LIGHT MUSIC CDs – DECEMBER
Light Music For All Seasons
1 April In Paris (Vernon Duke, arr. Michel Legrand)
MICHEL LEGRAND AND HIS ORCHESTRA
2 I’ll Remember April (Don Raye, Gene de Paul, Pat Johnston)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
3 Tulips In Springtime (Rebekah Harkness, Tom Glazer)
ALFONSO D’ARTEGA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
4 Springtime (Walter Collins)
LONDON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by WALTER COLLINS
5 Spring It Was (John Bradford, Tony Romano)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
6 Spring Flowers (Charles Williams)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS
7 One Morning In May (Victor Schertzinger, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
8 June Bride (Charles Kenbury, real name Dennis Berry)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS METROPOLE ORCHESTRA
9 Heat Wave (Irving Berlin)
KINGSWAY PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by STANLEY BLACK
10 Summer Afternoon – Idyll (Eric Coates)
ERIC COATES and SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
11 Midsummer Gladness (Cecil Milner)
SYMPHONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by LUDO PHILIPP
12 Summertime In Venice (from the film "Summer Madness") (Icini)
RON GOODWIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
13 Indian Summer (Victor Herbert, arr. George Melachrino)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
14 Blue September (Peter de Rose, arr. Laurie Johnson)
THE AMBROSE ORCHESTRA Conducted by LAURIE JOHNSON
15 Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma)
RICHARD HAYMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
16 Autumn Serenade (Peter de Rose)
ROBERTO INGLEZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
17 Lonely September (Charles Hathaway)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
18 September Song (Kurt Weill, arr. Richard Jones)
THE PITTSBURGH STRINGS Conducted by RICHARD JONES
19 In A November Garden (Victor Young)
VICTOR YOUNG AND HIS ORCHESTRA
20 Snow Shadow (Len Stevens)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
21 Snowfall (Claude Thornhill)
LEROY HOLMES AND HIS ORCHESTRA
22 Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson)
ETHEL SMITH – Organ with orchestral accompaniment
23 Winter (Horace Shepherd)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by R. de PORTEN
24 A Christmas Fantasy
THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
Guild GLCD 5138
The four seasons provide the inspiration for the talented composers whose works are featured in this collection. We open our selection with a sparkling arrangement of April In Paris conducted by the French musician Michel Jean Legrand (b. 1932 in Paris) taken from his album "I Love Paris" which effectively launched his international career. An accomplished pianist, Michel has scored over 200 films and television shows and recorded over 100 albums ranging from jazz, popular and classical music. He has won numerous awards, and is probably the best-known French musician in the USA, having worked with most of the top singers from Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan to Barbra Streisand and Dame Kiri te Kanawa.
Gordon Jenkins(1910-1984) arranged for many of the top bands in America during the two World Wars, and he soon carved out an impressive career in radio and films. He signed with US Decca in 1945, and eventually became their managing director. Under his guidance the label had several big hits, and his major work Manhattan Tower (first recorded at the end of 1945) brought him considerable critical acclaim – to be followed by similar musical narratives California (1949) and Seven Dreams (1953).
Alfonso D’Artega (b. 1907) arrived in the USA from his native Mexico in 1918. Often merely known by his surname (spellings of his first name vary), he was a conductor, arranger and composer of wide and varied musical experience, and conducted orchestras for radio, television, transcriptions, recordings, concert stage and motion pictures. In 1946 he originated and conducted in Carnegie Hall the Pop Concerts, with the members of the New York Philharmonic. He portrayed the role of Tchaikovsky in the 1947 United Artists production Carnegie Hall, and also conducted the sound track for the film. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Buffalo Symphony, Miami Symphony, Lewisohn Stadium Symphony, and with the Symphony of the Air. In addition to conducting, D'Artega also composed well over 50 popular compositions, both alone and sometimes with others. Perhaps his best known work was In The Blue Of Evening (on which he collaborated with Thomas Montgomery Adair). It was a hit recording for Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1943.
Walter R. Collins is remembered for his days as the distinguished Musical Director of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, and also for conducting the London Promenade Orchestra for the Paxton Recorded Music Library during the 1940s. Earlier, in 1928, his own orchestra was sufficiently well respected to undertake a tour in Germany, and during his long career he was a prolific composer and arranger.
The contribution from Sidney Torch (1908-1990) Spring Is Here is taken from a rare album called "Music From Across The Sea" for the US label Coral. Those familiar with Torch’s work will find little evidence of his usual style in the orchestration; indeed it is possible that Torch merely fronted the orchestra.
Charles Williams(real name Isaac Cozerbreit: 1893-1978) began his career accompanying silent films, then played violin under the batons of Beecham and Elgar. Right from the start of the ‘talkies’, he provided scores for numerous British films, and his "Dream Of Olwen" is still remembered long after the film in which it appeared – "While I Live". In 1960 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".
Born in Toronto, Canada, Robert Farnon(1917-2005) possessed the ability to create exceptional arrangements – something recognised by André Previn who said that he was the world’s greatest living writer for strings. In his later career Farnon was in demand to arrange and conduct for major international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and George Shearing.
Dolf van der Linden (real name David Gysbert van der Linden, 1915-1999) was the leading figure on the light music scene in the Netherlands from the 1940s until the1980s. As well as broadcasting frequently with his Metropole Orchestra, he made numerous recordings for the background music libraries of major music publishers.
Stanley Black (1913-2002) had a busy career encompassing numerous broadcasts, films and a recording contract with Decca which resulted in many top selling albums prompting international concert tours. Black received numerous awards, including the OBE in 1985 for his services to music. He was a Life Fellow of the Institute of Arts and Letters, and Life President of the Celebrities Guild of Great Britain.
Eric Coates (1886-1957) was a successful composer of ballads in the early years of the last century, before devoting all his energies to light music. He was particularly adept at writing catchy melodies that appealed as BBC signatures tunes, but he also created many pleasing pastoral cameos such as the Idyll Summer Afternoon.
Cecil Milner (1905-1989) was a respected backroom boy in London music circles, arranging for many top orchestras such as Mantovani, for whom he supplied around 220 scores between 1952 and 1974. He was also an accomplished composer, with his works willingly accepted by background music publishers such as Charles Brull, who issued Midsummer Gladness on one of their mood music 78 discs in 1954. In the cinema he worked on the 1938 film "The Lady Vanishes".
Ron Goodwin(1925-2003) was a brilliant composer, arranger and conductor, whose tuneful music reached the furthest corners of the world. As he gained recognition for his original compositions he became in demand for film scores and among his best-remembered are "633 Squadron", "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines" and Alfred Hitchcock’s "Frenzy".
Although the record label for Blue September names the Ambrose Orchestra, in truth all the credit has to go to the arranger and conductor Laurie Johnson (b.1927), who has been a leading figure on the British entertainment scene for 50 years. A gifted arranger and composer, Laurie has contributed to films, musical theatre, radio, television and records, with his music used in many well-known productions such as "The Avengers" and "The Professionals".
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.
Roberto Inglez was actually a Scotsman called Robert Inglis (1919-1974) who specialised in Latin American music. He built up a loyal following through his work in leading London West End clubs and his frequent BBC broadcasts.
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.
Victor Young (1900-1956) appears as both composer and conductor in the delicate tone poem In A November Garden. In the original LP sleeve notes Young says that he developed this from a theme in a Paramount film starring Loretta Young and Alan Ladd (he fails to name the movie but it may have been "And Now Tomorrow" in 1944). Young excelled as a violinist, arranger, film composer, songwriter, conductor and record producer. This wide experience in all forms of music, from his first hit song, Sweet Sue, Just You in 1928 to his tremendous score for "Around the World in 80 Days" in 1956, was exceptional even by Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood standards, all the more so because his international reputation was achieved in such a short lifetime. Like so many of his contemporaries, he found work with various dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s, before eventually ending up in Hollywood, where he discovered the ideal outlet for his melodic gifts.
He didn’t orchestrate everything he wrote for the screen (surely he couldn’t have found the time), but used experienced arranger/composers such as Leo Shuken and Sidney Cutner to fill out his sketches. For a while his fellow orchestra leader in the US Decca stable was Gordon Jenkins, who is reported as having said that Victor was a lovely man and a wonderful composer, "but he always had a bad band - full of relatives and refugees from the old country who needed work". Although born in Chicago, Young had strong ties with his grandparents’ country Poland, where he spent some of his formative years (his widowed father abandoned him as a child) and studied at the Warsaw Conservatory of Music together with his sister Helen.
Leroy Holmes (1913-1986) was fairly active in the recording studios in the USA during the 1950s, often specialising in music from films. He seems to be best remembered for his work as orchestra leader on the "Tonight Show" 1956-57.
Ethel Smith (born Goldsmith, 1910-1996) was a virtuoso on the organ who became an international star following her 1940s recording of Tico Tico. This resulted in appearances in several Hollywood films, and she continued to enjoy a successful career with recordings and public appearances for the next thirty years. Her version of Sleigh Ride is a refreshing change to the familiar orchestral version of the Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) classic, which is available on so many other CDs.
The composer of the sensitive piece Winter deserves a special mention. Horace Shepherd (1892-1960 – also known as Hugh Kairs) was musical director and composer of the score for at least ten British films from the 1930s to 1950s, perhaps the best-known being "Hatter’s Castle" (1942) based on the A.J. Cronin novel. He also seems to have been active in Europe – the 1930 French film "Prix de Beauté" being just one example. He contributed a few titles to production music libraries, and is listed as the director of "Making The Grade" (1947), a short film about actors becoming stars which featured Jessie Matthews.
George Melachrino (1909-1965) was one of the top British conductors of light music, with his records (especially LPs) selling in large numbers around the world. Like many of his contemporaries, he served his musical apprenticeship in British Dance Bands (particularly Carroll Gibbons) before World War 2 found him fronting the British Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. One of his earliest orchestral HMV 78s takes us from summer to autumn with Victor Herbert’s Indian Summer, then he provides the seasonal climax with a medley of Christmas airs. The first part is subtitled "Christmas Morn" and concentrates mainly on Jingle Bells, although there are snatches of Christians Awake, First Nowell, Home Sweet Home and Good King Wenceslas. Then the mood changes to "Christmas Night" with sounds of children’s jollity eventually fading as midnight approaches, brilliantly conveyed through Come Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl, Girls And Boys Come Out To Play, Ring A Ring o’Roses, Mistletoe Bough and Silent Night. The arranger is uncredited and, although William Hill-Bowen (1918-1964) was responsible for many of Melachrino’s scores at this time, comparison with George Melachrino’s similar treatments of traditional airs (notably There Is A Tavern In The Town on Guild GLCD 5118, and Little Brown Jug on GLCD 5129) lends strong support to the assumption that the maestro himself created this delightful "Christmas Fantasy". David Ades