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17 Dec

Cab Rank (van der Linden)

By  Robert Walton
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Symphonia Orchestra conducted by
Ludo Philipp

For some reason the music of Dolf van der Linden has largely passed me by, probably for the simple fact there wasn’t a lot of it about in my early years in New Zealand. I had to wait to come to England to discover it. Scottish comedian James Finlayson in Laurel and Hardy films unknowingly gave van der Linden a free plug every time his expression of surprise proclaimed “Dolf!”

Another musician I didn’t have a clue about was conductor Ludo Philipp. You won’t believe this, but he lived below me in his Kensington apartment for twenty-five years and in all that time I never met him. He probably had no idea I was working in the same business. I assumed he was Polish because after WW2 many of his countrymen settled in London.

From the very outset there’s no doubt that Cab Rank showed the composer must have been a Farnon fan, because Jumping Bean’s cheeky augmented 4th gets two quotes. In fact this jazz-influenced interval was a turning point in light music, inspiring many a Farnon piece. Oddly enough I can’t think of many other composers blatantly using it. Cab Rank from 1957 is an excellent example of a light orchestral piece in 1940s style. Also there’s something of Clive Richardson and Len Stevens about it. This jolly tune bounces along describing an obviously busy taxi rank. After the first 16 bars the strings go into a relaxed lyrical mode reminding one of the legendary Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. After a little connecting passage, we’re back with the lively opening.

And then we go into the bridge with a strong unison string sound repeated in harmony with added brass. Before we return to the middle section proper, a bright and breezy fill-in section (a bridge within a bridge) with lots of triplets keeping things moving.

From the top again it’s that famous Farnon trademark making two more appearances and another chance to hear the delightful opening with its smooth expressive string sound (very innovative for the 1940s). It’s a pity the end itself wasn’t a tad more extended.

Cab Rank from “Melody Mixture”
Guild Light Music (GLCD 5197)

by Robert Walton

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Read 2358 times Last modified on Sunday, 17 December 2017 10:10

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