Weather, sunrises, twilights and sunsets, landscapes and highways are the elements around which this nature-focused disc circumnavigates. It’s clearly been a labour of love and enjoyment, quixotic élan too, to compile this 25 track disc.
We start with a wakeup call, with Sidney Torch conducting the Thunder and Lightening Polka. Orchestral musicians used to call the conductor ‘Torture’, according to Richard Adeney, the scurrilous flautist, though it seems it wasn’t maliciously meant: it was pure wordplay to while away the time. The rich verdant romance of Morton Gould follows in Stormy Weather, decidedly not played as a torch song. Frank Chacksfield, who has often impressed throughout this long series, does so again in the brief tone poem that is Misty Valley, complete with its piano solo.
Ray Martin brings zest and fun to his thunderous interjections in Tango in the Rain, a properly descriptive opus cackling with brio. No one seems to know who The Wayfarers were. They play Malcolm Arnold’s theme music from Whistle Down The Wind; possibly the composer himself was involved. In a disc like this many of the tracks will be unfamiliar. One such was Meadow Mist, an evocative little piece from the pen of Leonard Trebilco, better known as Trevor Duncan under which name he wrote his Light Music material. Trebilco was one of the giants of the English scene, a comment that needs no amplification given that Guild has provided so much evidence of his orchestral skill and conducting ability.
It’s perhaps inevitable given the theme that quite a few pieces cleave close to the classical, or light classical wind. Ron Goodwin’s The Whirlpool Theme is splendidly effective in this respect and Frederick Fennell’s Summer Skies does much as Trebilco does in terms of evocation. Ronald Binge obtains the requisite rich string tone in September in the Rain, complete with glittering rainfall effect. There are the trademark Guild conjunctions of drowsy and uplifting pieces — in this respect Percy Faith’s Blues Is The Night (‘is’ not ‘in’) is reflective intimacy whereas Whirlwind, written by Eric Spear and played by Charles Williams, is a galvanizing piece of work.
One could go on enumerating the fascinating nuggets exhumed in this disc. How about, as we conclude, the hints of Ravel’s La Valse in Tonnerre Sur La Louisiane (Thunder in Louisiana), the deft mood sketching of Bruce Campbell’s Trotting Class or the vertiginous, brassy and very self-confident The Mad Mountain Ride, composed by George Trevare and conducted by Sidney Torch. Then, for admirers of Felix Slatkin and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra — and surely everyone is an admirer — there’s the Sunrise movement from Ferde Grofé’s delicious Grand Canyon suite.
It ends a really superb selection of natural pleasures.
A labour of love, enjoyment and quixotic élan.
1 Thunder And Lightning Polka Johann Strauss, arr. Sidney Torch SIDNEY TORCH AND HIS ORCHESTRA 3:03
2 Stormy Weather Harold Arlen, arr. Morton Gould MORTON GOULD AND HIS ORCHESTRA 3:39
3 Misty Valley Peter Yorke FRANK CHACKSFIELD AND HIS ORCHESTRA 2:34
4 Tango In The Rain Lotar Leonard Olias RAY MARTIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA 2:39
5 Over The Hills And Far Away Frederic Curzon NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN (as 'Nat Nyll' on disc label) 2:26
6 Whistle Down The Wind (Theme music from the film) Malcolm Arnold THE WAYFARERS 2:08
7 Meadow Mist Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Charles Trebilco NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by DOLF VAN DER LINDEN (as 'Nat Nyll') 4:20
8 The Whirlpool Theme (from the film 'Whirlpool') Ron Goodwin RON GOODWIN AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA 2:56
9 Saga Of The Seven Seas Clive Richardson THE SYMPHONIA ORCHESTRA Conducted by CURT ANDERSEN 3:01
10 Summer Skies Leroy Anderson EASTMAN-ROCHESTER 'POPS' ORCHESTRA Conducted by FREDERICK FENNELL 2:57
11 Wandering The King's Highway Leslie Coward DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (as 'Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen' on disc label) 3:07
12 Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (from 'The New Moon') Sigmund Romberg, arr. William Hill Bowen THE MELACHRINO ORCHESTRA Conducted by GEORGE MELACHRINO 3:00
13 Fireflies Peter Yorke QUEEN'S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH 2:45
14 September In The Rain Al Dubin, Harry Warren, arr. Ronald Binge RONALD BINGE AND HIS ORCHESTRA 2:37
15 Blue Is The Night Percy Faith PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA 3:51
16 Whirlwind Eric Spear QUEEN'S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES WILLIAMS 2:43
17 Countrywide Anthony Mawer HILVERSUM RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by HUGH GRANVILLE 2:41
18 Tonnerre Sur La Louisiane(Thunder In Louisiana) Gérard Calvi, real name Grégoire Elie Krettly GÉRARD CALVI AND HIS ORCHESTRA 3:44
19 Twilight On Las Pampas Dominico Savino RICHARD HAYMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA 3:15
20 Headland Country Robert Farnon QUEEN'S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON 2:47
21 Trotting Class Bruce Campbell DOLF VAN DER LINDEN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (as 'Paul Franklin') 2:50
22 Landscape (Paysages) Roger Roger ROGER ROGER AND HIS CHAMPS ELYSEES ORCHESTRA 2:46
23 The Mad Mountain Ride George Trevare QUEEN'S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA Conducted by SIDNEY TORCH 2:58
24 Spring Idyll Cyril Watters NEW CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by CEDRIC DUMONT 2:53
25 Sunrise (from 'Grand Canyon' Suite) Ferde Grofé HOLLYWOOD BOWL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conducted by FELIX SLATKIN 4:59