The Composer Conducts - Volume 2
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5178
The Composer Conducts - Volume 2
1 March from "Things To Come" (Music from the film) (Arthur Bliss)
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIR ARTHUR BLISS
Decca SDD 255 1959
2 "Pinky" Music from the film (Alfred Newman)
ALFRED NEWMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MPL 6500 1956
3 Scherzofrenia (from Symphony No. 5 ½ - "A Symphony For Fun") (Don Gillis)
NEW SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF LONDON Conducted by DON GILLIS
Decca LM 4510 1950
4 State Occasion (Robert Farnon)
QUEEN"S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
Chappell C294 1947
5 Dawn Fantasy (Peter Yorke)
PETER YORKE AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA with ARTHUR SANDFORD, piano
Columbia DB 2639 1950
"The League Of Gentlemen" Music from the film (Philip Green)
6 Golden Fleece Theme
7 League Of Gentlemen March
PINEWOOD STUDIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by PHILIP GREEN
Top Rank International JAR-355 1960
8 Salute The Soldier (Eric Coates)
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERIC COATES
EMI JG 214 1944
9 Les Jeux (Playing) (George Melachrino)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV C4250 1954
10 Amethyst March (soundtrack recording from the film "Yangtse Incident") (Leighton Lucas)
LEIGHTON LUCAS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Parlophone 45-R 4342 1957
11 Strings In The Mood (Walter Collins)
LONDON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by WALTER COLLINS
Paxton PR454 1948
12 Naval Occasion (Hubert Clifford)
MELODI LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUBERT CLIFFORD
13 Chappell C428 1953
13 "The Dancing Years" - Three Ballet Tunes (Ivor Novello)
THE DRURY LANE THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by IVOR NOVELLO
HMV B 8897 1939
14 International Sports March (Sidney Torch)
QUEEN"S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
Chappell C299 1947
15 Rendezvous With Curzon (Frederic Curzon) Cachucha from "In Malaga" Suite; Maid Marian from "Robin Hood" Suite; Bravada; Serenade Of A Clown; March Of The Bowmen from "Robin Hood" Suite
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by FREDERIC CURZON
Boosey & Hawkes OT 2090 1946
16 Selection of Radio Novelty Tunes (Montague Ewing) Fairy On The Clock; Soldier On The Shelf; The Queen Was In The Parlour; Butterflies In The Rain; Little Dutch Clock
MONTAGUE EWING, Piano, with NOVELTY BAND
Rex 8364-A 1935
Three Dale Dances (Suite founded on Yorkshire Folk Tunes) (Arthur Wood)
17 First Movement
18 Second Movement
19 Third Movement
ARTHUR WOOD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia DX 971 1940
20 Wedgewood Blue (Albert William Ketèlbey)
ALBERT W. KETÈLBEY, Piano, and his CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Columbia DX 27 1930
21 Thrills (Charles Ancliffe)
CHARLES ANCLIFFE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia DB 339 1932
22 Cornish Rhapsody (featured in the film "Love Story") (Hubert Bath)
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUBERT BATH, with HARRIET COHEN, piano
Columbia DX 1171 1944
Stereo: track 1 - remainder in mono.
The second collection of composers conducting their own works opens with a significant work for British cinema of the 1930s. When Arthur Bliss (later to be "Sir" Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, 1891-1975) composed the music for the film of H.G. Wells" 1933 novel "The Shape Of Things To Come" it proved to be the most important score provided up to that time for a British film. It also influenced film music internationally, with many composers embracing more symphonic aspects in their work. While the film was in production during 1935 Bliss was apparently only partly satisfied with the way in which his music was used, although it seems that he was prepared not to apply any kind of veto. When the film appeared, the music was widely acclaimed and Bliss recorded part of the score for commercial release on Decca. For some reason it was left to the film"s musical director, Muir Mathieson (1911-1975), to conduct the famous March, which soon achieved fame through many other uses especially in newsreels. As stereo arrived towards the end of the 1950s Bliss was commissioned to record his Concert Suite of music from the film with the London Symphony Orchestra, and on this occasion the March was finally conducted by the composer.
Alfred Newman (1901-1970 - some references give his birth date as 1900) is occasionally overlooked as an important film composer, yet for much of his career he was probably the most influential and respected among his peers. His Hollywood career began in 1930 and one of his early scores was "Street Scene" in 1931 (the music is included on Guild GLCD5153), and until John Williams finally overtook him in January 2006 he was the most Oscar-nominated composer/conductor, with a tally of 44 nominations resulting in 9 Academy Awards. From 1939 until 1959 he was the musical director at 20th Century Fox, reputed to have worked on around 225 films. "Pinky" from 1949 supposedly dealt with racial problems in southern USA; as one respected critic observed "it has about as much daring as a cheese-mite".
During his lifetime it seems that the American composer Donald Eugene Gillis (1912-1978) did not get the full attention from the American record industry which his talents deserved. It was the British Decca label that brought him to London in 1950 for several sessions at the Kingsway Hall which have preserved for posterity some of his best - and most quirky - creations. Anyone who can compose a piece of music called "Symphony No. 5½" is almost demanding not to be taken too seriously, and to make sure that nobody missed the joke Gillis subtitled his work "A Symphony For Fun". The first movement Perpetual Emotion is on Guild GLCD5156; now we have the third movement Scherzofrenia, which is so typical of the carefree, almost whimsical, work that he offered to music lovers in the middle years of the last century.
Canadian-born Robert Farnon (1917-2005) is widely regarded as one of the greatest light music composers and arrangers of his generation. His melodies such as Portrait Of A Flirt (on Guild GLCD5120) and Jumping Bean (GLCD5162) are familiar to millions around the world. He composed a vast amount of background music for the Chappell Recorded Music Library, and one of his most used pieces was State Occasion. Strangely he was never asked to make a commercial recording, but we can hear him conducting the original version for Chappell in 1947.
Peter Yorke (1902-1966) was a leading arranger, composer and conductor in Britain for many years, with many recordings and broadcasts to his credit. Among his compositions the mini-concerto Dawn Fantasy ranks as one of the best. It comes from the era when the Warsaw Concerto (composed by Richard Addinsell for the 1941 film "Dangerous Moonlight") spawned a glut of similar works, which broadcaster Steve Race astutely dubbed "the Denham Concertos", after the film studio which often featured such works on their soundtracks.
Philip Green (born Harry Philip Green 1911-1982) 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, including "The League Of Gentlemen". The music has been sequenced on this CD as it was used in the film.
Eric Coates (1886-1957) was asked to write a piece of music to assist the National Savings Movement during the Second World War. The result was Salute The Soldier which was the name given to the campaign to raise as much money as possible during those difficult times. Although he conducted the work in Trafalgar Square to gain maximum publicity, the special recording issued was made in No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road on 1 February 1944 with Coates and the London Symphony Orchestra.
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. After war service he built an orchestra which became one of the finest in the world; when long playing records arrived, Melachrino"s sold in vast quantities, especially in the USA. He was also a very good composer, and his strings are shown in their full splendour in his Les Jeux.
Leighton Lucas (1903-1982) seems to have been at home in the fields of more serious music (especially ballet and opera) yet he also produced some pleasing light music and enjoyed success with scores for several prestigious films. In 1954 he wrote the incidental music for "The Dam Busters" (Eric Coates only contributed the famous march), and other projects included "Target for Tonight" (1941 - the theme is on Guild GLCD5118) and "Yangtse Incident" (1957) from which comes the Amethyst March, named after the ship involved in the action.
Walter R. Collins is remembered for his days as the distinguished Musical Director of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, and also for conducting the London Promenade Orchestra for the Paxton Recorded Music Library during the 1940s. Several of his own compositions have already appeared on Guild CDs (Laughing Marionette on GLCD5134; Linden Grove GLCD5112; possibly his best loved piece Moontime GLCD5168; Paper Hats And Wooden Swords GLCD5144; and Springtime GLCD5138). Strings In The Mood can now be added to this list.
Born in Tasmania, Hubert Clifford (1904-1959) composed several mood music pieces for Chappell"s Recorded Music Library, one of them being Naval Occasion. He provided scores for three British Transport Films in the 1950s, and "Round The Island", which featured the Isle of Wight, impressed him so much that he made his home there.
Ivor Novello (born David Ivor Davies 1893-1951) was a Welsh composer, singer and actor who created some of the most popular shows in London"s West End during the first half of the last century. He was not particularly known for orchestral recordings, so it is nice to be able to include some less familiar music from one of his best shows, "The Dancing Years", in this collection. Apart from many of his songs which have become standards, he continues to be remembered for the annual music awards which bear his name, held in London each Spring.
Sidney Torch, MBE (born Sidney Torchinsky 1908-1990) is well-known in Britain for his numerous Parlophone recordings, as well as his long tenure as conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in the "Friday Night Is Music Night" BBC radio programme. He was also a frequent conductor and composer of mood music recordings for the Chappell Recorded Music Library, which is the source of his International Sports March.
For some years Frederic Curzon (1899-1973) was the Head of Light Music at London publishers Boosey and Hawkes. His famous Boulevardier was included in the first volume of "The Composer Conducts" (GLCD5177) but this was just one of many well crafted piece of light music that flowed from his pen. In 1946 he recorded a Concert Suite which he called "Rendezvous With Curzon" featuring five contrasting pieces. Alongside the better known numbers is the middle section of a charming rarity, Serenade Of A Clown, which he does not appear to have recorded in full for the Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library.
Next to its tunefulness, perhaps the greatest appeal of Light Music is its variety of styles. This aspect is surely displayed in his Selection of Radio Novelty Tunes by London-born Montague Ewing (1890-1957), who sometimes used the American-sounding pseudonym Sherman Myers to make his music more acceptable in the USA. The composer himself plays and conducts a selection of his catchy melodies which audiences of the 1930s certainly appreciated and would have instantly recognised.
Arthur Wood (1875-1953) was a busy theatrical conductor (like many of his fellow composers at that time), and at the age of 28 had the distinction of being the youngest musical director in London"s West End. For a while he was a staff composer with Boosey and Hawkes, creating dozens of short suites, and he was a frequent visitor to the recording studios pre-1914. He made at least two early acoustic recordings of his Three Dale Dances, but fortunately EMI invited him back in 1940 for electrical re-makes.
When Gustav Holst sat an entrance examination for the Trinity College of Music, he was just beaten for a place by Albert William Ketèlbey (1875-1959) who later went on to become one of the most distinctive Light Music voices of his era. Fortunately for posterity, Ketèlbey was a regular visitor to the recording studios as well as a prolific composer. Wedgewood Blue has the bonus of the composer conducting his orchestra from the piano.
Irishman Charles W. Ancliffe (1880-1952) will forever be associated with Nights Of Gladness, (the Mantovani version on Guild GLCD5113 does the famous waltz full justice) but he was a military bandmaster as well as a successful composer. This was illustrated in his march The Liberators (GLCD5163) but he is back in familiar waltz territory with Thrills - his seventh composition to be featured on a Guild CD.
Hubert Charles Bath (1883-1945) composed another of those "Denham Concertos" (mentioned above) for the 1944 British film "Love Story". It told the story of a concert pianist who learned that she had an incurable illness, so she moved to Cornwall. Cornish Rhapsody was the appropriate title of her major concert piece in the film, performed on screen in London"s Royal Albert Hall by Margaret Lockwood; the actual pianist on the soundtrack was Harriet Cohen (1895-1967). Although he worked on around twelve feature films (one was "Rhodes of Africa" which included his Empire Builders March - on GLCD5136), Hubert Bath is almost forgotten today. His composition Out Of The Blue was used for many years to introduce BBC Radio"s "Sports Report", but he had died before it was chosen in 1948. His son John Bath (1915-2004) was also a composer (he wrote Sportsman"s Luck on GLCD5115).Although Rawicz and Landauer, with Mantovani and his Orchestra, gave a splendid rendition in stereo of Cornish Rhapsody around fifteen years later (on GLCD5153), it is perhaps the distinctive sound of the original 1944 recording that suits the atmosphere of the work so perfectly. It provides the climax to two collections featuring some possibly historic occasions when composers allowed us to hear their music, presumably just as they intended. David Ades