Strings Afire

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Strings Afire

1 Strings Afire (Wayne Robinson; Caesar Giovannini; Herman Clebanoff)
Mercury PPS 6019 1961
2 ‘S Wonderful (George Gershwin, arr. Rayburn Wright)
Mercury CMS 18050 1961
3 Adieu Tristesse (Felicidade) (from "Orfeu Negro") (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
Polydor 24113B 1960
4 As Time Goes By (Herman Hupfeld)
London SAH-R6035 1959
5 Skin Diver’s Ballet (Ron Goodwin)
Top Rank 39/668 1960
6 Champs Elysees (Laurie Johnson)
KPM Music KPM 034 1960
7 I Can Dream Can’t I ((Sammy Fain; Irving Kahal)
Warner Bros W 1294 1959
8 Veradero (Bernie Wayne, real name Bernard Weitzner)
Brunswick O5011 1951
9 Valse Mignonette (Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Trebilco)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN (‘Nat Nyll’ on disc label)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2350 1959
10 Herbstgold (Autumn Gold) (Giovanni Brusso)
Ariola 71231 1959
11 Piccadilly (David Rose)
MGM SE 4155 1961
12 Very Nice Man (from "Carnival") (Bob Merrill, arr. Brian Fahey)
MGM SE 3946 1961
13 Corrida (Dominico Savino)
Mercury SR 60103 1959
14 China Doll (Leroy Anderson)
Mercury AMS16037 1960
15 Assembly Line (Ray Martin)
Columbia DB 2882 1951
16 Goblin’s Gavotte (Anthony Tamburello, arr, Bruce Campbell)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA (LP label credits ‘Everest Concert Orchestra Conducted by Derek Boulton’)
Everest SDBR 1018 1958
17 Evening On Tokyo’s Sumida (Dorothy Guyver Britton)
Capitol ST 10190 1959
18 Maracaibo (Les Baxter)
Capitol T 655 1955
19 My Man (Mon Homme) (Maurice Yvain; Albert Lucien Willemetz; Jacques
Mardochee Charles)
RCA LSP 2173 1959
20 Swedish Rhapsody (Midsummer Vigil) (Hugo Alfven, arr. Percy Faith)
Columbia 4-39944 1953
21 The Secret Of Happiness (Curtin; Carl Sigmund)
HMV 45-POP 483 1958
22 Carefree Character (Alan Perry, real name Ernest Tomlinson)
Conroy BM 292 1961
23 All Through The Day (from "Centennial Summer") (Jerome Kern, arr. Paul Weston)
Columbia CS 8050 1958
24 Caress (Nagy, arr. Bruce Campbell)
BRUCE CAMPBELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA (‘Coronet Orchestra’ on disc label)
MGM E 3167 1955
25 Sidewalk (Charles Williams)
Columbia DB 3493 1954
Stereo: tracks 1, 2, 4, 10-14, 16, 17, 19 & 23; rest in mono.

The American maestro Herman Clebanoff (1917-2004) has the honour of opening this collection, and providing the title track with his own composition Strings Afire, on which he collaborated with Wayne Robinson and Caesar Giovannini. The son of Russian emigrants, he was born in Chicago and began studying the violin when aged only five. By the time he was twenty he was both concertmaster of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and youngest member of the Chicago Symphony. Usually just known as ‘Clebanoff’, he had a long association with NBC, and from 1945 he spent the next ten years as concertmaster of their Chicago-based orchestra, playing a wide repertoire from the classics to popular tunes. Chicago’s Mercury music director, David Carroll, recognised Clebanoff’s talents, launching a series of orchestral LPs that were designed to compete with the output from the other major labels. Around 1960 Mercury consolidated its recording activities in the Hollywood area, where Clebanoff also settled for the rest of his life.

Following their Guild debut with Love Is Sweeping The Country (Guild GLCD5189), Frederick Fennell (1914-2004) returns with his Orchestra for another popular George Gershwin (1898-1937) title ’S Wonderful. On this occasion it is appropriate to mention the gifted arranger of these numbers, and one wonders why he is not better known. Rayburn Wright (1922-1990) was an American conductor, trombonist and arranger who taught jazz and film scoring at the Eastman School of Music, where Frederick Fennell was also an important presence. Such was the high esteem in which he was held that the school established the Rayburn Wright Award in 1989, recognising distinguished students.

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. Adieu Tristesse was better known as Felicidade when it opened the 1959 Brazilian film "Orpheu Negro" ("Black Orpheus"), which was largely responsible for introducing the bossa nova to the world.

Herman Hupfeld (1894-1951) wrote the music and lyrics of As Time Goes By for the Broadway show "Everybody’s Welcome" in 1931. At the time it attracted little attention, and might have been quietly forgotten, had it not been chosen for the 1942 film "Casablanca". Since then it has been recorded hundreds, maybe thousands, of times, and the choice of the version by Roger Williams (1924-2011) is partly influenced by the attractive string passage that accompanies his distinctive piano.

Skin Diver’s Ballet is a composition by Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) who was under contract to EMI for many years. Similarly Cyril Stapleton (1914-1974) had a Decca contract, so when they decided to record an LP of Ron’s original pieces for a rival label Cyril had to become ‘Malcolm Peters’. Two other tracks from this meeting of two British Light Music ‘greats’ have previously appeared on Guild: Prairie Schooner (on GLCD5182) and Waitin’ For The Dawn (GLCD5187).

Laurie Johnson (b.1927) has been a leading figure on the British entertainment scene for 50 years. A gifted arranger and composer, Laurie has contributed to films, musical theatre, radio, television and records, with his music used in many well-known productions such as "The Avengers" and "The Professionals". Champs Elysees is one of many of his compositions that started to appear in the KPM Recorded Music Library, following its launch in 1959.

Peter Dudley King (1914-1982) makes his first Guild appearance with I Can Dream Can’t I, an attractive melody by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal which deserves to be better known today. Originally published in 1938 for a long forgotten musical "Right This Way", it gained its greatest success in 1949 when a recording by The Andrews Sisters took it to the top of the US charts. Ohio-born Pete King was a busy arranger and conductor who worked extensively on American radio and television, and in the recording studios.

Judging by his prolific output, the 1950s seems to have been a very busy period for the American Bernie Wayne (born Bernard Weitzner 1919-1993). In the USA he is best known for his "Miss America" Beauty Pageant theme, and the hit song Blue Velvet. His string of instrumental successes included Vanessa (on GLCD5189), Port-au-Prince (GLCD5130) and Veradero (Geoff Love’s version is on GLCD5111). The 1951 recording of Veradero by the American maestro Salvatore ‘Tutti’ Camarata (1913-2005) is more faithful to the composer’s original version, hence its inclusion here.

Valse Mignonette is the twenty-seventh composition by Trevor Duncan (born Leonard Charles Trebilco, 1924-2005) in a Guild Light Music collection, and judging by the requests that keep coming in it won’t be the last. Many were written for the publisher that first promoted his work, Boosey & Hawkes, and their recordings were regularly of a high standard. Valse Mignonette was conducted by Dolf van der Linden (1915-1999), whose Metropole Orchestra in The Netherlands was one of the finest in Europe.

Making his eighth appearance on a Guild CD with Herbstgold is Hans Georg Arlt (1927-2011) 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.

David Rose (1910-1990) had previously been regarded as a jazz pianist, but he persuaded RCA to let him record four instrumental numbers and the session in March 1942 resulted in the million-seller which firmly launched his career as one of America’s top orchestras. It was, of course, Holiday For Strings, and the maestro’s own extended version from the 1950s appears on Guild GLCD5189. He has already conducted twenty-five of his own works on previous Guild CDs, and his orchestra has also performed over thirty numbers by other composers. Piccadilly may not be his best-known piece, but it portrays all the familiar characteristics that have made him so popular with his fans who appreciate the best in Light Music.

From the late 1950s onwards Cyril Ornadel (1924-2011) made many fine orchestral albums with his ‘Starlight Symphony’, aimed primarily at the American market. His regular arranger was Brian Fahey (1919-2007), known in Britain as a busy musical director, arranger and composer. Very Nice Man is a lesser-known number from the 1961 Broadway show "Carnival".

Corrida receives a spirited performance from the Richard Hayman (b. 1920) Orchestra. Also known as a harmonica player, he worked on the MGM musical "Meet Me In St. Louis" and was put under contract by Mercury Records in 1950, for whom he made many singles and albums, the best-seller being his version of Ruby from the film "Ruby Gentry". He also arranged for the Boston Pops, serving as back-up conductor for Arthur Fiedler.

Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was also closely associated with the Boston ‘Pops’ for many years as its chief arranger. Many of his compositions also made their debut under conductor Fiedler’s baton, but for this CD Frederick Fennell returns (this time with the Eastman-Rochester ‘Pops’ Orchestra) playing China Doll, one of Anderson’s less familiar melodies which deserves to be heard more often.

Viennese Raymond Stuart Martin (1918-1988) was born Raymond Wolfgang Kohn, but after he fled from the Nazis and settled in England before the outbreak of World War 2 he wished to be known as ‘Ray Martin’. He became one of the biggest names in British popular music during the 1950s. As well as conducting his orchestra for records, radio and television, he was also a talented composer. Assembly Line was one of his early compositions and it is included in response to requests from several of his loyal admirers.

In 1958 Everest Records of the US commissioned an album of original compositions (including Goblin’s Gavotte) from Tony Tamburello (who died in 1992 aged 72) which it called "Music Tailored To Your Taste". The Robert Farnon Orchestra was engaged, and sessions took place during the summer of 1958 in London at the Friends’ Meeting House and the IBC Studios in Portland Place. Bruce Campbell did most of the arrangements, but Farnon’s name could not appear on the record for contractual reasons. So his orchestra was renamed ‘The Everest Concert Orchestra’ and the conductor was credited as ‘Derek Boulton’ – actually Farnon’s manager!

Londoner Norman (Norrie) William Paramor (1914-1979) tended to be better known by the public for his work with pop stars as Artists and Repertoire Manager on EMI’s Columbia label, but he also made numerous instrumental recordings and wrote several catchy numbers that greatly appealed – such as Cornflakes under the pseudonym ‘Sidney Norman’ (on Guild GLCD5130). Evening On Tokyo’s Sumida comes from a collection recorded in London for EMI’s US subsidiary Capitol Records.

Although he was a talented arranger who was capable of producing the many different styles that a busy musician working in films and television – as well as recordings – was expected to provide, Texas born Les Baxter (1922-1996) tended to be asked by his record companies to record pieces with an ‘exotic’ appeal. Maracaibo also allows him to exhibit his talents as a composer.

Xavier Cugat (1900-1990) was a Spanish born bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, but achieved fame in the USA. He provided the resident orchestra at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria before and after the Second World War, and he was also a cartoonist and successful businessman. His four marriages provided fodder for gossip columnists, but his lasting legacy is appearances in several Hollywood films and many fine recordings - usually of Latin American music. The French song Mon Homme has been around for a long time; it was a success for Mistinguett in 1916, and Fanny Brice introduced the English version in 1921.

The composer Hugo Emil Alfvén (1872-1960) is a legend in his native Sweden. His composition Swedish Rhapsody (written in 1903) gained him fame around the world in the 1950s, thanks to the version on this CD by Percy Faith (1908-1976).

The Secret Of Happiness brings Tony Osborne (Edward Benjamin Osborne, 1922-2009) back to a Guild collection. He became a familiar name in post-war Britain due to his broadcasts and recordings, originally playing piano with many top orchestras before embarking on his own career.

Ernest Tomlinson(b.1924) is one of Britain’s most talented composers, working mainly in light music, but also highly regarded for his choral works and brass band pieces. During a very productive career, he has contributed numerous titles to the recorded music libraries of many different publishers, often under the pseudonym ‘Alan Perry’ – such as for Carefree Character. In recent years Ernest has worked tirelessly to preserve thousands of music manuscripts that would otherwise have been destroyed, and he is the President of the Light Music Society.

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. All Through The Day 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.

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. Towards the end of the 1940s Campbell realised that he possessed some skills as a composer, and Farnon encouraged him and provided some valuable guidance. The fruits of this meeting of talents have already been experienced on Guild CDs in titles such as Cloudland (GLCD5145), Windy Corner (GLCD5150) and Skippy (GLCD5125). Caress comes from a very rare LP which appears to have only been released in the USA. Campbell’s name wasn’t even mentioned as conductor of the album.

Our final track features Charles Williams(born Isaac Cozerbreit 1893-1978), another composer/conductor whose work is now familiar once again through his many Guild recordings. He had numerous pieces published by Chappells when he was the main contributor to their Recorded Music Library, and almost forty of his compositions have already been featured on Guild CDs. Sidewalk originally appeared in the Chappell Recorded Music Library in 1954, but Williams’ own commercial recording for Columbia has been chosen to complete this varied collection of Light Music.

David Ades

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