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In Town Tonight – the 1930s: Volume 2

Down the Mall [2.40]
Philip Green and his Orchestra

Bitter Sweet Waltz [3.22]
Paramount Theatre Orchestra/Anton with Al Bollington (organ)

Pony [3.14]
Barnabas von Geczy and his orchestra
Happy – selection [6.18]
Coventry Hippodrome orchestra/Charles Shadwell

La Paloma [2.57]
Regal Virtuosi/Emanuel Starkey with Sidney Torch (organ)

Chinese Street Serenade [3.06]
Alfredo Campoli and his Marimba Tango Orchestra

Badinage [3.20]
Harry Horlick and his orchestra
Elliott SMITH

Squirrel Dance [2.58]
Marek Weber and his orchestra
Erich BÖRSCHEL (1907-1988)

Kismet [2.51
International Radio Orchestra
Ice Rink Selection [6.07]
Debroy Somers Band
Eric COATES (1886-1957)

In Town Tonight (Knightsbridge) [2.54]
BBC Dance Orchestra/Henry Hall

Chinese Legend [3.20]
Richard Crean and his orchestra

Fingerprints [2.58]
Harry Engelman’s Quintet
A Bouquet of Flowers [6.42]
Gaumont State Orchestra/Alfred van Dam

Donna Juanita – Paso Doble [2.56]
Robert Renard and his Orchestra

Shadowplay [2.49]
Herbert Küster’s piano orchestra

Ecstasy Waltz [3.15]
Edith Lorand and her Viennese orchestra
Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935)

Procession of the Sardar (from Caucasian Sketches) arranged Finck [3.12]
Commodore Grand Orchestra/Joseph Muscant
Mr Whittington – selection [7.41]
New Mayfair Orchestra/Ray Noble
Bonus Track – rare experimental stereo of excerpt from the above, recorded 1934 [2.55]
Recorded 1931-39
GUILD GLCD 5116 [76.39]


Crotchet Budget price


Showing no let-up and casting its net ever wider the Guild reissue team has sought further Light Music from the 1930s. A look at the orchestras and ensembles will show that, owing apparently to friendly constructive criticism, rather more continental examples have been included. It’s certainly time for Edith Lorand and her orchestra to get extra exposure – what about a retrospective of her best recordings? – and it’s equally good to see a stalwart of the recording studios like Barnabas von Géczy contributing a title. But in the main, despite these jaunts across the Channel (and the Lorand orchestra plays none other than Sidney Barnes’ Ecstasy Waltz) the focus is centred on Blighty.

Philip Green has been a backbone of the Guild reissue programme and he contributes a rather Eric Coates-like Down the Mall whilst organist Al Bollington contributes some theremin like noises in Coward’s Bitter Sweet Waltz. There are a few show selections here, ones devised to run on both sides of a 78. Charles Shadwell, an experienced musician, waves the baton over the Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra in a 1935 selection; at the piano is Jack Wilson who infiltrates a little, knowing Harlem Stride. The Regal Virtuosi - one of the ancillary and pleasurable things about this series is tracking down the grandiose names of some of the theatre and cinema ensembles – don’t quite get into La Paloma whilst Alfredo Campoli and his Marimba Tango Orchestra (which just about covers it) certainly do their best by the Chinese Street Serenade. Though whether they should have bothered is another question.

Kismet by Erich Börschel doffs its cap in the direction of the clarinet solo in Rhapsody in Blue and a different kind of popular music is explored by the capable Debroy Somers, whose redoubtable credentials as a show-band leader can clearly be heard here. Naturally there’s genuine Coates, performed by the pukka BBC Dance Orchestra "directed", not conducted, by Henry Hall. The much less well-known Robert Renard and his orchestra contribute a rather sturdy Donna Juanita – the Paso Doble seems to have been a spicy exotica during the 1930s – and there’s the unusual spectacle of Herbert Küster’s Piano Orchestra. Russian born Joseph Muscant and his Commodore Grand Orchestra have a decent stab at Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Procession of the Sardar, though the band sounds smaller then Grand – Compact, maybe. At the opposite scale we have the very swish Ray Noble and his New Mayfair Orchestra and as a bonus a 1934 experimental stereo excerpt from the same band. Those who know the Alan Blumlein experimental stereo Beecham discs will know what to expect.

As ever the presentation is good; the copies used seem to have been in first class state, though they can sound a mite treble starved for my taste. How deep is Guild’s well?

Jonathan Woolf

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