Marching and Waltzing
LIGHT MUSIC CDs – SEPTEMBER
The Guild "Golden Age of Light Music" continues to restore many neglected works to the catalogue, and the latest two are listed below.
Marching and Waltzing
1 King Cotton (John Philip Sousa)
LONDON COLISEUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by REGINALD BURSTON
2 Melba Waltz (from the film "Melba") (Mischa Spoliansky, arr. Ron Goodwin)
RON GOODWIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
3 Blaze Away (Abraham Holzmann, arr. Sidney Torch)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
4 Absinthe Frappé (Victor Herbert)
AL GOODMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
5 Royal Standard (Archibald Joyce)
WEST END CELEBRITY ORCHESTRA Conducted by LOUIS VOSS
6 One Love (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
7 The Spirit Of Youth – March (Gilbert)
LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK FRERE
8 Mayfair Cinderella (Albert William Ketèlbey)
LONDON CONCERT ORCHESTRA
9 Oxford Street (from "London Again" Suite) (Eric Coates)
TIVOLI CONCERT HALL ORCHESTRA Conducted by SVEND CHRISTIAN FELUMB
10 The Young Ballerina (BBC TV’s music for the famous Potters Wheel interlude) (Charles Williams)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
11 Proud And Free (Ronald Hanmer)
SYMPHONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by THEO ARDEN
12 Shadow Waltz (from film "Gold Diggers of 1933") (Harry Warren)
MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
13 Strings On Parade (Ray Martin)
CYRIL STAPLETON AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
14 Someday I’ll Find You (from "Private Lives") (Noel Coward)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
15 Empire Builders March (from film "Rhodes Of Africa") (Hubert Bath)
LOUIS LEVY and his GAUMONT BRITISH SYMPHONY
16 Love’s Roundabout (from film "La Ronde") (Oscar Straus)
LOU PREAGER AND HIS CHARM OF THE WALTZ ORCHESTRA
17 Out Of Town March (Robert Farnon)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
18 Just The One I Adore (Gypsy Seydell Beal, Eddie Medel)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
19 Tom Marches On (Clive Richardson)
LONDON PROMENADE ORCHESTRA Conducted by WALTER COLLINS
20 Mademoiselle de Paris (Paul Jules Durand, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
21 On The Quarter Deck (Kenneth J. Alford, real name Frederick Joseph Ricketts)
OLD TYME ORCHESTRA Conducted by JACK LEON
22 Ziehrer Waltz Medley (Carl Michael Ziehrer)
MAREK WEBER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
23 Battle March (C.C. Moller)
AAHRUS CIVIC ORCHESTRA Conducted by THOMAS JENSEN
24 Family Album – Waltz (from "Tonight at 8.30") (Noel Coward)
PHOENIX THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by CLIFFORD GREENWOOD
25 The Middy (Kenneth J. Alford, real name Frederick Joseph Ricketts)
REGENT CONCERT ORCHESTRA
26 Melody Of Love (Hans Engelmann)
BILLY VAUGHN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
27 Great Quest (Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Trebilco)
NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN
"Marching and Waltzing" was the title of a popular BBC radio programme around forty years ago. The format was simple: an enjoyable selection of alternating marches and waltzes, with occasional less familiar compositions interspersed with tried and tested favourites.
The notion that marches and waltzes always adhered to strict guidelines, which could result in a boring sequence of similar-sounding pieces, was certainly proved untrue. Both of these musical forms have been developed by talented composers and arrangers into many varied styles. As Eric Coates famously once commented: "my marches aren’t intended for marching and my waltzes aren’t intended for waltzing", and the same can be said of the works of many composers.
However those listeners who would appreciate some examples of what might be termed ‘true’ marches and waltzes will not be disappointed with this collection. Equally others who get satisfaction from hearing how arrangers have adapted the underlying rhythms inherent in the basic structure of these works should also find much to please them.
The CD commences with a great number from the man widely regarded as the American ‘March King’ – John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). His King Cotton (composed in 1895) was used as a signature tune for this programme by the BBC, although Vienna Blood was also chosen on occasions. Sousa is probably the most famous composer of military marches, and he was also a busy conductor. In addition to marches he was active in other musical fields: incredibly he wrote ten operas and a number of musical suites. He also composed scores for Broadway musicals, although it took several attempts before he had a measure of success in this genre with El Capitan in 1896. He formed his own band in 1892 and undertook many tours, both in the USA and in Europe. He also found time to write three novels and an autobiography, but he did not take kindly to new inventions. For many years he resisted conducting on radio, and in a submission to a congressional hearing in 1906 he predicted that the fledgling recording industry would result in people losing the use of their vocal cords because they would listen to others singing songs, rather than perform them for themselves. Despite his feelings towards the new technologies, they must have earned him a considerable amount in royalties, particularly from around 100 marches of which the most famous were Semper Fidelis, Liberty Bell, Washington Post and The Stars and Stripes Forever – the last named piece being the final work he conducted at the age of 77 in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he died following a rehearsal.
Another American composer who was a contemporary of Sousa was Abraham Holzmann (1874-1939) whose greatest march success was Blaze Away, composed in 1901. But he earned his living mainly from Tin Pan Alley where he wrote and arranged popular songs for publishers such as Leo Feist. [Leo Feist (1869-1930) began his career as a corset salesman and composed songs for his own enjoyment. When he failed to find a publisher for his work, he set up his own firm to deal in popular songs. "You can’t go wrong with a Feist song" was the slogan printed on every copy of the firm’s sheet music, which eventually numbered in thousands.] Today Abe Holzmann is fondly remembered by lovers of ragtime, but he also penned many marches, waltzes and other pieces of light music.
Dublin-born Victor August Herbert (1859-1924) was an accomplished cellist, composer, conductor and orchestrator who made a profound impression upon the American popular music scene. Due to his father’s death when he was under four, the Herbert family lived for a while with his paternal grandfather who was a keen artist; musicians and writers were frequent visitors, and young Victor was exposed to music from early childhood. His mother remarried and by 1866 the family had relocated to Stuttgart in Germany, but Victor’s plans for a medical profession were dashed due to lack of funds. He earned money playing the cello in leading German orchestras, and during a period with the Royal Court Orchestra in Stuttgart he studied under Max Seifriz, one of the finest teachers of composition at that time. In October 1886 he arrived in the USA and was employed in the pit orchestra at New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company. Within a short while his career blossomed, and he was fortunate that his own works (notably his Suite for Cello and Orchestra Op. 3) were well received by critics and the public. Soon he was also conducting, and among his numerous writing achievements are two operas, forty-three operettas, incidental music for stage productions (including several Ziegfeld Follies), plus songs and compositions for band, cello, violin, flute and clarinet. He orchestrated the works of many of his contemporaries, but his musical legacy is founded upon his charming operettas such as Babes in Toyland and Naughty Marietta. Absinthe Frappé comes from his operetta It Happened in Nordland (1904). With John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin and others, Victor Herbert was one of the founders in 1914 of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Albert William Ketèlbey (1875-1959) was a highly successful composer, who earned the equivalent of millions of pounds during the peak of his popularity. Pieces such as In a Monastery Garden, The Phantom Melody, In a Persian Market and Bells Across the Meadows brought him international fame, no doubt assisted by his enthusiastic participation in the rapidly growing business of producing gramophone records. As well as also being an arranger and conductor, he was an accomplished pianist and organist, and was proficient on oboe, cello, clarinet and horn. Once he had achieved his fame, and a style that became closely associated with him, he seemed unwilling to adapt to the new rhythms and influences that were gaining popularity – particularly during the 1930s. His own music gradually went out of vogue, and the previous age of romance, that had its roots in the self-confidence of the Edwardian age, seemed to be in terminal decline. But Ketèlbey was far from forgotten, and the LP era of the 1950s resulted in a renewed interest in his beautifully crafted melodies. He was able to spend his later years in comfortable retirement on the peaceful Isle of Wight.
Mischa Spoliansky (1898-1985) was a Russian-born composer who fled his homeland following the revolution and became a leading figure in Berlin’s thriving cabaret scene during the 1920s and early 1930s. When he arrived in Berlin he was offered the position of conductor at Max Reinhardt's Keller-Kabarett of the Grosses Schauspielhaus, where he embraced the core of Berlin’s cultural life and got to know the most important artists of that time. When the German film industry moved into ‘talkies’ his songs enhanced several popular films, but after the Nazi regime was elected to power in 1933 he was forced to flee for the second time in his life and he left Germany and chose to settle in England. His reputation had preceded him, and he had no problem in finding work in the thriving British film industry, where Alexander Korda offered him several prestigious productions such as Sanders of the River (1935) and The Ghost Goes West (1935). Numerous film commissions followed like King Solomon’s Mines (1937), The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936), Wanted for Murder (1946), Idol of Paris (1948), Stage Fright (1950), The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), Happy Go Lovely (1951), Melba (1953), Turn the Key Softly (1953), Trouble in Store (1953), Saint Joan (1957) and North West Frontier (1959). His eldest daughter was the actress Spoli Mills (Irmgard Spoliansky, 1923-2004). One of her favourite anecdotes concerned the day she was returning home and found her eccentric father standing, rather sheepishly, in the subway at London’s Hyde Park Corner. On the ground beside him was a flat cap containing a few coins. When she asked what he thought he was doing, he explained that the harmonica player who usually stood there had gone for a drink and he was keeping an eye on the pitch. "But why you?" his daughter pressed. "He's a fellow musician," her father replied.
Archibald Joyce (1873-1963) learned the piano and violin as a child, and much of his life as a professional musician involved playing in ballrooms, theatres and the concert hall, especially before and after the First World War. Indeed his own orchestra was held in such high esteem that it played for Royalty and at major state occasions, and through his many compositions Joyce became known as ‘The English Waltz King’. He was also adept at writing marches, no doubt partly due to the influence of his father, who was a band sergeant with the Grenadier Guards. Unlike his contemporaries Eric Coates and Haydn Wood, Archibald Joyce did not allow his composing style to move with the times, preferring instead to believe that his music was intended for dancing, rather than listening (unlike Eric Coates!).
Ronald Hanmer (1917-1994) was a prolific composer and arranger whose proud boast was that he had worked in the music business since the day he left school. Like his contemporary Sidney Torch, he served his ‘apprenticeship’ as a cinema organist, and soon developed his talent for composing and arranging. Many of his comic creations enlivened the BBC’s wartime ITMA broadcasts (his arrangement of Ten Green Bottles is on Guild GLCD 5102), and eventually over 700 of his compositions were published in various background music libraries. His film scores include Made in Heaven (1952), Penny Princess (1952) and Top of the Form (1953). He was also in demand as an orchestrator of well-known works for Amateur Societies, and the brass band world was very familiar with his scores – sometimes used as test pieces. In 1975 he emigrated to Australia, where he was delighted to discover that his melody Pastorale was famous throughout the land as the theme for the long-running radio serial Blue Hills. In Britain his best-known theme was the signature tune for BBC radio’s The Adventures of P.C. 49; the music came from a Francis, Day & Hunter Mood Music 78 simply called Changing Moods.
Students of the Viennese school of music regard Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843-1922) as one of the main rivals to the dominance of the Strauss family. His career was similar, with no less than twenty-three operettas to his name. In total he composed around 600 works, of which many were waltzes and marches. His waltzes in the selection on this CD are Vienna Citizens, Vienna Beauty and In a Beautiful Night. Ziehrer made his debut as a conductor in 1863 leading a dance orchestra, and later served several terms as bandmaster with the famous Hoch und Deutschmeister Regiment, which gained him wide public recognition and invitations to perform overseas. In 1909 he was honoured by the Emperor Franz Joseph with the appointment as Imperial Ball Director, the last person to hold the title.