Bright Lights

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Bright Lights

1 Bright Lights (Frank Sterling, real names Dennis Alfred Berry; Stuart Crombie)
Southern MQ535 1962
2 Beachcomber (Clive Richardson)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2181 1949
3 Hurly-Burly (Len Stevens)
Chappell C 330 1948
4 Trysting Place (Cecil Milner)
Harmonic HMP 266 1948
5 Tempo For Strings (Bruce Campbell)
STUTTGART RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by KURT REHFELD (‘Lansdowne Light Orchestra’ on disc label)
Impress IA 133 1956
6 Main Event (Michael Sarsfield, real name Hubert Clifford)
(‘Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on disc label)
Chappell C 441 1954
7 Pastorale (Ronald Hanmer)
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 023 1947
8 Twentieth Century Express (Making Tracks) (Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Charles Trebilco)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2218 1953
9 Sagebrush (Dolf van der Linden)
Paxton PR 589 1954
10 Champs Elysees (Philip Green)
Chappell C 319 1947
11 Hydro Project (Charles Williams)
Chappell C 630 1959
12 Holiday Camp March (Jack Beaver)
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 024 1947
13 My Waltz For You (Sidney Torch)
Chappell C 291 1947
14 Pictures In The Fire (Robert Farnon)
Chappell C 335 1948
15 Practice Makes Perfect (Walter Stott)
Chappell C 656 1959
16 Prelude To A Play (Frederic Curzon)
Boosey & Hawkes OT 2336 1958
17 Rhythm Of The Clock (Peter Kane, real names Cedric King Palmer; Richard Mullan)
Paxton PR 432 1947
18 Procession (Vivian Ellis)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUBERT CLIFFORD (‘Melodi Light Orchestra’ on disc label)
Chappell C 429 1953
19 Panoramic Prelude (Ernest Tomlinson)
Josef Weinberger JW 104 1957
20 Paper Chase (Cyril Watters)
Chappell C 704 1961
21 Mayfair Parade (Jack Strachey)
Bosworth BC 1206 1948
22 Silks And Satins (Peter Yorke)
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 073 1952
23 Marche Heroique (Walter Collins)
Paxton PR 426 1947
24 Race Day (Roger Roger)
Chappell C 672 1960
25 Bold Horizons (Laurie Johnson)
KPM 095 1962

All tracks mono.

This collection pays tribute to the many talented light music composers who contributed to the production music libraries operated by various London publishers to satisfy the requirements of professional users in the media. Although the first stirrings of this branch of the music industry can be traced back to silent film days in the early years of the 20th century, it is generally accepted that the activities of two publishers in the mid-1930s - Bosworth and Boosey & Hawkes - laid the foundations which others would follow. By the 1960s there was a vast reservoir of light music widely available which provided the soundtrack of the era for newsreels, documentary films, radio and television - in fact for any purpose where music added something extra.

The general public was unaware of the existence of this often secretive area of music publishing. Only when a particular melody became familiar through regular use as a signature tune did it begin to dawn upon some avid collectors that they might be missing something. Occasionally a popular theme would be recorded for commercial release by one of the top light orchestras of the day, but the vast catalogue of tuneful orchestral music simply remained undisturbed, with composers hoping that someone, someday, would decide to use their work.

A few of the composers who contributed to these libraries would have been known to music lovers at the time - one immediately thinks of Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch and Charles Williams. But many others were shadowy figures, well regarded by their peers, but whose names were largely unfamiliar. This collection features some of the best writers, although it must be acknowledged that many of their works have already appeared in the previous 111 CDs in this Guild Light Music series. But the fact that it is still possible to assemble such an enjoyable collection of their music illustrates the very high standards that they consistently achieved.

The title track features the work of one of the most prolific - yet still relatively unknown - figures in the mood music world from the 1940s onwards, Dennis Alfred Berry (1921-1994), who also composed (sometimes in collaboration with others) under names such as Peter Dennis, Frank Sterling, Charles Kenbury and Michael Rodney. He was born in London and in 1939 was employed by Francis, Day & Hunter as a copyist before moving on to Boosey & Hawkes as a staff arranger. Then he was taken on by publishers Lawrence Wright followed by Paxton Music as their representative based in Amsterdam. Paxton had a thriving mood music library, but a ban by the Musicians’ Union at the end of the 1940s meant that London publishers could no longer record in Britain. Paxton decided that their mood music 78s should be recorded in the Netherlands by Dolf van der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra, and Berry’s local experience proved very useful in setting this up. He returned to the London office in 1949 and was responsible for producing numerous titles issued by Paxton during the 1950s. This did not prevent him from writing for other libraries such as De Wolfe, Charles Brull, Conroy and Synchro. At the end of the 1950s Dennis Berry was head-hunted to start the Southern Library of Recorded Music (now owned by Universal) which issued its first recordings on 78s in 1960, from which comes our opening track Bright Lights which Den Berry co-composed with Stuart Crombie (d. 1994). Eventually he emigrated to South Africa, before finally returning to England to do freelance work including some film commissions in Germany. A dozen of Den Berry’s compositions have already appeared on Guild: his best-known piece is Holiday In Hollywood on GLCD5119.

Clive Richardson (1909-1998) was part of the piano duo ‘Four Hands in Harmony’ with Tony Lowry (1888-1976), but that was just a small interlude in a long and successful career. He was an early contributor of scores to British films, especially some of the Will Hay comedies, although he wasn’t credited on-screen. London Fantasia (on GLCD5120) was a big success in the 1940s, when mini-piano concertos were all the rage. Other Richardson compositions to succeed were Melody On The Move (GLCD5102), Running Off The Rails (GLCD5156) and Holiday Spirit (GLCD5120), that exuberant theme for BBC Children’s Television Newsreel. Beachcomber has also become a light music ‘classic’.

Len Stevens(d. 1989) (his full name was Herbert Leonard Stevens) was a prolific composer, contributing mood music to several different libraries, with a style that his admirers quickly grew to recognise. Like so many of the talented musicians employed in the business, he could turn his hand to any kind of style that was needed, and he was also involved in the musical theatre. Hurly-Burly is typical of the bright and breezy numbers that were always being heard in cinema newsreels of the 1950s, and it joins around 15 of his compositions that have already reached a wider audience through Guild Light Music CDs.

Edward Cecil Milner (1905-1989) was a highly respected composer and arranger in London music circles, particularly during a long association with Mantovani (1905-1980), for whom he supplied around 220 scores. He was also an accomplished composer (he was being recognised while still in his twenties), with his works, such as Trysting Place, willingly accepted by several background music publishers. In the cinema Milner worked on some 50 films, often for Louis Levy (1893-1957), most notably the 1938 classic "The Lady Vanishes".

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. Towards the end of the 1940s Campbell realised that he possessed some skills as a composer, and Farnon encouraged him and provided some valuable guidance. The fruits of this meeting of talents have already been experienced on Guild CDs on ten occasions in titles such as Cloudland (GLCD5145), Windy Corner (GLCD5150) and Skippy (GLCD5125). Tempo For Strings is typical of his smooth, melodic style.

Michael Sarsfield, credited as the composer of Main Event, is a pseudonym for Dr. Hubert Clifford (1904-1959) who composed several mood pieces for Chappell’s Recorded Music Library, and also conducted a few titles. Born in Tasmania, for many years Clifford was musical director for London Films, and he has recently been remembered in more serious vein for his Symphony 1940. He provided the background music for three British Transport Films – "West Country Journey" (1953), "London’s Country" (1954) and "Round The Island" (1956). The last named made such an impression on him that he decided to move to the area it covered – the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England.

Ronald Hanmer (1917-1994) could make a legitimate claim to being the most prolific of all the composers featured on this CD. His career stretched from the 1930s (he was a cinema organist) until the end of his life, and over 700 of his compositions were published in various background music libraries (examples already on Guild include Proud and Free GLCD 5136, The Four Horsemen and Intermission – both onGLCD 5140). Among his film scores were Made in Heaven (1952), Penny Princess (1952) and Top of the Form (1953). He was also in demand as an orchestrator of well-known works for Amateur Societies, and the brass band world was very familiar with his scores – sometimes used as test pieces. In 1975 he emigrated to Australia, where he was delighted to discover that his melody Pastorale was famous throughout the land as the theme for the long-running radio serial Blue Hills. In 1992 he received the Order of Australia for services to music, just before that country abolished the honours system.

Regular collectors of this Guild series of CDs will already be familiar with the music of Trevor Duncan (real name Leonard Charles Trebilco, 1924-2005). No less than 35 of his original compositions have now been reissued, and among the best-known are his first success High Heels (on Guild GLCD 5124), Grand Vista (GLCD 5124) and Panoramic Splendour (GLCD5111). He had the ability to write in many different styles, which no doubt endeared him to the publishers of mood music who needed to have music readily available to cover any kind of situation. He is represented on this CD by a piece originally called Making Tracks; when it became popular Boosey & Hawkes decided that it needed a different name, and so it was changed to Twentieth Century Express.

Dolf van der Linden (real name David Gysbert van der Linden, 1915-1999) was the leading figure on the light music scene in the Netherlands from the 1940s until the 1980s. As well as broadcasting frequently with his Metropole Orchestra, he made numerous recordings for the background music libraries of major music publishers. He also made transcription recordings for Dutch radio and other companies. His commercial recordings (especially for the American market) were often labelled as ‘Van Lynn’ or ‘Daniel De Carlo’. Sagebrush for Paxton is an example of his close working relationship with the aforementioned Dennis Berry.

Philip Green (born Harry Philip Green 1911-1982) 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, including "The League Of Gentlemen" (on Guild GLCD5178). Before he became the major contributor to the Photoplay library his music was accepted by various publishers, including Champs Elysees for Chappells.

Volumes could be written about Londoner Charles Williams (born Isaac Cozerbreit 1893-1978) who began his career accompanying silent films, then played violin under the batons of Beecham and Elgar. Right from the start of the ‘talkies’, he provided scores for numerous British movies, and his Dream Of Olwen (GLCD5192)is still remembered long after the film in which it appeared – "While I Live". By far the greatest volume of his composing skills was employed in mood music, providing hundreds of works for several libraries (especially Chappells), and over 40 have already been included on Guild CDs. His stature as a major composer and conductor of Britain’s Light Music scene is beyond question, and Hydro Project reveals his ability to write dramatic themes which still maintain a melodic edge.

Jack Beaver (1900-1963) was born in Clapham, London, and in the 1930s and 1940s he was part of Louis Levy’s ‘team’ of composers, providing scores for countless feature films and documentaries, including Alfred Hitchcock's first huge international hit "The Thirty-Nine Steps" (for which Beaver received no credit). He was hired by Warner Bros. to run the music department at their British studio at Teddington in the early 1940s and was also much in demand for scoring theatrical productions. He frequently undertook a punishing workload, including numerous pieces for London production music libraries, which eventually contributed towards his early death. His ability to create music to cover almost any mood was second to none, and his Holiday Camp March recalls the 1940s when British holidaymakers had yet to discover the delights of foreign package holidays.

Sidney Torch, MBE (born in London, 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. He wrote some excellent light music cameos for the Chappell Recorded Music Library, and he conducted the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra for many of them, such as his charming My Waltz For You.

Canadian-born Robert Joseph Farnon (1917-2005) is widely regarded as one of the greatest light music composers and arrangers of his generation. His melodies such as Portrait Of A Flirt (on Guild GLCD 5120) and Jumping Bean (GLCD5162) are familiar to millions around the world. His Pictures In The Fire reveals his ability to create a tender, pensive melody - something that would become more evident in his later work.

Walter ‘Wally’ Stott, born in Leeds, Yorkshire (1924-2009) is today regarded as one of the finest arrangers and film composers. When Wally became Angela Morley in 1972 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. Practice Makes Perfect is typical of the many bright, free flowing numbers that she produced at this time.

Londoner Frederic Curzon (1899-1973) devoted his early career to working in the theatre and like so many of his contemporaries he gradually became involved in providing music for silent films. As well as being a fine pianist and a conductor, he also played the organ, and his first big success as a composer was his "Robin Hood Suite" in 1937. This encouraged him to devote more of his time to writing and broadcasting, and several of his works have become light music ‘standards’, notably The Boulevardier (on GLCD5177), Dance of an Ostracised Imp (GLCD5195) and the miniature overture Punchinello (GLCD5203). He was eventually appointed Head of Light Music at London publishers Boosey and Hawkes, and for a while was also President of the Light Music Society. He wrote a large amount of mood music himself, such as Prelude To A Play.

Cedric King Palmer (1913-1999) was a prolific composer of mood music who contributed over 600 works.during a period of 30 years to the recorded music libraries of several London publishers. To survive in the music business meant accepting many varied commissions, and King Palmer could also turn his hand to making popular arrangements of the classics which he often conducted with his own orchestra on the BBC Light programme in the 1940s and 1950s. His many bright and tuneful pieces disguised the fact that he possessed a serious knowledge of music; at the age of 26 he completed a study of the work of Granville Bantock (1868-1946), and in 1944 Palmer wrote ‘Teach Yourself Music’ for the Hodder and Stoughton Home University Series which ran to several editions. He ceased composing mood music in the 1970s, and towards the end of his life he became a patient and popular piano teacher, with sometimes over 60 pupils on his books. Occasionally he collaborated with other composers (probably at the request of his publishers) and with Richard Mullan using the pseudonym Peter Kane he wrote Rhythm Of The Clock.

Vivian Ellis (1903-1996) was only 24 when he had his first big success in London’s West End with his show ‘Mr. Cinders’, and he devoted the major part of his illustrious career to the musical stage. However he also wrote several pieces of light music which have become ‘classics’ in their own right, the most famous being Coronation Scot (on GLCD5120 & 5181) which was initially well-known in Britain through its use as one of the signature tunes for BBC Radio’s "Paul Temple" series in the 1940s. Another familiar piece was Alpine Pastures (GLCD5169) used by the BBC to introduce "My Word". Like some of his contemporaries, Vivian Ellis possessed the precious skill of being able to conjure up a strong melody, although he preferred to leave it to others to orchestrate his creations. It is known that Cecil Milner (1905-1989) was responsible for the famous train sounds in Coronation Scot, and it would have been nice to be able to praise the arranger for Ellis’s Procession, but the record label gives no clues.

Ernest Tomlinson MBE (b.1924) is one of Britain’s most talented composers, working mainly in light music, but also highly regarded for his choral works and brass band pieces. During a very productive career, he has contributed numerous titles to the recorded music libraries of many different publishers, often under the pseudonym ‘Alan Perry’. One of his best-known numbers is Little Serenade, which he developed from a theme he wrote as incidental music for a radio production ‘The Story of Cinderella’ in 1955. His suites of English Folk Dances have also become part of the standard light music repertoire. In recent years Ernest has worked hard to preserve thousands of music manuscripts that would otherwise have been destroyed, and he is the President of the Light Music Society. Panoramic Prelude is one of his numerous pieces of production music.

Cyril Watters (1907-1984) was highly respected by many music publishers, and from 1953 to 1961 he was chief arranger with Boosey & Hawkes, often providing appealing arrangements for melodies supplied by other composers who were either too busy, or insufficiently skilled, to orchestrate their own creations. His compositions were accepted by several different publishers, but Boosey & Hawkes had the honour of introducing his most successful composition to the world – the sensuous Willow Waltz (GLCD5189) which created quite a stir in Britain when used as the theme for ‘The World of Tim Frazer’ on BBC Television in 1960. Cyril also worked at Chappells for a while, and Paper Chase was one of the bright, bustling numbers that he seemed able to produce at ease.

Jack Strachey (1894-1972) has ensured his musical immortality by writing These Foolish Things (GLCD5133). In the world of light music he is also remembered as the composer of In Party Mood (GLCD5120), the catchy number he wrote for Bosworths in 1944 which was later chosen for the long-running BBC Radio series "Housewives’ Choice". This is just one of a series of catchy instrumentals that have flowed from his pen, and he seemed particularly gifted at writing marches with a sporting or show business theme. Mayfair Parade is typical of his work in the 1940s.

Peter Yorke (1902-1966) worked with many leading British bands during his formative years, some of the most notable being Percival Mackey, Jack Hylton and Henry Hall. In 1936 he began a fruitful collaboration as chief arranger with Louis Levy, one of the pioneers of music for British films, who employed several talented writers such as Clive Richardson, Charles Williams and Jack Beaver, but seldom gave them any credit on-screen. Later on Peter Yorke conducted one of Britain’s most popular broadcasting orchestras from the 1940s until the 1960s. He was also a gifted composer and he created many stunning arrangements that brought out some fine performances from the top musicians he always employed. Apart from his many commercial records, from the mid-1930s he contributed many works to the recorded music libraries of the top London publishers, and Silks And Satins (which became familiar in Britain when used as the signature tune for the TV soap "Emergency – Ward 10") is his 17th composition to be reissued on a Guild CD.

Walter R. Collins (1892-1956) is remembered for his days as the distinguished Musical Director of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, and also for conducting the London Promenade Orchestra for the Paxton Recorded Music Library during the 1940s. Several of his own compositions have already appeared on Guild CDs (Laughing Marionette on GLCD5134; Linden Grove GLCD5112; possibly his best loved piece Moontime GLCD5168; Paper Hats And Wooden Swords GLCD5144; and Springtime GLCD5138). Marche Heroique can now be added to this list.

Roger Roger (1911-1995) was a leading figure on the French music scene for many years, and his fine compositions and arrangements also won him many admirers internationally. He started writing for French films towards the end of the 1930s and after the Second World War he played piano and conducted a 35-piece orchestra for a major French weekly radio series "Paris a l’heure des Etoiles", which was sent all over the world and even broadcast in the USA. His own instrumental cameos that were featured in the show brought him to the attention of the London publishers Chappell & Co., who were rapidly expanding their Recorded Music Library of background music at that time. Roger’s quirky compositions soon became available to radio, television and film companies around the world, one of the earliest being The Toy Shop Window (La Vitrine aux Jouets) on Guild GLCD 5119. Race Day is his 24th composition to be featured on a Guild CD.

The final track features a piece by Laurie Johnson (b.1927) who has been a leading figure on the British entertainment scene for 50 years. A gifted arranger and composer, Laurie has contributed to films, musical theatre, radio, television and records, with his music used in many well-known productions such as "The Avengers" and "The Professionals". When KPM launched its mood music library in 1959 Laurie’s compositions were strongly featured. Bold Horizons illustrates the way in which some composers were beginning to steer production music away from the traditional sounds associated more with the 1940s. The 1960s had arrived, and a new breed of writers wanted to express their ideas with modern harmonies and rhythms. Laurie Johnson was at the forefront of this movement, and his exciting creations were in tune with what was happening in the musical world at large.

David Ades

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