Bosworth and Boosey & Hawkes. But Chappells soon became the leading provider of production music in the world – a position they were to hold for at least two decades. Williams recorded many of his own works, and Girls In Grey became instantly recognisable to millions through its use as the theme for the BBC’s Television Newsreel. Originally he had composed it as a wartime march for the Women’s Junior Air Corps.

On that momentous day in March 1942 when David Rose (1910-1990) took his orchestra into RCA Victor’s studios to record his own composition Holiday For Strings, could he have imagined the effect it would have on his peers? In one memorable recording session he proved that the general public did still enjoy Light Music, when it was performed with such enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment. It was hardly surprising that it sold over a million copies within a short while. He cleverly adapted his unique string sound for Humoresque. World War 2 also allowed musicians a freedom previously denied to them, in terms of players and the chance to experiment without financial constraints. Robert Farnon (1917-2005) and George Melachrino (1909-1965) were leaders respectively of the Canadian and British Bands of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. At their command they had many more musicians than they could have afforded in peacetime, and they embraced wholeheartedly the wonderful opportunity that had been gifted to them.

In Farnon’s case he recognised that the music scene in Britain was more suited to his talents than what existed back home, so he remained in London when he took his discharge in 1945. He brought vibrancy to Light Music that reflected his North American roots, and his influence on fellow composers and arrangers (both in Britain and America) was considerable. His very first piece for Chappell, Willie The Whistler, appears on this CD.

Melachrino kept many of his wartime musicians when he launched his own civilian orchestra, and he found that the public was happy to accept his glorious string sounds. On 23 October 1947 the revue “Starlight Roof” opened at the London Hippodrome, starring Vic Oliver and Pat Kirkwood with 12 year-old Julie Andrews in the cast. George Melachrino wrote the score for the show, from which his Starlight Roof Waltz has become a light music favourite.

Sidney Torch (1908-1990) was a famous cinema organist before war service in the Royal Air Force, where he conducted the RAF Concert Orchestra. When he left the forces he also recognised the great opportunities offered in Light Music, and he turned his back on the organ. His catchy On A Spring Note was a great success for the Chappell Mood Music Library, and the original version on this CD is longer than Torch’s commercial recording on Parlophone.

Thus the second half of the 1940s witnessed the return of many talented musicians to the demands of radio, television, films and recordings, and the influence of their wartime experiences resulted in some of the finest cameos of light orchestral music ever composed. Such was the quality of Light Music (not forgetting some landmark film scores) during the entire decade that volumes could be written about each of the composers and orchestras featured in this collection. As usual, space is the enemy, so these notes will have to concentrate on a few special cases where those involved may be less familiar to music lovers today.

El Alamein – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra received its first performance in Cairo, at the Earle Hall of the YMCA in October 1944, conducted by Hugo Rignold with Phil Finch on piano. It was composed by Flying Officer Albert Arlen, in dedication to the men who died at El Alamein in 1942 and 1943 during the North Africa campaign of the Second World War. Four months later, on 18 February 1945, Peggy Cochrane performed the broadcast premiere back in London. She was also a well-known singer and violinist and was married to bandleader Jack Payne (1899-1969). She studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Eric Coates and Lionel Tertis. Albert Arlen (1905-1993) was an Australian composer, playwright and director, born Albert Aarons in Sydney to Turkish immigrants. He worked in London from 1925 to 1940, when he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot. He is best known in his home country for the musical “The Sentimental Bloke” (1960), and was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for services to music and the performing arts in 1990.

London hosted the first post-war Olympic Games in 1948, and the production music libraries commissioned several suitable marches which they hoped would be used extensively by film and newsreel companies. The prolific mood music composer Ronald Hanmer (1917-1994) is the choice for this collection, with his appropriately titled Olympic Games March from the Francis, Day & Hunter stable – note Sidney Torch again as conductor.

Hollywood was firmly in its glory days during the 1940s, and a good musical score was often regarded as essential. Edward Ward (1900-1971) adapted themes by Tchaikovsky and Chopin for the 1943 production of “The Phantom Of The Opera”, but the ‘Piano Concerto’ Lullaby Of The Bells, was his own composition. During a career lasting 37 years Ward received seven Oscar nominations – the last one being for this film. The fine recording on 12 June 1944 is one of the first employing Decca’s revolutionary ‘full frequency range recording’ system, developed originally to assist in the detection of enemy submarines; the comparison with the previous track recorded only two years earlier is quite amazing. Mantovani (1905-1980) is conducting a large concert orchestra in the days before his ‘cascading strings’ sound made him world famous. Other examples of his earlier work can be found on Guild GLCD5110 and 5113.
David Ades

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Some other fine music from the 1940s already on Guild CDs

All Strings And Fancy Free (Sidney Torch) GLCD5150
Carriage And Pair (Benjamin Frankel) GLCD5110
Coronation Scot (Vivian Ellis) GLCD5120
Devil's Galop (Charles Williams) GLCD5162
Down With The Curtain (Charles Shadwell) GLCD5135
Film Opens (King Palmer) GLCD5149
Glass Slipper - Overture (Clifton Parker) GLCD5107
Holiday For Strings (David Rose) GLCD5120
Horse Guards - Whitehall (Haydn Wood) GLCD5121
In Party Mood (Jack Strachey) GLCD5120
Jumping Bean (Robert Farnon) GLCD5162
London Fantasia (Clive Richardson) GLCD5120
Melody On The Move (Clive Richardson) GLCD5102
Picture Parade (Jack Beaver) GLCD5149
Portrait Of A Flirt (Robert Farnon) GLCD5120
Radio Romantic (Sidney Torch) GLCD5149
Rhythm On Rails (Charles Williams) GLCD5107
Runaway Rocking Horse (Edward White) GLCD5102
Seascape (Clifton Parker) GLCD5109
Shooting Star (Sidney Torch) GLCD5162
Television March (Eric Coates) GLCD5104
Tropical (Morton Gould) GLCD5101
Up With The Lark (Robert Busby) GLCD5150
Warsaw Concerto (Richard Addinsell) GLCD5162
Wild Goose Chase (George Crow) GLCD5115
Winter Sunshine (George Melachrino) GLCD5162

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GLCD5172

Lightly Classical

1 Flight Of The Bumble Bee (Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
PIERRE CHALLET AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60066 1959
2 Clair De Lune (Achille-Claude Debussy, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
PIERRE CHALLET AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60066 1959
3 The Dargason (from “St. Paul’s Suite”) (Gustav Holst, arr. Angela Morley)
ANGELA MORLEY AND HER ORCHESTRA (as ‘WALLY STOTT’ on LP label)
Philips SBBL 501 1958
4 Popular Song (from “Façade” Suite No. 2) (Sir William Walton)
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIR WILLIAM WALTON
Columbia 33C1054 1958
5 The Lamp Is Low (based on Maurice Ravel’s Pavanne) (Mitchell Parish; Peter de Rose; Bert A. Shefter)
FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol H 185 1950
6 Gipsy Love - Waltz (Franz Lehár, arr. Sidney Torch)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Parlophone R 3026 1947
7 Overture To A Costume Comedy (Stanley Black)
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by PIERINO GAMBA
Decca LW 5325 1958
8 Portrait Of Clare (from the film “Portrait Of Clare”) (transcribed and arranged from Robert Schumann’s “Devotion” by Felton Rapley)
CHARLES WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia DB 2764 1950
9 “Ballet Egyptien” Finale (Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph Luigini)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LF 1021 1950
10 Barcarolle (Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, arr. Philip Green)
PHILIP GREEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia BTD 701 1956
11 Lake Of The Woods (Robert Joseph Farnon)
LESLIE JONES and his ORCHESTRA OF LONDON
Pye-Nixa NSPL 83008 1959
12 “Masquerade” Suite – Waltz (Aram Il’yich Khachaturian)
PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF NEW YORK Conducted by ANDRE KOSTELANETZ
Philips NBE 11033 1956
13 Beyond The Moonlight (based on Felix Mendelssohn's "On Wings Of Song") (Dorchas Cochran; Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MG 20121 1956
14 He’s In Love (from “Kismet”) (based on ‘Polovetzian Dances’ from “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 550 1954
15 Last Spring (Edvard Grieg)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV DSD 1751 1958
16 Comedians’ Galop (Dimitri Borisovich Kabalevsky)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
Decca F 9295 1949
17 Brown Bird Singing (Haydn Wood)
ERIC JUPP AND THE MELODI STRINGS
Chappell C 670 1959
18 Theme from “Swan Lake” Ballet (Tchaikovsky, arr. Ray Conniff)
RAY CONNIFF AND HIS ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
Columbia CS 8022 1958
19 Meditation (from “Thais” - Jules Massenet) (arranged and adapted by Herman Clebanoff & W. Robinson)
CLEBANOFF STRINGS
Mercury SR 60005 1958
20 Sabre Dance (from ballet “Gayaneh) (Aram Il’yich Khachaturian)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1223 1958
“The Firebird” Ballet (Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, arr. David Rose)
21 Dance Of The Princesses
22 Dance Of Kastchei
23 Berceuse & Finale
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Service Z-162-5,6,7 1942

Stereo: tracks 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20 - rest in mono

Many young people grow up regarding the words ‘classical’ and ‘symphony’ with deep suspicion. They have probably seen pictures of aged composers, sporting unkempt beards and often looking very serious, and reach the conclusion that anything they have created would certainly be far from what they would enjoy in today’s modern world. When radio was still in the first half-century of its existence, broadcasters had yet to come up with the mistaken idea that people wanted to hear the same sounds, endlessly repeated, for 24 hours every day of the week. Early radio provided many kinds of entertainment, both spoken and musical, and listeners often unexpectedly came across styles of music they suddenly discovered that they rather liked. Today such happy ‘accidents’ are most unlikely – which is a great pity, because the younger generation may be unintentionally depriving itself of some of the most glorious music ever written

This collection has been prepared with three main aims: firstly to prove that the so-called boundaries between light and classical music are not as insurmountable as some people seem to imagine; secondly to illustrate that many composers, who may usually be associated with more serious works, also had their lighter moments; and thirdly to offer several examples of the tasteful way in which arrangers of the 20th century adapted the classics to make them more instantly appealing to their audience. For many years such ‘tampering with the classics’ was banned by the BBC in Britain, although commercial recordings could be freely purchased. However a lack of broadcasts obviously affected sales, which partly explains why such recordings were more common in the United States than in Britain.

Our opening track is so short that it seemed only fair that the same orchestra should be allowed a second chance to display its fine musicianship. If Flight Of The Bumble Bee required frantic playing from all concerned, the opposite is surely the case with Claude Debussy’s (1862-1918) atmospheric Clair De Lune from his ‘Suite Bergamasque’ (1890). It was originally a piano work, but it transfers beautifully to the orchestra, especially in this arrangement by ‘Ralph Sterling’. But all is not as it seems: ‘Sterling’ was a pseudonym for ‘David Carroll’ who was actually born Rodell Walter ‘Nook’ Schreier (1913-2008). In the mid 1940s he joined the newly formed Mercury Records Corporation where he was employed as conductor, arranger, producer and eventually artists and repertoire manager, his last recordings on the Mercury label appearing in the late 1960s. He went on to become General Manager of the Smothers Brothers organisation. There is more: who was ‘Pierre Challet’, who fronts the fine orchestra on these two tracks? A lack of any information about him in reference books leads one to question whether this may have been yet another alias for the man that many knew as ‘David Carroll’! Later in this collection Carroll conducts his own arrangement of Felix Mendelssohn’s On Wings Of Song which he retitled Beyond The Moonlight.

Angela Morley (1924-2009) was regarded as one of the finest arrangers and film composers in recent years. In her later career she worked on several big budget movies - one example is the “Star Wars” series assisting John Williams. She also contributed scores to prestigious TV shows such as “Dallas” and “Dynasty”. In the 1950s she made numerous recordings under her former name, Wally Stott, also providing the priceless musical backings for BBC Radio’s “The Goon Show”. The Dargason comes from her highly respected collection of music associated with London.

A generation of children grew up in Britain for whom a radio series “Said The Cat To The Dog” was essential listening. The catchy theme called Popular Song from the “Façade” Suite by Sir William Walton (1902-1983) probably encouraged some of them to explore his music in greater depth – to their considerable enrichment. When a composer conducts his own work (as on this occasion) it should be safe to assume that we are hearing it exactly as he intended.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) composed a wealth of tuneful music that comfortably fits the aspirations of this collection. His work certainly influenced many light music composers, who were not ashamed to confess the fact. In turn his melodies were adapted by others, as in the case of his Pavanne which enjoyed popularity as The Lamp Is Low. The arranger may have been Frank De Vol (1911-1999) who conducts this work. Although the cinema made full use of his musical talents (at one time it was common to see ‘Music by De Vol’ in the credits for many films), he was also familiar to US audiences through his work on the radio and TV series “The Brady Bunch”.

Franz Lehár (born Lehár Ferenc 1870-1948) was already well established as a leading composer of operettas when his desire to write something more substantial resulted in Gipsy Love (Zigeunerliebe) in 1910. It is a long work whose structure is far more operatic than his previous world-wide successes, such as ‘The Merry Widow’ and ‘The Count Of Luxembourg’. Happily this more ‘serious’ work did not mean that his gift for melody had been compromised, as Sidney Torch’s arrangement readily testifies.

Stanley Black (born Solomon Schwartz 1913-2002) was successful in many areas of music during his long career which began in his teens. From playing piano in Harry Roy’s dance band he became keen on Latin-American music, and later recorded many fine light orchestral albums. He was also in demand for film scores, and the Overture To A Costume Comedy was composed in 1947 as part of the background music to the film “Mrs Fitzherbert” about the love affair of George IV and Maria Fitzherbert. Later Black extended and developed his work into classical overture form, and on Sunday 27 March 1949 it received its first broadcast performance conducted by the composer during the BBC’s first Festival of Light Music.

Since the earliest days of silent films well-known classics have been used to good effect to enhance various moods on screen, and producers and directors continue the practice right up to the present day. The 1950 British movie “Portrait Of Clare” has been described as suiting ‘easily pleased female audiences’, and Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) familiar Devotion presumably created sufficient attention at the time to warrant the commercial recording by Charles Williams (real name Isaac Cozerbreit,1893-1978).

Luigini’s “Ballet Egyptien” is forever associated in the minds of an older British generation with the music hall sand dancers Wilson, Keppel and Betty, and this version conducted by Ronnie Munro (1897-1989) features the finale of the work. Also familiar is Tchaikovsky’s Barcarolle which has received the attention of numerous musicians since it was first heard in 1876. It was arranged and conducted by Philip Green (1910-1982), and this early stereo recording was originally released on a reel to reel ‘stereosonic’ tape, before stereo LPs were launched. Green began his professional career at the age of eighteen playing in various orchestras. Within a year he became London’s youngest West End conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre. His long recording career began with EMI in 1933, and he is credited with at least 150 film scores, and countless mood music compositions.

Toronto-born Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was one of the 20th century’s finest light music composers, and from the 1940s onwards his innovative and attractive compositions inspired new generations of writers. Particularly in the USA, his albums of popular standards were regarded by fellow arrangers as the ultimate achievement of perfection, and it would be hard to overstate his influence on the development of light orchestral music as an enduring art form of the last century. For some reason his great talent was not always appreciated in his own country, yet some of his most impressive works possessed a strong Canadian flavour. Lake Of The Woods owed much to Farnon’s unashamed admiration for Delius, Debussy and Ravel, yet it was the beauty of a sparsely populated area in Northern Ontario that was the true inspiration behind this delicate tone poem. Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) had a crusade to introduce his audiences to the lighter classics, and Khachaturian was an obvious choice. The Waltz from “Masquerade” almost enjoys as much popularity as the same composer’s Sabre Dance, which receives a vibrant performance from John Scott Trotter (1908-1975) a few tracks later. Percy Faith (1908-1976) made some fine recordings from the musical “Kismet”, as He’s In Love will surely confirm. Another arranger/conductor who often performed popular classical works was George Melachrino (1909-1965) and Grieg’s melodies adapted well for a string orchestra. Robert Farnon returns as conductor of the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra in Kabalevsky’s Comedians’ Galop in a recording that was used as a demonstration disc when LPs were first launched. Eric Jupp (1922-2003) was well-known in Britain for his recordings and broadcasts, before emigrating to Australia in the 1960s where he was similarly successful – especially for his theme for the television series “Skippy The Bush Kangaroo”. He conducts a charming arrangement of Haydn Wood’s (1882-1959) Brown Bird Singing – unfortunately the arranger receives no credit, but it may well be Jupp’s own work. American musician Ray Conniff (born Joseph Raymond Conniff, 1916-2002) achieved considerable fame in the 1950s with a series of albums usually featuring a wordless choir. Previously he had played trombone and arranged for bands such as Bunny Berigan, Bob Crosby and Artie Shaw. It was for Shaw’s band that Conniff arranged George Gershwin’s ‘S Wonderful in 1945, and a decade later he adapted it for his choir, providing one of his biggest hits and making his unique sound recognisable around the world. His 1958 album “Concert In Rhythm” for the first time added a large string section and french horns to his standard lineup of choir and rhythm, and from this collection we hear his interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from “Swan Lake”.

Chicago-born Herman Clebanoff (1917-2004) made around 15 instrumental albums for Mercury, often using his own arrangements.

Our finale features the great David Rose (1910-1990) who tends to be remembered today for two landmark instrumentals – Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120) and The Stripper (1962). But he achieved far more than that during his long and illustrious career. He was born in London, England, and the family moved to the USA when he was just four-years-old. After leaving the Chicago College of Music at the age of 16, he joined Ted Fio Rito's dance band, and three years later became a pianist, arranger and conductor for NBC Radio. He moved to Hollywood, and in 1938 formed his own orchestra for the Mutual Broadcasting System and featured on the programme “California Melodies”. Rose began working in movies in 1941 – the year in which Judy Garland became his second wife, although the marriage ended in divorce in 1944: he is credited with scoring 36 films. The final three tracks in this collection come from the time when he was developing his famous string sound which made Holiday For Strings such a big hit around the world. Later his sheer volume of work would force him to employ other arrangers, but he was entirely responsible for the adaptations of Stravinsky’s music from the ballet “The Firebird”, first performed at the Paris Opera on 25 June 1910. Best described as modern (in 1942!) pop concert arrangements, Rose’s adaptations often contain or imply a dance beat, although in many places they are surprisingly true to the original score. These rare recordings were made for the American Standard Radio Transcription Services library, which means they were not commercial recordings, but intended for use on US radio stations. In his later career Rose wrote scores and themes for over 20 television series and won Emmy awards for his 14 year stint on “Bonanza”, 10 years with “Little House On The Prairie” and his work on three much-acclaimed Fred Astaire specials. In total he won five Grammy awards and six gold records, and has been included on many previous Guild Light Music CDs.

David Ades

LIGHT MUSIC CDs JUNE 2010

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5167

Strings In Rhythm

1 Habanera (from ‘Natoma’) (Victor Herbert, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia C2S 801 1958
2 Swinging On A Star (Jimmy Van Heusen; Johnny Burke, arr. Roland Shaw)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca SKL 4048 1959
3 You Do Something To Me (Cole Porter)
VICTOR SILVESTER AND HIS SILVER STRINGS
Regal SREG 1015 1959
4 In The Heat Of The Day (Gordon Jenkins)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 884 1957
5 Greenwich Village (J. George Johnson)
NEW WORLD THEATRE ORCHESTRA
Stereo Fidelity SF-3000 1957
6 La Colpa Fu (Eros Sciorilli)
GEORGE MELACHRINO Conducting the Orchestra of the 6th Sanremo Festival 1956
HMV SCT 1519 1957
7 In A Sentimental Mood (Irving Mills; Manny Kurtz; Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington)
PHILIP GREEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia BTD 703 1956
8 Da Capo (Georges Boulanger)
HANS GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
9 In Love In Vain (from "Centennial Summer") (Jerome Kern)
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CS 8050 1958
10 Poor Little Rich Girl (Noel Coward, arr. Peter Yorke)
PETER YORKE AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Delyse Envoy ES 7041 1959
11 Sunset On The Tiber (Dave Dexter)
NORRIE PARAMOR AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 10190 1959
12 La Cumparsita (Gerardo H. Matos Rodriguez)
CARMEN DRAGON AND THE CAPITOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Capitol SP 8487 1959
13 Cancer (Harold (Hal) Mooney)
HAL MOONEY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60073 1958
14 Maria La O (Ernesto Lecuona)
HELMUT ZACHARIAS AND HIS MAGIC VIOLINS
Polydor 45151 LPH 1958
15 You Are My Heart’s Delight (from the musical "Land of Smiles") (Franz Lehár)
GEOFF LOVE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia SX 1060 1957
16 Sweetheart Of All My Dreams (Art Fitch; Kay Fitch; Herbert C. Lowe, arr. Ronald Binge)
RONALD BINGE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LPM 1458 1957
17 Neapolitan Nites Mambo (Zamecnik; Kerr)
MONTY KELLY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Essex ESLP 208 1955
18 Rain (Eugene Ford, arr. Nelson Riddle)
NELSON RIDDLE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol T 893 1958
19 La Cucaracha (Traditional)
PÉPÉ GONZALEZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Brunswick LAT 8128 1957
20 Let’s Beguine (Otto Cesana)
OTTO CESANA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 631 1955
21 Tango Of Regret (Ray Martin)
RAY MARTIN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Polydor 46076 LPHM 1958
22 La Petite Gavotte (Joseph François Heyne)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘VAN LYNN’ on LP)
Brunswick LAT 8125 1956
23 Horizonte (Lara)
BERT KAEMPFERT AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘BOB PARKER’ on disc label)
Heliodor 450110 1957
24 I Wished On The Moon (Ralph Rainger)
JACKIE GLEASON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol W 627 1955
25 I Got Rhythm (George Gershwin)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 865 1955
26 Glamour – Tango (Jacob Gade)
WERNER MÜLLER AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘RICARDO SANTOS and his Tango Orchestra’)
Polydor 45054 LPH 1954
27 Sugar Loaf (Safranski; Lowe)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MG 20086 1953
28 Fireworks Polka (Johann Strauss, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA (LP label credits ‘Jack Saunders Orchestra’)
Everest SDBR 1011 1958

Stereo: tracks 1-13 & 28; all others mono.

In the hands of a talented arranger, a touch of rhythm can transform an ordinary melody into something rather special. Some music couldn’t exist without it: most of the glorious melodies associated with Latin America have rhythm as an essential ingredient, and it is easy to understand how it swept the world in the middle years of the 20th century. Even the more sedate ballrooms of Europe from a much earlier period succumbed to the allure of ‘new’ sensations such as waltzes, which were regarded with suspicion when they first invaded the dance floor. Tastes may change, but it cannot be denied that even a modest touch of rhythm can cause a smile – not to mention a tapping foot. There is plenty on offer in this collection, from the afore-mentioned Latin American to quicksteps, slow foxtrots, polkas and loads of pleasant surprises.

Percy Faith (1908-1976) excelled at arranging Latin American music, and his strings provide a splendid opening track. He was born in Toronto, Canada, and originally he expected that his musical career would be as a concert pianist. But he injured his hands in a fire, which forced him to turn to composing, arranging and conducting. During the 1930s his hit Canadian radio programme "Music By Faith" was also carried by the Mutual network in the USA, which prompted offers of work south of the border. He eventually succumbed in 1940, leaving Robert Farnon (previously his lead trumpeter and choral arranger) to conduct his CBC orchestra. Initially Faith concentrated on broadcasting, and his occasional recording sessions during the 1940s were for several different companies. Things were to change when he signed a Columbia (CBS) contract in 1950, and he soon discovered that his singles sold well and the new long playing records needed the kind of popular instrumental sounds that had formed the basis of his broadcasts for so many years. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Faith arranged all his own material, and his exciting and vibrant scores made his work stand out among the rest. Faith was always busy, whether working in the recording studios, radio, television or films.

Frank (Francis Charles) Chacksfield (1914-1995) conducted one of the finest light orchestras in the world, and during his long recording career with Decca alone it is estimated that his albums sold more than 20 million copies. In total he made more than 150 long-playing albums which were released in many countries, especially in Europe, Japan and Australia as well as Britain and America. Frank’s professional musical career began shortly before World War 2, playing at various local venues, before Army service found him working at the Royal Army Service Corp’s Southern Command Entertainment’s Section at Salisbury, Wiltshire. Later he became staff arranger for "Stars In Battledress" at the War Office in London and back in civilian life he soon became involved with various BBC Radio shows as arranger, composer and conductor; for a while he also worked as musical director of the Henry Hall and Geraldo orchestras. In 1953 he formed a 40-piece orchestra with a large string section. His very first 78 recorded for his new label Decca in April - Charlie Chaplin’s themes for his film "Limelight" - won him a Gold Disc through its big success in the USA. In Britain it earned him the New Musical Express Record of the Year award. His second 78 "Ebb Tide" became the first-ever British non-vocal disc to reach No. 1 in the American charts, providing a second Gold Disc. American juke-box operators, in a nation-wide poll, voted Chacksfield the most promising new orchestra of the year. A steady flow of long-playing records, plus regular broadcasts in many countries, ensured his continuing popularity and high public profile well into the 1970s. Although he was also an accomplished composer - his Candid Snap (GLCD 5156), Catalan Sunshine (GLCD 5161) and Prelude To A Memory (GLCD 5104) are on previous Guild CDs - he usually relied on some of the best arrangers such as Leon Young (1916-1991) and Roland Shaw (b.1920) to work on his albums.

Victor Marlborough Silvester OBE (1900-1978) sold over 75 million records from the 1930s to the 1980s. His style of music for ballroom dancing relied upon a solo violin (usually Oscar Grasso), two pianos and a strong rhythm section. In the 1950s he became a television personality, and his record company realised that his music ought to appeal to listeners, as well as dancers. So strings were added and his recording career entered a new phase. Cole Porter’s You Do Something To Me is a fine illustration of the ‘new’ Victor Silvester.

Gordon Jenkins(1910-1984) arranged for many of the top bands in America before carving out an impressive career for himself in radio and films. He signed with US Decca in 1945, and eventually became their managing director. Under his guidance the label had several big hits, and his large workload with singers possibly prevented him from making as many instrumental records as his fans would have liked. When he moved to Capitol he created some fine arrangements for Nat ‘King’ Cole (especially Stardust) and Frank Sinatra (the albums ‘Where Are You’ and ‘No One Cares’). Happily his new label did recognise his talent for orchestral arranging, and In The Heat Of The Day comes from an early stereo collection called ‘Stolen Hours’.

The special tribute to George Melachrino (1909-1965) in "The Hall of Fame – Volume 3" (GLCD5162) included Aprite le Finestre, a rare track which was one of the two Italian entries in the first Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956. It also won the 6th Sanremo Music Festival in the same year. Melachrino recorded all the Festival entries with the Sanremo Festival Orchestra and HMV released them on a ‘stereosonic’ tape and, later, as an LP on its International label. Another from those sessions was La Colpa Fu which, despite being a catchy number, did not manage to gain any of the first three places at Sanremo that year.

Philip Green (1910-1982) began his professional career at the age of eighteen playing in various orchestras. Within a year he became London’s youngest West End conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre. His long recording career began with EMI in 1933, and he is credited with at least 150 film scores, and countless mood music compositions.

Making his second appearance on a Guild CD with Da Capo is Hans-Georg Arlt (b. 1927) who started learning the violin at the age of six, and later studied under Professor Max Strub in Berlin. In 1946 he began his distinguished radio career, and when the RIAS Dance Orchestra was formed in 1948 he led the string section for a while. In the following years he became a familiar name on German radio and television with his String Orchestra.

Paul Weston (born Paul Wetstein 1912-1996) was originally a pianist, although his particular favourites were saxes and clarinets. When recovering from an accident he was unable to perform so he tried arranging, and his scores were accepted by top bands such as Joe Haymes, Rudy Vallee and Phil Harris. Tommy Dorsey hired Weston as his chief arranger, an association which was to last for five years. In 1940 he started working on Hollywood films, and joined the staff at Capitol Records upon its formation providing backings for singers such as Jo Stafford, whom he later married. In due course he began making orchestral 78s, and collections such as ‘Music For Dreaming’ and ‘Music For Memories’ were to provide the springboard for many future albums. In Love In Vain is a typical example of the hundreds of tasteful arrangements he created during his long career. In 1971 the Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave its Trustees Award to Paul Weston.

Peter Yorke (1902-1966) is a regular contributor to this series of CDs, as composer, arranger and conductor. After learning his craft in British Dance Bands of the 1920s and 1930s, he graduated to arranging for Louis Levy before eventually forming his own concert orchestra for recording and broadcasting.

Norman William (Norrie) Paramor (1914-1979) tended to be better known by the public for his work with pop stars on EMI’s Columbia label, but he also made numerous instrumental recordings and wrote several catchy numbers that greatly appealed.

Carmen Dragon (1914-1984) achieved his first success in Hollywood collaborating with Morris Stoloff (1898-1980) arranging Jerome Kern’s score for the 1944 Rita Hayworth/Gene Kelly film "Cover Girl" which secured him an Oscar. He worked extensively in radio and television, and was a frequent visitor to recording studios conducting the Hollywood Bowl and Capitol Symphony Orchestras.

Hal (born Harold) Mooney (1911-1995) is making his fourth Guild appearance with his composition Cancer, which comes from a collection spotlighting each sign of the Zodiac – another was Gemini on Guild GLCD 5153. Upon the completion of his music studies in his native New York he was invited to join the arrangers' roster for the popular Hal Kemp Orchestra, alongside John Scott Trotter (who was about to leave the band) and Lou Busch. After war service in the US Army he moved to Hollywood where he worked with many of the top stars such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. In 1956 Mooney finally swapped freelancing for an exclusive contract and became A&R Director and chief arranger at Mercury Records, where he remained until Philips phased out the label towards the end of the 1960s. Mooney then moved to Universal Studios, working as MD on many of the top TV shows of the period, before retiring in 1977.

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. The Cuban composer of Mario La O, Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963), – his full name was Ernesto Lecuona y Casado – wrote over 600 pieces and could claim to be one of the reasons why Latin American music was so popular during the last century.

Yorkshireman Geoff Love (1917-1991) succeeded in so many musical fields during his busy career. Internationally he also achieved success as ‘Manuel and his Music of the Mountains’ although his identity was a secret for many years.

Ronald Binge (1910-1979) is destined to remain forever remembered as the gifted arranger who designed the ‘cascading strings’ effect for Mantovani, but his true achievements deserve far greater recognition. He was a prolific composer in his own right - Elizabethan Serenade (on GLCD5162), The Watermill, Miss Melanie and BBC Radio-4’s closing music Sailing By are just four favourites. He also ventured into more serious territory with his Saxophone Concerto in 1956, and his Saturday Symphony a decade later. As LP sales mushroomed in the late 1950s he became in demand from international labels such as RCA.

Monty Kelly(1910-1971) was a trumpeter, arranger and bandleader who was a regular in the recording studios, and managed to secure some success with singles such as Tropicana and Three O’Clock In The Morning (both on Guild GLCD 5105). This persuaded Cash Box magazine to name him ‘most promising orchestra’ in 1953, but by then the era of popular instrumental singles was starting to wane in the USA although his albums continued to do well.

Nelson Riddle (1921-1985) was a trombonist who turned to arranging and conducting – with spectacular results. His work with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee possibly prevented him from fully realising what could have been a highly successful career making many instrumental albums on his own.

Italian born Otto Cesana (1899-1980) spent much of his early career in California where he lived from 1908 to 1930. His piano studies commenced at the age of ten, and he became an accomplished organist; he also learned about orchestration and harmony which he put to good use working in radio and Hollywood film studios. Most critics regarded Cesana’s work as being ‘easy listening’, although the distinguished jazz critic Leonard Feather considered him worthy of an entry in the 1960 Encyclopaedia Jazz through his acclaimed composition Symphony In Jazz. He has already become a Guild favourite through five of his compositions being rediscovered on recent releases.

Once again lack of space is the enemy, and the remaining orchestras in this collection (already familiar through previous Guild appearances) will have to wait for their due credit another time. The booklet notes for all Guild Light Music CDs are available via the internet on the Guild Music website.

David Ades

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5168

British Cinema And Theatre Orchestras – Volume Three

1 Palladium Memories – Selection
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by CLIFFORD GREENWOOD
HMV C 3067 1939
2 Wedding Of The Rose (Leon Jessel)
COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT
Edison Bell Winner 5513 1932
3 The Grenadiers – Valse Militaire (Emile Charles Waldteufel)
ANTON AND THE PARAMOUNT THEATRE ORCHESTRA, LONDON featuring AL BOLLINGTON, Organ
HMV BD 729 1939
4 "Hit The Deck" – Selection (Vincent Youmans)
LONDON HIPPODROME ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOE TUNBRIDGE
Columbia 9284 1927
5 Moontime (Walter R. Collins)
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN
HMV B 4283 1932
6 Perfection (J.H. White)
COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT featuring ALBERT COUPE, Trumpet
Edison Bell Winner 5582 1933
7 "Home And Beauty" – Selection (Nicholas Brodszky)
ADELPHI THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANCIS COLLINSON
Columbia DX 774 1937
8 The Busy Bee – Morceau Characteristique (Theo Bendix)
PLAZA THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK TOURS
Columbia 5195 1929
9 Indian Love Lyrics (Amy Woodforde-Finden)
COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT
Edison Bell Winner 5534 1933
10 Les Sylphides (Oliver Cussans real name Alfred Pratt, arr. Adolf Lotter)
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN
HMV B 4283 1932
11 "The Song Of The Sea" – Selection (Eduard Künneke)
HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by EDUARD KÜNNEKE
Columbia 9543 1928
12 A La Gavotte (Herman Finck)
PLAZA THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK TOURS
Columbia 5193 1929
13 What The Forest Whispers – Waltz (C. Zimmer)
COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT
Regal Zonophone MR 1307 1934
14 The Valley Of The Poppies (Charles Ancliffe)
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN
HMV B 3566 1930
15 Serenade (Frantisek Drdla)
ANTON AND THE PARAMOUNT THEATRE ORCHESTRA, LONDON with AL BOLLINGTON, Organ
HMV BD 660 1939
16 Chanson (In Love) (Rudolf Friml)
PLAZA THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK TOURS
Columbia 9157 1927
17 Beautiful Spring - Waltz (Paul Lincke)REGAL VIRTUOSI (Regal Cinema Orchestra) Conducted by EMANUEL STARKEY featuring SIDNEY TORCH, Organ
Columbia DB 1007 1933
18 "Countess Maritza" – Selection (Emmerich Kálmán)
COVENTRY NEW HIPPODROME ORCHESTRA Conducted by WILLIAM PETHERS
Regal Zonophone MR 2790 1938

All tracks: mono Details of selections
P
alladium Memories – Selection (composers and arranger unidentified on original disc)

There’s A New World, Free, Waltz Of The Gipsies, Round About Regent Street, The Fleet’s In Port Again, Hometown, O-Kay For Sound, Along The River With You, Life Begins At Oxford Circus.

Special note: this selection occupies two sides of an HMV 78 rpm record, with each identified as either ‘side one’ or ‘side two’. Listening carefully to the music there is reasonable doubt that the sides may have been labelled incorrectly at some stage between the original arrangement and the final pressing of the disc. The opening of ‘side two’ on the 78 is more impressive than the beginning of ‘side one’, and the final tune on ‘side one’ reaches a far more dramatic finale than its counterpart on ‘side two’. Therefore it has been decided to reverse the playing order of the sides on this CD which it is hoped will make the entire selection musically more enjoyable.

"Hit The Deck" – Selection (Vincent Youmans)

Join The Navy; Harbour Of My Heart; Nothing Could Be Sweeter; Sometimes I’m Happy; Shore Leave; Lucky Bird; Opening Act 2; Sometimes I’m Happy.

"Home And Beauty" – Selection (Nicholas Brodszky)

Sing Something In The Morning, Storm In My Heart, I’ve Done With Men, No More, Mulberry Men, A Nice Cup Of Tea, Love Me A Little Today, Everybody Must Keep Fit, Twilight Sonata, England Awake, Czardas.

Indian Love Lyrics (Amy Woodforde-Finden)

Temple Bells, Less Than Dust, Kashmiri Song, Till I Wake.

"The Song Of The Sea" – Selection (Eduard Künneke)

Introduction; True Eyes; The Tavern Maid; Finale Act 1; Someone; Song Of The Sea.

"Countess Maritza" – Selection (Emmerich Kálmán)

Titles not given on disc or in original record catalogue.

All titles mono

The two previous collections focussing upon this area of the music scene have prompted a steady flow of requests asking for more. It seems that a considerable number of music lovers retain a special affection for music mainly from the inter-war years of the 20th century, and this was a time when theatres and cinemas employed many musicians in their ‘house’ orchestras.

It should be emphasised that there was no intention that these compilations should focus exclusively upon British orchestras, but considerable research has revealed that, although such orchestras undoubtedly existed in various countries around the world, it was mainly in Britain that record companies seemed to consider them worthy of inclusion in their catalogues. These ensembles offered record buyers a wide choice of light music from leading composers in Europe and America, as well as nearer home.

In the early years of the last century, silent films were often shown to the accompaniment of music provided by a pianist or a small group of musicians. The larger cinemas gradually engaged bigger musical ensembles, until by the 1920s a decent-sized orchestra would often perform music specially composed to accompany the film being screened. However the arrival of talking pictures towards the end of the 1920s heralded the gradual demise of the orchestras, but the general public had become accustomed to an element of live musical entertainment on their frequent visits to the cinema. Partly as a cost-cutting exercise, most orchestras were replaced by theatre organs, but in some cases the change-over was gradual, and for a few years both organs and orchestras co-existed. Some of the tracks on this CD reflect this temporary transformation.

It is slightly surprising (given the technical problems that must have been involved) that many recordings from this period proudly state that the orchestra was actually recorded in the theatre or cinema where it usually performed. Of course, this was necessary if the organ was to be featured, but in other cases it would have been a simple matter to get the orchestra into a studio, and in fact there are instances where a studio-based orchestra and a cinema organ were recorded together via what used to be known as a land line.

Things were different in theatres (not to be confused with movie theatres, where films were screened): technology was not the enemy of musicians – the culprit was changing tastes in entertainment. The once ubiquitous variety theatres in provincial towns and cities have become just a memory, and today it is noteworthy when more than a handful of instrumentalists support a musical stage performance.

It may be of interest to mention a few of the cinemas and theatres where some of the orchestras featured in this collection were based. The stories of some are unfortunately typical of most: from being wonderful escapist venues for the masses in the 1930s, they eventually became too large to sustain financially, with very few exceptions. Many names are now just memories, although others are still very familiar.

In its heyday the London Palladium Orchestra was one of the major British light orchestras of the pre-war years, at least on gramophone records. HMV recorded over 140 sides during the 1930s and early 1940s and many of these are of a high technical standard, aided by the Palladium’s fine acoustics. The famous theatre stands on a site which was once the residence of the Duke of Argyll, in Argyll Street, London. It was opened on 26th December 1910, having taken two years to build. By 1930 it was firmly established as one of London’s premier entertainment venues, and the orchestra was in the capable hands of Richard Crean. He remained at the helm until 1937 when Clifford Greenwood took over. Crean’s assistant was William Pethers who conducted a few recordings (he later went on to the Coventry Hippodrome); Jack Frere provided a similar service for Greenwood.

Richard Crean (1879-1955) became a familiar name in the 1930s through his association with the London Palladium Orchestra. Prior to that, 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 as conductor of the London Palladium Orchestra which lasted for around five years 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 he was also a contributor to the Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library.

‘Paramount’ still crops up at the start of films, and the original Paramount Pictures opened their third London movie theatre (after the Plaza, Lower Regent Street, and the Carlton in the Haymarket) in Tottenham Court Road in 1936, with a capacity of 2,568 seats. The organ installed was a Compton with ten units of pipes, together with one of the recently developed Melotone units, which produced a variety of voices together with carillon, chimes and other effects produced by electrostatic tone generation. The first resident organist, Reginald Foort (heard on Guild’s 1930s CD with the BBC Variety Orchestra – GLCD5106) was keen to exploit this new feature, and it was used to even greater effect by his successor, Al Bollington (1904-1991). The cinema was taken over by Odeon in 1942, and eventually closed by the Rank Organisation in 1960 and largely demolished. Four years later the site was used as a ‘temporary’ car park, and the lower sections of the auditorium’s walls could be seen, still showing traces of the original peeling and crumbling plasterwork. Sadly the final remains of the Paramount were obliterated in 2004.

Many of the orchestra leaders and soloists in this collection were ‘household names’ in their day - notably the Paramount Orchestra’s Arthur Anton (who died in 1980). He conducted for many light music broadcasts over the years, and like Richard Crean he later made some recordings of library music for London publishers Boosey & Hawkes.

Paramount’s Plaza Theatre opened in March 1926, with a fine orchestra and a Wurlitzer organ to entertain the patrons and accompany the then silent films. The conductor was Frank E. Tours (1877-1963), who studied at the Royal College of Music and soon became involved in the musical theatre, although his most successful work was not a show number but his setting of Rudyard Kipling’s Mother o’ Mine. After co-writing several shows, in 1909 he wrote the entire music for "The Dashing Little Duke," conducting the orchestra and the selections recorded acoustically by HMV. In 1926 Tours was invited by Columbia to make a series of recordings with the recently formed Plaza Theatre Orchestra. His musical choice was in the light and light classical categories, rather than the novelties often favoured by some of his contemporaries, but the results were always very tasteful.

Russian-born Joseph Muscant (1899-1983) is credited with making the Commodore Grand Orchestra (also known as the Commodore Gold Medal Orchestra) into one of the finest ensembles playing light music at that time. It was formed when the Hammersmith cinema opened on 14 September 1929, and soon became popular throughout Britain thanks to its regular BBC radio broadcasts. The resident pianist was Louis Mordish (1908-1996), and long after World War 2 he was still broadcasting regularly on the BBC with his own ensemble in programmes such as ‘Music While You Work’.

The Regal Cinema Orchestra, under its conductor Emanuel Starkey, gained a fine reputation and is remembered today partly through its early recordings of Eric Coates’ music. That great light music composer Sidney Torch (1908-1990) was at one time a pianist in Starkey’s orchestra at this famous Marble Arch movie theatre, and for a while he served as assistant to the first resident organist, Quentin Maclean (1896-1962). The Regal Cinema opened in November 1928, and it was subsequently leased to a company which was to become Associated British Cinemas. Despite a stipulation that the orchestra must be retained, in June 1931 notice of termination was issued, leaving Reginald Foort (and later Sidney Torch) to provide the only live music on the cinema’s Christie organ, which was the largest in Britain, with 4 manuals and an amazing 37 ranks of pipes. But something must have been happening behind the scenes as, early in 1932, a new orchestra about half the size of the original and called "The Regal Virtuosi" arrived, again under the baton of Emanuel Starkey, with Torch as its pianist and arranger. It does not seem to have existed for long, but long enough to record five items for Columbia, one of which can be heard here.

The London Hippodrome was originally designed as a circus when it opened on 15 January 1900. In 1909 it was redeveloped as a theatre which could also screen films, and its location in Leicester Square, at the heart of London’s theatreland, meant that it would stage many top shows over the next fifty years. In 1958 it became a theatre restaurant as "The Talk Of The Town" which thrived for 25 years. In 1983 it was transformed into a nightclub, which brought its share of problems, eventually leading to its closure. There are plans to reopen it as a Casino in 2010.

The show "Hit The Deck" by Vincent Youmans and Clifford Grey opened at the London Hippodrome on 3 November 1927 and ran for 277 performances. It had previously opened at the Belasco Theater on Broadway on 25 April where it notched up 532 performances. RKO filmed the show in 1930, and in 1955 MGM used most of the original songs for its film version in stereo sound and CinemaScope starring many of its contract artists including Jane Powell, Tony Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Miller, Russ Tamblyn and Vic Damone.

The Adelphi Theatre in The Strand was first known as The Sans Pareil when it opened on 27 November 1806 before changing its name to Adelphi in 1819. It was rebuilt in 1858, and further reconstructions took place in 1930. The original London production of Charles B. Cochran’s "Home And Beauty" opened at the Adelphi on 2 February 1937 and was billed as a ‘Coronation Revue’ in anticipation of the event planned for 12 May 1937, although the King eventually crowned was George VI, rather than his brother Edward VIII who had abdicated the previous December. Its star Binnie Hale had a hit with A Nice Cup Of Tea but it is the only song from the show that has endured. The music was composed by Nicholas Brodszky (lyrics by A.P. Herbert) and it is an attractive – if largely unfamiliar – score. Born in Odessa, Russia, Nicholas Brodszky (1905-1958) – spellings of his names differ - had a thriving career in German films until the developing political situation brought him to Britain in the mid-1930s. He contributed scores to several memorable films, notably "The Way To The Stars" (1945) where he collaborated with Charles Williams, who later claimed that he was responsible for the lion’s share of the work (Williams’ own recording is on GLCD 5102). Brodszky ended his career in Hollywood, receiving five Oscar nominations for movie songs (four of them with lyrics by Sammy Cahn) such as Be My Love and Because You’re Mine.

His (now ‘Her’) Majesty’s Theatre has undergone several changes of name since the first of four theatres constructed on the same site in Haymarket opened in April 1705. "The Song Of The Sea" is regarded by some musicologists as Eduard Künneke’s masterpiece. The 1928 British production at His Majesty’s Theatre was developed from his operetta called "Lady Hamilton" which premiered in Breslau on 25 September 1926. Künneke (1885-1953) was complimented for his use of saxophones (evident in this recording), then regarded as something of an innovation, and which he would develop further in his "Dance Suite" from the same period – three movements are already available on Guild GLCD5106, 5134 and 5163.

The operetta "Countess Maritza" was premiered as "Gräfin Mariza" in Vienna in 1924, before moving on to New York’s Schubert Theater in 1926 and eventually reaching London’s West End (as simply "Maritza") in 1938. The attractive music by the Hungarian Emmerich Kálmán (1882-1953 – known originally in his own country as Kálmán Imre) has been recorded many times, and in this collection it is the once famous Coventry New Hippodrome Orchestra that provides the finale. The ‘New’ in the orchestra’s name refers to the fact that the ‘old’ Coventry Hippodrome staged its final show on 31 October 1937, and the next day the New Hippodrome opened next door. It had the honour of being the first theatre to have a BBC radio studio specially built inside it, and this was used regularly for broadcasts by the orchestra on the BBC World Service. The original Hippodrome Orchestra had already performed over 450 broadcasts for home listeners even before it moved to the new theatre. As already mentioned in these notes, the conductor William E. Pethers had previously worked with Richard Crean at the London Palladium. He was still at Coventry in 1957 when the orchestra (by then known as The Coventry Theatre Orchestra) was engaged for a "Music While You Work" programme on 30 May.

David Ades

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5169

A First A-Z Of Light Music

1 Alpine Pastures (Vivian Ellis, arranged by Sidney Torch)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Chappell C 377 1950
2 Baubles, Bangles And Beads (Robert Wright; George Forrest)
WARREN BARKER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Bros. WB 1218 1958
3 The Christmas Tree (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM SE 3748 1959
4 Durch Dich Wird Diese Welt Erst Schön (Through You This World Is Beautiful) (Jary; von Pinelli)
HANS GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
5 Escape To Monaco (John Scott Trotter)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1266 1959
6 Flowing Stream (Joyce Cochrane)
NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERICH BÖRSCHEL
Francis Day & Hunter FDH 202 1958
7 Going Concern (King Palmer)
THE GROSVENOR STUDIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN
Synchro FM 168 1958
8 High Flight (Eric Coates)
MICHAEL FREEDMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Oriole EP-7008 1958
9 It Wouldn’t Be Love (Allan Roberts; Buddy Bernier; Jerome Brainin, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA (LP label credits ‘Jack Saunders Orchestra’)
Everest SDBR 1011 1958
10 Jump For Joy (Henry Croudson)
THE CONNAUGHT LIGHT ORCHESTRA
Conroy BM 121-B 1958
11 The Kiss (Jose Belmonte, real name Philip Green)
ANGELA MORLEY AND HER ORCHESTRA (as ‘Wally Stott’ on 78 label)
Philips PB138 1953
12 Leo (Hal Mooney)
HAL MOONEY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60073 1958
13 Moonlight On The Ganges (Sherman Myers, real name Montague Ewing; Chester Wallace)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 884 1957
14 Noche Amour (Joseph F. Kuhn)
THE RIO CARNIVAL ORCHESTRA
Stereo Fidelity SF-5900 1958
15 Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen; E. ‘Yip’ Harburg)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca SKL 4048 1959
16 Parole E Musica (Words And Music) (Silvestri)
GEORGE MELACHRINO Conducting the Orchestra of the 6th San Remo Festival
HMV SCT 1519 1957
17 Quiet Night (Richard Rodgers)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia C2L-3 1958
18 Rose-Beetle Goes A-Wooing (José Armandola)
REGENT CLASSIC ORCHESTRA
Bosworth BC 1053 1938
19 Sunshine Express (Jack Coles)
GROUP-FORTY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC COOK
KPM Music KP 004A 1959
20 Tip-Toe Through The Tulips (Al Dubin; Joe Burke, arr. Ronald Binge)
RONALD BINGE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LSP 1890 1959
21 Unless (Tolchard Evans, arr. Peter Yorke)
PETER YORKE AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Delyse Envoy ES 7041 1959
22 Vanity Fair (Overture) (Percy Fletcher)
THE NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JAY WILBUR
Boosey & Hawkes O 2082 1946
23 What Is There To Say (from "Ziegfeld Follies of 1933) (Vernon Duke)
MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia ML 4451 1951
24 Xarafes (Guy Brain, arr. Dolf van der Linden)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca DL 8062 1955
25 Yellow (Jeff Alexander)
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK SINATRA
Capitol LCT 6111 1956
26 Zingara (Chaminade, arr. Arthur Wilkinson)
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV B 9610 1948

Stereo: tracks 2-5, 9, 12 & 13, 15 & 16, 20 & 21; all others mono.

If anyone ever thought that the term ‘Light Music’ described a small corner of the music scene appealing only to minority interests, then maybe the wide variety of styles on offer in this collection will raise some serious doubts. No two people would probably ever agree on the exact boundaries of the genre, which is in itself an indication of how far it stretches across other musical styles. So within the 79 minutes of music on this CD you will find works originally created for light orchestras in the concert hall rubbing shoulders with popular melodies from other fields, given a fresh appeal in the hands of talented arrangers and conductors. But do labels really matter? Surely it all comes down to whether or not music is enjoyable, and only the individual listener can be the judge of that.

When ‘A to Z’ was chosen as the idea behind this collection, there were initial doubts that suitable titles could be discovered for all the letters of the English alphabet. It was a close run thing (‘X’ was obviously going to be a problem!) but hopefully listeners will enjoy the result of our endeavours.

Our opening track will be familiar to people in Britain (and BBC World Service listeners) who remember the radio panel game "My Word!" which used Alpine Pastures as its theme during its entire run from 1956 to 1990. The composer, Vivian Ellis (1903-1996), was only 24 when he had his first big success in London’s West End with his show ‘Mr. Cinders’, and he devoted the major part of his illustrious career to the musical stage. However he also wrote several pieces of light music which have become ‘classics’ in their own right, the most famous being Coronation Scot (on GLCD5120) which was initially well-known in Britain through its use as one of the signature tunes for BBC Radio’s "Paul Temple" series in the 1940s. Like some of his contemporaries, Vivian Ellis possessed the precious skill of being able to conjure up a strong melody, although he preferred to leave it to others to orchestrate his tunes. In the case of Alpine Pastures it was Sidney Torch (1908-1990) who created the perfect arrangement, and it is appropriate that he conducts the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra in this 1950 recording.

As a schoolboy Warren Barker (1923-2006) learned to play the piano and trumpet, then studied under composer Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco at the University of California in Los Angeles. His career was firmly rooted in the film, radio and television studios around Hollywood, and in the 1950s he was a musical director at Warner Bros Records. He also worked on many popular TV series such as "Hawaiian Eye", "Bewitched" and "Daktari" although (like so many indispensable ‘backroom boys’ in the music business) his name didn’t always appear on the credits. Barker has also been associated with the 20th Century Fox, Columbia and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios as composer/conductor for motion pictures and television and in 1969 was on the arranging staff for the Oscar-winning film "Hello Dolly". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honoured him in 1970 for his original music in the award-winning series "My World And Welcome To It", based on the life of James Thurber.

London-born David Rose (1910-1990) became one of the truly great light orchestra leaders in the USA, and his compositions such as Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLKCD 5120) and The Stripper sold millions. His composition The Christmas Tree was familiar to generations of Americans through its use each Yuletide season on the Red Skelton TV show.

German violinist Hans-Georg Arlt (b. 1927) began his distinguished radio career in 1946, and when the RIAS Dance Orchestra was formed in 1948 he led the string section for a while. In the following years he became a familiar name on German radio and television with his String Orchestra.

In his native USA John Scott Trotter (1908-1975) will have been a familiar name through his work on radio in the 1930s, and on many TV shows from the late 1940s onwards. Although he worked as MD with several top singers, he was especially linked with Bing Crosby, and it is from seeing him credited as the orchestra on numerous Crosby 78s that music lovers elsewhere in the world would have picked up on his name. Happily Warner Bros. Records used his talents more widely on several LPs performing a mixture of standards and instrumental favourites including a few of his own compositions.

Flowing Stream was used in 1958 as the theme for a Southern Television series (screened in Britain on the ITV network) called "Mary Britten, MD", starring Brenda Bruce, who just happened to be the wife of the station’s controller, Roy Rich! The show’s theme was a piece of production music from Francis, Day & Hunter, composed by Joyce Reynolds Cochrane (1908-1988). Five of her works (notably Honey Child in a beautiful Robert Farnon arrangement on GLCD 5104) have already been featured on Guild Light Music CDs, but it has since been discovered that she was not the ‘Cochrane’ responsible for Call Of The Casbah on GLCD5151: credit for this belongs to pianist Peggy Cochrane (c.1902-1988), at one time wife of bandleader Jack Payne (1899-1969). Joyce’s father Frank Cochrane played the violin, but she was the only one of his five children with a talent for music. She left her home in the Manchester area to settle in Kensington, London, and wrote several attractive songs for shows and films, such as You’re Only Dreaming for the 1950 film "Dance Hall" featuring the Ted Heath and Geraldo orchestras. She contributed mood music compositions to several publishers’ libraries, and was also a fine pianist. The artists she accompanied at various times included household names like Benny Hill, Cliff Richard, Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn, Charlie Chester and Richard Hearne (Mr. Pastry). Joyce Cochrane never married.

Cedric King Palmer (1913-1999), responsible for Going Concern, was a prolific composer of mood music who, during a period of 30 years, contributed over 600 works to the recorded music libraries of several London publishers.

As a young man Michael Freedman (b. 1911) studied the violin, and at the age of 16 he was offered his first engagements in West End theatre orchestras. Thereafter he tended to concentrate more on studying 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 made a few recordings for Oriole. Like so many musicians in the post-war years, Michael Freedman eventually had to seek other work, and he became a London taxi driver.

After a short spell as a bank clerk, Henry Croudson(1898-1971) began his musical career in 1925 as an organist playing for silent films at the Majestic Cinema in his home town of Leeds. He became one of England’s foremost players, eventually working at the top cinemas including the famous Gaumont State, Kilburn, and the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, London. Henry also wrote many tuneful and well constructed pieces of light music, including Jump For Joy on this CD.

Philip Green (1910-1982), who used the pseudonym Jose Belmonte when composing The Kiss, began his professional career at the age of eighteen playing in various orchestras. Within a year he became London’s youngest West End conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre. His long recording career began with EMI in 1933, and he is credited with at least 150 film scores, and countless mood music compositions.

Harold (Hal) Mooney (1911-1995) was an American composer, arranger and conductor who worked with most of the top bands and singers during a long career.

Another track gives us the opportunity to correct a likely error in an earlier booklet. The music for Moonlight On The Ganges is credited to ‘Sherman Myers’, which was a pseudonym for the English composer Montague Ewing (1890-1957). In the notes for GLCD5106 – "The 1930s" – misleading information in a reference book suggested that Herbert Carrington was the real name, but it was subsequently confirmed that ‘Carrington’ was yet another pseudonym for Ewing. No doubt it was his prolific output (or maybe his publishers) that persuaded Montague Ewing to adopt different names; such practices are common in the music business, much to the frustration of researchers. Ewing’s successes also included Policeman’s Holiday (on Guild GLCD5139), Fairy On The Clock and Butterflies In The Rain (GLCD5106 and GLCD 5137). Tolchard Evans was a contemporary of Montague Ewing, and in later years he told a reporter that the name ‘Sherman Myers’ was adopted because Ewing felt that the work of an American Jew would be more acceptable on the other side of the Atlantic – and he was right! Gordon Jenkins(1910-1984) arranged for many of the top bands in America before carving out an impressive career for himself in radio and films. He signed with US Decca in 1945, and eventually became their managing director. When he later moved to Capitol he created some fine arrangements for Nat ‘King’ Cole and Frank Sinatra. Happily his new label commissioned him to arrange and conduct his own albums.

Frank Chacksfield (1914-1995), George Melachrino (1909-1965), Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) and Ronald Binge (1910-1979) are Guild ‘regulars’ who are already familiar to light music lovers.

The afore-mentioned Tolchard Evans (1901-1978) has a string of song successes to his name, but it is for Lady of Spain (on Guild GLCD 5165) that he is best-known and remembered. Unless enjoyed some popularity in the 1950s, no doubt helped by Peter Yorke’s (1902-1966) charming arrangement.

Derby born Percy Eastman Fletcher (1879-1932) spent much of his career as a musical director in London’s theatreland. A prolific composer, he wrote numerous ballads as well as choral works and light orchestral suites. He is already well-represented on Guild CDs with pieces such as Bal Masque (on GLCD 5108 and 5137), Folie Bergere (GLCD 5128) and Pearl O’ Mine (GLCD5134), but this time the choice is a longer musical overture Vanity Fair.

The highly regarded American composer Morton Gould (1913-1996) generally arranged the works he recorded, and What Is There To Say is a fine example of the way in which fine melodies like this should be performed by a light concert orchestra.

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. His commercial recordings (especially for the American market) were often labelled as ‘Van Lynn’ or ‘Daniel De Carlo’. Xarafes was composed by a wealthy Dutchman called Van Beuningen, who used the pseudonym ‘Guy Brain’. It seems he made his fortune in the oil business, and paid Dolf van der Linden handsomely for arranging and conducting his music.

In the summer of 1956 Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) conducted an album of orchestral music to celebrate the opening of the new Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, supposedly built to resemble a stack of records. Like many creative artists before him, he wanted to do something completely different, so he engaged a team of top composers and arrangers to create short works based on poems by his radio scriptwriter, Norman Sickel. The poems were all about different colours, so the album was appropriately called "Tone Poems Of Color". Capitol assembled around sixty Hollywood musicians for their star singer, who proceeded to make one of the most unusual recordings of his long career. The line-up included some of Sinatra's well known arranger/conductors such as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Gordon Jenkins, as well as iconic figures like Elmer Bernstein and Andre Previn. Jeff Alexander contributed two works: Brown and the one chosen this time Yellow, depicting laughter – this is the fifth track from the album to appear on Guild. Jeff Alexander, born Myer Goodhue Alexander (1910-1989) was well-known in the USA for his work in radio ("The Lucky Strike Show" and "Amos ‘n’ Andy") and later films (around 35 such as "The Tender Trap" and "Jailhouse Rock"). His many television credits include "Columbo" and "The Twilight Zone".

George Melachrino returns with his own orchestra for the final track in this journey through the musical alphabet. ‘Z’ is represented by a charming work Zingara by the French pianist and composer Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade (1857-1944), who has already appeared on Guild with her Scarf Dance. Despite considerable acclaim during her early years when she was an extremely prolific composer, she was largely forgotten during the second half of the last century.

David Ades

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5170

Magical Melodies

1 Melody Fair (Robert Farnon)
LESLIE JONES and his ORCHESTRA OF LONDON
Pye-Nixa NSPL 83009 1959
2 Loveliest Of The Lovely (Rudolf Friml)
101 STRINGS Conducted by RUDOLF FRIML
Stereo Fidelity SF-6900 1959
3 Carnival Tango (Joseph Kuhn)
DOLORES VENTURA, piano and the CARNIVAL ORCHESTRA
Valiant V-4926 1959
4 Autumn Nocturne (Josef Myrow; Kim Gannon)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1223 1958
5 Warum Nur, Warum? (Why Just Why?) (Berking; Paulsen)
HANS GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
6 Long Ago And Far Away (Jerome Kern, arr. Conrad Salinger)
THE CONRAD SALINGER ORCHESTRA Conducted by BUDDY BREGMAN
Verve MG VS-6012 1958
7 I’ve Got My Eyes On You (Cole Porter)
VICTOR SILVESTER AND HIS SILVER STRINGS
Regal SREG 1015 1959
8 Mam’selle (Edmund Goulding; Mack Gordon)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1266 1959
9 Lullaby Of Broadway (Al Dubin; Harry Warren)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca SKL 4048 1959
10 I’m Thru With Love (Matt Malneck; Fud Livingston; Gus Kahn, arr. Paul Weston)
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 1154 1959
11 Lovely Lady (Jimmy McHugh; Ted Koehler)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV DSD 1751 1958
12 While We’re Young (Bill Engvick; Morty Palitz; Alec Wilder)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Philips BBL 7045 1955
13 If I Loved You (Richard Rodgers)
GEOFF LOVE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia SX 1060 1957
14 Return To Paradise (film theme) (Ned Washington; Dimitri Tiomkin, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 577 1954
15 Underneath Tahitian Skies (Ralph Siegel; Robert Mellin)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘VAN LYNN’ on LP)
Brunswick LAT 8125 1956
16 Too Soon (Robert Harris, arr. Bruce Campbell)
BRUCE CAMPBELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM E 3460 1956
17 Mine At Last (Otto Cesana)
OTTO CESANA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 631 1955
18 Scalinatella (Stay After School) (Giuseppe Cloffi; Wilson)
CYRIL STAPLETON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM E 3302 1956
19 Spring In Montmartre (Larry Fotine)
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LK 4150 1957
20 Tonight (Dorchas Cochran; Ralph Sterling, real name David Carroll)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MG 20121 1956
21 I’ll Take Romance (Ben Oakland; Oscar Hammerstein II)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Services Z-165 1942
22 Eva Waltz (Franz Lehár)
HARRY HORLICK AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘Rene Savard’ on disc label)
Standard Radio Transcription Services T 239-1 1945
23 On The Isle Of May (based on the Andante Cantabile from Tchaikovsky’s Quartet in D Major) (Andre Kostelanetz; David)
FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol H 185 1950
24 Without A Song (Vincent Youmans, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LF 1052 1951
25 Midnight In Paris (from the film "Here’s To Romance") (Con Conrad; Herb Magidson)
LEWIS WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Standard Radio Transcription Services Z 250-2 1949

Stereo: tracks 1-11; rest in mono

In this collection the emphasis is on melody – in many cases well-known, but not exclusively so. In fact the opening track may only be familiar to keen aficionados of original light music compositions, but few can surely dispute its glorious harmonies which instantly appeal. Its composer, the Canadian Robert Farnon (1917-2005), was already firmly established as a master of distinctive short cameos such as Jumping Bean (on Guild GLCD5162)and Portrait Of A Flirt (GLCD5120) when Melody Fair appeared on Decca’s new release lists in November 1952. Two years earlier the Chappell Recorded Music Library made it available to professional users in the entertainment business, and in 1949 cinemagoers had heard it as the titles music for a long-forgotten movie "Paper Orchid"; Farnon regularly used Melody Fair as one of his signature tunes. The recording conducted by Leslie Jones (b. 1905) comes from stereo sessions in 1958 for Pye-Nixa while Decca still had the composer under contract. Farnon was keen for many of his works to be available in stereo, but Decca seemingly lacked interest. The project was co-ordinated by Farnon’s manager, Derek Boulton, and Farnon provided all the scores and attended the sessions. Jones’ Orchestra of London consisted mainly of the session players who usually performed under Farnon’s baton, plus seven additional strings. Later researches revealed that the composer did assist with conducting when Leslie Jones occasionally experienced difficulty with some of the tempi. Mr Punch from these sessions is already available on Guild GLCD5165.

Although several compositions by Rudolf Friml (1879-1972) have previously appeared in Guild compilations, this is the first time we have enjoyed him conducting his own music. This talented and prolific composer was born in Prague (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) where he studied piano and composition with Antonín Dvořák at the Conservatory. As a young man he moved to the United States where he found success as a composer of operettas, notably "Rose-Marie" and "The Vagabond King". These were just two of around 20 Broadway scores and two original screen musicals. The Miller International organisation (which embraced several new labels to promote early stereo in the USA) engaged 79-year-old Friml to front their newly-created ‘101 Strings’ in a collection of his own melodies, from which comes Loveliest Of The Lovely.

The pianist Dolores Ventura was married to Ivor Slaney (1921-1998), and it is possible that he was conducting the anonymous ‘Carnival Orchestra’ in Carnival Tango.

In his native USA John Scott Trotter (1908-1975) will have been a familiar name through his work on radio in the 1930s, and on many TV shows from the late 1940s onwards. Warner Bros. Records used his talents on several LPs performing a mixture of standards and instrumental favourites including a few of his own compositions.

German violinist Hans-Georg Arlt (b. 1927) began his distinguished radio career in 1946, and when Werner Müller’s RIAS Dance Orchestra was formed in 1948 he led the string section for a while. In the following years he became a familiar name on German radio and television with his String Orchestra. The arranger of Warum Nur, Warum is not credited, but the distinctive string sound is similar to recordings by Müller during the 1950s.

Buddy Bregman (b. 1930), A&R Manager of the fledgling Verve Records label, took his orchestra into Studio A at Capitol Records on 20 & 21 March 1957 and conducted an album honouring arranger Conrad Salinger (1901-1961). Such was Bregman’s esteem for him that he retitled his orchestra ‘The Conrad Salinger Orchestra Conducted by Buddy Bregman’ for the LP "Conrad Salinger – A Lovely Afternoon". Long Ago And Far Away (from the film "Cover Girl") is the eighth track from those sessions to appear on Guild.

Victor Marlborough Silvester OBE (1900-1978) sold over 75 million records from the 1930s to the 1980s. His style of music for ballroom dancing relied upon a solo violin (usually Oscar Grasso), two pianos and a strong rhythm section. In the 1950s he became a television personality, and his record company realised that his music ought to appeal to listeners, as well as dancers. So strings were added and his recording career entered a new phase. Cole Porter’s I’ve Got My Eyes On You is a typical example of the ‘new’ Victor Silvester.

Frank Chacksfield (1914-1995) conducted one of the finest light orchestras in the world, and during his long recording career with Decca alone, it is estimated that his albums sold more than 20 million copies. In total he made more than 150 long-playing albums which were released in many countries, especially in Europe, Japan and Australia as well as Britain and America.

Paul Weston (born Paul Wetstein 1912-1996) was one of America’s top arrangers and conductors, whose orchestral collections such as ‘Music For Dreaming’ and ‘Music For Memories’ were to provide the springboard for many future albums. I’m Thru With Love is a typical example of the hundreds of tasteful arrangements he created during his long career. In 1971 the Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave him its Trustees Award.

George Melachrino (1909-1965), Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980), Geoff Love (1917-1991), Percy Faith (1908-1976) and Dolf van der Linden (1915-1999) are Guild ‘regulars’ who are already familiar to light music lovers.

Bruce Campbell was one of several writers who owed much to his association with Robert Farnon. He was a fellow Canadian, who actually came to Britain some years before Farnon, and played trombone with various British bands during the 1930s including Ambrose, Jack Harris, Jack Hylton, Sid Millward, Hugo Rignold and Lew Stone. Campbell assisted Farnon on his post-war BBC radio shows, and was on hand to replace Wally Stott as MD for "The Goon Show" on those occasions when Wally wasn’t available. Later Bruce became a frequent contributor to various mood music libraries. His US LP "Lovelight" (from which comes Too Soon) is very rare, and makes one wonder why he was not invited to make other albums in a similar style.

Although born in Brescia, Italy, Otto Cesana (1899-1980) spent much of his career in California, and was especially active in radio and films during the 1940s and 1950s.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Cyril Stapleton (1914-1974) was a well-known orchestra leader in Britain and overseas, thanks to his regular BBC broadcasts and his many recordings.

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-1980) became the conductor of one of the most famous light orchestras from the 1950s onwards. Born in Venice, his family came to England when he was aged four and he was something of a prodigy on the violin by the time he reached sixteen. But he leaned more towards popular music, and fronted many different kinds of ensembles before long-playing records (especially when stereo arrived) brought him worldwide acclaim.

David Carroll (1913-2008) – real name Rodell Walter ‘Nook’ Schreier – was well-known in his native USA as a conductor and arranger. He was also a successful composer, with his songs accepted by leading singers such as Sarah Vaughan, Vic Damone and Patti Page. Born in Chicago, his early career was centred on local ballrooms and radio stations. He played saxophone, but it was his talent as an arranger that created most interest among fellow musicians. Gradually he became known in wider music circles following a move to New York to work in radio on the "Lucky Strike All-Time Hit Parade"; in the mid-1940s he joined the newly formed Mercury Records where he spent the next 15 years. Initially employed as an arranger and conductor, he progressed to being a producer and was later promoted as head of artists and repertoire. He formed his own orchestra which recorded over 20 albums, often with a dance or percussion theme, reflecting his musical roots. When stereo arrived he embraced it enthusiastically, and gained recognition by some as one of the pioneers of this new marvel. He was particularly successful writing TV jingles for advertising, and became familiar to the public through his work with The Smothers Brothers, eventually becoming their General Manager. During his long career David Carroll was active in several organisations within the music profession, and served a term as President of The National Association of the Recording Arts and Sciences, which is best known for its annual Grammy Awards to recording artists. His attractive instrumentals have already been featured on many previous Guild Light Music CDs, and on this occasion ‘Ralph Sterling’ conceals his true identity as the co-composer of Tonight. Like so many A&R Managers, he probably felt more comfortable using pseudonyms to disguise the extent to which he promoted his own compositions on his recordings.

London-born David Rose (1910-1990) became one of the truly great light orchestra leaders in the USA. More than 30 of his recordings have already graced Guild Light Music CDs, but this time I’ll Take Romance is something special, because it dates from the period just before he became world famous through Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120). The distinctive Rose string sound is already clearly apparent.

Russian-born violinist Harry Horlick (1896-1970) was the conductor of one of early American radio’s most popular salon orchestras, largely due to his regular appearances on the long-running "A & P Gypsies" show from 1924 to 1936. When this series ended, Decca signed him for almost twenty sets of 78s featuring what has been described as ‘musically sturdy, if somewhat careful, albums, with a number devoted to popular and theatre music’. Such descriptions certainly apply to the recording of Franz Lehár’s Eva Waltz, which Horlick recorded for Standard Radio Transcription Services in 1945, using the pseudonym ‘Rene Savard’.

In the USA Frank De Vol (1911-1999) is known primarily as the composer for the radio and TV series "The Brady Bunch", but light music fans appreciate that his career has been far more substantial: it was not uncommon to see the credit ‘Music by De Vol’ on many films. In the 1950s his own Hollywood orchestra, called "Music of the Century", played frequently at the Hollywood Palladium. His many motion picture scores included the following which were all nominated for Oscars: the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy "Pillow Talk" (1959), "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" (1964), "Cat Ballou" (1965), and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967). Frank also appeared as a character actor in several US television series, such as "I Dream of Jeannie", "Bonanza" and "Petticoat Junction". For many years – probably well into the 1950s – the BBC in Britain banned dance bands and light orchestras playing adaptations of classical works, but this did not apply in the USA. Frank De Vol’s arrangement of the Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile, which was retitled On The Isle Of May would certainly have been caught up in the BBC ban. Is it wrong to make classical music more readily accessible to listeners who might otherwise not hear it? Individuals must make up their own minds on that contentious subject!

Without A Song is a prime example of the kind of popular arrangement that Robert Farnon perfected while he was with the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. The opening track in this collection illustrates how quickly he moved on to concentrate more on composing, but it is good to remind ourselves how brilliantly he handled all the various sections of his early concert orchestra (essentially a dance band with strings, as Paul Weston observed about his own similar outfit).

To complete this CD we turn to another rare recording from the Standard Radio Transcription Service in the USA. Lewis Williams conducts a time-locked and wonderfully corny version of Midnight In Paris from an unmemorable 1935 comedy musical "Here’s To Romance". Perhaps the most notable fact about the film is that the title song was the subject on a court case in 1939 for alleged plagiarism. The UCLA Film and Television Archives possess a nitrate print of the film, but it is not on the list for preservation. At least one of the tunes will survive via this Guild CD!

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.