“ This recording is another example of what I've already brought up in previous comments a few times.
None of Charles Williams' English Columbia recordings were available here in the USA at the time they were released commercially, except for "The Dream of Olwen," taken over in the American Columbia catalogue and backed on a single by incidental music from the same production, "While I Live" that "The Dream of Olwen" came from. It remained as a 12" single and never reappeared afterward in an updated format, at least as far as I know.
Despite their commercial unavailability here, radio stations nevertheless were continually broadcasting them, so that I was at least aware of their existence. But the situation with Charles Williams was far worse than with George Melachrino, whose recordings I have also referred to, although here a limited number did get released commercially in the USA, all of which I have previously mentioned.
Fortunately, some of this repertoire could still be accessed through the early recordings by Mantovani which were fully available in the USA, and which I regard as some of the best recordings and presentations of light music from that period. "The Dream of Olwen" in Mantovani's recording (not his later rendition of the piece) is nearly identical to that in the Charles Williams recording and is fully as good in its presentation.
But we are referring here to Clive Richardson's "London Fantasia," and the situation here is exactly the same. The Charles Williams recording with the composer at the piano never made it to these shores but we had available a recording by Mantovani (on two sides of a 12" disc) featuring Monia Liter as soloist, one of those glorious early Mantovani recordings originally made in 1946. It has an advantage over the Charles Williams recording in that it includes material that was not included in the Williams recording; perhaps about a minute of music.
I will not comment regarding a comparison between the two versions (both may now be sampled on YouTube), as I am not intimately familiar with the piece, so I will not venture to say whether the piece comes off better with or without the additional material. However, for anyone not familiar with the Mantovani version, I would urge that they listen to it and decide for themselves as to which way the piece works better. ”