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The Golden Age of Light Music - British Cinema and Theatre Orchestras – Volume 4
Full track-listing below
rec. c.1927-1945

Operetta, waltzes, genial marches and Arcadian melodies are part and parcel of this delightful latest release in Guild’s series devoted to British cinema and theatre orchestras. The recordings date, in the main, to the 1920s and early 1930s.

The record labels tell their own stories as, in addition to the expected HMVs, Columbias and Parlophones we get the cheaper label Edison Bell Winners and a 1945 Decca sneaks in courtesy of Reginald Burston whose fine London Coliseum Orchestra plays Eric Coates’ Wood Nymphs. There’s sheer charm in Joseph Muscant’s performance of Kisses in the Dark and an old friend in Ketèlbey’s The Illuminated Fete, played by the London Palladium Orchestra under the benign but highly musical baton of Clifford Greenwood. It’s amusing to hear organist Harry Davidson pumping away in The Gypsy Princess – Muscant directs again - though Frank Westfield can stretch out over two sides of a 78 on the selection from Our Miss Gibbs where he leads the Prince of Wales, Lewisham, Playhouse Orchestra – lucky Lewisham to have such a good pit band. It’s one of the salutary reminders of this series that so many cinema and theatre orchestras existed at the time.

I wonder if there was a domestic release of the selection from Louis Ganne’s Les Saltimbanques, or whether this disc, made by Emanuel Starkey and the Regal Cinema Orchestra, was for export only, as it comes from a French Columbia recorded in c. 1930. One encounters Harry Davidson again inThe Gypsy Baron where he quivers away merrily. One of the most intriguing of the selections is The Voice of the Bells – An Alpine Fantasy by T.W. Thurber. This grandiosely titled opus sports some Wagnerian elements, along with a mountain storm, packed into its six minutes. Horace Sheldon (born Catcheside) directs and the notes suggest that the Palladium’s organist, none other than Reginald Foort, is playing.

Joseph Muscant reappears, this time on a Regal Zonophone, for a lurching Swabian Peasant Waltz – rather suggestive of too much alcoholic intake on the Swabians’ part from the sound of it, although the cuckoo is nice. It’s probably difficult now to imagine quite how famous David de Groot was and he is rightly here playing a waltz with his New Victoria Orchestra.

The excellent notes are the work of David Ades and Alan Bunting.

There is something for everyone who likes light music of this period – waltzes, yes, but potpourri and selections from shows, lots of grand bands, famous directors, fine organists and good tunes.

Jonathan Woolf

Full track-listing
1. Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life (from 'Naughty Marietta') -Victor Herbert - ANTON AND THE PARAMOUNT THEATRE ORCHESTRA with MAURICE MEIER (Organ) [3:18]
2. Kisses In The Dark (Baci Al Duio - Nocturne Op.33) - G. de Michell - THE COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT [3:18]
3. The Illuminated Fete (From 'In Holiday Mood' Suite) - Albert William Ketèlbey -THE LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by CLIFFORD GREENWOOD[3:48]
4. 'The Gipsy Princess' – Waltz - Emmerich Kalman - THE COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT with HARRY DAVIDSON (Organ)[2:57]
5. 'Our Miss Gibbs' – Selection - Ivan Caryll, Lionel Monckton - PRINCE OF WALES PLAYHOUSE, LEWISHAM, ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK WESTFIELD [5:48]
6. Suite Of Serenades No.1 – Spanish - Victor Herbert –T HE REGAL CINEMA ORCHESTRA Conducted by EMANUEL STARKEY [1:58]
7. Suite Of Serenades No.2 – Chinese - Victor Herbert - THE REGAL CINEMA ORCHESTRA Conducted by EMANUEL STARKEY [2:42]
8. Les Saltimbanques – Selection - Louis Ganne - THE REGAL CINEMA ORCHESTRA Conducted by EMANUEL STARKEY with QUENTIN MACLEAN (Organ) [8:30]
9. Lovers Lane Minuet - Frank E. Tours - THE PLAZA THEATRE ORCHESTRA Conducted by FRANK TOURS [3:19]
10. Marche Symphonique - Domenico Savino - THE LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN [3:19]
11. 'The Gypsy Baron' – Melodie - Johann Strauss II - THE COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT with HARRY DAVIDSON (Organ)[3:05]
12. One Hour With You (Schenke Mir Eine Stunde) – Eisele - THE TROXY BROADCASTING ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT [3:13]
13. The Voice Of The Bells - An Alpine Fantasy - T. W. Thurban - THE LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by HORACE SHELDON (with Organ) [6:05]
14. Swabian Peasant Waltz - Hermann Krome - THE COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT [2:59]
15. Vivienne - Herman Finck - THE LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by RICHARD CREAN [3:11]
16. Vienna Maidens Waltz - Karl Michael Ziehrer - DE GROOT AND THE NEW VICTORIA ORCHESTRA [5:56]
17. Waltz Viennese - Ruda Lakay - THE COMMODORE GRAND ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH MUSCANT [3:01]
18. Wood Nymphs - Eric Coates - THE LONDON COLISEUM ORCHESTRA Conducted by REGINALD BURSTON [2:57]
19. Other Days - A Selection Of Popular Melodies - arr. Herman Finck - DE GROOT AND THE NEW VICTORIA ORCHESTRA [8:44]


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