The Art Of The Arranger – Volume 1

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The Art Of The Arranger – Volume 1

1 Can Can (Jacques Offenbach, arr. Hal Mooney)
Time S 2005 1960
2 The Continental (from "The Gay Divorcee) (Con Conrad; Herb Magidson, arr. Conrad Salinger)
Verve MG VS-6012 1958
3 Almost Like Being In Love (from "Brigadoon) (Alan Jay Lerner; Frederick Loewe, arr. Brian Fahey)
MGM SE 3781 1959
4 Birth Of The Blues (from "George White's Scandals Of 1926) (Buddy De Sylva; Lew Brown; Ray Henderson, arr. Morton Gould)
RCA LSC 2104 1960
5 Windows Of The East (Ya Mayla) (Rahbani Brothers, arr. Ron Goodwin)
Parlophone PCS 3002 1959
6 London By Night (Carroll Coates, arr. Angela Morley)
Philips SBBL 501 1958
7 Clopin Clopant (also known as 'Comme Ci, Comme Ca') (Pierre Dudan; Bruno Andre Coquatrix, arr. George Melachrino)
RCA Camden CAS 10173 1958
8 My One And Only Love (Robert Mellin; Guy Wood, arr. Henry Mancini)
RCA LSP 2101 1959
9 Taboo (S.K. Stillman; Margarita Lecuona, arr. Les Baxter)
Capitol T 733 1956
10 The Thrill Is Gone (from "George White's Scandals Of 1931) (Lew Brown; Ray Henderson, arr. Gordon Jenkins)
Capitol ST 884 1957
11 Old Man River (from "Show Boat) (Jerome Kern, arr. David Rose)
MGM 3555 1957
12 Please Be Kind (Sammy Cahn; Saul Chaplin, arr. Nelson Riddle)
Capitol T 753 1957
13 Te Quiere Dijiste (Magic Is The Moonlight) (Maria Grever, arr. Mario Ruiz Armengol)
RCA LPM 1292 1956
14 Willingly (Melodie Perdue) (Carl Sigman; Hubert Giraud, arr. Monty Kelly)
Carlton STLP 12/123 1960
15 Summertime (from "Porgy and Bess) (George Gershwin, arr. Frank Cordell)
HMV CSD 1294 1960
16 The Song Is You (from "Music In The Air) (Jerome Kern, arr. Paul Weston)
Columbia CS 8049 1958
17 Across The Wide Missouri (Shenandoah) (Traditional arr. Robert Farnon)
MGM SE3804 1960
18 Destiny (Sydney Baynes, arr. Sidney Torch)
Parlophone E 11454 1947
19 The Irish Washerwoman (Traditional, arr. Clive Richardson)
KPM Music KPM 063 1960
20 Symphonic Rhapsody on "With A Song In My Heart (Richard Rodgers, arr. Eric Coates)
Columbia DX 63 1930
21 Temptation (from the film "Going Hollywood) (Arthur Freed; Nacio Herb Brown, arr. Percy Faith)
Columbia CS 8292 1960


22 Percy Faith discusses his arrangement of Temptation with Goddard Lieberson for a Columbia Records TV advertisement 1960

Stereo tracks 1-8, 10, 14–17 & 21; rest in mono

The arrangers are some of the most important people in the music business, yet all too often their work is taken for granted and frequently ignored. Yet without the skill of the arranger, the glorious sounds that any musical ensemble can create might never emerge.

Some light music composers do not need arrangers. Usually music is conceived at the piano, and those who possess the necessary talents are able to produce a full score which sets out in fine detail how each instrument will play the work. Often these prove to be the definitive versions, which are used whenever the music is performed.

But other composers are blessed with a gift for being able to write a good tune, which they prefer to leave others to interpret. They may offer guidance as to how they feel their music should sound, but they are usually happy to trust their chosen arranger with the intricacies of deciding which instruments should play different sections of the music. In the case of well-known tunes, such as those first heard in shows or films, over the course of time there will be many different arrangements made of the songs which are most popular.

Sometimes there is confusion between the roles of the 'arranger' and the 'orchestrator', and it is true to say that there is not universal agreement on the precise meanings of these terms. Generally the arranger is regarded as the person who decides how the music should sound, indicating the points in the score where different instruments will be playing. Other guidelines such as tempo will also be identified, and in some cases an arranger may go on to complete the entire score. But a busy musician is likely to pass over the manuscript to an orchestrator, who will then proceed, according to the arranger's guidelines, setting out all the individual notes to be played throughout the piece. At this point the music will be in the form of a complete score, with all the instruments placed at the usually accepted points down the (quite large!) page. This will be used by the conductor when the work is performed, since it is possible to see at a glance which instruments should be playing.

The final stage is for the manuscript to be passed to a copyist, who will make separate scores for each of the instruments in the orchestra. This means that the violins will only see those parts of the music where they are playing, with similar scores for all the other sections of the orchestra.

The description above relates to the traditional method by which arrangements are created, and it certainly applies to the music in this collection. However modern technology – computers– now mean that a composer (if he or she wishes) can do all these tasks on their own, then simply press a button to get all the individual scores printed.

From the foregoing it will hopefully be clear that the arranger is the essential ingredient in ensuring whether or not a piece of music will succeed. Arranging is an art form in itself: there are good and bad arrangers - two different ones working on the same piece of music can produce settings that are poles apart. Without the skill of the arranger, the works of excellent tunesmiths such as Richard Addinsell and Vivian Ellis in Britain, and Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Frederick Loewe in the USA, might never have made such a big and lasting impact.

It is, perhaps, a strange coincidence that two of the greatest arrangers of quality popular music during the second half of the 20th century were born in Toronto, Canada, and their paths crossed during their early careers. Percy Faith (1908-1976) sought fame and found fortune in the USA, whereas his fellow countryman Robert Farnon (1917-2005) decided to base himself in Britain after service with the Canadian Army during World War II. In the late 1930s Faith was conducting the CBC Orchestra for a popular series of programmes that were also heard in some areas south of the border. His lead trumpeter for a while was Robert Farnon, who also did some vocal arrangements for the show. When Faith eventually decided to accept one of the lucrative offers he kept receiving to work in the USA, Farnon took over the orchestra in 1940.

But the war dictated that Farnon's immediate future involved providing musical entertainment for the troops, and in 1944 he arrived in England to work alongside the US and British service orchestras fronted respectively by Glenn Miller and George Melachrino. When hostilities ceased Farnon remained in Britain, and became one of the top composer, arranger and conductors of his generation. Faith did the same in the USA, although it was his arranging, rather than his composing, that would ensure his lasting fame. Thanks to long playing records, both became known to music lovers around the world, and their styles have been text book examples for others to emulate, on occasions almost to the extent of plagiarism.

Unfortunately the space available in notes such as these does not allow the complete biographies that all of the arrangers featured on this CD fully deserve. However the advent of the internet has meant that it is now relatively easy to undertake more thorough research than has previously been possible, so maybe the following brief details will provide useful pointers.

Our opening track Can Can features the work of Harold (Hal) Mooney (1911-1995), an American composer, arranger and conductor who worked with most of the top bands and singers during a long career. It demonstrates how a brand-new approach to a familiar and often hackneyed melody can be given fresh life in the hands of an expert arranger.

Conrad Salinger (1901-1961) is now recognised as one of the great arrangers during the 'Golden Days of Hollywood' especially with his contributions to numerous MGM Musicals such as "Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), "Singin' In The Rain (1952) and "The Band Wagon (1953). During his lifetime he never received the recognition that his work deserved, but in recent years his inspired scores have been championed by the British conductor John Wilson.

From the late 1950s onwards Cyril Ornadel (1924-2011) made many fine orchestral albums with his 'Starlight Symphony', aimed primarily at the American market. His regular arranger was Brian Fahey (1919-2007), well-known in Britain as a musical director, arranger and composer. Fahey's mastery of the full orchestra is given full rein in this version of Almost Like Being In Love from "Brigadoon.

Morton Gould (1913-1996) became one of the most highly respected American composers and conductors, and he generally arranged the works he conducted in the concert hall and on records. From 1986 to 1994 he held the important position of President of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Ronald (Ron) Alfred Goodwin (1925-2003) was a brilliant British composer, arranger and conductor, whose tuneful music reached the furthest corners of the world. As he gained recognition for his original compositions he became in demand for film scores and among his best-remembered are "633 Squadron (1964), "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965) and Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy (1972). In 1994 his talents were recognised when George Martin presented him with the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music. His big album sales also earned him gold and platinum discs.

Angela Morley (1924-2009) – born 'Wally Stott' in Leeds, Yorkshire - is today regarded as one of the finest arrangers and film composers of her generation. In her later career she left England for the USA where she worked on several big budget movies (one example is the "Star Wars series assisting John Williams), and on TV shows such as "Dallas and "Dynasty. But during the 1950s and 1960s she made numerous recordings under her former name, also contributing many light music cameos to the Chappell Recorded Music Library.

George Miltiades Melachrino (1909-1965) was one of the big names in British light music from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born in London, he became a professional musician, competent on clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone, violin and viola, and he worked with many British dance bands in the 1930s. After war service he built an orchestra which became of the finest in the world; when long playing records arrived, Melachrino's sold in vast quantities, especially in the USA.

Henry Mancini (born Enrico Nicola Mancini, 1924-1994) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and became one of the top film composers. 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. 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.

Texas born Les Baxter (1922-1996) tended to be asked by his record companies to record pieces with an 'exotic' appeal, although he was a talented arranger who was capable of producing the many different styles that a busy musician working in films and television – as well as recordings – was expected to provide.

Gordon Jenkins (1910-1984) arranged for many of the top bands in America before carving out an impressive career for himself in radio and films. He signed with US Decca in 1945, and eventually became their managing director. When he later moved to Capitol he created some fine arrangements for Nat 'King' Cole and Frank Sinatra. Happily his new label commissioned him to arrange and conduct his own albums.

London-born David Rose (1910-1990) became one of the truly great light orchestra leaders in the USA, and his compositions such as Holiday For Strings (on Guild GLCD5120) made him world famous. His inventive version of Ol' Man River suggests the Mississippi is in full flood!

Nelson Riddle (1921-1985) was a trombonist who turned to arranging and conducting – with spectacular results. His work with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat 'King' Cole, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee possibly prevented him from fully realising what could have been a highly successful career making instrumental albums on his own.

Don Mario Ruiz Armengol (1914-2002) 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.

Monty Kelly (1910-1971) was a trumpeter, arranger and bandleader who was a regular in the recording studios, and managed to secure some success with singles such as Tropicana and Three O'Clock In The Morning (both on Guild GLCD 5105). This persuaded Cash Box magazine to name him 'most promising orchestra' in 1953, and a few years later he contributed to the universal success of the now legendary 101 Strings recordings.

Frank Cordell (1918-1980) was a fine English composer, arranger and conductor whose work first became noticed through the tuneful backings he often supplied to some contract singers on HMV singles in the 1950s. Occasionally he was allowed his own 78s, and he was also responsible for several distinctive LPs which quickly became collectors' items.

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.

Sidney Torch, MBE (born Sidney Torchinsky 1908-1990) is well-known in Britain for his numerous Parlophone recordings, as well as his long tenure as conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in the "Friday Night Is Music Night BBC radio programme.

Clive Richardson (1909-1998) was best-known as a pianist during his early career, but working on many pre-war British films (usually without any credit on-screen) honed his talents as an arranger and composer. His London Fantasia (on Guild GLCD5120) was widely praised, and his Melody On The Move (GLCD5102) has deservedly become a light music classic.

Eric Coates (1886-1957) was a successful composer of ballads in the early years of the last century, before devoting all his energies to light music. He was particularly adept at writing catchy melodies that appealed as BBC signature tunes, and in 1954 he provided the memorable march for the war film "The Dam Busters". His vast body of work is still attracting the attention of the new generation of conductors, resulting in welcome performances in the concert hall and on disc.

As a 'bonus' in this compilation Percy Faith discusses his approach to arranging Temptation, which is the final orchestral work we hear. It comes from a promotional interview with Goddard Lieberson.

The aim of this collection has been to illustrate the wide variety of beautiful orchestral sounds that gifted arrangers can create. From the nostalgia of Hollywood as personified in Conrad Salinger, to the sheer opulence of a Robert Farnon miniature tone poem; the sensitive approach to the music of the Middle East when married to the West by Ron Goodwin, and the reverence shown by one major composer to another in Eric Coates' glorious tribute to Richard Rodgers. Every track possesses its own special magic giving unquestionable confirmation of the importance of the arranger in making orchestral music like this so pleasing and thoroughly enjoyable.

David Ades

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