The Collector's Mantovani - Volume 1
Here is a brand new Mantovani CD, compiled by two of his ardent admirers, that is guaranteed to fill gaps in many collections. This is the first time since Mantovani's last LP in 1976, that any 'new' material has appeared.
The Collector's Mantovani - Volume 1
1. Toyshop Ballet; 2. When The Lilac Blooms Again; 3. Swedish Rhapsody; 4. American Gypsy; 5. The Heart of Budapest; 6. The Theme From Moulin Rouge; 7. Vola Colomba; 8. Jamaican Rumba; 9. Valse Campestre; 10. Call Of The West; 11. Dream Dust; 12. I May Never Pass This Way Again (linked with Swinging Shepherd Blues by Ted Heath and His Orchestra and Who's Sorry Now by Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra); 13. Love Song From Houseboat (Almost In Your Arms) 14. Temple Of Dreams; 15. Around The World; 16. The Road To Ballingarry; 17. Mandolin Serenade; 18. Souvenir d'Italie; 19. Theme From The Sundowners; 20. To My Love; 21. A Certain Smile; 22. The Valiant Years; 23. The Canary; 24. Evening In Capri; 25. The Spring Song; 26. Flamenco Love; 27. Theme From The Last Rhapsody. Vocalion CDLK4152.
Annnunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-80) was such a prolific album artist in the 1950s and 1960s that you might be forgiven for assuming that all of his recordings had been given album exposure at one time or another. Not so. A first search of the Decca vaults has revealed a variety of pieces which have been overlooked and neglected and may be unfamiliar to those of us interested in Mantovani's music.
The majority of these recordings are presented here for the first time in many years; indeed, some of them have never even been heard outside the Decca studios. Furthermore, several of the tunes were released only on obscure 45 rpm singles or extended play discs; in one case a song even appeared in a unique format on a charity record. The common thread in this Vocalion issue is, however, that none of the tunes has surfaced on a Mantovani compact disc until now. Indeed, just four of them were issued on long playing albums.
Vocalion's presentation encompasses what Mantovani was all about in his best selling years: lush waltzes, film themes, sumptuous Italian melodies, the occasional novelty item, his own captivating compositions and downright good tunes. You'll still come across the occasional carping critic complaining about an overload of cascading strings, but such nonsense ignores the rich musical tapestry Mantovani created, his inherent feeling for a good melody, the care he took over his recordings and the variety of choice he offered.
Mantovani's own compositions were invariably melodious, one of the more successful ones being "Toyshop Ballet" which provides for a lively opening.
Mantovani's "The Road To Ballingarry" with its lilting Irish theme is a showcase for that wonderful Welsh flautist Lionel Solomon who worked with Mantovani for nearly thirty years.
The small screen is not entirely ignored in this compilation for the stirring signature of the BBC TV series "The Valiant Years" from 1961 makes a rare appearance. Based on the memoirs of Winston Churchill, it highlighted Richard Burton as the voice of Churchill.
Mantovani's ear for a good tune is demonstrated by his 1956 version of the Continental favourite "When The Lilac Blooms Again" which he had recorded on an earlier occasion in a much slower tempo. The finale is a splendid mini-concerto from 1953, the "Theme From The Last Rhapsody", with Stanley Black on piano.
This new CD has been sponsored by two RFS members, Nicholas Briggs and Scott Raeburn. Mantovani collectors owe them a great debt of gratitude, for making so many rare items available on CD for the first time.
ASV Living Era presents the big Orchestral Sounds of the 1930s once again
LOUIS LEVY and his GAUMONT BRITISH SYMPHONY "Music From The Movies"
1 MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES – MARCH; 2 MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES 1936 - Medley; 3 "GOLDWYN FOLLIES" FILM SELECTION; 4 JINGLE OF THE JUNGLE; 5 "HOLLYWOOD HOTEL" SELECTION; 6 "THE WIZARD OF OZ" SELECTION; 7 THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE ON YOU; 8 "THE GREAT ZIEGFELD" FILM SELECTION; 9 EMPIRE BUILDERS – MARCH; 10 "GOLD DIGGERS OF 1937" SELECTION; 11 I HAVEN’T TIME TO BE A MILLIONAIRE; 12 "ON THE AVENUE" SELECTION; 13 EVERYBODY DANCE; 14 "BABES IN ARMS" FILM SELECTION; 15 THERE’S THAT LOOK IN YOUR EYES AGAIN; 16 MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES 1938 – SELECTION
In the middle years of the 20th century the name ‘Louis Levy’ would have been familiar to millions of cinemagoers around the world. He was listed as Musical Director on countless British films, and he led a team of fine composers and arrangers that helped to establish film scoring as an important craft in its own right. As head of a music department servicing both Gaumont British and Gainsborough films, Levy was one of the most influential figures in British film music in the 1930s and 1940s. He was more prolific than his contemporary Muir Mathieson, although it has to be said that the latter enjoyed greater critical acclaim. Levy’s success in films resulted in major record contracts for HMV and Columbia, and he became a regular broadcaster.
Louis Levy (1893-18 August 1957) began his famous long-running BBC radio series "Music From The Movies" on 6th January 1936. His aim was to allow listeners at home to enjoy the same lush orchestral sounds they were now accustomed to hearing in the cinema. He further extended this ideal to his commercial recordings, and the excellent results he achieved can be heard in this collection. The rich sounds emanating from his large orchestra are all the more impressive when one realises that electrical sound recording was barely ten years old when some of these 78s were made.
Through the sheer necessity of having to produce so much music, Levy wisely employed several talented arrangers who helped to establish his style, among them Peter Yorke (who adapted the powerful Levy sound for his own successful post-war concert orchestra), and Bretton Byrd (who was Levy’s chief music editor at Gaumont British).
His roster of vocalists included several who were much in demand during the 1930s. The many British dance bands of the period rarely treated their singers with much respect (the possible main exception being Al Bowlly), and on their commercial 78s they often hired whoever happened to be available on the day. Sam Browne appeared on even more sides than the seemingly ubiquitous Bowlly, perhaps surprising when one learns that Browne apparently couldn’t read music, but could pick up a new tune after only one play through. Others familiar on Levy’s 78s included: Edward Molloy, who became a big hit in post-war seaside concert parties, and eventually found his deserved fame in London’s West End; Robert Ashley, a tenor who was killed in World War II; Janet Lind, from Melbourne, Australia, who died there in 1986, aged 81; Gerry Fitzgerald who arrived in Britain from Toronto in 1934, and returned to Canada after war service in the RAF, but died young; and Eve Becke, originally a pianist who sang with many of the top British bands.
Although it is generally accepted that Louis Levy was a figure-head, rather than an active participant in the creation of the music he conducted, there is no denying that he composed one of the most famous marches from the early British film industry – Music From The Movies. He used it as his signature tune on the radio, and snatches of it opened and closed several of his 78s. The regular Gaumont British cinema newsreel (with the town crier waving a bell) was distinguished by its use as the opening fanfare.
Louis Levy has left us with a fine legacy of film music which portrays so vividly the time when it was created. Some of the vocals may now sound dated, but that is not to deny their period charm. Many recording artists today would envy the large budgets which Levy was allowed by HMV and Columbia. For some reason they sometimes dropped the ‘Gaumont British Symphony’ title from his orchestra, but on most of his recordings it really was a symphony orchestra, often comprising some 65 players. The primitive microphones of the 1930s struggled to capture the performances in the studio on wax, but today’s sound restoration techniques have extracted more of the music from those coarse grooves that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. RFS member Alan Bunting has done a superb job with his magical CEDAR equipment!