“ It is amazing to note how these purveyors of light music selections that we love to listen to were at the time they appeared were able to shake them out of their sleeves effortlessly, in a manner of speaking, one after the other, as would not be possible given today's artistic climate - a truly lost art; although, as I like to imagine, one that may have a renaissance in a future generation, exactly as did ragtime a generation or two back.
But there is always a danger, at least to the listener of today, that many of these selections after a time would tend to sound somewhat generic, almost as copies of one another - listen to one selection by composer A and another by composer B, and after a while saying, "I've heard this before, many times." I have to confess that on occasion I get that feeling, against my better judgment.
I very strongly feel that the only way to forestall this would be to listen to a whole selection of these pieces by any given composer, to finally be able to say by any individual listener that such and such composer really has a degree of individuality to his/her writing or is simply following an established formula. In my opinion, the two factors have to be kept in a healthy balance.
But as I have just stated, one needs to listen to a group of selections by a given composer to determine which factor that I referred to is the more viable. And this is not easily facilitated given the format of these recordings currently recordings to get the feel of a composer's creative bents.I remember back in the days a few years ago when I was contributing to the JIM magazine, I got embroiled in the controversy of single artist vs. multiple artist CD's. Although I expressed my preference for the former, outlining my reasons for such, I had to ultimately acquiesce on this issue as general feeling among letter writers favored the latter. In fact, this issue was the only occasion where I found myself in very sharp disagreement with David - it almost came to verbal blows at one point - and I had to back off from it and promise never to refer to it subsequently, although my feelings here continue as before. I would actually invite debate on this issue, as I really hold the opinion that if one finds any sort of affinity with a particular composer or composers, one should be enabled to easily follow up on it without the necessity of having to negotiate a dozen or more different CD's, unless the composer was singularly unprolific, as has been the case in a few instances.
I personally, when listening to these selections, always seek to find some individual traits that will cause me to return and see how these are applied in other situations. It is inevitable (perhaps) that suggestions of other composers might creep in; it happens after all in the serious field as well, and I frequently point out these reminiscences myself.
But we should not assume that when we hear pizzicato strings it shows the influence of David Rose or a strange turn of harmony that of Robert Farnon - those latter two actually accomplished some amazing things without relying on those trademarks - and I actually pointed this out in a previous article I wrote, in "Nooks and Crannies in the Light Music Genre" or some such title.
I fully realize that many of the points I raised in this comment may perhaps be considered controversial, and I do in fact encourage others to comment back to me so that we may have a healthy debate on these issues in the event of sharp disagreement with any of those that I have brought up here. ”