Two new Guild Light Music CDs are due to be released at the end of June 2006
"THE HALL OF FAME" Volume 2
1 Dizzy Fingers (Zes Confrey) PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring The Magic Voices
2 Intermezzo – Theme from the Film (UK title "Escape to Happiness")(also known as ‘Souvenir de Vienne’) (Heinz Provost) DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
3 Delicado (Waldir Azevedo) FRANK CORDELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
4 Dancing On The Ceiling (Richard Rodgers) ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
5 Possession (from the suite "Perfume Set To Music") (Harry Revel, arr. Leslie Baxter) ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS Conducted by LESLIE BAXTER With Dr. SAMUEL HOFFMAN, Theremin
6 The Good Earth (Charles Williams) DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
7 Covered Wagon (Sidney Torch) DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUBERT CLIFFORD
8 Fair Day (Hamilton Harty) NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON
9 Over The Rainbow (from "The Wizard Of Oz") (E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen) MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
10 Majorca (also known as ‘Midinette’) (Gaste, Bonnett) MONTY KELLY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
11 Tango Capriccioso (Charles Nissen, Eddie Cassen, arr. Laurie Johnson) AMBROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
12 Alt Wein (Richard Rossmayer) RICHARD HAYMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
13 This Modern Age (Len Stevens) DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUBERT CLIFFORD
14 The Blue Scarecrow (Norbert Ludwig) DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
15 Am I In Love (Nicholas Acquaviva, Ted Varnick) ACQUAVIVA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
16 Always Late But Lovely (Bruce Campbell) DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
17 The Breeze And I (also known as ‘Andalucia’) (Ernesto Lecuona) FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
18 Time On My Hands (Vincent Youmans) MEYER DAVIS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
19 Dusky Aristocrat (Whiteley) (Western Schottische) HARRY DAVIDSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
20 Stephanie Gavotte (Alphons Czibulka) KURT BURLING’S ROCOCO ORCHESTRA
21 March Of The Toys (from "Babes in Toyland")(Victor Herbert, arr. Angela Morley) TIP TOP TUNES ORCHESTRA Conducted by GERALDO
Featured Composer: LEONARD TREBILCO (aka Trevor Duncan and Steve Bretton)
22 Grand Vista (from "Title Music") (Leonard Trebilco as ‘Trevor Duncan’) NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by R. de PORTEN
23 High Heels (Leonard Trebilco as ‘Trevor Duncan’) NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON
24 Posterity (Leonard Trebilco as ‘Trevor Duncan’) NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by FREDERIC CURZON
25 Lady In Love (Leonard Trebilco as ‘Steve Bretton’) L’ORCHESTRE DEVEREAUX Conducted by GEORGES DEVEREAUX
26 Backstreet (from "Pictures In A Fog") (Leonard Trebilco as ‘Trevor Duncan’) NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON
Guild Light Music GLCD 5124
In order to qualify for inclusion in any kind of Hall of Fame, there is a pre-requisite that recognition should already have been given for outstanding achievement. In the case of Light Music, if only the most famous melodies and orchestras are considered worthy for a CD such as this, the result would probably be a rehash of what may have been done many times before. So you are not being offered a compilation featuring only the best known works performed by each orchestra, but a careful choice which mixes the familiar with – occasionally – the unknown.
Many of the conductors in this collection will already be well-known to readers of this magazine, so the choice has been made to mention more fully only those who may be less familiar to some of you.
Percy Faith was born in Toronto, Canada, on 7 April 1908, and originally he became known during the 1930s for his programme "Music By Faith" which was also carried by the Mutual network in the USA. The opening track Dizzy Fingers (like all his recordings, this was arranged by Faith himself) includes a small choir which Faith described as adding a touch of ‘vocalese’. Back home in Canada he discovered that he had a few dollars to spare from the budget for one of his radio shows, so he engaged a small number of singers who happened to be in the same studio block. The idea was instantly popular, and many of his singles would later have some voices alongside the orchestra. In 1940 he relocated to the USA where he became one of the most successful broadcasters and recording artists of his time. He was always busy, whether working in the recording studios, radio, television or films until he died at Encino, California, on 9 February 1976, aged 67.
David Rose(1910-1990) was born in London, England, and the family moved to the USA when he was just four-years-old. Eventually he began working in movies and is credited with scoring 36 films. In 1943 he had a big hit with his own composition Holiday For Strings which firmly launched him as a light music composer in the eyes of the public. Rose had a worldwide smash hit in 1962 with another of his own tunes, a humorous and satirical piece called The Stripper. In total he won five Grammy awards and six gold records.
The British musician Frank Cordell (1918-1980) was a fine composer, arranger and conductor whose work first became noticed through the tuneful backings he often supplied to some contract singers on HMV singles in the 1950s. Occasionally he was allowed his own 78s, and he was also responsible for several fine LPs which quickly became collectors’ items. The cinema beckoned with some prestigious projects including "Cromwell" (1970) for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) was one of the biggest names in American light orchestral music in the middle of the 20th century. During a period of 20 years from around 1940 onwards he conducted a series of recordings that stand as fine examples of the art of the orchestral arranger; sadly his later records were not so well received by his fans, who believed that his record company forced him to bow to commercial pressures. Andre Kostelanetz died at Port-au-Prince on the Caribbean island of Haiti on 13 January 1980, aged 78.
Early in his career Les Baxter (1922-1996) played the tenor sax, but he was attracted towards arranging. The British composer Harry Revel had composed a suite inspired by the fragrance of different perfumes, and RCA agreed to record it for a set of three 78s, later transferred to LP. Revel had been captivated by the sound of the theremin as used by Miklos Rozsa in his score for the 1945 film "Spellbound", and he decided that this should form the basis for his work. But he needed strings and voices, and RCA engaged the unknown Leslie Baxter to arrange and conduct the album. The project was not successful commercially at the time, but Baxter fortunately went on to make his own name with hits such as Unchained Melody and Quiet Village.
Robert Farnon (1917-2005) is regarded as one of the foremost personalities in Light Music. His compositions and arrangements inspired generations of fellow musicians, and many believe that the influence of his own catchy creations such as Jumping Bean and Portrait of a Flirt helped to ensure the survival of Light Music during the second half of the last century.
Another leading composer alongside Farnon was Charles Williams (1893-1978) (real name Isaac Cozerbreit) who achieved international fame with his Dream of Olwen (from the 1947 film "White I Live") to be followed some years later with similar success in 1960 when his theme for the film "The Apartment" topped the American charts, although in reality the producers had resurrected one of his earlier works Jealous Lover which itself originated in a British film "The Romantic Age" (1949) starring Mai Zetterling and Petula Clark. Happily Williams has been reasonably well served with reissues of his music on CD in recent years, so a choice for this collection has not been easy. The Good Earth is a good example of his melodic gifts, and it is believed that this is the first time it has been available on a commercial recording.
Morton Gould (1913-1996) became one of the most highly respected American composers, and among his best-known works were the ballet Fall River Legend and American Symphonette No. 3,which became better known as Pavanne (the mis-spelling was deliberate). His American Salute (based on When Johnny Comes Marching Home) also caught the public’s attention. From 1986 to 1994 Gould was President of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Monty Kelly(1910-1971) was a trumpeter, arranger and bandleader who played with the Paul Whiteman and Skinnay Ennis bands before landing a job with NBC in New York. Cash Box magazine named him ‘most promising orchestra’ in 1953, but by then the era of popular instrumentals was starting to wane in the USA. His albums continued to do well, and they are still sought by light music fans.
Bert Ambrose (1897-1971) was one of Britain’s top dance band leaders of the 1930s, and his name was still sufficiently important in the mid-1950s to generate record sales. Tango Capriccioso is one of a number of tracks for MGM in his name, although the arranger and conductor was actually Laurie Johnson (b. 1927) at the start of his own impressive career.
As well as being a respected arranger and conductor, Richard Hayman (b. 1920) was also a harmonica virtuoso, and he sometimes adapted his scores of popular melodies so that he could perform on his favourite instrument. He followed Leroy Anderson as an arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra over a period of more than 30 years, and also served as Music Director of Mercury Records. He was regularly in demand to orchestrate Broadway shows and film soundtracks, and notable among his own compositions are No Strings Attached and Skipping Along.
David Carroll(b. 1913) was musical director of Mercury Records from 1951 to the early 1960s, during which time he accompanied many of the label’s contract singers as well as making some instrumental recordings of his own. Several of his LPs had a ‘dance’ theme, often including his own compositions, and he employed the cream of Chicago’s session musicians.
Nicholas Acquavivawas not a frequent visitor to the recording studios, but he gained recognition in the USA through his involvement with the Symphony of the Air orchestra and as conductor of the New York ‘Pops’ Symphony Orchestra.
In the USA Frank De Vol (1911-1999) is known primarily as the composer for the radio and TV series "The Brady Bunch", but light music fans appreciate that his career has been far more substantial. It was not uncommon to see the credit ‘Music by De Vol’ on many films, and he also appeared as a character actor in several US television series, such as "I Dream of Jeannie", "Bonanza" and "Petticoat Junction".
Meyer Davis (1893-1976) was not a bandleader in the usual sense, but more a contractor supplying orchestras whenever and wherever required – often at top social events in leading ballrooms. He formed his first orchestra as early as 1915, and went on to control the market share of society functions in Washington, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston for over 30 years.
Geraldo (Gerald Bright, 1904-1974) was a major figure on the British entertainment scene for four decades, having fronted just about every kind of ensemble and influenced the successful careers of numerous top singers. For his broadcasts he varied the style of his orchestra quite considerably, and a particular series "Tip Top Tunes" (employing a full string section alongside the usual dance band) enjoyed great popularity. Several commercial recordings were made, spotlighting the considerable arranging talents of the young Angela Morley (b. 1924), heard on this CD in March Of The Toys.
The featured composer this time is an Englishman who preferred to adopt a low profile yet his compositions were regularly heard by millions across the world. Leonard Trebilco (1924-2005) wrote most of his music under the pseudonym ‘Trevor Duncan’, and he was working as a BBC sound engineer when one of his first compositions High Heels made the light music world sit up and take notice. Eventually his successful and prolific output mushroomed to such an extent that he had to give up his ‘day job’ at the BBC, and also find several different publishers simply because he was writing too much for just one to handle. The Girl From Corsica and his March from "A Little Suite" (used as the theme for BBC TV’s "Dr. Finlay’s Casebook") were two more big hits with the public, but a vast amount of his work still remains undiscovered.
This brief selection commences with Grand Vista which will immediately sound familiar to British cinemagoers around 50 years ago since it used to introduce the Pearl and Dean advertising features. Posterity is an early example of his gift at writing concert marches, and Lady In Love is a long neglected work he contributed as ‘Steve Bretton’ to the Francis, Day & Hunter Mood Music Library.
One very satisfying aspect of the Guild "Golden Age of Light Music" series is that music lovers are regularly making known their requests for particular pieces to be considered for inclusion in future releases. Thanks to a number of tracks on earlier Guild CDs, collectors are now aware that a vast amount of Light Music was recorded specially for professional use by radio, television and films, and it was never intended that this would be available for sale to the general public. Much of this repertoire is tuneful, melodic music, but there is also a vast amount of what can be described as ‘dramatic’ music, composed specifically for use in the background of productions requiring an appropriate score to underline and enhance the action. Although sometimes lacking a proper beginning and ending, there are many examples where music of this nature has acquired something of a ‘cult’ status, and some of Leonard Trebilco’s work certainly falls into this category.
As a final "bonus" track in this tribute one of his intensely atmospheric pieces for Boosey and Hawkes provides the perfect choice as yet another of the varied styles in which he excelled. In the early 1950s he composed three works in a mini-suite entitled "Pictures In a Fog". Two movements were called Wharfside and Shrouded Trees but the one which attracted the most attention was Backstreet. It describes the downtown area of any town or city late at night, probably in winter, when someone strolling down deserted streets suddenly turns a corner and comes across the distant sounds of music emanating from a run-down dive. Usually the piece was heard before the honky-tonk piano emerges from the gloom, but as atmospheric pieces of music go this one surely takes some beating.