Musical Kaleidoscope – Volume 1
Musical Kaleidoscope – Volume 1
1 Kaleidoscope (Artur Clemens Schreckenberger)
NEW CENTURY ORCHESTRA Conducted by ERICH BÖRSCHEL
2 Double Cross (theme from BBC TV series) (Ernest Maxin, arr. Frank Cordell)
FRANK CORDELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
3 Ballet Of Madeira (Gregori, Freitas)
JOHNNY DOUGLAS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
4 Dance Of The Spanish Onion (David Rose)
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
5 Cockney Girl (George Melachrino)
GEORGE MELACHRINO AND HIS ORCHESTRA
6 Fiesta (Paul Stewart, real name Jack Coles)
THE EMBASSY ORCHESTRA Directed by JACK COLES
7 In Happy Mood (Percival Mackey)
WEST END CELEBRITY ORCHESTRA
8 Policeman’s Holiday (Montague Ewing)
NEW LIGHT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
9 Pavanne (Morton Gould)
JAY WILBUR’S SERENADERS
10 Plaisir D’Amour (Jean Paul Egide Martini -real name Johann Schwartzendorf- arr. Fred Hartley)
FRED HARTLEY AND HIS MUSIC
11 Roses At Dawning (Le Boy Kahn, Gus Kahn, Neil Moret)
REGINALD KING’S ORCHESTRA
12 Legend (Henry Croudson)
LONDON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by WALTER COLLINS
13 Keep Moving (Frederick George Charrosin)
LOUIS VOSS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
14 Sailors’ Holiday (Edgar Martell)
WEST END CELEBRITY ORCHESTRA
15 Blue Devils (Charles Williams, arr. Adolf Lotter)
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN
Seven Famous BBC Orchestras
16 Oranges And Lemons (Traditional arr. Jack Byfield)
LONDON STUDIO PLAYERS Conducted by MICHAEL KREIN
17 Music for "Rivers Of The North Of England" – Serene & Flowing (Lambert Williamson)
BBC NORTHERN ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES GROVES
18 Dance Of A Whimsical Elf (Haydn Wood)
BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by HAROLD LOWE
19 Manx Dirk Dance (Reeaghyn-dy-vannin) (from "Two Celtic Dances For Orchestra") (Arnold Foster)
BBC SCOTTISH ORCHESTRA Conducted by GUY WARRACK
Open Windows – Suite (Geoffrey Henman, orchestrated by Oliphant Chuckerbutty)
20 Country Air
22 Song Of The Sinhalese
23 Dancing Sunlight
BBC REVUE ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES GROVES
24 Music Of The People – England (Traditional arr. Gilbert Vinter)
BBC MIDLAND LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by GILBERT VINTER
25 Here’s To The Good Old Whisky (Traditional, arr. Clive Richardson)
BBC VARIETY ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES SHADWELL
26 Oranges And Lemons (Traditional arr. Spike Hughes)
BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by HAROLD LOWE
27 Legion Patrol (Jack Simpson)
BILLY COTTON AND HIS BAND
Guild GLCD 5139
Putting together collections for Guild Music’s "Golden Age of Light Music" series is usually most pleasurable, but at times it can also be frustrating. The reason is that there are certain pieces of music which, for various reasons, just don’t seem to fit in with the theme of a particular compilation being prepared. Yet they may be high on the list of titles which have an important place in the body of work by a particular composer, and often they have been specially requested by music lovers who have been seeking them for decades: one collector recently thanked Guild for a piece of music last heard over fifty years ago! So this selection is notable for not having a specific theme – except that it is a deliberate attempt to offer a wide variety of styles and ensembles to stimulate the senses and hopefully spring a few surprises along the way. A good number of the tracks are requests, and maybe this CD could be called "Son of Buried Treasures" because it does bear some resemblance to a previous mélange on GLCD 5118 which was so favourably received.
As work on this collection progressed it soon became obvious that a further volume would be needed, if we were to be able to include all the special requests we have received. A second helping is available on Guild GLCD 5140 and, like this one, it commences with a piece called Kaleidoscope. This time the composer is Artur Clemens Schreckenberger (d. 1989) who was also active as an arranger and publisher in Germany. Our researches have revealed little about his career, but thankfully the same cannot be said of Frank Cordell (1918-1980). He was a fine British composer, arranger and conductor whose work first became noticed through the tuneful backings he often supplied to some contract singers on HMV singles in the 1950s. Occasionally he was allowed his own 78s, and he was also responsible for several fine LPs which quickly became collectors’ items. The cinema beckoned with some prestigious projects including "The Captain’s Table" (1959), "Flight From Ashiya" (1964), "Khartoum" (1966), "Mosquito Squadron" (1969), "Ring Of Bright Water" (1969), "Hell Boats" (1970), "Cromwell" (1970) for he was nominated for an Oscar, "Trial By Combat" (1976) and "God Told Me To" (1976). From time to time he contributed to publishers’ production music libraries, and also composed (and conducted) under the name Francis Meillear (or Meilleur). Frank’s track on this CD is the theme for a BBC Television series of the 1950s, composed by Ernest Maxin (b. 1923) who was also the producer of "Double Cross" – a comedy thriller starring Jimmy Jewel, Ben Warriss and Jill Day. During his long career in television he was variously performer, writer and producer (notably "Morecambe and Wise"), and he also conducted a few orchestral recordings under his own name.
Johnny Douglas (1920-2003) was a talented pianist, composer and arranger who recorded over 500 titles for Decca, and received many commissions for radio and television work. In 1958 he was asked to score and conduct "Living Strings Play Music of the Sea" for RCA, which was recorded at the Kingsway Hall, London, with an orchestra of 61 musicians. This began his long association with RCA, New York, and during the next twenty-five years he made 80 albums for RCA alone and received a Gold disc for the RCA album entitled "Feelings". Johnny has to his credit over 100 albums and 36 feature films, the most well-known of the latter being "The Railway Children" for which he received a British Academy Film & TV Arts Nomination.
Mantovani (1905-1980) was, for a time, the most successful British recording orchestra leader, whose LPs sold in their millions world-wide. But before Ronald Binge (1910-1979) created the ‘cascading strings’ effect that would make Italian-born Annunzio Mantovani so popular, he was already making light music recordings of a high standard, and Dance Of The Spanish Onion by the legendary David Rose (1910-1990) is a perfect example. Rather than follow the original score, Mantovani cleverly adapted it to provide a special appeal which still sounds fresh today.
George Miltiades Melachrino (1909-1965) sold millions of LPs around the world, especially in north America, yet his early career found him playing and singing in British dance bands of the 1930s. He was also an accomplished composer, and his contribution to this collection is certainly a rarity. Cockney Girl was actually three short pieces written for the short-lived EMI Mood Music Library in the late 1940s, which the publishers hoped would be used as the theme for a radio series. At that time a number of composers were writing works with the same object in mind, offering an opening, middle theme and final closing music to suit various moods. Cockney Girl is presented here without the gaps, illustrating the kind of carefree, bright light music that was so plentiful in the years following the Second World War.
Jack Coles (1914-1991) was a student at Kneller Hall School of Music where he won a Gold Cup for being the best all-round pupil of his year. He played trumpet in dance bands and orchestras until 1946 when he formed his own Music Masters dance band for broadcasting. Later he ventured more into the realms of Light Music with his Orchestre Moderne, appearing on popular shows such as Music While You Work, Melody Hour and Morning Music. Eventually in 1960 he became conductor of the BBC Midland Light Orchestra, and he was also busy in the fields of composing and arranging for films, theatre, television and radio. For some reason he was not often asked to make commercial recordings, and the Embassy 78 in this collection appears to be the only example of a light orchestral single on this budget label which was exclusive to Woolworths in the UK and concentrated mainly on ‘cover’ versions of Top 20 hits. Jack (his real names were John Robert Coles) also wrote mood music, and in addition to works under his own name he also composed as ‘Paul Stewart’ and ‘Paul Vincent’. His biggest success as a writer was Tyrolean Tango, which was re-named The Echo Tango when recorded in the USA by Duke Ellington.
Montague Ewing (1890-1957) also composed under the name ‘Sherman Myers’, and he had a most successful career mainly as a composer and arranger of light music and popular songs. Probably most successful of all was his Policeman’s Holiday which enjoyed additional appeal when lyrics were added.
The famous Pavanne by Morton Gould (1913-1996) is given a refreshingly different treatment by the British bandleader Jay Wilbur (1898-1970). He had a long career which encompassed numerous recordings in the 1930s for labels such as Dominion, Imperial and Rex, and a spell making mood music recordings for London publishers Boosey & Hawkes. Like several other musicians, when he found that his style fell out of favour in Britain after the war, he emigrated to continue his career in South Africa where he died in Cape Town.
Fred Hartley (1905-1980) was a prolific composer and arranger who became known to millions in Britain through his regular broadcasts. He joined the BBC as an accompanist, having made his first broadcast as a solo pianist as early as 1925. He founded his Novelty Quintet in 1931, and by 1946 he had become the BBC’s Head of Light Music.
Special attention should be drawn to Blue Devils by the famous light music composer Charles Williams (1893-1978). This march was his first big success as a composer, and it was originally published as The Kensington March. Respected researchers believe that it was written for the opening of the Kensington Kinema early in 1926, where Charles Williams conducted the orchestra. It is suggested that the piece was renamed when Williams left the Kensington cinema at the end of 1928; the official publication date for Blue Devils is shown as 1929 on the sheet music. Its enduring popularity prompted the London Palladium Orchestra to record it for HMV in 1933.
In the 1940s and 1950s the BBC in Britain was almost certainly the largest single employer of musicians in the world – this is also true today although the numbers are considerably smaller.
Back then, in addition to the seven orchestras featured on this CD, there were also The BBC Symphony Orchestra (extant); The BBC Scottish Variety Orchestra (which became the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra); The BBC Northern Ireland Light Orchestra (which was subsumed into the Ulster Orchestra); The BBC Northern Variety Orchestra (which became The BBC Northern Dance Orchestra); The BBC West Of England Light Orchestra (later The West Of England Players); The BBC Welsh Orchestra (now the BBC National Orchestra of Wales); and The BBC Dance Orchestra. To complement these orchestras there was also the prestigious BBC Military Band (featured on Guild GLCD 5117)
As well as the above ‘house’ orchestras, the BBC schedules of those days regularly featured literally dozens of other musical ensembles, ranging from orchestras and brass bands to small groups and theatre organs. To avoid (or cause!) confusion, it should be noted that the BBC Theatre Orchestra later became the BBC Opera Orchestra which, in 1952, formed the basis of the BBC Concert Orchestra, which still exists, as does The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The Midland Light Orchestra became the Midland Radio Orchestra; the Variety and Revue Orchestras were combined, in 1964, into The BBC Radio Orchestra; and the BBC Northern Orchestra is now known as The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Other than the Concert Orchestra, all of the remaining BBC light orchestras were disbanded in the 1970s and 80s with the Radio Orchestra surviving until the early 1990s.
The traditional English air Oranges and Lemons used to open broadcasting on the BBC Light Programme, and two different arrangements were employed. Both became very familiar to millions of listeners, and since neither of the original versions has been previously available on a commercial recording we have decided to include them both in this mini-tribute to the golden age of BBC orchestras. They should not be confused with the re-recordings made by Vilem Tausky (1910-2004) and the BBC Concert Orchestra and used from 1962. The other well-known theme in this section is Music for "Rivers Of The North Of England" – originally incidental music for a radio feature, but subsequently chosen to introduce a monthly series of programmes about the countryside which ran for many years on the BBC Home Service.
Keeping with our BBC theme, for many years in Britain Sunday lunch was accompanied by popular music on the BBC Light Programme, and one of the longest running radio series was "The Billy Cotton Band Show", first broadcast in 1949. Bill’s signature tune was Somebody Stole My Gal, but if there was still time to fill at the end of the show the band played Legion Patrol by Jack Simpson, a well-known percussionist who fronted his own group on records in the 1940s. Usually only the first few bars of this number were heard, and many people failed to realise that Billy Cotton (1899-1969) had actually made a record of it. But he certainly did, and in response to several requests it appears as the closing music in this Kaleidoscope - happily on this occasion it is not faded out! David Ades