Reviews from issues of Journal Into Melody prior to 2003 - 4
BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC CLASSICS Volume 4 Marching Strings (Ray Martin); Jaunting Car (Peter Hope); High Heels (Trevor Duncan); Dance of an Ostracised Imp (Frederic Curzon); Keltic Lament (John Foulds); Rhythm on Rails, A Quiet Stroll (Charles Williams); By the Sleepy Lagoon (Eric Coates); Jamaican Rumba (Arthur Benjamin); In a Monastery Garden (Albert W. Ketèlbey); Demoiselle Chic (Percy Fletcher); Cavalcade of Youth (Jack Beaver); Elizabethan Masque (Frederic Bayco); Shepherd Fennel’s Dance (Henry Balfour Gardiner); Thrills (Charles Ancliffe); The Doge’s March (Frederick Rosse); Petite Suite de Concert (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor) The New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp Hyperion CDA67400, total timing 77:53 minutes. We are greatly indebted to both Hyperion and Ronald Corp for the (hopefully) continuing series of British Light Music Classics, with its targeted emphasis on vintage Light Music ranging from about the 1890s to the early 1960s – a period when melody and rhythmic verve was at its most intense and infectious. Whilst inevitably in such a generous compilation some duplication with contemporary modern recordings is unavoidable, and pieces such as By the Sleepy Lagoon and In a Monastery Garden are doubtless included to make the CD more commercial, there is plenty of evidence of some imaginative programme planning and an impressive knowledge of Light Music repertoire. An excellent curtain-raiser is Ray Martin’s Marching Strings, played with plenty of verve and panache. Particularly welcome are the two Charles Williams miniatures, particularly the charmingly joyful and jaunty A Quiet Stroll. New to this listener was John Foulds’ haunting beautiful Keltic Lament, and remembered from the distant days of childhood Charles Ancliffe’s fine waltz Thrills (staple fare, no doubt, in programmes such as ‘Those Were The Days’) and the Doges March by Frederick Rosse, of which my father possessed a 78 record. Jack Beaver’s Cavalcade of Youth – used as the signature tune of ‘The Barlows of Beddington’ – also made one wistfully nostalgic. Also welcome is a completePetite Suite de Concert in a recording distinctly superior to the Marco Polo alternative (8.223516) with the Dublin RTE Concert Orchestra conducted by Adrian Leaper. Technically the recording (even by Hyperion’s high standards) is quite superlative with ample range, depth and amplitude, with many inner details and ‘effects’ being revealed – often hidden or obscured in earlier historic recordings. One cannot imagine this disc not being an automatic ‘must have’ amongst light music enthusiasts and hopefully the better known pieces will attract a wider currency amongst the general public. Anyway it’s up to all of us to encourage Hyperion and Ronald Corp to keep up their good work. As Andrew Lamb says in his informative notes to this fourth volume dip into the well of British Light Music Classics, the source is as fresh and sparkling as ever! Roger Hyslop
Unless I’m mistaken, nine of these pieces appear as first-time modern digital recordings. Anyway, here come the Marching Strings, fresh as ever (what a good opener they always make) and Jack Beaver’s uplifting Cavalcade of Youth; here also is Elizabethan Masque, rather unexpected and all the more welcome for that. Ketèlbey’s ‘monks’ sound really authentic (period performance!), and though less brisk than the composer’s version Rhythm on Rails gave me a pleasingly smooth ride. Many moons ago Charles Ancliffe was constrained to squeeze as much of Thrills as he could on to a 10" 78 side; complete with introduction, all repeats and coda it now gets the full treatment. So too doesPetite Suite de Concert, and its third movement Un Sonnet d’Amour is given as sensitive an account as any that I know. All in all, this is an excellent release which will hopefully make many more friends for our wonderful World of Light Music. John E. Govier Hyperion CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £12 [US $24] each.
PAUL LEWIS Three Decades of TV Themes The Prisoner of Zenda, Autumn Love, Brendon Chase, Arthur of the Britons, The Big Knife, King’s Royal, The Dark Angel, The Benny Hill Waltz, The Island, Woof!, Wreckers at Deadeye The Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul LewisCampion CAMEO 2018, 76:13 mins. At long last here is a CD which attempts to do justice to Paul Lewis’s work for British television. I say ‘attempts’, because incredibly he has been responsible for over 130 TV scores, so there is a vast body of his work still waiting to be rediscovered. But this new CD makes a fine start, and the swashbuckling opening from the 1984 "Prisoner of Zenda" (BBC TV) is in the finest Hollywood tradition. Autumn Love was originally in the Chappell Recorded Music Library, but its tender qualities were noticed in 1973 when it was chosen for the Thames TV series "Spring and Autumn". Subsequently it was arranged by Ray Martin for commercial LP release, and the Chappell version also appeared in Grasmere’s third album of famous themes. Paul knows how to write a catchy theme, and "Brendon Chase" certainly falls into this category. An RCA EP of the music sold 5,000 copies back in the 1980s. "Arthur of the Britons" (HTV 1972) is perhaps the major suite in this collection, with an impressive opening and plenty of tender (and exciting!) themes in the rest of the work. "The Big Knife" (HTV 1989) is sub-titled Romance for Piano and Strings and one can imagine it filling both sides of a Columbia 78 back in the late 1940s. "King’s Royal" (BBC 1981-82) has a very strong theme in the finest tradition of descriptive writing. "The Dark Angel" (BBC 1990) is another substantial work which the composer describes as A Gothic Melodrama for Orchestra. In complete contrast comes The Benny Hill Waltz, which is actually a movement called Ballroom from Paul’s collection "History Book of Music"; the change of title reflects the use of this piece (speeded-up) in many Benny Hill shows. "The Island" (HTV 1976) features soprano and orchestra; the producer had asked for a Laura-type piece, but understandably Paul felt some reluctance to copy that most famous of all film themes. The result is a melody employing vocalise (wordless) for soprano and orchestra – the listener can judge whether or not the producer had his wish granted. "Woof!" has to be Paul’s most famous TV theme. Although written for an ITV children’s programme, it achieved audience figures above six million, and has been shown in over 64 countries. Tommy Reilly originally played harmonica in the small Carlton TV orchestra (the Paul Lewis Woof Band), to be followed by James Hughes from series eight. Even if you have never seen the TV show, you cannot fail to be swept along by the sheer fun and exuberance of the music. In this Fantasy Paul has combined several of the themes he used during the series, but over the nine years he wrote many catchy little interludes for all of the main characters. Finally this delightful collection comes to an end with "Wreckers at Deadeye" (Thames 1970) – to quote the composer’s words "…a rip-roaring yarn of smugglers and shipwreckers." He has certainly captured it all in his music. The CD is accompanied by an excellent booklet (mostly written by Paul), generously filled with photographs. Campion is to be congratulated for including this highly entertaining CD in their ‘British Composers series’. This CD should be in the collection of everyone who enjoys expertly crafted light orchestral music. It is simply an absolute joy from start to finish. David Ades Campion CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £12 [US $24} each.
BRITISH STRING MINIATURES Volume One Divertimento (Gareth Walters); Elegy (Edward Elgar); Suite (Michael Roberts); Two Aquarelles (Frederick Delius); Fiddler’s Green (Anthony Hedges); Two Pieces from Henry V (William Walton); Partita (John Addison). Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland. ASV Whiteline WHL 2134, 71:37 mins. If you enjoyed producer Philip Lane’s four English String Miniatures sequence on Naxos then you will enjoy his new four-part series on ASV which mixes the familiar with the less well-known, no bad thing. Gareth Walters is Welsh and his five-part Divertimento is based on national folk tunes. Michael Roberts came from Blackburn in Lancashire and worked for the BBC before going freelance, parts of his excellent five-movement Suite being used as television theme tunes. Anthony Hedges has long been associated with Hull University and all four movements of Fiddler’s Green relate to places of musical jollity which sailors enjoyed while ashore. John Addison was educated at Wellington College and wrote for both the concert hall and cinema while Elgar, Walton and Delius need no further introduction. Edmund Whitehouse
Adventurous music-lovers who relish the bite, darkness, delicacy, light, sweep, tenderness, etc. etc. of well-made string compositions are unlikely to complain of this! Neither frivolous nor brow-furrowing, the seven works all add up to a pleasing, nicely contrasted programme. A short Elgar work and "tandem" pieces by Delius/Fenby and Walton balance the others. Gareth Walters and the late Michael Roberts and John Addison are represented by five-movement works (the Roberts was assembled from music written in 1962, ’65 and ’71). The newest work, dating from last year, is by Anthony Hedges – living up to the promise of its title. Full-toned playing and recording: try a lowish volume setting for comfort! It appears that more may be looked forward to. John E. Govier
MATTHEW CURTIS Fiesta, Amsterdam Suite, Pas de Deux, Paths to Urbino, Two Pieces for Small Orchestra, Outward Bound Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland Campion CAMEO 2015, 77:18 mins. I must confess to not having been aware of the music of Matthew Curtis previously, but how grateful I am that this gap in my musical knowledge has finally been filled by this splendid new CD from Campion in their ‘British Composers Series’. The accompanying booklet informs us that he hails from Embleton in Cumbria, and that much of his music has been taken up by non-professional and youth orchestras in Britain and overseas. He composes in a pleasing style that is instantly accessible, yet full of delightful orchestral colouring that will provide enhanced enjoyment with repeated listenings. How good it is that young composers (Matthew was born in 1959) are still writing what can be described as ‘traditional’ light music, although he himself seems to suggest that he regards it more as contemporary classical that can appeal to performers and audiences alike. Labels can be misleading: suffice it to say that anyone who enjoys the kind of light music championed by Eric Coates and Haydn Wood will find much to please them here. I look forward to hearing more of his music in the future. David Ades
‘Something Here’ – The Film and Television Music of DEBBIE WISEMAN Wilde, Hans Christian Andersen, Before You Go, Tom & Viv, Judge John Deed, Warriors, My Uncle Silas, Simon – an English Legionnaire, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Haunted, Othello, The Ugly Duckling Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Debbie Wiseman Silva Screen SILKD6035, 71:19 mins. As Debbie herself explains in the booklet, the album’s title "Something here" refers to the familiar comment from directors showing their film to a composer, indicating that some music is needed at a particular point. This collection brings together some of her memorable scores for film and TV, the earliest being "Tom & Viv" (1994) which tells of the tumultuous marriage of poet T.S. Eliot to his first wife, and no less than four from 2002, of which the major work has to be Debbie’s setting of "The Ugly Duckling", narrated by Nigel Havers in his usual suave manner. Perhaps parts of this fairy tale might be a bit frightening to very young children, but it serves as an extremely useful way to get youngsters interested in the manner in which orchestral music can tell a story – especially when the writing is as accomplished as this. Whenever the name ‘Debbie Wiseman’ appears on the credits for a film or television production, you know that the music will perfectly suit the situation on screen. Perhaps she has had rather a lot of serious subjects to date (and she can certainly tear at your heartstrings!), but the music for "Hans Christian Andersen" and "My Uncle Silas" reveal her lighter nature. She is such a petite, happy and bubbly person in real life that it is difficult to imagine her writing some of the serious works her directors demand, let alone control the full forces of a large symphony orchestra. What a formidable talent she is! One day she will get an Oscar for the best score for a major Hollywood film; why it hasn’t happened already, is Hollywood’s loss. Until the film capital of the world wakes up and finally takes notice, we in Britain can be sure that our films and television will continue to benefit from her superlative scores. David Ades
The Film Music of RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Volume 1 Scott of the Antarctic, Coastal Command, The People’s Land BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba Chandos CHAN 10007, 78:30 mins. Chandos is gradually building up an impressive library of film music, and it is good to note that this latest CD has been labelled ‘Volume 1’, indicating that there are more treats to follow from this great composer. Because he has been so lauded for his symphonies, Vaughan Williams’ work for the British cinema has tended to be somewhat neglected, but on its own it stands as a fine testimony to his gifts as a descriptive writer. It is well-known that his score for "Scott of the Antarctic" provided the basis for his Symphony No. 7 – "Sinfonia Antartica" – and some critics over the years have suggested that the symphony was in some ways less satisfying than the film music. Perhaps this is surprising, because less than half of the score that VW provided for the film was actually used by the producers, so this CD, which offers the premiere recording of the full version, provides the first opportunity for some of it to be heard. "Coastal Command" was a wartime documentary made by the Crown Film Unit in 1942, while "The People’s Land" described the work of the National Trust and was shot in colour in 1943 (surprisingly in view of the scarcity of film stock at that time). The BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba are definitely in sympathy with film music, as their previous CDs have proved, and this latest one is no exception. The booklet is generously illustrated with film stills (but not from "The People’s Land"), and anyone interested in British film music should immediately add this to their collection. David Ades
NELSON RIDDLE: ‘The Unreleased Nelson – Part 1’ RADIO TRANSCRIPTIONS Isle of May, Till the End of Time, Our Love, Moon Love, The Lamp is Low, Full Moon and Empty Arms, In the Hush of Night, Yours and Mine, Yours is my Heart Alone (You Are my Heart’s Delight), My Reverie; HEY DIDDLE RIDDLE The Farmer in the Dell, Row Your Boat, Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be, The Muffin Man, Little Bo Peep, London Bridge, Tom Tom the Piper’s Son, Polly Put the Kettle On, Three Blind Mice, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Hickory Dickory Dock NELSON RIDDLE APPRECIATION SOCIETY NNCD003. Alan Wright is doing a wonderful job keeping alive the glorious music of Nelson Riddle. Not only does he produce the regular newsletter "Nelson’s Notes", but he has also arranged for members of the NRAS to obtain rare recordings by Nelson that are unobtainable elsewhere. Alan has kindly allowed us to give details of his latest release which contains two batches of traditional tunes, arranged in the unique Riddle manner, that have not previously been released anywhere. The first ten tracks (all classical works) are transcriptions recorded late in 1953 for use by radio stations. "Hey Diddle Riddle" dates from October to December 1959, and is believed to be for a projected album that didn’t eventually proceed. Anyone interested in Riddle’s work will find this CD fascinating, and it is an essential purchase for those wishing to have a complete Nelson Riddle collection. Audio restoration was in the hands of Alan Bunting, so you’ll know that it is of a very high quality. David Ades
This is available only as a private CD through a £10 (incl. p & p) donation to the Nelson Riddle Appreciation Society, 4 Jardine Cottages, Templewood Lane, Stoke Poges, Bucks, SL2 4BQ, England. Please mention the RFS when ordering; cheques should be payable to ‘The Nelson Riddle Appreciation Society’.
ABC RADIO THEMES : CLASSIC THEMES FROM POPULAR ABC RADIO PROGRAMMES – (Australia) ABC CLASSICS 472446-2. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has recently released this CD containing twenty tracks of a variety of radio themes heard over the years. Many of the themes of current programmes included are classical pieces from such composers as Respighi, Charpentier, Beethoven and Mozart. These themes have become much loved over the years. The older programme themes include 'Pastorale' by Ronald Hanmer, once used as the theme to the serial 'Blue Hills'; 'Old Mother Hubbard' by Cecil Fraser from 'The Argonauts'; Clive Richardson's 'Melody on the Move' from the 'Hospital Half Hour' and the Merrymakers' Dance by Edward German once used as the theme to the ‘Country Hour’. There are also two versions of 'Majestic Fanfare' by Charles Williams. The last nineteen seconds of this has been used as the ABC Radio News Theme for about fifty years. Also included is 'Olympia Australia' by the Australian composer Sean O'Boyle. This stirring and descriptive piece was used as the theme to the Sydney Olympics and more recently the Manchester Commonwealth Games. All told a good selection for regular ABC listeners and those who like theme music. Barry Freeman
FRANK BRIDGE Orchestral Works Vol. 2 Dance Rhapsody, Five Entr’actes, Dance Poem, Norse Legend, The Sea Chandos CHAN 10012, 72:37 minutes. When one considers how attractive this music is, it is surprising that this is the only cycle of Bridge’s music ever undertaken. The opening work Dance Rhapsody (this is the premiere recording in this version) is an attractive piece which Bridge first conducted to considerable critical acclaim in 1908. It enjoyed several more performances until 1918, after which it lay forgotten until 1938. It disappeared once more, until 1977, which probably says more about our musical establishment than the quality of the work itself. I find it enchanting, and I shall listen to it on many future occasions. The Sea is regarded as Bridge’s most successful orchestral work and (like a certain Canadian composer some years later) he chose to get his inspiration from the south coast of England. Frank Bridge (1879-1941) deserves to have his work remembered and enjoyed, and this collection could well provide some very pleasant surprises for music lovers who are currently unfamiliar with his achievements. David Ades
ELGAR The Wand of Youth Suites 1 & 2, Three Bavarian Dances, Polonia, Triumphal March [Carcatacus], Meditation [The Light of Life] – LPO, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult – EMI Classics CDZ 5 75295-2. 74 mins. A warm welcome back to the catalogue for an old friend, Sir Adrian Boult’s peerless performances of these wistful suites and enchanting dances. Here is light music of consummate excellence. It’s difficult to believe these classic and sensitive performances will ever be surpassed. I have treasured the original HMV LP [ASD 2356] for many years and it’s a particular joy to have these recordings, sounding newly minted and mercifully liberated from the inevitable "snap, crackle and pop", on CD. The attractions of this issue are further enhanced by some generous fill-ups: Polonia [a fantasia on Polish national airs dedicated to Ignaz Paderewski, and with organ judiciously added to bring the piece to a suitably grandioso conclusion], the stirring March, and the oratorio Meditation. With generous playing time, budget price and indisputably three-star performances this disc is self-recommending. Roger Hyslop
LES PAUL and Mary Ford ‘How High The Moon’ Title track, Just Because, Blue Skies, Dark Eyes, It’s Been a Long Long Time (with Bing Crosby), Rumours are Flying (with Andrews Sisters), Lover, Brazil, Nola, Goofus, Little Rock Getaway, La Rosita, Whispering, The World is Waiting for the Sunrise, etc… 30 tracks ASV Living Era CD AJA 5438, 77:08 mins. There can be few collectors of popular music around 50 years ago who did not have at least one Les Paul 78 in their collection. So for many of us, this new compilation is a welcome reminder of his considerable talents as a guitar player who, technically, was years ahead of his time. It is incredible that he achieved such astonishing results from the primitive recording equipment available in the late 1940s. I seem to recall reading that his multi-track records were often made at home in his bathroom, and that he kept the precise way he did it a closely guarded secret. Eight-track mixers have been mentioned, presumably linked to early tape recorders (the CD booklet notes briefly talk about ‘LP overdubbing’ – but surely this would have resulted in a build-up of unacceptable surface noise). Les Paul’s wife Mary Ford sings (also multi-tracked) on nine of the songs, and all of their big hits (up to 1951) seem to be here. It is great to be able to enjoy these unique recordings again. David Ades
MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES The Thirties Music from the Movies; 1936 Medley; Goldwyn Follies selection; Jungle of the Jungle; Hollywood Hotel selection; The Wizard of Oz selection; The Eyes of the World Are Upon You; The Great Ziegfeld selection; Empire Builders; Gold Diggers of 1937 selection; I Haven’t Time To Be a Millionaire; On the Avenue selection; Everybody Dance; Babes in Arms selection; There’s That Look In Your Eyes Again; Music from the Movies 1938 Medley. Louis Levy & his Gaumont British Symphony. ASV Living Era CD AJA 5445, 76:40 mins. Ever wondered how David Ades spends his spare time? He never has any and this impressive selection of 1930s movie music is yet another product of his fertile imagination and personal record collection. Louis Levy certainly comes under the guise of dance band leader but he was much more than that, being the major pre-war musical voice of the cinema. The luscious sleeve depicts the opening of the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn, North London, and the opening march Music from the Movies will be instantly recognisable to all who used to go the flicks when it was not unusual for there to be 2,000 other people present, more than many of today’s professional football club crowds! Singers on the disc include Sam Browne, Gerry Fitzgerald, Janet Lind, Robert Ashley, Hazel Jean, Edward Molloy and Eve Becke. If you were a moviegoer then you will know what to expect but if not then sit back and imagine what it must have been like when the only screen to watch was a big one, which most families visited at least once a week. Edmund Whitehouse
I must comment on the superb sound of this CD. The soaring strings, wandering all over the place, are warmly supported by the full, rich sound of the brass which often carries the main melody. And the singers sound so clear. Alan Bunting has done a wonderful job restoring these ancient 78s. I have other Louis Levy albums in my collection, but they don’t sound as good as this. Raymond Wood Editor: I am very pleased that members have appreciated the efforts made by Alan on this CD. Some of the tracks I transferred for him were edited from up to three different 78s to get the best results we could, and I have to say (with suitable modesty) that I think the extra trouble we took was worth it.
‘POPS ROUNDUP’ - BOSTON POPS ORCHESTRA conducted by ARTHUR FIEDLER. Pops Roundup; Home On the Range plus 16 other cowboy songs. 61:26. (USA) RCA Victor Living Stereo 09026-61666-2. Howdy, pardners! Time to get out your western gear and ride out onto the Plains with this time honoured classic. Arrangements are by Jack Mason and Richard Hayman. To set the tone, there's "Pops Roundup," a send-up of American TV westerns followed by a gunfight version of "O Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie." There is a stunningly beautiful Jack Mason chart for "Home On The Range" which is treated with graceful dignity. Sons of the Pioneers admirers will find "Wagon Wheels" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" stunningly elegant. Tacked on at the end of this charming 1962 recording are 6 tracks from the 1967 follow-up album "Pops Goes West." It's hard to beat Richard Hayman's lush version of "Shenandoah" or his upbeat take of "High Noon." As with the earlier recording, the remastering is formidably life like with Richard Hayman playing his harmonica enthusiastically. A charming album from a great era for the Pops and Arthur Fiedler. RCA/BMG have a vast catalogue of Fiedler recordings including those of Chet Atkins and Kate Smith which are in desperate need of being released. How about it, guys? Richard Jessen
STANLEY BLACK, his Piano and Orchestra – Big Instrumental Hits Holiday for Strings, Ebb Tide, Patricia, Canadian Sunset, Delicado, 12th Street Rag, April in Portugal, Lullaby of Birdland, Harry Lime Theme, Blue Tango, Melody of Love, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White Hollywood Love Themes It’s Magic, Love is a Many-Splendoured Thing, A Woman in Love, Tammy, Hold my Hand, Be My Love, Three Coins in the Fountain, True Love, Friendly Persuasion, Secret Love, Around the World, My Foolish Heart Vocalion CDLK4159, 69:50 mins. Here’s a real treat for Stanley Black fans, presenting the two familiar sides of the master pianist. On the first LP he is wearing his Latin-American sombrero as he treats a dozen instrumental favourites from the 1950s to a rhythmic treatment, often (but not exclusively) with a rich Latin touch - his sparkling piano assisted by pulsating percussion and a small-ish mainly string orchestra. For the full, lush Stanley Black sound of a concert piano, backed by a large light orchestra playing gorgeous arrangements, you can do no better than the second collection, focussed on film themes from the same era. Both albums were recorded in stereo at a time when the Decca sound engineers were considered to be the finest around. Michael Dutton has worked his usual magic on the original tapes, resulting in a superlative CD that will find its way into many stockings this Christmas. David Ades
FERDE GROFÉ Death Valley Suite (Funeral Mountains, 49er Emigrant Train, Desert Water Hole, Sand Storm), Hollywood Suite (On the Set Sweepers, The Stand-In, Carpenters and Electricians, Preview, Production Number, Director-Star-Ensemble), Hudson River Suite (The River, Henry Hudson, Rip Van Winkle, Albany Night Boat, New York!). Naxos 8.559017. Grofé was much more than just Paul Whiteman¹s arranger, he was a major composer in his own right whose works are deservedly now being reheard. This latest luscious offering is terrific value with never a dull moment as the busy tunes duck and dive through Hollywood film sets, deserts and rivers. For those already familiar with his orchestral colouring then there is no need to elaborate further but for those new to this genre then wait no longer because you will certainly not be disappointed. Peter Worsley
SPIKE JONES & HIS CITY SLICKERS Cocktails for Two; McNamara’s Band; Glow Worm; Leave the Dishes in the Sink; Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep; Clink, Clink, Another Drink; You Always Hurt the One You Love; Sheik of Araby; William Tell; Der Fuehrer’s Face; Water Lou; Oh By Jingo; Mother Goose; Old McDonald; Hawaiian War Chant; Dance of the Hours; That Old Black Magic; Rhapsody from Hunger(y); Man on the Flying Trapeze; All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth; Jingle Bells. Evergreen Melodies EV83. Spike was a serious musician but enjoyed mucking about after hours when he added the sound of cow bells, whistles, saws, breaking glass, pistols and car horns. He even trained a goat to bleat in the key of C! When he released Der Fuehrer¹s Face in 1942 it came at just the right time to set his show business career off, literally with a bang! This selection of his very best are both memorable and amusing but equally clever in their musicianship which relied on perfect timing and brilliantly conceived vocals. After each live performance Spike would bow and say "Thank you music lovers" in a dead pan expression which never betrayed his inward feelings. Judge for yourself the brilliant histrionics of a truly "one off". CD and shorter cassette version are available only via mail order from Evergreen, PO Box 52, Cheltenham, GL50 1YQ, England – telephone 01242 515156. Edmund Whitehouse Editor: Spike Jones has been well served with recent CD releases. This new Evergreen collection joins around 20 compilations currently available, including a recent one from ASV - CDAJA5437. Robert Farnon’s eldest brother Brian worked with Spike Jones for many years.
ELIZABETHAN SERENADE – Classics of British Light Music Elizabethan Serenade (Ronald Binge); Knightsbridge March, The Man About Town, London Calling, Dancing Nights (Eric Coates); Chanson de Matin (Elgar); Lady O’Connell (Fredrick Ellard); In a Persian Market (Ketèlbey); Colonel Bogey (Kenneth Alford); Soldiers of the Queen (Leslie Stuart); 633 Squadron, The Barbican (Ron Goodwin); Warsaw Concerto (Richard Addinsell); Rememberance (Archibald Joyce); Pastorale (Ronald Hanmer); Music from ‘The Fool on the Hill’ ballet (Lennon, McCartney) (Australia) ABC Classics 472 509-2, 76:21 mins. This is a compilation of seventeen pieces previously released on CDs, or recorded for broadcast over the last few years. All but one of the tracks is performed by an Australian symphony orchestra, army band or small orchestra. The odd man out is Albert Ketèlbey’sIn a Persian Market played by the New Symphony Orchestra. The CD ends with two pieces from an Australian television ballet The Fool on the Hill which used music composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, arranged by John Lanchbery. I must admit that I do not think all the tracks fit into the category of ‘light music’, still it is nice to know that ABC Classics think so much of that type of music that they go to the trouble of releasing a CD of it. The CD comes with an attractive booklet containing an interesting article tracing the early history of ‘light’ and ‘mood’ music, and giving details of each piece and its Australian connection. Barry Freeman
MARLENE VERPLANCK ‘Speaking of Love’ But Not For Me, Blues in my Heart, It Was Written in the Stars, What Comes After the Rainbow, I Let a Song go out of my Heart, Listen to the Silence, Jamaica Rumba, Romance Medley, The Moment of Truth, A Christmas Love Song, What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, Little Jazz Bird, Day-Dream, Nearer to your Love, Unless It’s You, My Love Went to London, Make Some Magic, The Singer, Speaking of Love, My Bluebird (USA) Audiophile ACD 320. "Listening to Marlene’s vocal performance on the CD Speaking of Love is as refreshing as a clear spring day. These are the sounds that will best serve the future of great popular music, and long may this mistress of song wait upon our admiration of her remarkable gifts. What a joy it must be to record with the wonderful lady." These words are Robert Farnon’s and quoted from the liner notes in praise of the CD; Johnny Mandel and Benny Carter also contribute words of praise. I think I read that this is Marlene’s seventeenth recording, not only is it superb but many regard it as her best ever. On it she demonstrates yet again what a wonderful lyrical singer she is and why fans and critics alike regard her as one of the finest interpreters of the American popular song, in the classic tradition performing today. Throughout her career she has always had taste and integrity in choosing which songs to sing, always paying loving care equally to well-known standards, sadly neglected ones, and new ones by fine composers. The repertoire on this CD of 22 songs date from Gershwins’ 1924 song "Little Jazz Bird" through to 2001, perhaps not too many well known standards, but a very good mix of excellent songs that many will be delighted to discover for the first time. Her musical accompaniment is always of the highest order and for this we have to thank her husband and musical partner Billy, a veteran of Charlie Spivak, and Tommy Dorsey bands for his musical direction. Not only was Billy responsible for all the arrangements on this CD but he contributed two original songs, and produced and conducted the recording session. For many years now the VerPlanks have been touring the UK every March and as a result built up a loyal band of enthusiastic fans. In this time she has had a long and fruitful association with the Roy Babbington, and here Roy provides the backing with his swinging trio, Roy on bass, Mark Fletcher drums and the dynamic and perhaps underrated pianist Geoff Eales who I was pleased to hear was given plenty of opportunity to shine. Just one more added bonus. On six of the tracks the trio is augmented with Big Band which Roy recruited from the cream of British session musicians. The closing track "My Bluebird" was written by Tommy Flanagan and here he accompanies Marlene to lyrics set by Jay Leonhart in what was to be his last recording before his death. As one critic put it writing of this CD: "Even by her own high standards this is exceptional - it would be a worthy winner of any jazz vocal recording award of this year or any other year ". I have to agree. Malcolm Frazer See also the advertisement on page 31 of this issue.
‘THE PRISONER’ Music used in the 1960s TV series Various composers and orchestras Silva Screen FILMCD 601, 602, 603. In 1989 Silva Screen issued the first CD of library tracks used in this cult TV series, and others were to follow in the early 1990s. They have now been repackaged and reissued, although it is likely that keen fans of the show will already have them in their collections.
JOLY BRAGA SANTOS Symphonies 1-6 Marco Polo 8.223879, 8.225087, 8.225216, 8.225233 Bournemouth & Portuguese Symphony Orchestras conducted by Alvaro Cassuto. Classic FM may be repetitive and at times annoying but it does play a greater variety of tuneful music than BBC Radio 3. Having gone to bed early a few months ago (a rare event in itself), I tuned to Classic FM in despair at the Beeb and immediately propped up my pillow and began to take notice of a composer quite new to me. In effect Joly Braga Santos is a Portuguese George Lloyd and his early symphonies are sheer delight, full of warm, expansive and extrovert colours. Very approachable and hugely enjoyable music for those not yet attuned. Marco Polo brands itself as the "label of discovery" and so it is. Try this composer’s early music and see for yourself. Peter Worsley
FAIRY TALES & OTHER WORKS Vyacheslav Grokhovsky Campion CAMEO 2016 Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer. Russian Caprice; The Enchanted Wanderer; Hans Andersen Fairy Tales (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes); Gypsy Rhapsody. Can there be anyone reading this review who has ever heard of this Russian composer born in 1945? Unlikely because this is the first time his music has been heard over here and the best description I can think of is to liken him to a modern Tchaikovsky. Very Russian and expansive in style and all the better for it. If you like traditional Russian romantic fare then you will enjoy this.Edmund Whitehouse
BRITISH COMPOSER SERIES Bill Worland Campion CAMEO 2017 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland. Curtain Up!; Broadstairs Suite (Viking Bay & Pierremont Park, Snuff & Nonsense, Pavilion Waltz, Serene Place, Bleak House & Joss Bay); Sandman Serenade; Paths of Peace; Intermezzo 45 (Michaela, Little Ballet, Balalaikas, Finale); For Aida; Rhapsodie Tristesse; Amaro Dolce; Honky-Tonk Town; Midnight in Manhattan. Those already familiar with the composer’s Marco Polo disc can look forward to more thoroughly enjoyable light music in the best tradition. The "descriptive" Broadstairs Suite is excellent, much of it based on Victoriana and Charles Dickens while Intermezzo 45 was composed as the war drew to a close. In this first of what promises to be a fine new series deserving our full support, the other tracks are also good value especially the foot-tapping Honky-Tonk Town. Edmund Whitehouse
E. J. MOERAN Symphony in G Minor & Sinfonietta Naxos 8.555837 Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones. Stop! Don’t be put off by the title because the Symphonyis beautiful pastoral music based on the Norfolk landscape of the 1930s while the Sinfonietta is a bright and breezy nine-part piece of light music by another name composed during the last war. There is much tuneful serious British music to enjoy which is now sadly neglected by the BBC and Moeran is most definitely part of this wonderful legacy. Highly recommended for all who simply enjoy good music.
JUDY GARLAND: ‘JUDY IN LOVE / ALONE’. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Day In, Day Out; By Myself; Me And My Shadow plus 19 other songs. (USA) S&P Records 72435-37-823-2-0. 75:08. Jimmy McHugh, in his liner notes to "Judy In Love," called Judy Garland "The Star Studded Cinderella Girl." Both of these albums, marvellously restored to pristine clarity by Steve Hoffman, live up to McHugh's opinion. Both Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins (the arrangers on these albums) had worked with Ms. Garland on tour in the 1950's). "Judy In Love" starts with a gem of a score for "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart," with a fantastic building of inner tensions by Garland combined with a combustible score by Riddle. A sensuous version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" is followed by an endearingly swinging "This Is It." There even some mischievous studio chatter before a swinging version of "Day In, Day Out." Alone explores a darker world with a deeply moving version of "Me And My Shadow," sung with probing sensitivity by Garland. A small jazz combo within the orchestra is heard to brilliant effect on "By Myself" and "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues." "Among My Souvenirs" is a desolate tone poem for Judy Garland with accompanying chorus. No other CD can give you the jazzy optimist alongside the sublime ballad singer that made up the one and only Judy Garland. An essential recording for admirers of this great artist. Richard Jessen
Here are the tracklistings for some new Vocalion releases. All are expertly remastered by Mike Dutton from the original tapes, with attractive and informative booklets … in other words, the usual high quality product you have come to expect from Vocalion:
GISELE MACKENZIE and HELEN O’CONNELL Water Can’t Quench the Fire of Love, A Crazy Waltz, Lipstick Powder ‘n’ Paint, Give Me the Name Age Height and Size, When the Hands of the Clock Pray at Midnight; Gisele solo Le Fiacre, Johnny, Adios, Don’t Let the Stars Get in your Eyes, My Favourite Song, I’d Rather Die Young, Till They’ve All Gone Home, Seven Lonely Days, Till I Waltz Again With You; Helen solo Would I Love You, Green Eyes, Anytime, Slowpoke, Come What May, Be Anything, No Other Love, Night for Love, Rub-a-Dub-Dub. Vocalion CDLK4138, 59:27 mins.
EDMUNDO ROS and his Orchestra with The Mike Sammes Singers SING AND SWING: Guantanamera, Come Closer to Me, Fly Me to the Moon, If I Were a Rich Man, Sweet and Gentle, I Searched the World, Quiet Nights, Playtime in Brazil, Sway, The Girl from Ipanema, You too You too, The Fugitive, How Near is Love, Be Mine Tonight. SING AND DANCE: Amor amor, Perhaps perhaps perhaps, Granada, Frenesi, Green Eyes, Besame Mucho, Adios, Brazil, Tico-tico, Always in my Heart, Maria Elena, Perfidia, Magic is the Moonlight, Baia, You Belong to my Heart, Come to the Mardi Gras.Vocalion CDLK4140, 73:32 mins.
STANLEY BLACK Piano GERSHWIN GOES LATIN: S’Wonderful, Love is Here to Stay, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, Nice Work if you Can Get It, Embraceable You, Soon, Bidin’ my Time, A Foggy Day, Love Walked In, Somebody Loves Me, But Not for Me, Liza. FRIML & ROMBERG in CUBAN MOONLIGHT: Serenade from ‘Student Prince’, Romance, Wanting You, One Kiss, Lover Come Back to Me, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Sympathy, Love Everlasting, Indian Love Call, Rose Marie, Giannina Mia, Donkey Serenade. Vocalion CDLK4142, 62:02 mins.
DICKIE VALENTINE WITH VOCAL REFRAIN: One Two Button Your Shoe, Bidin’ my Time, Sunday, There’ll Be Some Changes Made, Singin’ the Blues, Mary, Lucky Day, Carolina in the Morning, If I Knew I’d Find You, Back in your own Backyard, Everybody Loves my Baby, When it’s Sleepy Time Down South. OVER MY SHOULDER: Birth of the Blues, East of the Sun, Blue, I Kiss to Build a Dream On, Beautiful Eyes, Somebody Loves Me, Then I Love You, Gonna Get a Girl, Why Should I Go Home, Te Amo, When I Was Young, Day Dreams. Vocalion CDLK4147, 76:44 mins.
FIVE FABULOUS FEMALES Marion Ryan: Mangos, Sixteen Reasons, A Thousand Blue Bubbles, It’s You That I Love, I Wish You Love, Somebody, No Love But Your Love, An Occasional Man. Jean Campbell: Vaya Con Dios, In the Mission of St. Augustine, Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, Two Hearts Two Kisses, The Mama Doll Song. Ruby Murray: Softly Softly, Heart, From the First Hello, I’ll Remember Today. Joan Regan: A Love Like Ours, Have You Ever Been Lonely, May You Always, Take Me in Your Arms. Lita Roza: What Am I Supposed to Do, Where Do I Go From Here, Stranger Things Have Happened, Keep Watch Over Him. Vocalion CDLK4148, 62:48 mins.
THE EILEEN FARRELL ALBUM: ‘I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES’. Blues In The Night; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Taking A Chance On Love, plus 20 other songs. (USA) Sony Masterworks MDK 47255.75:53. No other testament to a singer could be made than this startling collection of songs recorded by the late Eileen Farrell between 1959 and 1961. I say startling because Farrell was customarily thought of as strictly a classical artist. Beneath this, Farrell was one of the greatest of classic pop singers, ranking with Frank Sinatra and company. Evidence of this are her appropriately torchy renditions of "Blues In The Night" and "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues. " There's also the uninhibited swinging hipster in "Somebody Loves Me" and "Taking A Chance On Love" complete with snapping fingers! Luther Henderson wrote the very tasty big band charts that provide strong accompaniments to Farrell's vocals. A magnificent tribute this underrated and under recorded singer. Richard Jessen
VIKKI CARR: ‘IT MUST BE HIM / FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE’ plus 2 Bonus Tracks. It Must Be Him; Can't Take My Eyes Off You plus 9 more songs and the complete November 1968 Persian Room concert. (USA) Collectables COL-CD-2850. 79:00. Collectables have released on CD two long overdue recordings from one of America's best artists, Vikki Carr. The first is her breakthrough album that received international acclaim while the second is Carr's superb yet long neglected concert album. What makes this a really attractive CD is that we get to hear studio versions of "It Must Be Him" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" with a chance at hearing "live" versions of the same songs. Unquestionably, there is more depth and drama in the live performances although both performances show the same profound regard for the lyrics. The Persian Room performance has the drive and intensity one expects from Carr's best performances. Although these are the original studio mixes, the sound is as flawless as the performances. Still radiantly beautiful and in great voice, Vikki Carr remains one of America's finest artists. Richard Jessen
Some recent releases in Vocalion’s acclaimed British Dance Band series:
CARROLL GIBBONS Volume 2 Hitting a New High Wake Up and Live, Swing High Swing Low, Give Me a Heart to Sing To, The Cat and the Fiddle, What More Can I Ask? etc… (24 tracks) Vocalion CDEA6073, 71:36 mins.
BILLY MERRIN AND HIS COMMANDERS From the Banjo to the Baton Everybody Dance, Everything’s In Rhythm With my Heart, The Londonola, The Little Black Cat, Dance Your Blues Away, etc… (27 tracks) Vocalion CDEA6074, 75:41 mins.
THE SKYROCKETS with PAUL FENOULHET and WOOLF PHILLIPS Sentimental Journey Blue Skies, So Would I, The ‘Ampstead Way, Money is the Root of All Evil, Mary Lou, One More Tomorrow, Don’t Blame Me, Night Breezes, All By Myself, The Trees in Grosvenor Square, Bayswater Bustle, etc… (24 tracks) Vocalion CDEA6075, 73:52 mins.
JACK WHITE AND HIS COLLEGIANS Let the Band Play Boom, The Badge From Your Coat, Stop You’re Breaking My Heart, Chatterbox, In My Little Red Book, Let The People Sing, etc… (25 tracks)Vocalion CDEA6076, 74:11 mins.
MRS JACK HYLTON AND HER BAND She Shall Have Music In a Gypsy Tea Room, I’ll Never Say "Never Again" Again, Vladivostock, Ev’ry Day You’re Away, You Are My Lucky Star, There’s No Day Like Today, etc… (27 tracks) Vocalion CDEA7077, 77:15 mins.
Like all the previous issues in this series, each of the above Vocalion CDs is a gem in its own right. As usual, compiler Bob Francis has been careful to include the well-known works by the band featured, but he has also included some rare items which will please collectors who may have previous releases in their collections already. The big bonus, of course, is the high quality of the remastering in the expert hands of Mike Dutton. And one must not overlook the informative CD booklets, attractively produced and written by people who admire and know the work of the artists concerned. All this, for around £6 per CD! David Ades
HILDEGARDE Volume 2 Songs From The Shows Pennies From Heaven, But Where Are You, For Sentimental Reasons, June Is Bustin’ Out All Over, Careless Rhapsody, The Saga of Jenny, This is New, My Ship, etc… (24 tracks) Vocalion CDEA6078, 71:36 mins. Following Volume 1 (CDEA6035) the emphasis now shifts to Hildegarde’s later career, mainly in the USA, where she worked with the likes of Guy Lombardo, Harry Sosnik, Bob Grant, Vernon Duke and Ray Sinatra. There is just one track with Clive Richardson, reminding us of her fruitful association with him. Before LPs arrived, albums of 78 rpm records gained popularity in the USA, often accompanied by sleeve notes. These are reproduced in the CD booklet, and to say that they are fascinating is a serious understatement.David Ades
THE BEST OF CILLA BLACK Alfie, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Step Inside Love, etc… EMI GOLD 541 4442. We mention this CD because the kind people at EMI sent us details, and there may be readers who are seeking a Christmas gift for an elderly uncle. Cilla is the butt of many jokes, but she is certainly a survivor, and one cannot deny that she was very successful with her chart hits in the 1960s. The CD booklet is better than usual from EMI, although it would have been nice if the orchestras had been credited. David Ades
DIANA DECKER I’m In Favour of Friendship, Poppa Piccolino, etc… EMI GOLD 541 4912. This release contains all of Diana Decker’s recordings and (as with CB above) the booklet is good – except for a lack of details regarding the orchestras and the other singers she performs with on some of the tracks. Diana Decker was fairly well-known in the 1950s (she also made films with the likes of James Mason and Shelley Winters), but the EMI publicity for this new release describing her as a ‘massive star’ is somewhat over the top! David Ades
Three great new Production Music CDs from Bruton
CLASSIC FILM & TV Volume 1: Spy & Sci-Fi Locomotion Groove, Seek It Out, Drugsville, Streets of New York, Drama in Jazz, The Red Room, Hush Hush, Rumble, The Escape, City of Evil, Secret Shadow (John Scott); The Scene (Don Phillips); Mood Moderne, Pseudo-Blue, Dramatic Intent, Weird Bridge (Roger Roger); Hip to the Beat, Persuasion, Underworld Groove (Johnny Hawksworth); Murder Most Foul (Anthony Mawer); Premonition of Disaster, The Get Away, Flight to the Rock Point, Mood for Crime (Arthur Wilkinson); Unawares (Stuart Crombie); Project X (King Palmer); Phantasm (Leslie Bridgewater); Radiation Belt, Orchestrated Devices (Raymond Jones); Space-Time Music (Wilfred Josephs); Blades, Strange Particles (Roberto Gerhard); Electro Twist (J. Mathews). Bruton BRO18/353.
CLASSIC FILM & TV Volume 2: Matinee Mania Sport Today (Felton Rapley); Sporting Type, Gymnastics March (Dennis Berry); Jubilee Sports (Stuart Crombie & Dennis Berry); Brave Heritage (Raymond Beaver); Banners Victorious, Marble Arch, Fanfare for the Empire, Goose Step, Hero of the Sky, Murder in Mind, Wild Eyes, From the Dead (Ronald Hanmer); Texas and Beyond (Johnny Scott); Lion King, African Adventure (Peter Hope); Covered Wagon Song, Serene Melody (Nino Nardini); The Soothing Touch, Behold the Dawn (King Palmer); Synopsis (Frank Harlow); Thoughts of Summer, High Hazard, Cellar Search (Philippe Pares); Pink Lilac (Conrad Leonard); Hillside Church, Abject Terror (Paul Lewis); Forgotten Love (Werner Drexler); Romantic Endeavour (Michael Kraus); Brassy & Bold (Chris Leonard); Crowned Heads (Sidney John Kay); Land of the Bard, The Jitters, Someone Coming, Primitive Force (Raymond Jones); Distress Signal (Patrick Beaver & Anthony King); Drummers and Fifers (Roger Roger); Achievements in Aviation (Anthony Mawer); Air Power (Sidney Sager); Nautical Fantasy (William L./ Trytel). Bruton BRO19/354.
CLASSIC FILM & TV Volume 3: Radio Times Smile for Me, Social Event, Club Rendezvous, Hard Swing Out, Move to the Bossa Nova (Johnny Scott);Silver Sparkle (Harry Rabinowitz); Bright Spark, Boy Scout (Harold Smart); Fast Lane, Cruising Speed (Gary Hughes); Liven Up (Michael Kraus); Satin Slipper (Raymond Beaver); Floor Show (Cyril Watters); Racing Page (Fernand Fontaine); What a Dame, Construction Tower (Bruce Campbell); Bright Lights, Honey Blonde, Show Opener (Stuart Crombie & Dennis Berry); Timekeeper (Larry Ashmore); Flitter Flatter, In a Busy Mood, Pull Up Your Socks (King Palmer); This Year’s Fashions (Vincent Holland); Pleasant Route (Anthony Mawer); Cinnamon Stick (Frank Sterling); Jaunty Jane (Malcolm Lockyer); The Merry Go Round (Harold Smart & Walter Owen); Hollywood Breeze, Mambo Magnifico (Roger Roger). Bruton BRO20/355.
As far as I can recall, it was around ten years ago that Zomba acquired the Southern Library of Recorded Music, but they do not seem to have exploited it to any great extent – until now. I do not have a complete listing of Southern titles, but from the limited information available to me it appears that many (if not all) of the tracks on these three CDs come from that library. All of the tracks were originally published in the 1960s, at a time when light orchestral mood music was still being written in a style that had become popular in the previous two decades. Of course, things were gradually changing, and more rhythmic sounds were creeping in (especially on Volume 1!), but these enjoyable compilations confirm that a lot of tuneful light music was still around. The details above give the full tracklistings, and even a casual glance at the composers will confirm the quality of the writing (and full marks to Zomba/Bruton for giving the first names of the composers in full – Southern often just provided initials on the original 78s). I think that one or two titles may have been altered, and in some cases the real name of the composer is given, rather than the pseudonym which appeared previously. Volume 1 is perhaps only for enthusiasts of more funky, way-out, jazzy sounds; if you have enjoyed the ‘Kitsch’ collections from some of the other production music companies, you may possibly also want to add this to your collection. Volumes 2 and 3 are far more melodious, and have wider appeal. All three CDs contain some real gems, but if your pocket can only afford one then I recommend Volume 3 for some very happy bright and light sounds. David Ades Bruton CDs are only available from the RFS Record Service – price £9 [US $18] each.
SOHO HIPSTERS Boosey & Hawkes ‘lounge funk’ 1969-1977 The Trackers, The Rally, The Sandpiper, Gin and Tonic, Snowmobile, Acapulco Connection, South Bound, Tournament, The Baltic Caper, Coast Road North, Border Incident, Pardon??, Taco Brazil, Lady Killers, Soul Type Blues, Motor-Cross, Shanghai Caper, The Armenian File, Night Driver, Savannah Flyer (Dennis Farnon); Funkbund (Trevor Duncan); The Big Score (John Cacavas); Two Bars (Pete Moore); One Way Trip (Sam Fonteyn); Big Fingers (John Scott). Boosey Media / Cavendish CAV CD 147. This really is Dennis Farnon’s CD, with a little help from other top writers in the B&H stable at the time. Relentless, ominous, dramatic, bright funky pop, soul rock, progressive jazz … all these ‘groovy’ sounds are here – and much more! Dennis is a master at dramatic, driving jazzy numbers, and if you admire his work in this style you shouldn’t hesitate to acquire this collection. David Ades Cavendish CDs are only available from the RFS Record Service – price £9 [US $18] each.
LONDON LANDMARKS: London Fields: 1. Springtime at Kew 2. Hampton Court Maze 3. St. James’ Park 4. Hampstead Heath (Phyllis Tate); London Landmarks: 1. Nelson’s Column 2.Tower Hill 3.Horse Guards Whitehall (Haydn Wood); London Salute (Philip Lane); Metropolis: 1. Boom & Bust 2.Solar City 3.Street Scene 4.The City Never Sleeps (David Watts); Rotten Row (Angela Morley); Festival of London March (Paul Lewis); On Hungerford Bridge - Saxophone Concerto (Christopher Gunning).Royal Ballet Sinfonia & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields – conductors Gavin Sutherland, Christopher Gunning and Paul Lewis ASV CDWHL2138, playing time 77 mins. At last! Forgive my jubilation but after years of campaigning I have finally acquired a CD which includes Phyllis Tate’s magnificent London Fields, a piece which I played many times to children at school who were all as enthusiastic as I was. Composed for the 1958 BBC Festival of Light Music it was much admired by people such as Steve Race but until now has never been commercially recorded. What a pity that neither Phyllis nor her musician husband Alan Frank lived long enough to see it. Composer Philip Lane is responsible for this majestic compilation which, apart from his own London Salute, includes the first recording of Haydn Wood’s London Landmarks since the days of Charles Williams’ 78rpms after the war. We all know Horse Guards Whitehall but here is an opportunity to complete the truly delightful set! Paul Lewis and David Watts chip in with splendid miniatures, as does Angela Morley (aka Wally Stott) with her familiar Rotten Row. The tour de force is Christopher Gunning’sSaxophone Concerto inspired by an evening stroll across Hungerford Bridge, the original footbridge not the wobbly one which came later! It’s a great CD and an absolute must for all lovers of British Light Music, if not for London Fields alone which, as a four movement suite, has rarely if ever been bettered. Edmund Whitehouse
One’s unbridled joy in having a modern recording of the entire London Landmarks Suite by Haydn Wood is in the event slightly tempered by some technical considerations. Listening to this disc on headphones one is struck by disconcerting variations in recording levels. Thus for Philip Lane’sLondon Salute to make its proper impact the volume has to be increased. So, too, in the Haydn Wood work where particularly in the first movement, The Horse Guards, Whitehall, one becomes aware that the violins in particular sound over bright and rather too few in number. As a recording this does not stand comparison with Ronald Corp’s version on HYPERION CDA 66968: ‘British Light Music Classics - 2’, where the sound has a far greater depth and range. Conversely, the Christopher GunningSaxophone Concerto, recorded at a different venue, has ample volume. Unfortunately, in no way should this really come under the category of Light Music and, at over 19 minutes, is overlong for its somewhat slender material, and many listeners will become bored with this piece long before the end. A warm welcome, however, for David Watts’ highly inventive Metropolis, Angela Morley’s enchanting Rotten Row, Phyllis Tate’s atmospheric London Fields Suite, and the Paul Lewis March. This disc, despite the above reservations, deserves a strong recommendation. One hopes, however, that ASV can be encouraged to produce new recordings of traditional Light Music with a decent sized string section - a Charles Williams disc would be an excellent starting point and is long overdue - and become a little less preoccupied with producing contemporary material some of which stretches an acceptable definition of Light Music to almost breaking point. Roger Hyslop
Available from the RFS Record Service for £10 [US $20].
ALFRED REYNOLDS Festival March; Suite – Alice Through The Looking Glass; Suite – The Toy Cart; Overture – The Taming of the Shrew; Suite and Ballet of the Roses from 1066 And All That; Suite of Five Dances The Duenna (arr. Sydney Baynes); Overture for a Comedy; The Sirens of Southend; Swiss Lullaby and Ballet; Suite – Marriage à la Mode; Three Pieces for Theatre Royal Ballet Sinfonia / Gavin Sutherland Marco Polo 8225184, 77:26 mins. Alfred Reynolds (1884-1969), conductor and composer, was a man of the theatre and this CD in Marco Polo’s admirable British light Music series gives a representation of his orchestral music for the stage, not in the original versions for often very small pit orchestras but in (with one exception) his own transcriptions for full orchestra. He was indeed a superb orchestrator as these pieces strikingly show. Most of the tracks are incidental theatre music, from The Toy Cart (1918, with a melting Romanza) to Alice (1947, for Stratford), and including much written for the Lyric, Hammersmith between 1923 and 1932 – three brisk overtures in the British comedy overture tradition and fine examples thereof, and other movements showing Reynolds’ gift for composing baroque pastiche (The Critic entr’acte, the Marriage à la Mode music and the dances from The Duenna, one of many 18th Century operas given new life by Reynolds). And there are the selection from 1066, a revue-cum-musical comedy and probably his most popular piece, and the surpassingly beautiful movements from Swiss Family Robinson. Lovely music – not quite as individual as Eric Coates or Robert Farnon, but well worth anyone’s attention – and the performances and recording are excellent advocacy for it. Philip L. Scowcroft
Editor: Philip has penned the excellent booklet notes for this new CD, which is available from the RFS Record Service for £12 [US$24].
LEROY ANDERSON and his ‘Pops’ Concert Orchestra Sleigh Ride, The Syncopated Clock, Serenata, A Tumpeter’s Lullaby, Promenade, Saraband, Jazz Pizzicato – Jazz Legato, The Waltzing Cat, Plink Plank Plunk, Belle of the Ball, Blue Tango, Horse and Buggy, The Phantom Regiment, China Doll, The Penny Whistle Song, Fiddle-Faddle Jasmine JASMCD 2580. In 1992 MCA Records/Good Music in the USA released ‘The Original Hit Recordings …’ on MSD 35334 (20 tracks), and some collectors have preferred these to the later stereo re-recordings by the maestro, which were released on the 2-CD set ‘The Leroy Anderson Collection’ – MCAD2-9815. This recent collection from the British company Jasmine once again restores the first versions to the catalogue, so anyone wanting Leroy Anderson’s own original mono performances now has the opportunity to acquire them. Selected comparisons between the MCA/Good Music CD from 1992, and the new Jasmine release indicate that they are virtually identical. Sadly neither CD gives any recording dates, but at least Jasmine does say a little about Anderson, whereas the centre pages of the MCA leaflet were literally blank. This is a welcome reissue; these recordings should always be available, so if they are missing from your own collection you now have the remedy in your own hands. David Ades This CD is available from the RFS Record Service for £8 [US $16].
EXHILARATION: Light Music with a Lilt London Calling (Coates) London Symphony Orch. / Eric Coates; Cockney Capers (Crantock- pseudonym for Clive Richardson and Tony Lowry) Harry Davidson & his Orchestra; Down The Mall (Belton – pseudonym for Tony Lowry and Douglas Brownsmith) Charles Shadwell & his Orchestra; Wellington Barracks (Haydn Wood) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/ Sidney Torch; Fireside Fusiliers (Mayerl) Billy Mayerl & his Forte Fingers; Pedigree On Pomander Walk (Andre) Billy Mayerl & his Grosvenor House Band; Popular Song (From "Facade": Walton) London Philharmonic Orch./ William Walton; Daddy Long Legs (Wright) The Bohemians;Scrub Brother Scrub (Warner) Albert Sandler & his Palm Court Orchestra; Fingerbustin’ (Camarata)Kingsway Symphony Orchestra/ Camarata; Twinkle Toes (Raeburn) Wynford Reynolds & his Orchestra; Fairies In The Moon (Ewing) Wynford Reynolds & his Orchestra; The Dancing ClockOrchestre Raymonde; Montmartre (Haydn Wood) Debroy Somers Band; Folie Bergere Richard Crean & his Orchestra; A Cocktail of Happiness Wynford Reynolds & his Orchestra; Exhilaration (Charles Williams) Charles Williams & his Concert Orchestra; Comedians Galop (Kabalevsky) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/ Robert Farnon; Snowflakes Piano Duet by Rawicz & Landauer; Spinning Wheel (Rawicz) Sidney Torch & his Orchestra; Dance Of the Blue Marionettes (Leslie Clair) Organ solo by Sidney Torch; Parade of the Tin Soldiers New Light Symphony Orchestra; The Toy Trumpet Reginald Pursglove and his Orchestra; Pan-American Panorama (Philip Green) The Columbia Orchestra;American Hoe-Down (David Rose) David Rose & his Orchestra; Chicken Reel Boston Promenade Orchestra/ Arthur Fiedler. Memoir CDMOIR 554. Following the success of ‘Fiddle Faddle’ and ‘Red Sombrero’, Memoir Records have come up with a third selection of tuneful gems. I know that many light music enthusiasts are put off purchasing some albums because of the repetition of recordings already in their collections. However, they should not hesitate in this instance as many of the recordings are appearing on CD for the first time – several being from the Decca ‘Music While You Work’ series. Amongst the contributors are the orchestras of Harry Davidson, Debroy Somers, Charles Shadwell, Albert Sandler, Charles Williams, Richard Crean, David Rose, and Reginald Pursglove [who Light Programme listeners will recall as conductor of the Albany Strings]. We are also treated to the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon and Sidney Torch – the latter is also featured as cinema organist in The Dance of the Blue Marionettes. Of particular delight to me is the inclusion of the Orchestra of Wynford Reynolds [no relation] in three delightful numbers, two of which are from the pen of Reynolds himself; the third is an enchanting entr’acte entitled Fairies in the Moon – it’s worth buying the CD for this piece alone! It is one of two compositions on this album composed by the much neglected Montague Ewing – an album of his music is long overdue! We are also treated to the keyboard talents of Billy Mayerl and Rawicz and Landauer. This CD has been compiled by Jim Palm, who has also written the concise but informative notes. Ted Kendall who, unless my ears deceive me, does not appear to have changed the original acoustics by adding reverberation - a fact that will please the purists - has remastered the recordings. My only criticism is in the reproduction of the piano features Fireside Fusiliers and Snowflakes. Both would benefit from a little more volume and, in the case of the Billy Mayerl number [a particular favourite of mine], a crisper sound would have been preferable. Overall, I consider this to be one of the best light music compilations of recent years. It is bright, breezy and totally unpretentious – the perfect antidote to the 21st century!
Available from the RFS Record Service for £10 [US $20].
THE SYMPHONIC ERIC COATES Cinderella, The Selfish Giant, The Three Bears, Miniature Suite, London Everyday, Joyous Youth, The Dam Busters BBC Philharmonic Conducted by Rumon Gamba Chandos CHAN9869, 79:27 mins. It is wonderful to find that the music of the great Eric Coates is still considered sufficiently important to warrant expensive new recordings such as this. However much as we value the composer’s own interpretations (and thankfully we have been well served with reissues in recent years), it is always good that such works should continue to be in the current repertoire of leading orchestras, and attracting the attention of conductors of the calibre of Rumon Gamba. Readers will be familiar with most, if not all, of these Coates classics. Whether or not you decide to add this to your collection may depend upon the state of your finances, or your wish to preserve the memory of much loved performances from the last century. Whenever a new recording is made of any piece of music, somehow something different emerges. Tempi obviously vary even slightly, and the sound engineer’s balance of the orchestra may reveal a previously unheard instrument in a particular passage. Personally I feel that anyone who admires Coates should want to grab this CD with both hands, if nothing else to ensure that record companies still feel encouraged to commission new performances from today’s talented musicians. David Ades Chandos CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £12.50 [US $25] each.
A POPS CONCERT Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra NAXOS NOSTALGIA 8.120520 My Melancholy Baby; Washboard Blues; Sweet Sue; Among My Souvenirs; The Man I Love; High Water; La Golondrina; My Heart Stood Still; Together; Moonlight and Roses; La Paloma; Song of the Swamp; Southern Medley (My Old Kentucky Home, Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, Old Folks At Home); Jeannine. These recordings all date from 1927-29 when Whiteman was arguably in his heyday and include vocals by Hoagy Carmichael, Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Jack Fulton. Originally 12" 78rpm records with a running time of 4 minutes each, they neatly bridge the gap between classical, jazz and popular music. For those who enjoy Whiteman’s style then this budget Naxos release will be most welcome while anyone who enjoys a jolly good foot-tapping tune will also be pleased to have it in their collection. Well done Naxos, more please.
Edmund Whitehouse Naxos CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £5 [US $10].
THE PERCY FAITH ORCHESTRA conducted by NICK PERITO Theme from ‘A Summer Place’; Love theme from ‘Romeo and Juliet’; Lara’s Theme from ‘Dr Zhivago’; A Man and a Woman; The Sound of Music; Love theme from ‘The Godfather’; Born Free; Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head; The Way we Were; Mon Oncle; Elvira Madigan theme; The song from ‘Moulin Rouge’; Hello Dolly; Moon River; Summer of ’42; Tara’s theme from ‘Gone With the Wind’; Never on Sunday; The Windmills of your Mind. Castle Pulse PLSCD 583. Although the CD booklet doesn’t make it clear (there are no notes), this is a reissue of the 1990s Percy Faith recreations by Nick Perito. Keen fans will probably already have them, but if you missed the original releases (which were quite expensive) here’s your opportunity to acquire 18 tracks at a bargain price. David Ades Available from the RFS Record Service for £6 [US $12].
THE RED SHOES – Music from the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger Vaughan Williams – Prelude and Epilogue from 49th Parallel; Allan Gray – A Matter of Life and Death, The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale; Brian Easdale – Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, Gone to Earth, The Small Back Room; Jacques Offenbach – Tales of Hoffman. Various orchestras, etc. CD41 Publishing, CD41-002. 74:00 mins. The era 1941-51 is well within the great period (c. 1935-1960) of British films and film music, so this release, which draws on film soundtracks (including some wholly or mainly spoken excerpts) and commercial recordings from the 1940s, is of particular interest. 49th Parallel was Vaughan Williams’ first film commission and these expansive extracts will surely please. Allan Gray, Polish-born, was well respected for his film music and his work for the recorded music libraries – his music for these three films (the Prelude to A Matter of Life and Death is played here by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra under Charles Williams) make pleasing listening. More distinguished are the Brian Easdale items, especially The Red Shoes music which, though recorded by Columbia at the time (and still sounds well here) has surprisingly never quite caught on. Posterity has largely forgotten Easdale (he died as recently as 1995), which is a pity. The recordings naturally show their age but the transfers have been well done and the booklet contains much fascinating information. Recommended. Philip L. Scowcroft This CD can be obtained for £10.00 from J. Nice, 1 Spinney Close, Beetley, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 4TB, England (telephone/fax 01362 861009. More information from website: www.ltmpub.freeserve.co.uk The EMI collection of British Film Music of the 1940s and 1950s was deleted several years ago, but copies are still available from the RFS Record Service for £12 [US$24].
JELLY ROLL MORTON Piano Rolls Stratford Hunch, Big Foot Ham, New Orleans Joys, Perfect Rag, Tom Cat Blues, State and Madison, Kansas City Stomp, etc… 22 tracks. Shellwood SWCD22, 72:11 minutes. The first 17 tracks are new roll re-creations from original 78rpm records, cut by Mike Meddings. Shellwood obtained a 1912 Aeolian 88 note Pianola push-up, which has been restored to near perfection. After pushing it up to a good grand piano they found an expert pianolist, Julian Dyer, to play the rolls. They succeeded in eliminating all extraneous mechanical noise, and two of the tracks are premiere CD recordings. All in all this is an enterprising release which should fascinate anyone interested in this kind of music. David Ades Shellwood CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £10 [US $20] each.
BRIGHOUSE AND RASTRICK BAND Popular Classics Dance of the Tumblers, Elvira Madigan Theme, The Padstow Lifeboat, Capriccio Espagnol, Pie Jesu, Sutherland’s Law Theme, Ravel’s Bolero, etc… Grasmere GRCD115. The Brighouse and Rastrick are one of Britain’s top brass bands, with a reputation that extends far beyond this island. If I am honest, I have to say that the light classics chosen for this CD do not particularly appeal to me, but one has to admire the musicianship of all the players. I am sure that there are many brass band admirers who will not hesitate to add this new release to their CD collection. David Ades
GEORGE GERSHWIN Gershwin in Hollywood, An American in Paris, Cuban Overture, Porgy and BessNew Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd Naxos 8559107, 65:09 mins. This new CD falls into the category: "if you want this music, it is probably already in your collection". In other words, at its budget price it has to be accepted as an introduction to Gershwin for the uninitiated. The masterpieces are, of course, An American in Paris and Porgy and Bess. To my mind, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture only briefly comes alive, and it is not surprising that it is one of his lesser-known works. The opening track Gershwin in Hollywood could be so much better: unfortunately Robert Russell Bennett’s arrangements are disappointing and only occasionally reveal any imagination or sparkle. The orchestra sound bored with it all, and I must confess that I was, too. But, I say again, at a budget price of around £5, it is a great chance to get acquainted with the orchestral Gershwin. David Ades
BRITISH SYMPHONIC COLLECTION Vol. 10 Symphony No. 2 by York Bowen (1884-1961);Symphonic Rhapsody "Spring" by Frederic Austin (1872-1952); Symphonic Movement "Genesis" by Edgar Bainton (1880-1956). (Denmark) CLASSCD 404. Can you remember when serious music was tuneful and enjoyable and when the listener did not need a crystal ball or an IQ of 250 to understand what was going on? Well here it is again! The work by York Bowen is a world premiere recording and all the better for that, while Austin and Bainton are rarely heard today, thanks to the self-opinionated gurus who belittle anything which is not discordant. Well worth a listen if you enjoy serious tuneful music and what’s more they’re all British! Edmund Whitehouse Classico CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £12.00 [US $24] each.
BRITISH SYMPHONIC COLLECTION Vol. 11 A Celebration of Malcolm Arnold’s 80th Birthday.Rinaldo & Armida (ballet suite); Little Suite No. 2; Homage to the Queen (ballet suite); Concerto for Organ & Orchestra. Royal Academy of Aarhus Symphony Orchestra conducted by Douglas Bostock(Denmark) CLASSCD 424. This unusual disc comprises 21 miniatures none of which lasts more than five minutes with several less than two! Apart from the Little Suite they are all world premieres but unmistakably Malcolm Arnold whose lush brass sounds remind us of his many dramatic film scores. Isn’t it amazing how much good music there is out there just waiting to be recorded. Well done Classico for taking the risk. More please! Edmund Whitehouse
ERIC PARKIN (piano) : Reginald King – piano pieces Song of Paradise; Humoresque; Sentimental Interlude; Pierrette on the Balcony; Beside the Lake; Polka Piquant; In Bluebell Land; Prelude in D; Tropical Moonlight; Passing Clouds; One Summer Day; Windflowers; Where Water Lilies Dream; Julia; The Haunted Ballroom (Toye, arr. King); Summer Breezes; Lilacs in the Rain; Elegy; Marionette; Whispering Violin; Meditation; Money Spider; Green Valleys; Yorkshire Relish; June Night on Marlow Reach; Moonlight Reverie; Prelude in A; Three Miniatures; Cynthia; A Prayer at Eventide.Shellwood SWCD17 (2 CDs) 108 mins. What a delightful collection this is! Light music lovers struggle to find recordings of Reginald King’s compositions today, but here Shellwood treat us to no less than 34 charming works, performed with warmth and affection by Britain’s foremost pianist. In recent years Eric Parkin has become renowned for his rediscoveries of the piano works of Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and, most importantly, Billy Mayerl. Reginald King deserves to be added to this illustrious list, and lovers of the piano cannot fail to be enchanted. I suspect that some will half remember hearing many of these works, especially Summer Breezes which was featured in the BBC Television Interlude film of the white kitten; the orchestral version was not taken from one of the usual recorded music libraries, so it has remained one of those elusive pieces missing from private collections. The well illustrated CD booklet notes by John Archer confirm King’s important contribution to the British musical scene in the middle years of the last century. This is an important release in all respects, and it will give a lot of pleasure. David Ades
THE CHEESY LISTENING ALBUM Wheels (cha cha) - Joe Loss Orchestra; Guatanamera - Geoff Love Orchestra; Let's face the music and dance - Nelson Riddle Orchestra; Music to watch girls by – Joe Loss Orchestra; Mas que nada - Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains; Mexican hat dance - Geoff Love Orchestra; Tequila - Joe Loss Orchestra; Do you know the way to San Jose - Ron Goodwin Orchestra; Quando quando quando - Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains; Desafinado - Laurindo Almeida & Bossa Nova All Stars; Girl from Ipanema – Geoff Love Orchestra; This guy's in love with you - Ron Goodwin Orchestra; Unforgettable - Starlight Strings; Can't take my eyes off you - Basil Henriques & The Waikiki Islanders; One note samba (remixed) - Geoff Love Orchestra; What the world needs now is love - Ron Goodwin Orchestra; Raindrops keep falling on my head - Joe Loss Orchestra; Man and a woman - Geoff Love Orchestra; Moon river - Nelson Riddle Orchestra; Music to drive by - Joe Loss Concertium; Walk on by - Ron Goodwin Orchestra; Let's do it (let's fall in love) - Nelson Riddle Orchestra; Peanut vendor - Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains; Y viva Espana - Pepe Jaramillo; Wives and lovers - Ron Goodwin Orchestra EMI Gold 5389412. This doesn't happen very often but EMI have just released a new all popular instrumental/orchestral CD featuring great British and US artists/orchestras like Geoff Love; Nelson Riddle; Manuel & The Music of the Mountains; The Starlight Strings; Ron Goodwin etc. The CD was released in the UK in June and it contains approx 71 minutes of what EMI call "25 very ripe instrumental easy classics"! I bought mine when I was visiting Guernsey in June and saw it in a record shop in St. Peter Port. I see it can also be bought at www.hmv.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk etc. as well as the usual record stores. Chris Campbell
APOLLO SOUND: Test Card Music Volume 8 My Friends (G. Garanjan), At Sundown (Harvey Richards), Tierpark [Zoo] Promenade (Hans Bath), L’Amour Est Grand (J. Dieval), Flowers for Yvette (Harry Heinze), Santiago de Chile (Rudolf Maluck), Rockin’ Strings (William Gardner), Goodnight (arr. Sam Fonteyn), Fancy That (Gerhard Paul), Rockin’ Chair (Peter Hope), Irish Imp (William Gardner), Music in Mind (hendric Haydegg), Zambra Flamenca (John Carmichael), Moon Over Altea (L. Portner), In the Shade (Fernando Paggi), Ventuno  (Ulrich Sommerlatte), Talisman (Walter Franz), Blue Train (Roger Senicourt- actually Frank Chacksfield), Don Pedro (Horst Grosser), Machito (Heinz Hotter), Charley-O (T. Marino),Loose Cover (Sam Fonteyn), You are Mine (K. Veidt/P. Forester).Apollo Sound APSCD 228. Chris Churcher has assembled another fine collection for Apollo Sound in this impressive series, which has become a valuable source of material for the many collectors whose primary interests focus on the kind of bright and rhythmic 1960s/1970s sounds which used to be heard on television in the days before 24-hour programming, when gaps in the schedules were filled with test cards mainly for the benefit of engineers installing new sets. Once again the archives of Mozart Edition have provided all but one track, giving further evidence of that library’s strength in this kind of music. Readers will spot some familiar composers, while others will offer some pleasant surprises. I do not pretend to be an expert on test card music, but I know that some readers could probably give the days and times when these tunes were originally heard. They will need no further encouragement from me to snap up this latest compilation. David Ades This CD is available by mail order direct from Apollo Sound (see page 89); it can also be purchased from the RFS Record Service for £12.75 [US $25.50].
ALPHORN CONCERTOS Sinfonia Pastorella (Leopold Mozart), Dialogue with Nature and Concerto for Alphorn & Orchestra (Jean Daetwyler), Concertino Rustico (Ferenc Farkas). Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Urs Schneider. Naxos 8.555978. The 12 foot long alphorn may not be the most versatile of musical instruments but in expert hands it is quite capable of making pleasant and jolly sounds as witnessed by these ancient and modern musical offerings. It is certainly an unusual CD and all the more satisfactory for that. It is unlikely you will have heard any of the pieces before but each gives the lie to the myth that the alphorn has only two notes, one for calling animals and the other for contacting your goatherd girlfriend or boyfriend in the next valley! Edmund Whitehouse
CAREY BLYTON Film and Television Music Valse Musette, Girl Friday, Commuter Special, On the Go, Something in the Wind, Action for Orchestra, Blues in the Round, Neurosis, Man at Work, Noises of the Night, etc. plus television adverts for Birdseye Florida Orange juice, Mackintosh’s Quality Street, Lyons’ Harvest Pies, Nimble Bread, Elastoplast, and Lux Toilet Soap. Apollo Sound APSCD224. This is the first of four collections of the late Carey Blyton’s commercial music, which must have involved considerable research to acquire the recordings from a wide variety of different sources. Thus the first part of this CD concentrates on the composer’s commissions from several British recorded music libraries (Boosey & Hawkes, Weinberger, Synchrofox), leaving the remainder of the CD focussing on Blyton’s television commercials from 1964 to 1971. There are sometimes several different treatments of the same theme, and two of the tracks feature the finished product, complete with voice-overs. This offers a truly fascinating glimpse of the music business that will be unfamiliar to many. As a bonus, the CD booklet provides a wealth of very detailed information, even to the extent of listing full credits for the advertising agencies involved. An excellent release in all respects, and highly recommended to readers with an interest in this often hidden side of the world of production music. David Ades Apollo Sound CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £12.75 [US $25.50] each. They can also be purchased direct from Apollo Sound – see advertisement on page 89 of this issue.
GEORGE LLOYD The Serf (Orchestral Suite) and Cello Concerto (USA) Albany TROY 458 Albany Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Alan Miller. All George Lloyd fans will be delighted to learn of this posthumously issued CD, covering yet more of this fine tuneful composer’s later works. It’s very Lloydesque and yet altogether new at the same time. Who said serious music had to be dull to be enjoyed? Here is a man whose career was shattered by the war yet continued to compose melodious post-war masterpieces in the face of the avant garde lobby who refused to broadcast it. Well done George, you deservedly had the last laugh on them. Peter Worsley
PALM COURT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES JOB ‘Un Peu d’Amour’ Amparito Roca, Un Peu d’Amour, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Love’s Garden of Roses, Wedding of a Rose, Nola, Alicante, Gavotte, Ecstasy Waltz, The Sunshine of your Smile, Song of Paradise, Neapolitan Serenade, Fairytale, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Dreaming, Bird Songs at Eventide, Hiawatha, Entry of the Gladiators, Da Capo Palm Court Orchestra CD02, 63:22 mins. The music lovers of British Columbia in Canada are fortunate in having someone like Charles Job on the scene promoting quality light music through a regular series of concerts, and occasional CD releases such as this. I’m pleased to find Reginald King’s Song of Paradise, together with Leon Jessel’s Wedding of the Rose. The melody Dreaming is not the familiar Archibald Joyce piece, but a lesser-known work by Haydn Wood, who is also responsible for Love’s Garden of Roses, charmingly sung by Sally Braswell, mezzo soprano, who also performs two other numbers, The Sunshine of your Smile and Eric Coates’ Bird Songs at Eventide. Gerhard Winkler’s Neapolitan Serenade is a good choice (a perfect example of a tune you know, but have difficulty naming!). Lovers of the more traditional style of light music will thoroughly enjoy this collection, well played and conducted by musicians who have their hearts in what they are doing.David Ades This CD is available from the RFS Record Service for £11.00 [US $22].
SIR VIVIAN DUNN Conducts Sir Arthur Sullivan Yeoman of the Guard – Overture, The Tempest – Incidental Music, The Merchant of Venice – Suite, Entrance and March of the Peers – from Iolanthe, Overture in C – In Memoriam Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Orchestra andBand of HM Royal Marines School of Music Eastney RHMSEC006. Paddy Dunn remains very active in the promotion of his late father’s recordings, and it is appropriate that he should have recognised the upsurge in interest in the music of Sir Arthur Sullivan. Although his work in the world of military music is unsurpassed, Sir Vivian Dunn was a master of so many different kinds of music, and we are fortunate that there exist so many recordings of his encounters with some of the finest symphony orchestras in the land. This new CD neatly brings together several different sessions, providing a tribute to Sullivan that will find favour with his many admirers. The CD booklet is packed full of interesting facts, making this a collection that will find itself in many appreciative homes.David Ades This CD is available from Eastney Collection, 60 Mayford Road, London, SW12 8SN, England – price £10 (UK, postage paid), £11.50 (overseas, postage paid). Credit cards accepted. Please mention the RFS when ordering.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK On the Town – Opening [Lyn Murray]; Sidewalks of New York [Shannon Quartet]; Broadway Melody [Ben Selvin]; Give my Regards to Broadway [George M. Cohan]; Park Avenue Fantasy, Stairway to the Stars [Paul Whiteman]; Forty Second Street [Boswell Sisters & Dorsey Brothers Band]; Slumming on Park Avenue [Red Norvo with Mildred Mailey]; Slaughter on Tenth Avenue [Lennie Hayton & MGM Orchestra]; Skyscraper Fantasy [Mantovani]; Manhattan Tower [Gordon Jenkins] etc… 22 tracks ASV Living Era CD AJA 5441, 75:01 mins. David Lennick and Ray Crick have come up with a fascinating selection of ‘New York’ music, which should sell very well in the USA. The choice of material is wide, offering something for lovers of show and film music, plus a light orchestral ‘standard’ and a comparatively rare Gordon Jenkins masterwork. Peter Dempsey’s booklet notes are entertaining, but he has missed a trick by not mentioning that Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is a classic Conrad Salinger arrangement, much sought-after by his admirers. Currently there is great interest in this unsung hero of Hollywood musicals, and his work is destined to receive much greater acknowledgement in the future. This version of Slaughter… comes from the 1948 MGM musical ‘Words and Music’. It was briefly available on an EMI CD of tracks from the film in 1990, but since then has been hard to find. In an ideal world it would be preferable to go back to the original tapes, because both the EMI and ASV transfers show their age. A more serious ‘howler’ in the booklet notes concerns Skyscraper Fantasy. We are told that it is the work of the famous clarinettist Sid Phillips, but readers of this magazine will know that the actual composer was Donald Phillips, the brilliant backroom boy also responsible for Concerto in Jazz, who died in 1994. This Mantovani 78 ofSkyscraper Fantasy has also recently appeared on CDs from Vocalion (CDEA6019) and Naxos (8120516). Other gems include Park Avenue Fantasy (incorporating Stairway to the Stars) by Paul Whiteman, Jo Stafford’s delectable Manhattan Serenade, Frank Sinatra’s Autumn in New York and Dick Powell’s Lullaby of Broadway. And what about Gordon Jenkins’ Manhattan Tower? Quite frankly, like baseball it hasn’t travelled well eastwards across the North Atlantic. You either love it or hate it!David Ades
THE WARTIME PICNICS and A COUNTRY CALENDAR by Peter Cork. Here is something really unusual, two privately produced double-CDs by a Kentish composer who once taught music to Dudley Moore! Both are semi-autobiographical because they recreate the war years and a time when our landscape was more gentle and perhaps more musical than it is today. The Wartime Picnics (90 minutes) is a musical relating a family love story in a poignant world, evolving around three picnics on the Kentish Downs during and after the Second World War. A young girl falls for a serving airman and their relationship gradually unfolds against the dark clouds of conflict. A Country Calendar (140 minutes) describes the British life and landscape in words and music from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, long before motorways shortened journey times and made virtually everywhere accessible to everyone. The narrators are Rosemary Leach, Tim Pigott-Smith and Dennis Quilley, and the aptly-named producer is Piers Plowright, a well-known BBC personality and friend of the composer. Scenes range from the Cumbrian Lakes to the coastal paths of Cornwall and events from August Bank Holiday to the Battle of Britain and a frosty Christmas Eve. Each month and season is covered by separate tracks with the background music played by a pleasant light orchestra. Such ventures are to be encouraged and applauded in this day and age and at £13.99 for each double-CD they will not break the piggy bank. Available post free from Re-Collections, JEM House, Littlemead, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8NH, ENGLAND. Tel. 0870-727-4104, Fax 01483-268889. Edmund Whitehouse
RON GOODWIN AND HIS ORCHESTRA ‘Music for an Arabian Night’ and ‘Holiday in Beirut’EMI 7243 5397892. These two fine albums caused quite a stir when they were released on Parlophone LPs back in the 1960s. Since then they have reappeared on CDs available mainly in the Middle East, but it is good to have them available again as a ‘2 on 1’ with general distribution. Ralph Harvey has contributed the booklet notes, and the original album covers are also reproduced. Don’t hesitate; if these vintage Ron Goodwin LPs are not already in your collection, you can correct that omission right away! David Ades
ALBERT SAMMONS – Delius Violin Concerto [w. Liverpool P.O., cond. Dr Malcolm Sargent – rec. 1944]/ Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor [w. New Queen’s Hall Orch., cond. Sir Henry Wood – rec. 1929] Dutton super budget CDBP9735, 66:30 mins. Two classic recordings from the Shellac Era, which deserve a place in every serious collection of British Music. Arguably the greatest of all English violinists, Albert Sammons [1886-1957] was also a highly respected teacher [his pupils included the youthful George Lloyd] remembered as a man of great kindness and integrity who referred not to use the fiddle as a mere box of tricks. Sadly, the onset of Parkinson’s disease in the mid-1940s enforced his early retirement from playing. Delius had dedicated his 1916 Concerto to Sammons, who also made the Elgar work [written for Fritz Kreisler] very much his own. Neither work is Light Music, of course, but so many readers have expressed admiration for these wonderful and highly original composers, that I make no apology for submitting this review. In any case, the Delius is a virtually uninterrupted stream of beautiful melody, while the Elgar is so full of marvellous themes and striking ideas – the "guitar effect" in the last movement cadenza is just one – that listeners will always be finding something new. Michael Dutton’s state-of-the-art transfers ensure these magnificent performances have never sounded better. For listeners whose appetites for more Sammons have been whetted, Michael Dutton has also produced an historic CD [Dutton Epoch CDLX7103] of chamber music by John Ireland, on which violinist and composer perform the Second Violin Sonata; and there is also an Hyperion issue [CDA67096: ‘The English Kreisler’] on which Paul Barritt and Catherine Edwards present 20 of Sammons own Salon Pieces in excellent style. John E. Govier
TED HEATH AND HIS MUSIC ‘Nice One Ted!’ Hindustan, Swannee River, Song of the Vagabonds, Two Guitars, Lyonia, Roumanian Roundabout, The Nearness of You, Colonel Bogey, Button Up Your Overcoat, Rag Mop, Blue Skies March, London Fog, Euphoria, Lady Byrd, Sidewalks of Cuba, Sophisticated Lady, Tequila, Move, Father Knickerbopper, Saxophone Mambo, You’re Nearer, Trumpet Voluntary, El Abanico, Post Horn Boogie, My Silent Love Memoir CDMOIR565, 68:40 mins. Ted Heath fans have been well served by various record companies in recent years, and it seems that the flow of new releases is accelerating. At the same time it is difficult for new compilations such as this to avoid duplications, and collectors will have to decide for themselves whether or not there are enough new delights on this CD to persuade them to part with their precious pounds. Personally I cannot imagine any true fans hesitating for long, because Memoir have come up with such a splendid production, thanks to the excellent sound restoration by Ted Kendall, and the superb booklet notes by Campbell Burnap. The gifted arrangers make one’s mouth water: Reg Owen, Eric Jupp, Reg Briggs, Norman Stenfalt, George Shearing, Bruce Campbell, John Dankworth, Phil Bates and Wally Stott (Roumanian Roundabout). Personnel, recording dates, matrix numbers, studios … all the information you could ever want is here. To paraphrase the CD’s title: "Nice One, Memoir!" David Ades
NAT KING COLE ‘Here’s To My Lady’ A Portrait of Jennie, That’s My Girl, Because of Rain, Nature Boy, Baby Won’t You Say You Love me, Here’s To My Lady, Song of Delilah, The Magic Tree, I’ll Never Say ‘Never Again’ Again, Unforgettable, Little Girl, Red Sails In The Sunset, Too Young, Put ‘Em in a Box, Lillette, I’m Hurtin’, A Little Bit Independent, Wine Women & Song, Mona Lisa, Lush Life, Lost April, Always You, My First and Last Love, Home Memoir CDMOIR566, 71:55 mins. I suppose that many of the comments I have made about the Ted Heath CD (above) equally apply to this new Nat King Cole release. Again, keen collectors may well already possess the majority of the tracks, but the fine remastering (by our friend Ted Kendall, of course), and the comprehensive notes (this time by Nigel Hunter) elevate this above the offerings from the major companies. It seems incredible, but true: often the major record companies who originally released recordings such as this seem to take little trouble to make their occasional reissues attractive, when it comes to information in their booklets. Thank goodness for the fact that in Britain we still have a thriving independent record sector, where true enthusiasts are able to impart their knowledge to fellow collectors. At least generations to come will be able to read something about the artists, the music and the recording history – and why their contributions to the art of recorded music are so important.David Ades Memoir CDs are available from the RFS Record Service for £10 [$20] each.
TONY WHITTAKER ‘Keyboard Magic’ In Love For The Very First time, Call Me, Laura, Music of the Night, So Nice, Sands of Cairo, Warwick Waltz, Stairway to the Sea, All I Ask of You, Matrimony, Memory, The Boy From… , As Time Goes By, Cat’s Tail, Merry as a Grig, Abba Medley TWMS CD05/02. RFS member Tony Whittaker has produced an attractive collection of piano pieces, augmented on some tracks by bass, guitar and strings. You may have noticed Merry as a Grig in the listing above – an interesting choice, by Van Phillips, the arranger who produced some interesting dance band sounds in the 1930s, then went into production music, but eventually achieved greater fame as an acclaimed photographer. It is also nice to find less hackneyed numbers – In Love For the Very First Time makes a good opening. All in all, an enjoyable selection of music which will please piano fans. David Ades This CD is available direct from Tony Whittaker, 83 St. Helen’s Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 3QG, England – price £10.00. You can also order via Tony’s website: www.tonywhittaker.co.uk
GLORIOUS VICTORY: Willcocks – Guards Armoured Division; Alford – Eagle Squadron, By Land and Sea, Holyrood, The Vanished Army, Army of the Nile, The Standard of St. George;Panella – On the Square; Kendall – Glorious Victory; Kelly – Arnhem, Arromanches; Sousa – Liberty Bell, The Stars and Stripes Forever; Eley – Duke of York; Zehle – Wellington; Rhodes – Golden Spurs; Bagley – National Emblem; Strauss – Radetzky March; Stanley – Alamein. Kings Division Normandy Band, Director of Music Captain Gary Clegg Plantagenet Music PMRD9425, 65:00 mins. A superb, well planned compendium of military marches, some old favourites, others less familiar, recorded in the ample acoustic of St. Michael’s Parish Church, Kirkham, Lancashire. A generous representation of the martial music of the English ‘March King’ Kenneth J. Alford including his impressive slow march By Land and Sea in which A Life on the Ocean Wave is cleverly interweaved. Two of Sousa’s best, although the rendering of The Stars and Stripes Forever is surprisingly rather small scale and lightweight, with a sharp accelerando towards the end. There is also a rather curious arrangement by Sharpe of the Radetzky March.There’s a fascinating example of an early 19th century march Duke of York by Christopher Eley, a Hanovarian Bandmaster brought to England by the aforementioned Duke. Bandstand favourites such as Panella’s On the Square and Bagley’s National Emblemintermingle with less well-known (at least for this listener) but nonetheless impressive marches by the likes of G.H. Willcocks (Director of Music, Irish Guards 1938-48); Albert Kelly (who served as Bandmaster of the Royal Sussex Regiment); Samuel Rhodes (one time Director of Music with the Scots Guards with no less than 44 years’ service with Army bands); and Leo Stanley (the pen name of Randolph Ricketts, brother of Frederick Ricketts, better known as Kenneth Alford!). Despite the very minor quibbles above, all these marches are played with an impressive degree of aplomb, precision and professionalism, and one hopes that the Kings Division’s next CD won’t be too long in the making. Roger Hyslop Plantagenet CDs are available from: Plantagenet Music Ltd., 90 Holgate Road, York, YO24 4AB, England – telephone orders 01904 64710. Also available from Discurio, 46 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1LD, England – tel/fax 10634 845222 www.discurio.com
THE KING’S SQUAD Jager – Esprit de Corps; Gray – Thunderbirds; Donajowsky – Preobrajensky Blankenburg Action Front; Menken – A Whole New World; Willcocks – Sarafond; Charles Williams – Blue Devils; etc… Band of HM Royal Marines Commando Training Centre / Capt. N.J. GracePlantagenet PMRD 9426. Here’s a military band with a difference! An audio representation of the Pass-Out Parade of the Kings Squad – the senior recruit squad in Royal Marines training, recorded at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, Devon, with a spoken narration by a certain Lord (better known as Paddy) Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon in Somerset– a former Royal Marines Officer between 1959 and 1972; his contributions are brief and succinct and should not become too irksome on repeated playings. The doyen of British military musicians, Lieutenant Colonel Sir F. Vivian Dunn (who was appointed Director of Music of the Portsmouth Division Band in 1931, at the incredibly early age of 22, and completed an illustrious career with the Royals as Principal Director of Music at Deal), is represented by several of his very attractive arrangements, includingPreorajensky, The Globe and Laurel, Where ere You Walk and Sarie Marais. Since the playing of the Royal Marines bandsmen display their usual enviable musical prowess, and the recording is excellent, this CD must be strongly commended. Roger Hyslop Plantagenet CDs are not available through the RFS Record Service, but details of how to obtain them can be found at the end of the previous review.
JOHNNY HARRIS ‘Movements’ Fragments of Fear, Reprise, Stepping Stones, Something, Give Peace a Chance, Footprints on the Moon, Light My Fire, Wichita Lineman, Paint It Black + bonus tracks Warner Bros 8122-73602-2 [also on vinyl as 2-LP set: 8122-73601-1]. 43:35 mins. This album really needs no introduction. It was big in its day but has become even bigger in recent years after it was rediscovered when tracks were sampled on modern dance records resulting in original copies changing hands for up to £50. And after just one listen it’s very easy to see why! The opening track is taken from the score of the obscure psychological thriller "Fragment Of Fear" and has a deliciously chilling melody that will weave its way into your brain and stay there. Over a distorted rhythmic shuffle a flute is joined by strings, wah-wah guitar and a bubbling Hammond Organ resulting in a non-stop groove with a warm, rich sound which is worth the cover price alone. However it is the next track "Stepping Stones" which usually gets most attention. This fast and frantic jazz piece was used for a chase sequence in the same movie and sees a repeated screaming flute motif (played by Harold McNeil) across a hard percussive backing offset by stabbing strings and guitar, resulting in a funky sound which wouldn't be out of place in the score to a black cop movie such as "Shaft" or "Superfly". There are some quieter moments too including the delicately haunting "Footprints On The Moon" complete with angelic choir choruses, and some superb covers including "Something" which Harris later reworked for Shirley Bassey, "Wichita Lineman" and a truly amazing arrangement of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" which owes more than a little to "Night On A Bare Mountain". The CD also features a colourful 24-page booklet covering the composer's long career in music and there are two bonus tracks including the groovy Lulu's theme which was used for the "Happening For Lulu" show where Harris acted as MD. NB: There are plans to follow this up with a reissue of Harris' other Warner Bros album "All To Bring You Morning". David Noades