The Queen's Hall Light Orchestra ; vol.3
The enthusiastic response to Vocalion’s first two CDs featuring vintage recordings by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra has prompted a third collection, recently released
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA - Volume 3
1 ALL SPORTS MARCH* (Robert Farnon) C339; 2 PADDLE BOAT (Joyce Cochrane) C358; 3 MELODY OF THE STARS (Peter Yorke) C366; 4 GOING FOR A RIDE (Sidney Torch) C314; 5 STATE OCCASION* (Robert Farnon) C294;
6 SOLILOQUY* (Haydn Wood) F9295; 7 VALSE D’AMOUR*** (Tony Lowry) C273; 8 ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR** (Percy Fletcher) C127; 9 MUSIC IN THE AIR (Byron Lloyd) DB2436; 10 SUNSET AT SEA** (Charles Williams) C132; 11 WAIATA POI (Alfred Hill) C326; 12 COMIC CUTS (Sidney Torch) C378; 13 PALE MOON (Frederick Knight Logan) DB2564;
14 CUBANA** (Charles Williams) C199; 15 ECSTASY (Felton Rapley) C384; 16 GRAND PARADE** (Clive Richardson) C276; 17 SONG OF CAPRI (Mischa Spoliansky) DB2564; 18 SPRING SONG** (Haydn Wood) C214; 19 MY WALTZ FOR YOU (Sidney Torch) C291; 20 FIESTA* (Mark Lubbock) C311; 21 THE AWAKENING (Robert Busby) C334; 22 KINGS OF SPORT* (Jack Beaver) C295; 23 FIDDLER’S FOLLY (Len Stevens) C358; 24 CASANOVA MELODY* (Michael Sarsfield) C374; 25 GRANDSTAND* (Robert Farnon) C344
The "Dan Dare" music from Radio Luxembourg
26 COMMANDOS** (Charles Williams) C110; 27 RADIO LOCATION** (Clive Richardson) C178; 28 SEARCHLIGHT** (Charles Williams) C234; C series 10" Chappell 78 rpm; DB series 10" Columbia (EMI) 78 rpm; F series 10" Decca 78 rpm
Compiled by David Ades
Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH except …
* ROBERT FARNON
** CHARLES WILLIAMS
*** PHILIP GREEN
Selecting another programme of first-rate music has presented no problem, because this famous orchestra was responsible for premiering so many fine works by leading composers. In addition, it also offered frequent fresh new performances of established favourites.
Full details of the first two volumes appeared in JIM 148 – September 2001 (listing on page 9). An accompanying article also covered the history of this famous orchestra, plus profiles of many of the leading composers whose works it performed.
Rather than repeat well-known information that will already be familiar to our readers, the following details highlight a few of the composers on this new CD who were not specifically mentioned in the JIM 148 article.
Joyce Cochrane 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), and her Honey Child was recorded by Gracie Fields. Paddle Boat (arranged by Sidney Torch) is another of her purely descriptive pieces, which was recorded commercially by Torch, although it is the original Chappell version which is featured on this CD.
Wearing his arranger’s hat, we hear the unmistakeable influence of a Sidney Torch score in Byron Lloyd’s Music In The Air which introduced a BBC radio programme of the same name; and also Song of Capri by Mischa Spoliansky (1898-1985) from the film "That Dangerous Age". Arrangers are rarely credited, so it is quite possible that Torch may have had a hand in Tony Lowry’s Valse D’Amour or Felton Rapley’s Ecstasy. However Chappells employed several talented musicians at that time, such as Cecil Milner and Len Stevens, who were capable of recreating the distinguished ‘house sound’ that had been formulated originally by Charles Williams, and later fostered by Sidney Torch and Robert
Derby born Percy (Eastman) Fletcher (1879-1932) is remembered today for his band pieces, but he also contributed to the light orchestral repertoire, notably Bal Masqué from his ‘Two Parisian Sketches’ (1914). All The Fun Of The Fair is one of his ‘Rustic Revels Suite’ (the others being Dancing On The Green and Quality Court).
Alfred (Francis) Hill (1870-1960) was born in Australia, but he also contributed to the musical life of New Zealand, and Waita Poi could almost be described as their unofficial national anthem. As a song it is known as Tiny Ball On End Of String. Hill’s main formal musical education was gained in Germany at the Leipzig Conservatory (from 1887) resulting in numerous concertos, string quartets chamber works and (towards the end of his life) seven symphonies.
Frederick Knight Logan (1871-1929) hails from the USA, and Pale Moon (a song composed in 1920) appears to be his only work that survives today. It was originally arranged by the famous violinist Fritz Kreisler for violin and piano, but its full glory is revealed in this tender orchestration by Cecil Milner.
Mark Lubbock (1898-1986) contributed music for many early radio programmes, and was also involved with theatrical touring companies. Fiesta is in fiery contrast to his Moon Lullaby, featured in the second volume of this series.
Robert Busby (1901-1952) worked with several British dance bands in the 1920s and 1930s, and even composed for the fledgling German film industry. After a spell in the Jack Payne Orchestra (Busby was a multi-instrumentalist who could play the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, cello, piano and organ, although Payne employed him as pianist and arranger) he joined Louis Levy’s team of composers at Gaumont British and Gainsborough films, and post-war received his own on-screen credit for "Waterloo Road" and "Holiday Camp", among others. Just prior to his early death at the age of 51, he had been the popular conductor of the BBC Revue Orchestra. His charming piece The Awakening suggests a rippling brook wending its way through a wood at dawning, in slightly more mellow mood than his earlier spritely Up With The Lark (heard on the first Vocalion Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra CD).
Jack Beaver (1900-1963) was another ‘backroom boy’ who provided many scores for the Louis Levy organisation – in total he was responsible for over 100 films and documentaries. He was also a very prolific contributor to several different production music libraries, achieving success with Cavalcade of Youth and Picture Parade. Kings of Sport is just one of many bright sports marches that were always in demand from the newsreel companies, and Jack Beaver excelled at such a challenge.
Len Stevens (d. 1989) is represented by Fiddler’s Folly, a work which became popular in the early 1950s thanks to two commercial recordings. Surprisingly (since he was employed by Chappells for arranging the works of many other composers) Fiddler’s Folly was actually scored by Sidney Torch. Len Stevens (his full name was Herbert Leonard Stevens) was a prolific composer, contributing mood music to several different libraries, with a style that his admirers quickly grew to recognise. Like so many of the talented musicians employed in the music business, he could turn his hand to any kind of music that was needed, and he was also involved in the musical theatre.
Michael Sarsfield is a pseudonym for Dr. Hubert Clifford who composed several mood pieces for Chappell’s Recorded Music Library in his own name, and also conducted a few titles. Born in Tasmania, for many years Clifford was musical director for London Films, and he has recently been remembered in more serious vein for his Symphony 1940. He provided the background music for three British Transport Films – "West Country Journey" (1953), "London’s Country" (1954) and "Round The Island" (1956). The last named made such an impression on him, that he decided to move to the area it covered – the Isle of Wight. Casanova Melody was also issued on a commercial 78 in the 1950s.
The final three ‘bonus’ tracks in this collection are intended as a humorous hark back to a publishing phenomenon of the early 1950s – the famous Hulton comic "Eagle" (the first issue appeared on 14 April 1950) and its equally famous front-page hero "Dan Dare – Pilot of the Future". Although he is now the subject of a recent animated series on television, many members of the older generation in Britain will prefer to remember his nightly exploits on Radio Luxembourg from 1951 to 1956, with Noel Johnson (fresh from the leading role in the BBC’s "Dick Barton – Special Agent") as Dan. Three pieces of music were used time and time again, but they have never previously been available on a commercial recording. But at long last Dan’s fans can hear once more the opening theme Commandos, plus Radio Location (an early name for a form of Radar) and Searchlight – used frequently as links in Dan Dare’s fights with the Mekon of Mekonta and all his other adversaries on the planet Venus and further afield in the solar system. Charles Williams (who had also written the "Dick Barton" theme Devil’s Galop) was the composer of two of the numbers, with Clive Richardson’s atmospheric Radio Location providing the ethereal balance. As mentioned above, they are included here just for fun, but Vocalion hopes that they will provide some happy memories for the generation now rather disparagingly described as ‘silver surfers’!