Beyond The Blue Horizon
"BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON"
1 Beyond The Blue Horizon (Richard A. Whiting, W. Franke Harling, Leo Robin)
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
2 Blue Star (theme from the TV series "Medic") (Victor Young, Edward Heyman)
VICTOR YOUNG AND HIS ORCHESTRA
3 Blue Blues (Helmut Zacharias, Gunther Franzke, Aldo Von Pinelli)
HELMUT ZACHARIAS AND HIS MAGIC VIOLINS
4 Flying Colours (Roger Barsotti)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
5 Out Of The Blue (Robert Busby)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
6 Pink Lady Waltz (Ivan Caryll, real name Felix Tilkins)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
7 Blue Skies (Irving Berlin, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring DAVE GOLDBERG, guitar
8 Royal Blue Waltz (Lambrecht, real name Mantovani)
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
9 The White Scarf (Edgar Bainton)
10 Blue Velvet (Joyce Cochrane, arr. Sidney Torch)
L’ORCHESTRE DE CONCERT Conducted by PAUL O’HENRY
11 Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Barney Bigard)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
12 Blue Is The Night (Fred Fisher)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
13 Black Narcissus (Oliver Armstrong, real name Graham Whettam)
CELEBRITY SYMPHONIC ENSEMBLE
14 Red Pagoda (Philip Green)
L’ORCHESTRE DEVEREAUX Conducted by GEORGES DEVEREAUX
15 Blue Mink (Peter Yorke)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
16 Blue Sapphire Tango (Bernard Monshin)
BERNARD MONSHIN AND THE CONCERT TANGO ORCHESTRA
17 Deep Purple (Mitchell Parish, Peter De Rose, arr. Angela Morley))
WALLY STOTT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
18 The Black Mask Waltz (Carr)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring WINIFRED ATWELL, piano
19 Blue Parakeet (Dominico Savino)
ROMA SYMPHO-POP ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOMINICO SAVINO
20 Red Shawl (Carr, Temple)
PHILIP GREEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
21 Golden Fiction (Peter Dennis, real name Dennis Alfred Berry)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS METROPOLE ORCHESTRA
22 Red River Jig (Arthur Benjamin)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON
23 Red Lips (Wilfred Burns, real name Bernard Wilfred Harris)
LOUIS VOSS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
24 Blues In The Night (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
25 Under A Blanket Of Blue (Marty Symes, Al J. Neiberg, Jerry Livingston)
LEROY HOLMES AND HIS ORCHESTRA
26 Blue Night (Sidney Torch)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
27 Little Brown Jug – Fantasy Ballet (Trad. arr. George Melachrino)
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5129
Inspiration can strike creative people in many different ways and arguably it is the most essential ingredient towards achieving success in one’s chosen field of endeavour. Some professional writers set themselves a target to produce a certain amount of work each day, following which they reward themselves with a period of enjoyment in other areas. A few find that sleep can produce their best work, and they always keep a notebook by the side of the bed.
In the case of this collection of light pieces it is colours that have set the creative juices flowing. If we were hoping that a wide selection featuring every colour in the rainbow would produce a balanced mix of enjoyable melodies our aspirations were soon dashed. Composers, it seems, have a thing about the colour blue. A glance through the list will reveal a few others, but the blues win the race by a mile. Reds come probably in second place, but the rest are mere stragglers. Rather than try to redress the balance by slotting in some inferior greens and yellows it was decided that the quality of the music alone should be the determining factor.
So by now it will come as no surprise that one of the best-known ‘blue’ numbers opens the CD, with a sparkling arrangement (probably by William Hill Bowen) of Beyond The Blue Horizon. George Melachrino (1909-1965) helped the song to become popular again in the mid-1950s, but it was Jeannette MacDonald who introduced it to appreciative cinema audiences in the 1930 musical "Monte Carlo". Melachrino returns with two further colours in this collection: Ivan Caryll’s Pink Lady Waltz and finally the maestro’s own inventive arrangement of the traditional English air Little Brown Jug which brings this CD to a fitting finale. ‘Ivan Caryll’ was a nom-de-plume adopted by Felix Tilkins (1861-1921), a Belgian composer who studied at the Liège Conservatoire then moved to London in 1882. He served as the musical director at the Gaiety and Lyric theatres, and among his best-known works were "A Runaway Girl" and "The Pink Lady" which he wrote in 1911 after moving to America. The song achieved further success when revived in "Ziegfeld Follies of 1931".
"Medic" was a popular American television series that first appeared in 1954 with Richard Boone starring as Dr. Konrad Styner. Victor Young’s theme eventually became popular as Blue Star when Edward Heyman added the lyrics. Victor Young (1900-1956) excelled as a violinist, arranger, film composer, songwriter, conductor and record producer. This wide experience in all forms of music, from his first hit song, ‘Sweet Sue, Just You’ in 1928 to his tremendous score for "Around the World in 80 Days" in 1956, was exceptional even by Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood standards, all the more so because his international reputation was achieved in such a short lifetime. Like so many of his contemporaries, he found work with various dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s, before eventually ending up in Hollywood, where he discovered the ideal outlet for his melodic gifts.
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.
During the 1940s the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra was the ‘house’ orchestra making hundreds of recordings for the Chappell Recorded Music Library. It always boasted the finest light music composers, arrangers and conductors, and two of the very best were Robert Farnon (1917-2005) and Sidney Torch (1908-1990) whose careers have already been well documented in previous Guild Light Music CD booklets.
Several names on this CD are new to Guild, and next we spotlight Edgar Leslie Bainton (1880-1956) who composed The White Scarf. He was born in London and, after studying composition at the Royal College of Music under Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (winning the Tagore medal), he was appointed to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Conservatoire of Music where he eventually became principal in 1911. As conductor of the Newcastle Philharmonic Orchestra he was visiting the Bayreuth festival in Germany when the First World War broke out, and he was interned for the duration in Ruhleben camp. In 1918 he was invalided to The Hague before resuming his responsibilities in Newcastle. A prolific composer of choral, symphonic and chamber works, he was also in demand as an examiner and made several tours overseas, including Australia where he eventually settled in 1934. One report credited him with "enriching the musical life of Sydney at a time when it was suffering from starvation".
‘Oliver Armstrong’ is a pseudonym of Wiltshire born Graham Dudley Whettam (b. 1927) who is largely remembered among classical music devotees for his "Sinfonia Intrepida" although his total output exceeded sixty works including five symphonies. He also wrote a "Fantasy" (1953) for the harmonica virtuoso Tommy Reilly, and much of his music has been published by his own company Meriden Music. For a while he worked in film music and is credited with cues for productions such as "Fabian of Scotland Yard" and "The Adventures of Tin Tin". In 1953 J. Arthur Rank commissioned Whettam to write the orchestral score for the internationally renowned film "Genevieve" starring Kenneth More and Kay Kendall, although it was Larry Adler’s harmonica theme that became popular. Black Narcissus is one of several works that Whettam contributed to the De Wolfe Recorded Music Library in the 1950s, both under his real name and also as ‘Oliver Armstrong’. He also used the pseudonyms ‘Montague Swinton’ and ‘Howard Woodstock’.
Domenico Savino (1888-1973) also composed as D. Onivas (his surname reversed). Born in Taranto, Italy, he moved to the USA in the 1920s where he was especially active in films for two decades, although much of his work was uncredited. He appears to have been an astute businessman who composed a vast amount of music which produced a comfortable income, allowing him to indulge his passion for more serious music in later life.
Bernard Monshin (1914-1988) will still be a familiar name to British radio listeners from the late 1930s onwards. A frequent broadcaster, he usually fronted ensembles where the repertoire favoured tangos and the other Latin-American music that was so popular at the time. He also achieved success as a composer (Blue Sapphire was one of many with a Latin feel) and in his later career he became a respected ‘fixer’ providing orchestras as required by television and films.
Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960) will forever be associated with his highly successful ‘Jamaican Rumba’, published in 1938, which has tended to eclipse his other achievements. Born in Sydney, Australia, he was determined to pursue his ambition of studying music in London, and in 1911 he became yet another future composer who was to be grateful that he had benefitted from the wisdom of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. He himself ultimately became a professor of the piano at the Royal College of Music in 1926, where one of his students was Benjamin Britten. During the 1930s his own compositions started to become noticed including a violin concerto and a comic opera. He enjoyed writing for the stage, and eventually produced five operas although the last was incomplete at the time of his death. Classical pieces embraced works for piano, violin, voila, oboe and a harmonica concerto for Larry Adler. In 1934 Benjamin wrote his first film scores "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Man Who Knew Too Much"; he continued working in films until 1957 notably "The Conquest of Everest" (1953).
‘Peter Dennis’ hides the true identity of Dennis Alfred Berry (1921-1994), who also composed (sometimes in collaboration with others) under names such as Frank Sterling, Charles Kenbury and Michael Rodney. He was born in London and in 1939 was employed by Francis, Day & Hunter as a copyist before moving on to Boosey & Hawkes as a staff arranger. Then he was taken on by publishers Lawrence Wright followed by Paxton Music as their representative based in Amsterdam. Paxton had a thriving mood music library, but a ban by the Musicians’ Union at the end of the 1940s meant that London publishers could no longer record in Britain. Paxton decided that their mood music 78s should be recorded in the Netherlands by Dolf van der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra, and Berry’s experience proved very useful in setting this up. He returned to the London office in 1949 and was responsible for producing numerous titles issued by Paxton during the 1950s. This did not prevent him from writing for other libraries such as De Wolfe and Charles Brull, and at the end of the 1950s Dennis Berry was head-hunted to start the Southern Library of Recorded Music (now owned by BMG) which issued its first recordings on 78s in 1960. Eventually he emigrated to South Africa, before finally returning to England to do freelance work including some film commissions in Germany.
Bernard Wilfred Harris, better known as ‘Wilfred Burns’ (1917-1990) was another prolific composer of mood music who, like Dennis Berry, remained a backroom-boy for much of his career, although his name was seen on screen in a number of films. As a teenager he was a church organist and in 1936 joined the Army as a bandsman in the 4th Queens’ Own Hussars. He was posted abroad in November 1940 and captured in Greece the following April. Shrapnel wounds had destroyed his left eye, and damaged his hand and arm. He was a prisoner of war for two and half years, during which time he set up and ran a prisoners' band in which all the players had little or no sight, using instruments supplied by the Red Cross. After the Second World War ended he composed numerous pieces of mood music for various music publishers, and also worked at Elstree studios before eventually becoming a freelance film composer and musical director. His first of over twenty films was around 1949, with his final score in the 1970s. His best-known was probably the large screen version of the popular television series "Dad’s Army" in 1971.
The final colourful tally reveals fourteen blues, with just four reds and the assorted rest ‘also rans’ - with not a green in sight. Perhaps inspiration is colour blind.