GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5170
1 Melody Fair (Robert Farnon)
LESLIE JONES and his ORCHESTRA OF LONDON
Pye-Nixa NSPL 83009 1959
2 Loveliest Of The Lovely (Rudolf Friml)
101 STRINGS Conducted by RUDOLF FRIML
Stereo Fidelity SF-6900 1959
3 Carnival Tango (Joseph Kuhn)
DOLORES VENTURA, piano and the CARNIVAL ORCHESTRA
Valiant V-4926 1959
4 Autumn Nocturne (Josef Myrow; Kim Gannon)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1223 1958
5 Warum Nur, Warum? (Why Just Why?) (Berking; Paulsen)
HANS GEORG ARLT AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Ariola 32721 1958
6 Long Ago And Far Away (Jerome Kern, arr. Conrad Salinger)
THE CONRAD SALINGER ORCHESTRA Conducted by BUDDY BREGMAN
Verve MG VS-6012 1958
7 I’ve Got My Eyes On You (Cole Porter)
VICTOR SILVESTER AND HIS SILVER STRINGS
Regal SREG 1015 1959
8 Mam’selle (Edmund Goulding; Mack Gordon)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1266 1959
9 Lullaby Of Broadway (Al Dubin; Harry Warren)
FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca SKL 4048 1959
10 I’m Thru With Love (Matt Malneck; Fud Livingston; Gus Kahn, arr. Paul Weston)
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol ST 1154 1959
11 Lovely Lady (Jimmy McHugh; Ted Koehler)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV DSD 1751 1958
12 While We’re Young (Bill Engvick; Morty Palitz; Alec Wilder)
ANDRE KOSTELANETZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Philips BBL 7045 1955
13 If I Loved You (Richard Rodgers)
GEOFF LOVE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia SX 1060 1957
14 Return To Paradise (film theme) (Ned Washington; Dimitri Tiomkin, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 577 1954
15 Underneath Tahitian Skies (Ralph Siegel; Robert Mellin)
DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘VAN LYNN’ on LP)
Brunswick LAT 8125 1956
16 Too Soon (Robert Harris, arr. Bruce Campbell)
BRUCE CAMPBELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM E 3460 1956
17 Mine At Last (Otto Cesana)
OTTO CESANA AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 631 1955
18 Scalinatella (Stay After School) (Giuseppe Cloffi; Wilson)
CYRIL STAPLETON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
MGM E 3302 1956
19 Spring In Montmartre (Larry Fotine)
MANTOVANI AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LK 4150 1957
20 Tonight (Dorchas Cochran; Ralph Sterling, real name David Carroll)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MG 20121 1956
21 I’ll Take Romance (Ben Oakland; Oscar Hammerstein II)
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Services Z-165 1942
22 Eva Waltz (Franz Lehár)
HARRY HORLICK AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as ‘Rene Savard’ on disc label)
Standard Radio Transcription Services T 239-1 1945
23 On The Isle Of May (based on the Andante Cantabile from Tchaikovsky’s Quartet in D Major) (Andre Kostelanetz; David)
FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol H 185 1950
24 Without A Song (Vincent Youmans, arr. Robert Farnon)
ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LF 1052 1951
25 Midnight In Paris (from the film "Here’s To Romance") (Con Conrad; Herb Magidson)
LEWIS WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Services Z 250-2 1949
Stereo: tracks 1-11; rest in mono
In this collection the emphasis is on melody – in many cases well-known, but not exclusively so. In fact the opening track may only be familiar to keen aficionados of original light music compositions, but few can surely dispute its glorious harmonies which instantly appeal. Its composer, the Canadian Robert Farnon (1917-2005), was already firmly established as a master of distinctive short cameos such as Jumping Bean (on Guild GLCD5162)and Portrait Of A Flirt (GLCD5120) when Melody Fair appeared on Decca’s new release lists in November 1952. Two years earlier the Chappell Recorded Music Library made it available to professional users in the entertainment business, and in 1949 cinemagoers had heard it as the titles music for a long-forgotten movie "Paper Orchid"; Farnon regularly used Melody Fair as one of his signature tunes. The recording conducted by Leslie Jones (b. 1905) comes from stereo sessions in 1958 for Pye-Nixa while Decca still had the composer under contract. Farnon was keen for many of his works to be available in stereo, but Decca seemingly lacked interest. The project was co-ordinated by Farnon’s manager, Derek Boulton, and Farnon provided all the scores and attended the sessions. 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 assist with conducting when Leslie Jones occasionally experienced difficulty with some of the tempi. Mr Punch from these sessions is already available on Guild GLCD5165.
Although several compositions by Rudolf Friml (1879-1972) have previously appeared in Guild compilations, this is the first time we have enjoyed him conducting his own music. This talented and prolific composer was born in Prague (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) where he studied piano and composition with Antonín Dvo?ák at the Conservatory. As a young man he moved to the United States where he found success as a composer of operettas, notably "Rose-Marie" and "The Vagabond King". These were just two of around 20 Broadway scores and two original screen musicals. The Miller International organisation (which embraced several new labels to promote early stereo in the USA) engaged 79-year-old Friml to front their newly-created ‘101 Strings’ in a collection of his own melodies, from which comes Loveliest Of The Lovely.
The pianist Dolores Ventura was married to Ivor Slaney (1921-1998), and it is possible that he was conducting the anonymous ‘Carnival Orchestra’ in Carnival Tango.
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. Warner Bros. Records used his talents on several LPs performing a mixture of standards and instrumental favourites including a few of his own compositions.
German violinist Hans-Georg Arlt (b. 1927) began his distinguished radio career in 1946, and when Werner Müller’s 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. The arranger of Warum Nur, Warum is not credited, but the distinctive string sound is similar to recordings by Müller during the 1950s.
Buddy Bregman (b. 1930), A&R Manager of the fledgling Verve Records label, took his orchestra into Studio A at Capitol Records on 20 & 21 March 1957 and conducted an album honouring arranger Conrad Salinger (1901-1961). Such was Bregman’s esteem for him that he retitled his orchestra ‘The Conrad Salinger Orchestra Conducted by Buddy Bregman’ for the LP "Conrad Salinger – A Lovely Afternoon". Long Ago And Far Away (from the film "Cover Girl") is the eighth track from those sessions to appear on Guild.
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 I’ve Got My Eyes On You is a typical example of the ‘new’ Victor Silvester.
Frank Chacksfield (1914-1995) conducted one of the finest light orchestras in the world, and during his long recording career with Decca alone, it is estimated that his albums sold more than 20 million copies. In total he made more than 150 long-playing albums which were released in many countries, especially in Europe, Japan and Australia as well as Britain and America.
Paul Weston (born Paul Wetstein 1912-1996) was one of America’s top arrangers and conductors, whose orchestral collections such as ‘Music For Dreaming’ and ‘Music For Memories’ were to provide the springboard for many future albums. I’m Thru With Love is a typical example of the hundreds of tasteful arrangements he created during his long career. In 1971 the Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave him its Trustees Award.
George Melachrino (1909-1965), Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980), Geoff Love (1917-1991), Percy Faith (1908-1976) and Dolf van der Linden (1915-1999) are Guild ‘regulars’ who are already familiar to light music lovers.
Bruce Campbell was one of several writers who owed much to his association with Robert Farnon. He was a fellow Canadian, who actually came to Britain some years before Farnon, and played trombone with various British bands during the 1930s including Ambrose, Jack Harris, Jack Hylton, Sid Millward, Hugo Rignold and Lew Stone. Campbell assisted Farnon on his post-war BBC radio shows, and was on hand to replace Wally Stott as MD for "The Goon Show" on those occasions when Wally wasn’t available. Later Bruce became a frequent contributor to various mood music libraries. His US LP "Lovelight" (from which comes Too Soon) is very rare, and makes one wonder why he was not invited to make other albums in a similar style.
Although born in Brescia, Italy, Otto Cesana (1899-1980) spent much of his career in California, and was especially active in radio and films during the 1940s and 1950s.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Cyril Stapleton (1914-1974) was a well-known orchestra leader in Britain and overseas, thanks to his regular BBC broadcasts and his many recordings.
Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-1980) became the conductor of one of the most famous light orchestras from the 1950s onwards. Born in Venice, his family came to England when he was aged four and he was something of a prodigy on the violin by the time he reached sixteen. But he leaned more towards popular music, and fronted many different kinds of ensembles before long-playing records (especially when stereo arrived) brought him worldwide acclaim.
David Carroll (1913-2008) – real name Rodell Walter ‘Nook’ Schreier – was well-known in his native USA as a conductor and arranger. He was also a successful composer, with his songs accepted by leading singers such as Sarah Vaughan, Vic Damone and Patti Page. Born in Chicago, his early career was centred on local ballrooms and radio stations. He played saxophone, but it was his talent as an arranger that created most interest among fellow musicians. Gradually he became known in wider music circles following a move to New York to work in radio on the "Lucky Strike All-Time Hit Parade"; in the mid-1940s he joined the newly formed Mercury Records where he spent the next 15 years. Initially employed as an arranger and conductor, he progressed to being a producer and was later promoted as head of artists and repertoire. He formed his own orchestra which recorded over 20 albums, often with a dance or percussion theme, reflecting his musical roots. When stereo arrived he embraced it enthusiastically, and gained recognition by some as one of the pioneers of this new marvel. He was particularly successful writing TV jingles for advertising, and became familiar to the public through his work with The Smothers Brothers, eventually becoming their General Manager. During his long career David Carroll was active in several organisations within the music profession, and served a term as President of The National Association of the Recording Arts and Sciences, which is best known for its annual Grammy Awards to recording artists. His attractive instrumentals have already been featured on many previous Guild Light Music CDs, and on this occasion ‘Ralph Sterling’ conceals his true identity as the co-composer of Tonight. Like so many A&R Managers, he probably felt more comfortable using pseudonyms to disguise the extent to which he promoted his own compositions on his recordings.
London-born David Rose (1910-1990) became one of the truly great light orchestra leaders in the USA. More than 30 of his recordings have already graced Guild Light Music CDs, but this time I’ll Take Romance is something special, because it dates from the period just before he became world famous through Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120). The distinctive Rose string sound is already clearly apparent.
Russian-born violinist Harry Horlick (1896-1970) was the conductor of one of early American radio’s most popular salon orchestras, largely due to his regular appearances on the long-running "A & P Gypsies" show from 1924 to 1936. When this series ended, Decca signed him for almost twenty sets of 78s featuring what has been described as ‘musically sturdy, if somewhat careful, albums, with a number devoted to popular and theatre music’. Such descriptions certainly apply to the recording of Franz Lehár’s Eva Waltz, which Horlick recorded for Standard Radio Transcription Services in 1945, using the pseudonym ‘Rene Savard’.
In the USA Frank De Vol (1911-1999) is known primarily as the composer for the radio and TV series "The Brady Bunch", but light music fans appreciate that his career has been far more substantial: it was not uncommon to see the credit ‘Music by De Vol’ on many films. In the 1950s his own Hollywood orchestra, called "Music of the Century", played frequently at the Hollywood Palladium. His many motion picture scores included the following which were all nominated for Oscars: the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy "Pillow Talk" (1959), "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" (1964), "Cat Ballou" (1965), and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967). Frank also appeared as a character actor in several US television series, such as "I Dream of Jeannie", "Bonanza" and "Petticoat Junction". For many years – probably well into the 1950s – the BBC in Britain banned dance bands and light orchestras playing adaptations of classical works, but this did not apply in the USA. Frank De Vol’s arrangement of the Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile, which was retitled On The Isle Of May would certainly have been caught up in the BBC ban. Is it wrong to make classical music more readily accessible to listeners who might otherwise not hear it? Individuals must make up their own minds on that contentious subject!
Without A Song is a prime example of the kind of popular arrangement that Robert Farnon perfected while he was with the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. The opening track in this collection illustrates how quickly he moved on to concentrate more on composing, but it is good to remind ourselves how brilliantly he handled all the various sections of his early concert orchestra (essentially a dance band with strings, as Paul Weston observed about his own similar outfit).
To complete this CD we turn to another rare recording from the Standard Radio Transcription Service in the USA. Lewis Williams conducts a time-locked and wonderfully corny version of Midnight In Paris from an unmemorable 1935 comedy musical "Here’s To Romance". Perhaps the most notable fact about the film is that the title song was the subject on a court case in 1939 for alleged plagiarism. The UCLA Film and Television Archives possess a nitrate print of the film, but it is not on the list for preservation. At least one of the tunes will survive via this Guild CD!