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The Golden Age of Light Music - Salon, Light and Novelty Orchestras
Full contents list at end of review
rec. 1929-46
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5204 [75:04]

This is a particularly interesting release for me. There’s a real smattering of string class here in the form of Campoli and Sandler, but also all the recordings go back to a 17-year period ranging from 1929 to 1946 - these are the release dates. I’ve not checked to see if, for example, Ray Noble’s Fairy on the Clock was actually recorded in 1928. It’s Noble who gets the enterprise underway, though in rather rinky-dink fashion by his high standards. It may be the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra but it’s on very light duties. The reverse of that 78 is much better and we hear from the pianist (Harry Jacobson?) and a classy fiddle player (Jean Pougnet?).
 
One of the minor mysteries of this series has been the International Novelty Orchestra, and the question one asks is simply this: who were they? No one seems to know, and Regal Zonophone doesn’t tell us anything, but they were highly efficient. Rudy Starita, brother of the possibly more famous Ray, was a rather vapid xylophone player but amongst his uncredited crew in 1932 he had a guitarist who had clearly been listening - and listening early on, too - to Django Reinhardt. There’s also a good classically trained fiddler - was it George Hurley? Campoli solos strongly on his contributions but he’s given a good run for his money by Jay Wilbur’s Serenaders whose version of Intermezzo - from the film Escape to Happiness - features some elite musicians; I’m taking a punt that the violinists were Hugo Rignold and Reg Leopold.
 
It’s good to find waltz time provided by the Orchestra Macotte on Parlophone - they introduce a Hawaiian guitar effect on the Sphinx Waltz - and the appearance of the experienced Louis Voss on the Bosworth label. It’s also enjoyable to hear JH Squire and his Celeste Octet in their Columbia recording of The Wedding of the Rose; pure charm. Sandler’s recording of Percy Fletcher’s Fiddle Dance is characteristically brilliant and it’s followed by one of the best known of the selection, Campoli’s Poupée Valsante, the Poldini morceau, on an early Decca, and always welcome.
 
Indeed throughout there is the expected Guild expertise in programming, not to mention the characteristically top-notch booklet notes.
 
Jonathan Woolf

See also review by Byzantion
 
Full contents list 
Fairy On The Clock (Sherman Myers, real name Montague Ewing) - New Mayfair Dance Orchestra/Ray Noble [2:31]
La Petite Tonkinoise (My Chin Chin Lou) (Vincent Baptiste Scotto, Henry Marius Christine) Alfredo Campoli and his salon orchestra with Whistling by Ronald Gourlay [2:08]
Parade Of The Pirates (John W. Bratton) International Novelty Orchestra [2:59]
Neapolitan Serenade (Gerhard Winkler) Alfredo Campoli and his salon orchestra [2:54]
Magic Notes (Fritz Steininger) Rudy Starita, xyophone with un-named orchestra [3:07]
Tango Habanera (Jose F. Payan, arr. Fred Hartley) Alfredo Campoli and his salon orchestra [3:31]
Intermezzo (Souvenir de Vienne) (from the film 'Escape To Happiness') (Heinz Provost) Jay Wilbur’s Serenaders [3:22]
Secrets Of The Adige - Waltz (Felice Carena) Orchestra Mascotte [2:44]
Grasshoppers' Holiday (Herman Bick) Louis Voss Grand Orchestra [2:52]
Finesse (Bernard Maltin, Anthony Raymond Doll) New Mayfair Dance Orchestra/Ray Noble [2:37]
A Birthday Serenade (Paul Lincke) London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [3:09]
Rose Mousse (Fabrice Gabriel Lemon) International Novelty Orchestra [3:13]
If You But Knew (Reginald King) Reginald King and his orchestra [2:54]
Hiawatha - Cake Walk (Neil Moret) Alfredo Campoli and his Novelty Orchestra [2:41]
The Wedding Of The Rose (Leon Jessel, arr. Willoughby) J.H. Squire Celeste Octet [3:04]
Fairy Whispers (Rhode) Victor Ricardo and his orchestra [3:25]
The Cuckoo In The Clock (Walter R. Collins) International Novelty Orchestra [2:39]
The Excuse Me Waltz (Nicholas Brodszky) Reginald Pursglove and his Music Makers [3:00]
Fiddle Dance (Percy Fletcher) Albert Sandler and his orchestra [2:52]
The Dancing Doll (Poupee Valsante) (Eduard Poldini) Alfredo Campoli and his salon orchestra [2:55]
The Butterfly - Morceau Characteristique (Theo Bendix) Alfredo Campoli and his salon orchestra [3:06]
Dolls' Games (Lederer) Victor Ricardo and his orchestra [3:01]
Sphinx Waltz (Francis Popy) Orchestra Mascotte [3:13]
Dark Red Roses (Philip Braham) Reginald King and his orchestra [3:06]
King Chanticleer (Seymour Brown, Nat D. Ayer) International Novelty Orchestra [2:40]