THE GUILD "GOLDEN AGE OF LIGHT MUSIC" SERIES HAS NOW REACHED No. 50!
1 String Fever (Rene Costy, Rene G.F. Heylbroeck)
EMILE DELTOUR AND HIS ORCHESTRA
2 Poinciana (Nat Simon, Buddy Bernier)
LEROY HOLMES AND HIS ORCHESTRA
3 Scrub Brother Scrub (Ken Warner, full name Onslow Boyden Waldo Warner)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
4 The Epic Waltz (Theme of "The Big Prevue Show") (R. Ellis, arr. Angela Morley)
JEFF MORLEY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
5 Fiddlin’ The Blues (Sidney Schwartz)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
6 Windy Corner (Bruce Campbell)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
7 Pedrillo’s Buggy Ride (Julius Steffaro, real name Jan Stoeckart)
HILVERSUM RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUGH GRANVILLE (real name HUGO DE GROOT)
8 Tillie’s Tango (James R. Mundy, Gladys Bruce)
ACQUAVIVA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
9 Stampede (Johannes (Johnny) Steggerda)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘VAN LYNN’ on LP label)
10 All Strings And Fancy Free (Sidney Torch, birth surname Torchinsky)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
11 Why Shouldn’t I (Cole Porter)
RICHARD HAYMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
12 El Relicario (Jose Padilla)
MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
13 Left Bank (C’est A Hambourg) (Margueritte Angele Monnot, arr. Laurie Johnson)
LAURIE JOHNSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
14 Caminito (Gabino Coria Penaloza, Juan de Dios Filiberto)
WERNER MULLER AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘RICARDO SANTOS’)
15 Busybody (Billy Mayerl)
STUTTGART RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by KURT REHFELD
16 Leap Year Waltz (from "The Dancing Years") (Ivor Novello)
MICHAEL FREEDMAN AND THE DEBUTANTES
17 Up With The Lark (Robert Busby)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH
18 Tico Tico (Zequinha da Abreu)
LUIZ ARRUDA PAES AND HIS ORCHESTRA
19 Dream Street (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
MARIO RUIZ ARMENGOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
20 By The River Sainte Marie (Harry Warren, Edgar Leslie, arr. Gordon Jenkins)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
21 Pink Gin (Peter Knight)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘PAUL FRANKLIN’
22 Green Eyes (Nilo Menendez, arr. John Gregory, real name Giovanni Gregori)
CYRIL ORNADEL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
23 Sneezing Violins (Meredith Willson)
MEREDITH WILLSON AND HIS ORCHESTRA featuring ALBERT PRATZ, violin
24 I Want To Be Happy (Vincent Youmans)
HELMUT ZACHARIAS AND HIS MAGIC VIOLINS
25 Lotta Pizzicato (Frank De Vol)
FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
26 Perfidia (Alberto Dominguez)
DON AMORE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
27 Cascade Of Stars (Osmar Hector Maderna)
MUSIC BY CAMARATA
28 Music Hall (Roger Roger)
ROGER ROGER AND HIS CHAMPS ELYSEES ORCHESTRA
Guild GLCD 5150
"String Fever" celebrates Guild Music’s 50th compilation in its ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ series, which was launched early in 2004. Since then over 1,200 recordings have been rescued from possible obscurity and made available once more to collectors around the world. The number of different orchestras featured exceeds 200 and more than 400 composers have had their works offered to a new and appreciative audience.
The notes accompanying the first release (GLCD 5101 – ‘An Introduction’) recalled a comment by veteran British broadcaster Denis Norden in the BBC Radio series ‘Legends of Light Music’ when he attempted to explain what Light Music really is. He said: "Light Music isn’t just tuneful round the outside - it’s tuneful right through." His observations probably come close to solving a riddle which has exercised the minds of music lovers for generations, because ‘Light Music’ can mean different things to different people.
Those two words also encounter problems when they cross frontiers. ‘Light Music’ is essentially a British phrase although it does engender a certain amount of understanding when used in North America where the term ‘Concert Music’ can also apply to this particular genre. On the continent of Europe the French appreciate ‘Musique Légère’, and further east in Germany it goes under the far more important-sounding ‘Unterhaltungsmusik’. Other descriptions which try to describe this particularly enjoyable form of music include ‘Easy Listening’, ‘Middle-of-the-Road’ and occasionally ‘Mood Music’.
Since Guild’s first release in March 2004 the pioneers such as Eric Coates. Albert Ketèlbey and Haydn Wood have seen their compositions included alongside the ‘newer boys’ like Robert Farnon, David Rose, Leroy Anderson, Sidney Torch and Charles Williams; they have moulded the traditional sounds of the early 20th century into a bright and tuneful style, thus ensuring that their work would be fully enjoyed as the century wore on.
The first Guild CDs received a warm welcome from music critics: writing in The Independent, Rob Cowan summed up his complimentary review with the words: "This is the real thing with a vengeance!" As the series has progressed new releases have widened the original scope in terms of repertoire, often in response to suggestions from enthusiastic supporters. This trend is likely to continue in the future, and it is now extremely rare for each new release not to feature several pieces of music which have been included by special request. Credit must also be given to a number of collectors around the world who so willingly supply their own copies of rare items. It almost seems as though a crusade has developed to ensure that Light Music is preserved for posterity.
Thus this 50th Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ CD "String Fever" is far more than simply an enjoyable collection of pleasant music that is easy on the ear: it is a recognition that world-wide there are many people who appreciate a welcome alternative to the sounds usually pouring forth from their radio sets.
With so many different composers and orchestras usually featured in each collection, it is virtually impossible to include biographical notes on each of them within the confines of a booklet such as this. Over the series as a whole they all get their special mention sooner or later, and a determined effort is made to showcase those who are appearing on a Guild Light Music CD for the very first time – like the five profiled below.
As a young man Michael Freedman (b. 1911) studied the violin, and at the age of 16 he was offered his first engagements in London’s West End theatre orchestras. Thereafter he tended to concentrate more on studying the art of conducting, and at various times worked with Toscanini, Furtwängler, von Karajan and Cantelli. However, like all musicians needing to pay the bills he used his talents widely, and in the early 1950s he was a violinist in the Philharmonia Orchestra. Gradually he became known as a conductor through his BBC broadcasts, and also appeared on television with an orchestra of lady musicians – Michael Freedman and his Debutantes, as heard on this CD. It comes from an Oriole LP released in 1957, which was reissued three years later on Woolworths’ Embassy label, but this time the orchestra was renamed "Hi-Fi String Orchestra" (amusingly mis-named "Hi-Hi" on the sleeve). Like so many musicians in the post-war years, Michael Freedman eventually had to seek other work, and he became a London taxi driver.
Sao Paulo born Luiz Arruda Paes (1926-1999) was a leading figure in his native Brazil’s entertainment scene. He was involved with many television shows, including the inauguration of the service in 1950, and he helped to establish the Jazz Sinfonica de Sao Paulo.
Don Mario Ruiz Armengol (b. 1914) has been compared by some musicologists as being Mexico’s equivalent of David Rose, and his arrangements do contain certain snatches of Rose’s unique style. During the middle years of the last century he was regarded as Mexico’s foremost arranger and conductor of popular music, as well as one of its leading composers. From the 1930s onwards RCA used him to accompany many of the contract artists on their Mexican subsidiary label, and he also worked extensively in radio and films. He gradually became known across the border in the USA (Duke Ellington is reported to have dubbed him "Mr. Harmony"), and Billy May recorded Armengol’s Dream Street but retitled it Brassmen’s Holiday.
Ken Warner (1902-1988 full name Onslow Boyden Waldo Warner), was born in Chiswick, London, into a musical family. His father, Harry Waldo Warner played viola in the London String Quartet and was a professor at London’s Guildhall School of Music, so naturally that is where young Onslow received most of his musical education. From 1921 – at first using the name ‘Onslow Kent’ - he played saxophone and violin in various dance bands in such places as the Kit-Kat club and the Café de Paris in the West End of London. He appeared on recordings with Percival Mackey in 1927 (Peter Yorke also arranged for this band); Harry Hudson from 1927 to 1932; and George Fisher in 1928 (again alongside Peter Yorke). Reference books also show him as having arranged for Jay Wilbur in 1928, and it can be safely assumed that this kind of work – performing and arranging – kept him fully occupied during the 1930s, both in England and abroad. By 1940 he had become well known as ‘Ken Warner’ and in that year he joined the BBC Light Orchestra, playing violin, clarinet and saxophone under Fred Hartley, also doing much of the arranging. He also played with, and arranged for, orchestras directed by famous violinists Max Jaffa, Reg Leopold and Tom Jenkins and was an early member of Michael Krein’s Saxophone Quartet. He stayed as a BBC employee until 1959, after which he retired to Cornwall to raise pigs. His compositions found their way into the Recorded Music Libraries of London publishers, although Scrub Brother Scrub seems to have been created simply as an enjoyable concert piece. The term ‘scrubbing’ refers to the articulation of repeated notes by means of a back and forth movement of the violin bow across the strings. This unique effect has been exploited by many violin virtuosi over the ages.
Billy Joseph Mayerl (1902-1959) created many attractive pieces of light music during his lifetime, but it was for his piano playing that he became universally famous. A child prodigy, at the age of seven he was studying at the Trinity College of Music and publicly performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto at the Queen’s Hall. In his early teens, like so many musicians of his generation, he was playing for silent films and in dance bands, but the event that was to change his life happened in 1926 when he set up a correspondence course in ‘Modern Syncopation’ for the thousands of his fans who hoped to emulate his style. Sadly most of them had their hopes dashed, but such was the success of his enterprise that by the late 1930s he employed a staff in excess of more than 100 and a worldwide clientele of over 30,000 students, until it finally closed down in 1957. Among many other projects his punishing work schedule involved numerous broadcasts, public appearances and the composition of numerous catchy novelties, the most famous being Marigold. Gradually he became more interested in writing light orchestral music, and Busybody is typical of the pieces he was writing for mood music in the 1950s. When the Light Music Society was formed in 1957, Billy Mayerl became the Editor of its regular Newsletter, a position he held until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1959.
On this occasion, in celebration of Guild’s 50th Light Music CD, space has been left in this booklet for photographs of some of the leading figures who entertain us regularly.