Reviews of new and recent compact discs, prior to 2003
BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC DISCOVERIES - Volume 4 Partita (John Rutter); Suite Française (Sir Richard Rodney Bennett); March - The Padstow Lifeboat (Sir Malcolm Arnold); Fantasy on Dover Castle (David Fanshawe); Battersea Park Suite (William Blezard); Dance Diversions (Michael Hurd); A Miniature Symphony (Paul Lewis) Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland ASV CD WHL2131, total timing 70:41 minutes. [This disc is also available in Super Audio format, playable on conventional equipment, on ASV CDWHL9131 - price £18]. ASV inform us that their first three discs of British Light Music Discoveries have proved immensely popular, and this fourth release in an already acclaimed series shows just how rich a seam British Light Music is. This time seven composers are represented, some well-known but others now receiving well deserved attention. Sir Malcolm Arnold’s stirring The Padstow Lifeboat is newly presented in orchestral guise. John Rutter’s Partita, inspired by Sir William Walton’s piece, pulsates with the spirit of the dance, as does Michael Hurd’s 1972 Dance Diversions. Sir Richard Rodney Bennett uses a French folk-song as the basis for his delectable Suite Française, while David Fanshawe (of African Sanctus fame) stays the English side of the Channel for his highly atmospheric Fantasy on Dover Castle. William Blezard contributes a children’s suite for small orchestra, conjuring up ecstatic delights of the old Battersea funfair in south London. Finally we come to an old friend of many RFS members, Paul Lewis, composer of many television themes and works for production music libraries. He gives us a mighty symphony - lasting just four minutes! If this sounds like short measure, we can tell you that Paul’s music will be appearing on another CD soon, and you’ll receive full details via this magazine. All the performances here are world premieres, and we have no hesitation is recommending that this CD should be added to the collection of all readers who have enjoyed the previous three in this series.
Previous CDs in this series are still available - price £10 [US $20] each:
Volume 1 - ASV CDWHL2113 [for more details see JIM 138]
Volume 2 - ASV CDWHL2126 [JIM 143]
Volume 3 - ASV CDWHL2128 [JIM 145]
Some other fine Light Music CDs from ASV:
Eric Coates - ‘Under The Stars’ CDWHL2107 [JIM131]
Eric Coates - ‘The Enchanted Garden’ CDWHL2112 [JIM136]
Richard Addinsell - ‘Warsaw Concerto’ CDWHL2108 [JIM 132]
Richard Addinsell - ‘Blithe Spirit’ CDWHL2115 [JIM140]
The Carry On Album CDWHL2119 [JIM 140]
English String Miniatures CDWHL2121 [JIM 141]
Scottish Orchestral Music CDWHL2123 [JIM142]
Constant Lambert CDWHL2122 [JIM 142]
Joseph Horowitz CDWHL2114 [JIM 138]
...and these two fine double-CDs - price £13 [US $26]
Ronald Binge ‘Sailing By’ CDWLZ245 [JIM 144]
British Light Music Festival CDWLZ250 [JIM 145]
British Light Music: PERCY WHITLOCK Concert Overture - The Feast of St. Benedict; Ballet Of The Wood Creatures; Wesses Suite; Suite - Music For Orchestra; Come Along Marnie; Susan The Doggie And Me; Holiday Suite; Balloon Ballet; March - Dignity And Impudence RTE Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland, with Malcolm Riley, organ Marco Polo 8225162, 71.48 minutes. Coming up through the English Cathedral tradition, Percy Whitlock (1903-1946, RCM trained) was later (1930s) appointed Municipal Organist in Bournemouth: a place with an enlightened attitude regarding British Music, thanks to Sir Dan Godfrey and like-minded people. Percy’s beloved instrument appears from time to time in this cheerful, civilised, outgoing programme, which calls for no space/time wasting analyses - excepting perhaps the final item where the Dignity is self-evident, and those who know their Elgar won’t fail to spot the Impudence!
John E. Govier
Percy Whitlock is remembered primarily as an organist; many organists, however, have written lightish music and Whitlock had light music opportunities as Organist of Bournemouth Pavilion. This well recorded and excellently played issue, sponsored by the Percy Whitlock Trust, explores his orchestral music (mostly written under the pseudonym Kenneth Lark) which is in the best traditions of British light music. Wessex Suite and Holiday Suite both begin with a waltz and end with a reasonably lighthearted march; the latter’s middle movement, Spade and Bucket Polka, quotes Cherry Ripe. Dignity and Impudence pokes fun at, yet pays homage to, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and the deliciously scored ballet pieces and song transcriptions, all composed for a charity matinee, have great charm. Music for Orchestra, put together from bits and pieces dating from throughout his (sadly, not long) career, features, appropriately, a prominent organ part. The CD should delight all light music devotees; one is only surprised that Whitlock’s work in this direction should have taken so long to be fully recognised.
Philip L. Scowcroft
Previous CDs in Marco Polo’s British Light Music series - price £12 [US $24]:
Richard Addinsell 8223732 [JIM 120]
Ronald Binge 8223515 [JIM 119]
Eric Coates 8223521 [JIM 114]
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor 8223516 [JIM 123]
Frederic Curzon 8223425 [JIM 110]
Robert Docker 8223837 [JIM 143]
Trevor Duncan 8223517 [JIM 133]
Robert Farnon 8223401 [JIM 126]
Edward German 8223419 [JIM 110]
Ron Goodwin 8223518 [JIM 128]
Anthony Hedges 8223886 [JIM 134]
Archibald Joyce 8223694 [JIM121]
Albert W. Ketelbey 8223442 [JIM 115/116]
David Lyon 8225039 [JIM 138]
Billy Mayerl 8223514 [JIM 119]
Roger Quilter 8223444 [JIM 117/118]
Ernest Tomlinson - Vol. 1 8223413 [JIM 107]
Ernest Tomlinson - Vol. 2 8223513 [JIM 119]
Sidney Torch 8223443 [JIM 129]
Haydn Wood - Vol. 1 8223402 [JIM 108/110]
Haydn Wood - Vol. 2 8223605 [JIM 131]
Bill Worland 8225161 [JIM146]
Welsh Classical Favourites 8225048 [JIM 142]
ERIC COATES ‘British Light Music’ By The Sleepy Lagoon; Summer Days Suite - In a Country Lane, On the Edge of the Lake, At the Dance; Wood Nymphs; The Jester at the Wedding - March, Valse; Symphonic Rhapsody on ‘I Pitch my Lonely Caravan’; Symphonic Rhapsody on ‘I Heard You Singing’ and ‘Bird Songs at Eventide’; London Suite - Covent Garden, Westminster, Knightsbridge; Summer Afternoon; Cinderella; London Bridge. Eric Coates conducting various Symphony Orchestras Naxos 8110173, 59:53 mins. In 1994 and 1996 Conifer issued two 2-CD collections of music by Eric Coates, but both have now been deleted. Therefore it is good that some of these historic recordings should be in the catalogue again, even though Naxos are only offering us one-fifth of the amount previously available. The booklet cover announces that these are ‘Historical Recordings 1926 to 1940’, which is a period when Coates was well established as an important composer, following his earlier success as a writer of ballads. This new CD concentrates on Coates conducting his own works, and all tracks were previously available on Conifer, where Ted Kendall was responsible for the remastering. Seven years later sound restoration techniques have improved considerably, but I have to say that this new Naxos release sometimes compares unfavourably with Ted’s work for Conifer. The orchestral sound is often quite good, with a rich and warm full-bodied feel, but a little more effort should have been made to reduce the background noise. This is all the more noticeable because the sound engineer has followed the annoying Pearl habit of leaving a couple of seconds at the beginning of some tracks before the music actually commences. Maybe the CD was made before the final remastering had been completed? The very first number creates a bad impression with glitches right from the start; then the three 1926 recordings of the Summer Days Suite have the worst background noise of all (far less obtrusive on Conifer), making one fear for the rest of the CD. Happily things do improve, but it might have been better if Naxos had chosen, say, London Bridge to open the collection. But don’t let these minor criticisms put you off buying this CD, if you do not already have these important recordings in your collection. We hope that this will be a long-running series from Naxos (the second was advised as we went to press - see below) and perhaps later issues will pay a little more attention to unwanted surface noise. David Ades This CD is available from the RFS Record Service for £5 [US $10].
TED HEATH AND HIS MUSIC : Gershwin for Moderns The Man I Love, Love Walked In, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Love Is Here To Stay, Clap Your Hands, I Got Rhythm, But Not For Me, Someone To Watch Over You, That Certain Feeling, Embraceable You, Changing My Tune, Soon Rodgers for Moderns Have You Met Miss Jones, There’s a Small Hotel, It’s Easy to Remember, My heart Stood Still, Down By The River, Thou Swell, The Lady Is A Tramp, Where or When, This Can’t Be Love, I Married an Angel, Dancing On The Ceiling VOCALION CDLK4110, 61:40 mins.
EDMUNDO ROS AND HIS ORCHESTRA : Rhythms of the South Spanish Gipsy Dance, The Blue Danube, Barcarolle, La Maxixe, Capullito de Aleli, Siboney, Isle of Capri, Colonel Bogey, My Friend Elizabeth, Caminito, Marta, Cachita New Rhythms of the South What a Difference a Day Made, Peanut Vendor, Alla en El Rancho Grande, Amapola, La Golondrina, Malaguena, Yours, The Breeze and I, Say ‘Si Si’, Latin Shalom, Maria my Own, Jungle Drums VOCALION CDLK4111, 63:05 mins.
NORRIE PARAMOR AND HIS ORCHESTRA: In London In Love The Nearness Of You, Stairway To The Stars, Stardust, Embraceable You, Stars Fell on Alabama, The Touch Of Your Lips, All The Things You Are, I’ll Get By, Deep Purple, Someone To Watch Over Me, Dearly Beloved, The Very Thought Of You Autumn Autumn In New York, Ev’ry Street’s A Boulevard In Old New York, November Song, Autumn Concerto, Love In A Tower, Autumn In London Town, Autumn Leaves, Manhattan, Lullaby Of Birdland, Broadway Melody, Penthouse Serenade, Harlem Nocturne (USA) Collectors’ Choice CCM-190-2. I have to admit that I avoided Norrie Paramor’s LPs when originally released because I found the occasional words by the soprano rather annoying. Having listened again, I’m afraid that my views haven’t changed. Few probably share my dislike of this feature, and Norrie has certainly created some really beautiful string sounds for these two albums. It would be a pity to pass them by. David Ades
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ : Carnival Tropicana & Lure of the Tropics Malaguena, No Taboleiro De Bahania, La Cumparsita, Adios, Jarabe Tapatio, Cielito Lindo, La Golondrina, Caminito, Yours, Siboney, The Moon of Manakoora, Song of India, Jamaican Rhumba, Flamingo, Kashmiri Song, Andalucia, Malaguena, Poinciana, Lotus Land. (USA) Collectables COL 6631.
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ : Music of Cole Porter Begin the Beguine, All Through The Night, I Concentrate On You, I Love You, Night And Day, In The Still Of The Night, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Blow Gabriel Blow Music of Vincent Youmans Hallelujah, Time On My Hands, Tea For Two, Carioca, Without A Song, Great Day, More Than You Know, Orchids In The Moonlight, Sometimes I’m Happy, I Know That you Know, Through The Years, Drums In My Heart (USA) Collectables COL 6630.
THE VERY BEST OF HUGO WINTERHALTER Count Every Star, I Wanna Be Loved, Mr. Touchdown USA, Beyond The Blue Horizon, Blue December, A Kiss To Build A Dream On, Blue Tango, Somewhere Along The Way, Vanessa, Blue Violins, Music Box In Blue, The Velvet Glove, Latin Lady, The Little Shoemaker, The Magic Tango, Song Of The Barefoot Contessa, Land Of Dreams, The Little Musicians, Canadian Sunset, Swingin’ Sweethearts. Taragon (USA) TARCD 1080
THE POP SIDE OF LES BAXTER Zing Zing Zoom Zoom, The Roving Kind, Because Of You, Unless, Shrimp Boats, Blue Tango, Please Mr. Sun, I’m Yours, Kiss Of Fire, Auf Wiedersehen Sweetheart, Indian Summer, Suddenly, April in Portugal, Ruby, I Love Paris, Gigi, Tropicana, Elaine, Wake The Town And Tell The People, The High And The Mighty, Blue Mirage, Unchained Melody, Blue Star, I’ll Never Stop Loving You, The Poor People Of Paris. Collectors’ Choice Music (USA) CCM 161-2
TWILIGHT TIME - The Starry Night Orchestra - Arranged and Conducted by John Fox. YESTERMUSIC 619528 (2CD Set) 30 tracks of lush orchestral music from an almost bygone age. Anyone who used to enjoy listening on BBC Radio 2 to the strings of The Radio Orchestra playing the superb arrangements of John Fox back in the 70's and 80's will welcome this compilation of titles originally recorded for syndication to the American Easy Listening radio stations. John Fox who, unlike Radio 2, is still very much with us, tells me that the orchestra, led by George French, consists of 18 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos, 2 flutes and oboe plus harp, piano and rhythm. Some tracks feature Bobby Harrison on flugel and the technically superb recordings were made at the famous CTS Studios, engineered by Dick Lewsey. Titles range from standards to hits of the 70's and include The Nearness Of You, East Of The Sun, You Go To My Head, A Certain Smile, Always On My Mind, Love Is A Many-Splendoured Thing, The Song Is You, The Summer Of '42, People, Cherish, Dear Heart, Stormy Weather and With A Song In My Heart plus many others. This is an excellent compilation and should be in the collection of every lover of lush arrangement for strings. At the time of writing it was being advertised by mail order company Music And Memories (02072 333000). Alan Bunting
KAREL KOMZAK : Waltzes, Marches and Polkas Razumnsky Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Christian Pollack MARCO POLO 8225175. Komzak (1850-1905), of Bohemian extraction, worked as a military bandmaster in Vienna but his waltzes and polkas have always been overshadowed by those of the Strauss family, only Buden Maidens being at all well known. This duly figures on this splendidly played and recorded CD, along with three other waltzes - Magic of May, Phantom and New Life, all expansive and gorgeously tuneful in an individual way; they are in no sense copies of Strauss. These mingle with four marches and sundry polkas and other miniatures, plus the lively overture to Komzak’s only operetta Edelweiss. There were in fact three generations of musical Karel Komzaks, and the first (1823-93) is represented here by an attractive polks francaise. The ordhestra is from Solvakia and, I repeat, plays well. All told this is a delight of a disc and one hopes Marco Polo’s enterprise is rewarded. Philip L. Scowcroft
BING CROSBY AND COMPANY: A vintage collection of famous 78s where Bing Crosby is joined by top entertainers of the day, including The Mills Brothers Dinah, Johnny Mercer Mister Meadowlark, Mary Martin & Jack Teagarden The Waiter and the Porter and the Upstairs Maid, Frances Langford Gipsy Love Song, Al Jolson The Spaniard That Blighted My Life, Judy Garland You’ve Got Me Where You Want Me, The Andrews Sisters Route 66 etc... Memoir CDMOIR 548, 73:55 mins.
DANCE BAND RARITIES: British Dance Band Fans who still have a soft spot for the likes of Jack Jackson, Jack Hylton, Roy Fox, Ray Noble, Carroll Gibbons, Billy Cotton, Jay Wilbur, Lew Stone, Geraldo, Harry Roy, Jack Payne and many more will need no further encouragement! With the emphasis on rare material, there should be few duplications with records already in your collection. Memoir CDMOIR 549, 71:44 mins.
THE LUTON GIRLS CHOIR: ‘Count Your Blessings’ Lift Up Your Hearts, Down In The Glen, Take The Sun, Someday My heart Will Awake, Serenata, O Lovely Night, Deam of Olwen, etc... featuring the orchestras of Philip Green and George Melachrino. Memoir CDMOIR 550, 68:53 mins.
STEVE CONWAY: ‘My Thanks To You’ I Can’t Begin To Tell You, The Stars Will Remember, All By Myself, How Little We Know, Maybe You’ll Be There, The Gipsy, April Showers, Brother Can You Spare A Dime, etc... with orchestras conducted byJack Byfield, Arthur Young, Peter Yorke, Roberto Inglez, Jackie Brown and Philip Green. Memoir CDMOIR 551, 70:42 mins.
THE RED SOMBRERO - More Light Music Favourites: BOSTON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA - Arkansaw Traveller, La Golondrina, Sleigh Ride, Serenata; ANDRE KOSTELANETZ - Adios, Song of India; CHARLES WILLIAMS - Rhythm on Rails (Williams), Sleepy Marionette (Williams), The Laughing Violin (Mortensen); ROBERT FARNON - How Beautiful Is Night (Farnon); QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCH / ROBERT FARNON - Manhattan Playboy (Farnon); SIDNEY TORCH - Beachcomber (Clive Richardson), Caribbean Caprice (Len Stevens), The Red Sombrero (Ronald Binge); ETHEL SMITH (organ) - The Green Cockatoo; THE COLUMBIA ORCHESTRA - Running Off The Rails (Clive Richardson), Stringopation (David Rose); PETER YORKE - Melody Of The Stars (Yorke), Humpty Dumpty (arr. Yorke); MORTON GOULD - La Cumparsita; QHLO / SIDNEY TORCH - Jamaican Rumba (Arthur Benjamin), The Boulevardier Frederic Curzon). Memoir CDMOIR 553, 67:25. Following on the great success of "Fiddle Faddle" (CDMOIR 539 - see JIM 143, page 56) last year, here is another fine compilation from Memoir. It is becoming increasingly difficult for new collections like this to avoid duplications, and readers are likely to spot a few. But there are also some welcome newcomers, and Light Music fans should not hesitate to add this CD to their collections. Jim Palm has contributed some excellent booklet notes and Ted Kendall has worked wonders with his remastering (he also did the four previous memoir CDs listed above). Occasionally some surface noise is evident, but at a quite acceptable level. With a Song in my Heart is a case in point; every reissue I’ve heard seems to have problems with this recording, but at least Ted hasn’t tried to mask the difficulties by leaving out the opening, or a big chunk at the end, as on the recent disappointing Empress CD. Perhaps our non-British readers might wonder why this particular recording crops up so frequently; the reason is that it introduced Family Favourites a long-running BBC record request programme still remembered with affection by the over 40’s! Top marks to Memoir for another fine CD. David Ades
ERNST FISCHER : "Rhapsody" Jugendstreiche (Concert overture), In Dur und Moll (Concerto for Piano and Orchestra), Suite - In Vino Veritas, Heimkehr und Rückblick (from the suite - Ferientage), plus three songs from ‘Das Land ohne Musik (Land Without Music). WDR Radio Orchestra conducted by Peter Falk. (Germany) Monopol Records 5240, 49:15 mins. This is a further tribute to the distinguished German composer Ernst Fischer (1900-1975) who would have celebrated his 100th birthday last year. The only disappointment is that this CD lasts barely under 50 minutes - surely he deserves a greater honour! However Fischer’s masterpieces of light concert music are so entertaining that each new release is most welcome. Once again this new CD illustrates the rich melodies he created, brilliantly orchestrated for full orchestra. The highlight of the programme is unquestionably his 18-minute concert work for piano and orchestra "In Dur und Moll", composed in 1951. In the four varied movements - Introduction, Scherzo, Intermezzo lirico and Rondo-Finale - Fischer pulls out all the stops, including a lively piano part which represents a real challenge for any pianist. The young German pianist, Beate Berthold, performs it here with great style and enthusiasm. The other orchestral works are also very entertaining. Three vocal items are taken from Ernst Fischer’s only operetta "Das Land ohne Musik". They reveal another, lesser known aspect of his creativity. The CD was recorded in Cologne in 1993, with a sharp and vivid sound which perfectly captures the WDR Radio Orchestra to its best advantage. Hans Schubert, one of Fischer’s good friends, has written the booklet notes which contain many interesting details of his life and work, previously unknown to the general public. We learn how Fischer successfully declined membership of the NSDAP offered to him by the Nazis. Also that his composition Truppen-Parade (Military Parade) was banned because it was not sufficiently military sounding! Alexander Schatte