1 Flight Of The Bumble Bee (Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
PIERRE CHALLET AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60066 1959
2 Clair De Lune (Achille-Claude Debussy, arr. Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
PIERRE CHALLET AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury SR 60066 1959
3 The Dargason (from “St. Paul’s Suite”) (Gustav Holst, arr. Angela Morley)
ANGELA MORLEY AND HER ORCHESTRA (as ‘WALLY STOTT’ on LP label)
Philips SBBL 501 1958
4 Popular Song (from “Façade” Suite No. 2) (Sir William Walton)
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIR WILLIAM WALTON
Columbia 33C1054 1958
5 The Lamp Is Low (based on Maurice Ravel’s Pavanne) (Mitchell Parish; Peter de Rose; Bert A. Shefter)
FRANK DE VOL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Capitol H 185 1950
6 Gipsy Love - Waltz (Franz Lehár, arr. Sidney Torch)
SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Parlophone R 3026 1947
7 Overture To A Costume Comedy (Stanley Black)
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by PIERINO GAMBA
Decca LW 5325 1958
8 Portrait Of Clare (from the film “Portrait Of Clare”) (transcribed and arranged from Robert Schumann’s “Devotion” by Felton Rapley)
CHARLES WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia DB 2764 1950
9 “Ballet Egyptien” Finale (Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph Luigini)
RONNIE MUNRO AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Decca LF 1021 1950
10 Barcarolle (Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, arr. Philip Green)
PHILIP GREEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia BTD 701 1956
11 Lake Of The Woods (Robert Joseph Farnon)
LESLIE JONES and his ORCHESTRA OF LONDON
Pye-Nixa NSPL 83008 1959
12 “Masquerade” Suite – Waltz (Aram Il’yich Khachaturian)
PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF NEW YORK Conducted by ANDRE KOSTELANETZ
Philips NBE 11033 1956
13 Beyond The Moonlight (based on Felix Mendelssohn's "On Wings Of Song") (Dorchas Cochran; Ralph Sterling, better known as David Carroll)
DAVID CARROLL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Mercury MG 20121 1956
14 He’s In Love (from “Kismet”) (based on ‘Polovetzian Dances’ from “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin, arr. Percy Faith)
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Columbia CL 550 1954
15 Last Spring (Edvard Grieg)
THE MELACHRINO STRINGS Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO
HMV DSD 1751 1958
16 Comedians’ Galop (Dimitri Borisovich Kabalevsky)
QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
Decca F 9295 1949
17 Brown Bird Singing (Haydn Wood)
ERIC JUPP AND THE MELODI STRINGS
Chappell C 670 1959
18 Theme from “Swan Lake” Ballet (Tchaikovsky, arr. Ray Conniff)
RAY CONNIFF AND HIS ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
Columbia CS 8022 1958
19 Meditation (from “Thais” - Jules Massenet) (arranged and adapted by Herman Clebanoff & W. Robinson)
Mercury SR 60005 1958
20 Sabre Dance (from ballet “Gayaneh) (Aram Il’yich Khachaturian)
JOHN SCOTT TROTTER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Warner Brothers WS 1223 1958
“The Firebird” Ballet (Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, arr. David Rose)
21 Dance Of The Princesses
22 Dance Of Kastchei
23 Berceuse & Finale
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Standard Radio Transcription Service Z-162-5,6,7 1942
Stereo: tracks 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20 - rest in mono
Many young people grow up regarding the words ‘classical’ and ‘symphony’ with deep suspicion. They have probably seen pictures of aged composers, sporting unkempt beards and often looking very serious, and reach the conclusion that anything they have created would certainly be far from what they would enjoy in today’s modern world. When radio was still in the first half-century of its existence, broadcasters had yet to come up with the mistaken idea that people wanted to hear the same sounds, endlessly repeated, for 24 hours every day of the week. Early radio provided many kinds of entertainment, both spoken and musical, and listeners often unexpectedly came across styles of music they suddenly discovered that they rather liked. Today such happy ‘accidents’ are most unlikely – which is a great pity, because the younger generation may be unintentionally depriving itself of some of the most glorious music ever written
This collection has been prepared with three main aims: firstly to prove that the so-called boundaries between light and classical music are not as insurmountable as some people seem to imagine; secondly to illustrate that many composers, who may usually be associated with more serious works, also had their lighter moments; and thirdly to offer several examples of the tasteful way in which arrangers of the 20th century adapted the classics to make them more instantly appealing to their audience. For many years such ‘tampering with the classics’ was banned by the BBC in Britain, although commercial recordings could be freely purchased. However a lack of broadcasts obviously affected sales, which partly explains why such recordings were more common in the United States than in Britain.
Our opening track is so short that it seemed only fair that the same orchestra should be allowed a second chance to display its fine musicianship. If Flight Of The Bumble Bee required frantic playing from all concerned, the opposite is surely the case with Claude Debussy’s (1862-1918) atmospheric Clair De Lune from his ‘Suite Bergamasque’ (1890). It was originally a piano work, but it transfers beautifully to the orchestra, especially in this arrangement by ‘Ralph Sterling’. But all is not as it seems: ‘Sterling’ was a pseudonym for ‘David Carroll’ who was actually born Rodell Walter ‘Nook’ Schreier (1913-2008). In the mid 1940s he joined the newly formed Mercury Records Corporation where he was employed as conductor, arranger, producer and eventually artists and repertoire manager, his last recordings on the Mercury label appearing in the late 1960s. He went on to become General Manager of the Smothers Brothers organisation. There is more: who was ‘Pierre Challet’, who fronts the fine orchestra on these two tracks? A lack of any information about him in reference books leads one to question whether this may have been yet another alias for the man that many knew as ‘David Carroll’! Later in this collection Carroll conducts his own arrangement of Felix Mendelssohn’s On Wings Of Song which he retitled Beyond The Moonlight.
Angela Morley (1924-2009) was regarded as one of the finest arrangers and film composers in recent years. In her later career she worked on several big budget movies - one example is the “Star Wars” series assisting John Williams. She also contributed scores to prestigious TV shows such as “Dallas” and “Dynasty”. In the 1950s she made numerous recordings under her former name, Wally Stott, also providing the priceless musical backings for BBC Radio’s “The Goon Show”. The Dargason comes from her highly respected collection of music associated with London.
A generation of children grew up in Britain for whom a radio series “Said The Cat To The Dog” was essential listening. The catchy theme called Popular Song from the “Façade” Suite by Sir William Walton (1902-1983) probably encouraged some of them to explore his music in greater depth – to their considerable enrichment. When a composer conducts his own work (as on this occasion) it should be safe to assume that we are hearing it exactly as he intended.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) composed a wealth of tuneful music that comfortably fits the aspirations of this collection. His work certainly influenced many light music composers, who were not ashamed to confess the fact. In turn his melodies were adapted by others, as in the case of his Pavanne which enjoyed popularity as The Lamp Is Low. The arranger may have been Frank De Vol (1911-1999) who conducts this work. Although the cinema made full use of his musical talents (at one time it was common to see ‘Music by De Vol’ in the credits for many films), he was also familiar to US audiences through his work on the radio and TV series “The Brady Bunch”.
Franz Lehár (born Lehár Ferenc 1870-1948) was already well established as a leading composer of operettas when his desire to write something more substantial resulted in Gipsy Love (Zigeunerliebe) in 1910. It is a long work whose structure is far more operatic than his previous world-wide successes, such as ‘The Merry Widow’ and ‘The Count Of Luxembourg’. Happily this more ‘serious’ work did not mean that his gift for melody had been compromised, as Sidney Torch’s arrangement readily testifies.
Stanley Black (born Solomon Schwartz 1913-2002) was successful in many areas of music during his long career which began in his teens. From playing piano in Harry Roy’s dance band he became keen on Latin-American music, and later recorded many fine light orchestral albums. He was also in demand for film scores, and the Overture To A Costume Comedy was composed in 1947 as part of the background music to the film “Mrs Fitzherbert” about the love affair of George IV and Maria Fitzherbert. Later Black extended and developed his work into classical overture form, and on Sunday 27 March 1949 it received its first broadcast performance conducted by the composer during the BBC’s first Festival of Light Music.
Since the earliest days of silent films well-known classics have been used to good effect to enhance various moods on screen, and producers and directors continue the practice right up to the present day. The 1950 British movie “Portrait Of Clare” has been described as suiting ‘easily pleased female audiences’, and Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) familiar Devotion presumably created sufficient attention at the time to warrant the commercial recording by Charles Williams (real name Isaac Cozerbreit,1893-1978).
Luigini’s “Ballet Egyptien” is forever associated in the minds of an older British generation with the music hall sand dancers Wilson, Keppel and Betty, and this version conducted by Ronnie Munro (1897-1989) features the finale of the work. Also familiar is Tchaikovsky’s Barcarolle which has received the attention of numerous musicians since it was first heard in 1876. It was arranged and conducted by Philip Green (1910-1982), and this early stereo recording was originally released on a reel to reel ‘stereosonic’ tape, before stereo LPs were launched. Green 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, and countless mood music compositions.
Toronto-born Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was one of the 20th century’s finest light music composers, and from the 1940s onwards his innovative and attractive compositions inspired new generations of writers. Particularly in the USA, his albums of popular standards were regarded by fellow arrangers as the ultimate achievement of perfection, and it would be hard to overstate his influence on the development of light orchestral music as an enduring art form of the last century. For some reason his great talent was not always appreciated in his own country, yet some of his most impressive works possessed a strong Canadian flavour. Lake Of The Woods owed much to Farnon’s unashamed admiration for Delius, Debussy and Ravel, yet it was the beauty of a sparsely populated area in Northern Ontario that was the true inspiration behind this delicate tone poem. Andre Kostelanetz (1901-1980) had a crusade to introduce his audiences to the lighter classics, and Khachaturian was an obvious choice. The Waltz from “Masquerade” almost enjoys as much popularity as the same composer’s Sabre Dance, which receives a vibrant performance from John Scott Trotter (1908-1975) a few tracks later. Percy Faith (1908-1976) made some fine recordings from the musical “Kismet”, as He’s In Love will surely confirm. Another arranger/conductor who often performed popular classical works was George Melachrino (1909-1965) and Grieg’s melodies adapted well for a string orchestra. Robert Farnon returns as conductor of the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra in Kabalevsky’s Comedians’ Galop in a recording that was used as a demonstration disc when LPs were first launched. Eric Jupp (1922-2003) was well-known in Britain for his recordings and broadcasts, before emigrating to Australia in the 1960s where he was similarly successful – especially for his theme for the television series “Skippy The Bush Kangaroo”. He conducts a charming arrangement of Haydn Wood’s (1882-1959) Brown Bird Singing – unfortunately the arranger receives no credit, but it may well be Jupp’s own work. American musician Ray Conniff (born Joseph Raymond Conniff, 1916-2002) achieved considerable fame in the 1950s with a series of albums usually featuring a wordless choir. Previously he had played trombone and arranged for bands such as Bunny Berigan, Bob Crosby and Artie Shaw. It was for Shaw’s band that Conniff arranged George Gershwin’s ‘S Wonderful in 1945, and a decade later he adapted it for his choir, providing one of his biggest hits and making his unique sound recognisable around the world. His 1958 album “Concert In Rhythm” for the first time added a large string section and french horns to his standard lineup of choir and rhythm, and from this collection we hear his interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from “Swan Lake”.
Chicago-born Herman Clebanoff (1917-2004) made around 15 instrumental albums for Mercury, often using his own arrangements.
Our finale features the great David Rose (1910-1990) who tends to be remembered today for two landmark instrumentals – Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120) and The Stripper (1962). But he achieved far more than that during his long and illustrious career. He was born in London, England, and the family moved to the USA when he was just four-years-old. After leaving the Chicago College of Music at the age of 16, he joined Ted Fio Rito's dance band, and three years later became a pianist, arranger and conductor for NBC Radio. He moved to Hollywood, and in 1938 formed his own orchestra for the Mutual Broadcasting System and featured on the programme “California Melodies”. Rose began working in movies in 1941 – the year in which Judy Garland became his second wife, although the marriage ended in divorce in 1944: he is credited with scoring 36 films. The final three tracks in this collection come from the time when he was developing his famous string sound which made Holiday For Strings such a big hit around the world. Later his sheer volume of work would force him to employ other arrangers, but he was entirely responsible for the adaptations of Stravinsky’s music from the ballet “The Firebird”, first performed at the Paris Opera on 25 June 1910. Best described as modern (in 1942!) pop concert arrangements, Rose’s adaptations often contain or imply a dance beat, although in many places they are surprisingly true to the original score. These rare recordings were made for the American Standard Radio Transcription Services library, which means they were not commercial recordings, but intended for use on US radio stations. In his later career Rose wrote scores and themes for over 20 television series and won Emmy awards for his 14 year stint on “Bonanza”, 10 years with “Little House On The Prairie” and his work on three much-acclaimed Fred Astaire specials. In total he won five Grammy awards and six gold records, and has been included on many previous Guild Light Music CDs.
LIGHT MUSIC CDs JUNE 2010