Orchestral Gems In Stereo
Orchestral Gems In Stereo
1 Lady Of Spain (Tolchard Evans, arr. Carmen Dragon)
CARMEN DRAGON AND THE CAPITOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Capitol SP 8487 1959
2 She Didn’t Say Yes (from "The Cat And The Fiddle") (Jerome Kern, arr. Paul Weston)
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CS 8049 1958
3 Just A Kiss Apart (from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes") (Jule Styne; Leo Robin)
WARREN BARKER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Bros. WB 1218 1958
4 La Mer (Charles Trenet)
XAVIER CUGAT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LSP 2173 1959
5 Shooting Star (Les Baxter)
LES BAXTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 968 1958
6 Our Love Affair (from "An Affair To Remember") (Harry Warren; Harold Adamson, arr. Conrad Salinger)
THE CONRAD SALINGER ORCHESTRA Conducted by BUDDY BREGMAN
Verve MG VS-6012 1958
7 Mr. Punch (Robert Farnon)
LESLIE JONES and his ORCHESTRA OF LONDON
Pye Nixa NSEP 85004 1959
8 Chelsea (Fats Waller, arr. Angela Morley)
ANGELA MORLEY AND HER ORCHESTRA (as ‘WALLY STOTT’ on LP label)
Philips SBBL 501 1958
9 Misirlou (Nicholas Roubanis; Fred Wise; Milton Leeds; Sidney Keith Russell)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1266 1959
10 Glamorous Night (Ivor Novello, arr. Peter Yorke)
PETER YORKE AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Delyse Envoy ES 7041 1959
11 After You (Cole Porter)
VICTOR SILVESTER AND HIS SILVER STRINGS
Regal SREG 1015 1959
12 When Your Lover Has Gone (Einar Aaron Swan, arr. Gordon Jenkins)
GORDON JENKINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 884 1957
13 Le Premier Rendezvous (Sylviano; Busch)
HANS-GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
14 Majorca (David Rose)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM SE 3748 1959
15 I’ll Follow My Secret Heart (Noel Coward, arr. Philip Green)
PHILIP GREEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia BTD 701 1956
16 Damisela Encantadora (Ernesto Lecuona, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Philips SBBL 529 1959
17 Sea Of Dreams (Nelson Riddle)
NELSON RIDDLE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 915 1958
18 Dreamland USA (Hal Mooney)
HAL MOONEY AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60073 1958
19 Marigold (Billy Mayerl, arr. Ronald Binge)
RONALD BINGE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LSP 1890 1959
20 Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) (Raymond Evans; Jay Livingston)
FRANK DEVOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CS 8010 1958
21 Mostly For Lovers (Henry Mancini)
HENRY MANCINI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA LSP 2101 1959
22 Cecelia (Herman Ruby; Dave Dreyer, arr. Dennis Farnon)
DENNIS FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
RCA Victor LSP 1897 1959
23 La Vita E Un Paradiso Di Bugie (Gaetano Oliviero)
GEORGE MELACHRINO Conducting the Orchestra of the 6th San Remo Festival
HMV SCT 1519 1957
24 The Theme From "A Summer Place" (Max Steiner, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia AS 166 1959
25 España (Emmanuel Chabrier)
Stereo Fidelity SF 6600 1959
All tracks are in stereo
As the 1950s drew to a close, the decade had witnessed dramatic changes that were to dictate trends in popular culture for many years in the future. Television was gaining dominance over radio as the main source of home entertainment, and in the world of recorded music the long playing record – with the added benefit of stereophonic sound - was overtaking the single disc as the preferred choice for most music lovers’ collections.
Singles were far from dead and buried – in a different form they are still a feature of pop music today – but the idea of around forty minutes of music dedicated to a certain theme had a strong appeal. When LPs first arrived they were often random selections of existing recordings, but the idea of a ‘concept album’ gradually evolved, and this is still with us today.
The Guild ‘Golden Age Of Light Music’ series attempts to offer varied collections based on a central theme, so that listeners do not have to endure too many sudden changes in style and content. Today, with CDs offering playing times approaching eighty minutes, this makes the compiler’s task much more challenging than it used to be, when just six pieces of music on each side of an LP was commonplace.
But those 1950s recordings contain a wealth of beautiful sounds that were created by talented people with a genuine love of their craft. So many LPs were collections generally described as ‘light orchestral music’ (or maybe ‘easy listening’ or ‘concert music’) which sold in millions around the world. Stereo gave it a new dimension, and this latest Guild CD attempts to recreate the excitement felt by record collectors around fifty years ago as they scanned the lists of new releases to see what new ‘Orchestral Gems in Stereo’ were being offered by their favourite conductors.
No less than nine orchestras are taking their Guild ‘bow’ in this collection, and top of the list making a welcome appearance is Carmen Dragon (1914-1984) who was born in Antioch, California. His first success in Hollywood was collaborating with Morris Stoloff (1898-1980) arranging Jerome Kern’s score for the 1944 Rita Hayworth/Gene Kelly film "Cover Girl" which secured him an Oscar. He worked extensively in radio and television, and was a frequent visitor to recording studios conducting the Hollywood Bowl and Capitol Symphony Orchestras. His inspired arrangement of the Tolchard Evans’ standard Lady Of Spain breathes fresh life into a tune which was once performed by every imaginable kind of musical ensemble – often with far less respect than it deserved.
The potential traps placed in the path of researchers are vividly illustrated in the case of La Mer. Widely recognised as Charles Trenet’s great masterpiece, this tune is clearly identified on the original French Columbia 78 (DC 414) as having music and lyrics by Charles Trenet; the orchestra conductor, Albert Lasry, is credited as arranging the music. Yet the sheet music states that both Trenet and Lasry composed the piece. To complicate matters further, some sources quote Leo Chauliac as having an input as co-writer. The one consistent story is that Trenet came up with the lyrics on a train journey along the Mediterranean coast in 1943, but how much credence should be placed upon the myth that he used SNCF toilet paper for his manuscript is anybody’s guess. Xavier Cugat takes his Guild Light Music bow with a charming version of this 1948 worldwide hit. Cugat (1900-1990 - born Francesco d'Asís Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu) was a Spanish-born bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, but achieved fame in the USA. He provided the resident orchestra at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria before and after the Second World War, and he was also a cartoonist and successful businessman. His four marriages provided fodder for gossip columnists, but his lasting legacy is appearances in several Hollywood films and many fine recordings of Latin American music.
Leslie Jones (b. 1905) is another conductor making his Guild debut this time. A lawyer by profession, his abiding passion had always been music-making around his home area of Staffordshire in the English midlands. When his son took over the law practice, Leslie relocated further south, and formed his Little Orchestra of London which gained international acclaim through a series of Haydn recordings for Pye. When stereo arrived Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was keen to have some of his own compositions recorded in the new format, but he was tied to his Decca contract until the end of 1958 and they were seemingly not very enthusiastic. During that year Pye-Nixa agreed that Leslie Jones could conduct a surprisingly large number of Farnon originals for them, and the results were released in 1959 on two LPs and one EP, in both mono and stereo versions (in the early days of stereo the discs were not deemed ‘compatible’ – in other words it was considered damaging to stereo LPs if they were played with a mono pickup cartridge). The project was co-ordinated by Farnon’s manager, Derek Boulton, and Farnon provided all the scores and attended the sessions, which Jones confessed was rather a nerve-racking experience. Jones’ Orchestra of London consisted mainly of the session players who usually performed under Farnon’s baton, plus seven additional strings. Later researches revealed that the composer did, on occasion, assist with conducting when Leslie Jones experienced difficulty with some of the tempi. But essentially these recordings are a great tribute to Jones who was a modest man who devoted much of his life to creating music for the benefit of others without any wish for personal reward, and the track Mr. Punch is the first of several from these sessions that will now reappear to reach an appreciative new audience via Guild CDs.
In his native USA John Scott Trotter (1908-1975) will have been a familiar name through his work on radio in the 1930s, and on many TV shows from the late 1940s onwards. Although he worked as MD with several top singers, he was especially linked with Bing Crosby, and it is from seeing him credited as the orchestra on numerous Crosby 78s that music lovers elsewhere in the world would have picked up on his name. Eventually someone at Warner Bros. Records realised that his talents as an arranger deserved to be more widely known, and he appeared on several LPs performing a mixture of standards and instrumental favourites (such as Misirlou), including a few of his own compositions.
Victor Marlborough Silvester OBE (1900-1978) sold over 75 million records from the 1930s to the 1980s. His style of music for ballroom dancing relied upon a solo violin (usually Oscar Grasso), two pianos and a strong rhythm section. In the 1950s he became a television personality, and his record company realised that his music ought to appeal to listeners as well as dancers. So strings were added and his recording career entered a new phase. Cole Porter’s After You is a fine illustration of the ‘new’ Victor Silvester.
Hans-Georg Arlt (b. 1927) started learning the violin at the age of six, and later studied under Professor Max Strub in Berlin. In 1946 he began his distinguished radio career, and when the RIAS Dance Orchestra was formed in 1948 he led the string section for a while. In the following years he became a familiar name on German radio and television with his String Orchestra, and his attractive version of Le Premier Rendezvous makes one wish that he had been a more frequent visitor to the recording studios.
Henry Mancini (born Enrico Nicola Mancini, 1924-1994) started life in Cleveland, Ohio although most of his childhood was spent near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his Italian-born father Quinto was a steelworker. Fortunately he made his only child learn the flute, thus inspiring young Henry to pursue an interest in music, including a year at the prestigious Julliard School of Music before he was drafted into the US Army in 1944. Upon his discharge in 1946 he found work playing piano and arranging, and wisely decided to continue his more serious studies so that he would be well-equipped to achieve his goal of being recognised as a composer. In 1952 he was fortunate in gaining a job at Universal Pictures in Hollywood, and during a six-year contract he worked on around 100 films, including "The Glenn Miller Story" which gained him an Oscar nomination. By 1958 his talents were widely recognised within the music business, and thereafter he was offered numerous commissions for television series, films and – of course – recordings. For the next three decades his name was constantly being noticed by the public, but his prodigious output was not achieved at the expense of quality. His debut for Guild comes from one of his earliest LPs, and Mostly For Lovers clearly signposts the kind of mellow, slightly jazzy sound that would become his trademark. Among the numerous awards he received he was probably proud of his 20 Grammys. His most famous theme was for the "Pink Panther" series of films. Perhaps the greatest accolade was his portrait on a US 37¢ stamp in 2004.
Dennis Farnon (b. 1923) is the youngest of the three famous Farnon brothers: the first was Brian (b. 1911) and the second – the most famous of the three – was Robert Farnon (1917-2005). Dennis worked for ten years in Hollywood where his screen credits included the music for twelve ‘Mr. Magoo’ cartoons, and four humorous animated ‘Art’ films. For three years he was Artist and West Coast Album Director for RCA Records, and was one of the five founders in 1957 of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who present the annual Grammy awards. His conducting and arranging assignments included albums with Harry Belafonte, Tony Martin, Gogi Grant, George Shearing and the Four Freshmen. Among his own LPs are ‘Caution Men Swinging’, ‘Enchanted Woods’ (from which comes his unusual, yet appealing arrangement of Cecelia) and ‘Magoo in Hi-Fi’. He came to Europe in 1962, composing a large body of production music and working on TV series such as ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Spy Trap’ and ‘Bouquet of Barbed Wire’. He scored the 1966 Tony Curtis film "Drop Dead Darling" which was renamed "Arrivederci Baby" for its US release. Dennis now lives in The Netherlands, where he continues to compose and teach.
101 Strings was a name which seems to have been the brainchild of American record company executive David L. Miller, initially employing the arranging, composing and conducting talents of Monty Kelly, Joseph Kuhn and Robert Lowden. The first recordings took place in Hamburg in 1957, using the North West German Radio Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Stephan. In 1958 the market was literally flooded with over 20 albums, some featuring recycled material from earlier productions under names such as the New World Theatre Orchestra and the Rio Carnival Orchestra. As years went by recordings were made in many different countries (especially England) with top arrangers and conductors often working anonymously. The ‘101 Strings’ brand is still a big success today through constant reissues of old recordings, although the originator David L. Miller sold the franchise in 1964.
The other orchestras on this CD have all previously featured on Guild CDs, so it is only fair that the nine newcomers should be spotlighted in the notes this time.