Highdays and Holidays

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There are two more Guild Light Music CDs now available, each containing some rare recordings to complement the previous 14 CDs already on offer in this landmark series

Highdays and Holidays
Spotlighting the Bosworth Mood Music Library 1937-1953

1 The Playful Pelican (Peter Yorke)
Peter Yorke and his Orchestra or Louis Voss and his Orchestra (record labels differ)
2 Buddha’s Festival of Love (Heini Kronberger & Mary Marriott)
The West End Celebrity Orchestra
3 Wedgewood Blue (Albert Ketèlbey)
Louis Voss Grand Orchestra
4 Neapolitan Serenade (Gerhard Winkler)
Regent Classic Orchestra
5 In a Chinese Temple Garden (Albert Ketèlbey)
Louis Voss Grand Orchestra
6 Wedding March in Midget Land (Siegfried Translateur)
London Concert Orchestra
7 Sparrows’ Concert – Intermezzo (Erich Börschel)
Louis Voss Grand Orchestra
8 April Day (Barry Tattenhall)
London Concert Orchestra
9 Busy Business (Frederick George Charrosin)
International Radio Orchestra
10 The Ballet Dancer (Wilfred Burns)
Bosworth’s String Orchestra
11 Tequila – Paso Doble (Philip Green)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
12 Wild Goose Chase (George Crow)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
13 Cutty Sark (Charles Williams)
National Light Orchestra
14 Serenade to a Mannequin (Charles Williams)
Bosworth’s Symphonic String Orchestra conducted by Louis Voss
15 Highdays and Holidays (Peter Yorke)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
16 Salute to Speedway (Charles Williams)
The West End Celebrity Orchestra
17 Jack and Jill – Miniature Overture (Henry Croudson)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
18 Palace of Variety (Claud Vane)
National Light Orchestra
19 Sportsman’s Luck (John Bath)
The West End Celebrity Orchestra
20 Sabre Jet (David Hart) The West End Celebrity Orchestra
21 Big Dipper (Claud Vane)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
22 Sketch Of A Dandy (Haydn Wood)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
23 Flight of the Toy Balloon (Art Strauss & Robert Dale)
National Light Orchestra
24 Travel Centre (Kenneth Essex)
West End Celebrity Orchestra
25 Sleepy Grasshopper (Ray Hartley)
Regent Classic Orchestra
26 Typical Teenager (Gerald Crossman)
Louis Voss and his Orchestra
27 Harlequin’s Flirtation (Louis Mordish)
London Bijou Players


Regular collectors of Guild’s "Golden Age of Light Music" series will not need reminding that London publishers operating libraries of pre-recorded background music were a fertile source of Light Music during the middle years of the last century. Indeed there were also publishers in many other countries who established their own collections of music aimed specifically at radio and television broadcasters, film companies and – particularly during the 1940s and 1950s – cinema newsreels.

Very few of these publishers ever permitted private enthusiasts to acquire their recordings, which were initially issued on 78 rpm discs, although some did experiment with sound film for a while. The result is that this area of the music business remained shrouded in secrecy as far as the general public was concerned. Only when a particular piece of music became popular (usually when chosen as a signature tune) did a commercial record company decide to make it generally available. However it was rare for the original recording to be issued: more often the record company would engage its own ’house’ orchestra to make the recording, which sometimes resulted in a degree of disappointment if keen collectors decided that the commercial release sounded inferior, or too different from the original.

Recorded music libraries still thrive today, with literally hundreds of new CDs being made available each year. Even more music (the modern term is ‘production music’) is being offered through the latest technology, with professional users being able to download what they require direct from the publishers through the internet. But it was rather different back in the 1930s, when two leading publishers in England (Boosey & Hawkes and Bosworth) took the first steps to establish their own mood music libraries on records, thus making it convenient to use and easy to license. Of course, early silent films were sometimes screened to the accompaniment of music specially composed for them, so the notion of ‘background music’ was not exactly new. However the use of 78s to deliver the music was a big step forward and it provided publishers with a valuable additional source of income at a time when sheet music sales were in decline.

Initially there was a temptation to make recordings of established repertoire, drawing upon the vast resources of published scores already held. Some of this music did fulfil the needs of the profession, but soon it became apparent that new material was required in order to provide a wide range of moods and styles. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 meant that newsreels needed vast amounts of ‘action’ music, not previously available.

This collection focuses upon the output of Bosworth & Co who operated from premises in Heddon Street, just off Regent Street in London. They also had offices in Europe, which explains why they published so much music from Germany and Austria (obviously this source dried up during the war). Some of their composers were household names in the 1930s, while others were better known only to their colleagues.

Peter Yorke (1902-1966) worked with many leading British bands during his formative years, some of the most notable being Percival Mackey, Jack Hylton and Henry Hall. In 1936 he began a fruitful collaboration as chief arranger with Louis Levy, one of the pioneers of music for British films, who employed several talented writers such as Clive Richardson, Charles Williams and Jack Beaver, but seldom gave them any credit on-screen. Later on Peter Yorke conducted one of Britain’s most popular broadcasting orchestras from the 1940s until the 1960s. He was also a gifted composer and he created many stunning arrangements that brought out some fine performances from the top musicians he always employed.  The opening track on this CD, The Playful Pelican, was one of the very first specially recorded for the Bosworth library, although there is conflicting evidence on the labels of different pressings as to who conducted the performance.  Another popular piece – Highdays and Holidays – provides the title for this collection. Later, several different London publishers including Chappell were happy to accept his work for their background music libraries.

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.

Gerhard Winkler (1906-1977) was a highly respected composer and arranger on the German light music scene, and occasionally his charming melodies reached an international audience. Neapolitan Serenade will probably sound familiar to many people who might find it difficult to remember the title, but most music-lovers would be able to name his biggest success – Answer Me – thanks to an English lyric by Carl Sigman and several hit records including the Nat ‘King’ Cole version in 1954.

Frederick George Charrosin (d. 1976) was a prolific composer of mood music, with many titles to his credit. He also created many arrangements for various ensembles broadcasting regularly on the BBC.

Wilfred Burns has over 200 published titles to his credit. He seemed able to create incidental music to suit almost any kind of mood, and he achieved possibly his greatest success when his piece Saturday Sports was chosen by BBC Television for its "Sportsview" programme which began in 1954.

Philip Green (1910-1982) began his professional career at the age of eighteen playing in various orchestras. Within a year he became London’s youngest West End conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre. His long recording career began with EMI in 1933, and he is credited with at least 150 film scores. A compulsive worker, he appeared in countless radio programmes and also composed numerous pieces of mood music for major London publishers including Chappell & Co., Francis Day & Hunter, Paxton and EMI’s Photoplay Music, where he ultimately became the only contributor to the catalogue.

Charles Williams (1893-1978) (real name Isaac Cozerbreit) 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 he topped the American charts with his theme for the film "The Apartment", 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. By far the greatest volume of his composing skills was employed in mood music, providing hundreds of works for Chappell & Co. alone, many of them also conducted by him. Devil’s Galop will forever remind schoolboys of the 1940s of "Dick Barton – Special Agent", while early television viewers became familiar with Girls in Grey, the theme for BBC newsreels, and The Young Ballerina which accompanied the famous ‘Potter’s Wheel’ TV interlude. However Williams also contributed to other publishers’ mood music libraries, such as those on this CD which were recorded by Bosworth & Co.

Henry Croudson (1898-1971) began his musical career in 1925 as an organist playing for silent films at the Majestic Cinema in his home town of Leeds. He became one of England’s foremost players, eventually working at the top cinemas including the famous Gaumont State, Kilburn, and the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, London. Henry also wrote many tuneful and well constructed pieces of light music, including the Miniature Overture Jack and Jill on this CD.

David Hart was a pseudonym for W. Granville Chapman, who published over 50 works. His contribution to this collection – Sabre Jet – was written to describe an American fighter aircraft, but it became familiar to millions of British television viewers during the 1950s when the BBC used it in a short film (screened many times) called "London to Brighton in Four Minutes", shot from the driver’s cab of a train.

Claud Vane and Kenneth Essex hide the true identity of Rufus Isaacs, who also used other pseudonyms such as Derek Dwyer and Howitt Hale. His many short works often had a ‘show business’ or holiday feel.

Haydn Wood (1882-1959) enjoyed much success during the early years of the last century with ballads, before concentrating on full scale orchestral works and suites. Roses of Picardy has been in the repertoire of most singers of the 20th century (even Frank Sinatra!), and that alone could justify Haydn Wood’s place among the great popular composers. Recent recordings of his works have demonstrated the depth and wide scope of his composing abilities, especially in suites. This native Yorkshireman often dedicated such works to London, and one can imagine the subject of his Sketch of a Dandy visiting the fashionable places in the capital city.

The German composer and conductor Erich Börschel (1907-1988) received his musical education at the Conservatory in Mainz, then became repetiteur and conductor at the local Staatstheater from 1927 to 1931. For the next four years he worked as a pianist at the broadcasting house in Königsberg (today part of Poland), before forming his own dance band and light orchestra in 1935. During this time he made various commercial recordings for the Telefunken label and in 1938 he composed the charming Sparrow’s Concert heard on this CD. From 1946 to 1962 he was leader of the Grosses Unterhaltungsorchester in Frankfurt, before completing his career as a freelance musician.

Gerald Crossman (b. 1920) came from a musical family, with three cousins playing in leading British dance bands such as Lew Stone, Jack Hylton and Ambrose. He studied the accordion and became proficient on the saxophone, clarinet and trumpet. His recording and broadcasting career was interrupted by war service in the Royal Air Force, although he soon found his niche as the RAF Central Band Sergeant Music Instructor; when hostilities ceased he was posted to India, where he fulfilled a similar role with the Royal Indian Air Force Band. Back in civilian life, Gerald became fully employed with broadcasting, recording and film music sessions, as well as performing at venues such as holiday camps and fashionable hotels, and on ocean going liners. His composing career gradually developed, resulting in over 100 titles – Typical Teenagerbeing a catchy example.

Louis Mordish (1908-1996) was a distinguished cinema organist, pianist, Musical Director and prolific composer. Although he played piano in many different ensembles during his long career, radio listeners in Britain will recall broadcasts by Louis Mordish and his Players for programmes such as "Morning Music" and "Music While You Work". He was also heard regularly on the cinema organ and continued to give occasional recitals until shortly before he died.

The orchestras performing on Library Music recordings often contained some of the finest session players, and Bosworth was fortunate in being able to employ Louis Voss (1902-1980). He possessed a wide experience as a conductor, starting with silent films then specialising for a while in café and restaurant work providing gypsy, Hungarian and Viennese music. He formed the Louis Voss Grand Orchestra during the 1930s, which made many records for Bosworths; they also recorded under the pseudonym ‘The West End Celebrity Orchestra’. The leader was the famous violinist Alfredo Campoli. Eventually Louis Voss became one of the BBC’s regular broadcasters, and he combined this with theatrical engagements. Towards the end of his long career he was actually the anonymous conductor of the Sydney Thompson Old Time Orchestra.

Bosworth & Co. was one of the British pioneers of recorded music, and it is hoped that this small selection from their considerable output will illustrate the high quality of the music they provided to the entertainment industry during the last century. This famous name still exists as part of the Music Sales group.


David Ades

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