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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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The Golden Age of Light Music
Travellin’ Light - Great American Light Orchestra Volume 2

Victor YOUNG (1900 - 1956) Travellin’ Light
Leroy ANDERSON (1908 - 1975) Blue Tango
Johnny MERCER (1909 - 1976) David RASKIN (1912 - 2002) Laura
Douglas FURBER (1885 - 1961), Philip BRAHAM (1881 - 1934) Limehouse Blues
George GERSHWIN (1898 - 1937) Mine
Bernard LANDES The Grasshopper
Ray NOBLE (b. 1903) The Very Thought of You
Fausto CURBELO (b. 1915), John A. CAMACHO The Girl with the Spanish Drawl
Herb MAGIDSON (b. 1906), Con CONRAD (1891 - 1938) The Continental
Arthur SCHWARTZ (1900 - 1984), Howard DIETZ (1896 - 1983) I Love Louisa
Billy VAUGHN (1931 - 1991) Joyride
Clarence GASKILL (1892 - 1947), Jimmy McHUGH (1894 - 1969) I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love With Me
Nicholas ACQUAVIVA, Ted VARNICK New York in a Nutshell
Kermit LESLIE, Walter LESLIE The Little Toy Shop
Meredith WILSON (1902 - 1984) Calico Square Dance
Oscar HAMMERSTEIN II (1895 - 1960), Jerome KERN (1885 - 1945) All the Things You Are
Leon JESSEL, arr. Morton GOULD (1913 - 1996) Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Frank PERKINS (b. 1908) Kentucky Trotter
Fritz KREISLER (1875 - 1962) Tambourine Chinois
Ralph Maria SEIGEL Little Jumping Jack
Cole PORTER (1891 - 1964) I Concentrate on You
Edward HEYMAN (b. 1907), Dana SUESSE (1909 – 1987/8) My Silent Love (Jazz Nocturne)
David ROSE (1910 - 1990) The Flying Horse
Irving BERLIN (1888 - 1989) The Piccolino
Morton GOULD (1913 - 1996) Tropical
Helen DEUTSCH, Bronislav KAPER (1902 - 1983) Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
Leo ROBIN (1895 - 1984), Harold ARLEN (1905 - 1986) What’s Good About Goodbye
Acquaviva and His Orchestra
Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra / Arthur Fiedler
Camarata
David Carroll and His Orchestra
David Rose and His Orchestra
Frank Perkins and His Pops Orchestra
Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra
Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra
Kermit Leslie and His Orchestra
Meredith Wilson and His Orchestra
Morton Gould and His Orchestra
Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra
Percy Faith and His Orchestra
Richard Hayman and His Orchestra
Robin Hood Dell Orchestra / Morton Gould
The Pittsburgh Strings
Walter Scharf and His Orchestra
Recorded 1948 - 1954
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5114 [76.49]

Guild have followed up their 1st volume of American Light Orchestras with this second volume, subtitled Travellin’ Light after the sparkling piece by Victor Young which opens this collection. Guild have cast their net widely and this disc features some twenty different ensembles, all the tracks having been recorded in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

It is difficult nowadays for us to realise quite how ubiquitous light music was, thanks first of all to the radio and then to LP. A number of ensembles on this disc made their name as radio broadcasters in the 1930s and 1940s before expanding to LPs in the 1950s. Of course this situation did not last and light music orchestras were left behind as the younger record-buying public became more interested in rock-and-roll.

Show tunes feature quite strongly. The title track from the film ‘Laura’ is played by David Rose and his orchestra; Rose himself is credited with scoring some 36 films. Morton Gould gives us an attractive arrangement of Limehouse Blues from ‘André Charlot’s Revue of 1924’. Andre Kostelanetz was notable for his imaginative arrangements and his version of Mine from the Gershwin musical ‘Let ‘Em Eat Cake’ is no exception.

The Continental from ‘The Gay Divorcee’ is still pretty well known nowadays; here played by the Boston Pops Orchestra. But I Love Louisa from ‘The Band Wagon’ is less well known. It is played on this disc by The Pittsburgh Strings, in fact the string section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This use of string only ensembles was a feature of the 1950s; Victor Young and his Singing Strings appear playing Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo from the film ‘Lili’ and The Pittsburgh Strings reappear with The Piccolino from ‘Top Hat’.

Cole Porter’s I concentrate on you is played by Kostelanetz and His Orchestra, one of the few groups to appear twice in this compilation. The attractive final track is What’s Good About Goodbye’ from the film ‘Casbah’; not a film that is familiar to me but the song was co-written by Harold Arlen, which is always a good sign.

There is an interesting clutch of novelty numbers including Kreisler’s Tambourine Chinois and Morton Gould’s arrangement of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers with Gould conducting, not his own orchestra but the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra.

All in all this is an attractive compilation. A remarkable feature is the uniformity of style across these rather disparate ensembles. Perhaps the selection will not create many new light music devotees but it will certainly make existing ones very happy.

Robert Hugill


 

 



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