Bright Lights - The Golden Age of Light Music
rec. 1947-62
Full track-listing below
The focus in this latest release from the Guild stable is the raft of Light Music composers whose works so enrich the bloodstream of popular music in the twentieth-century. Amongst them one can see many a name that has repeatedly cropped up in this extensive series, very specifically those who contributed to the London publishers’ music libraries. Habitués of this series will be well used to seeing the names Bosworth, Chappell, Josef Weinberger and Paxton on the labels of their cherished discs. Thus we have here well-known largely British composers on a variety of genre-specific labels in recordings made between 1947 and 1962.
Opening with Dennis Berry’s Bright Lights, the title track, is a good move. Berry worked under the alias Frank Sterling and he was a fine, lesser known composer in the light idiom. Just as good is to note the name of the Brussels New Concert Orchestra, their conductor F.G. Terry and the Southern LP label - a conjunction of relative rarities that makes this series so consistently enjoyable. Clive Richardson’s Beachcomber, a wishful title recorded for Boosey & Hawkes in 1949, sports a succulent B section. Len Stevens’s Hurly-Burly meanwhile sports a Pathé newsreel verve hard to resist, even today. Once again I have to doff my hat to Guild’s selection committee for coming up with another gem from Leonard Trebilco (Trevor Duncan on the label) whose Twentieth Century Express (Making Tracks) is a sheer delight.
Dolf van der Linden has been a real presence in this series and Americana infuses his Sagebrush. A more specific topicality concerns Charles Williams’s Hydro Project, an arresting, indeed brilliant piece of compression, played by the elite Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra - the Queen’s Hall itself, alas, even then a distant memory - directed by Robert Farnon. A jolly march from Jack Beaver is followed by a gauzy waltz courtesy of Sidney Torch, a master orchestrator whose filigree violin and harp passages enrich My Waltz for You. Meanwhile Frederic Cuzon’s Prelude to a Play makes the play sound almost cinematic. Silks and Satins is Peter Yorke’s music that was used for the TV show Emergency - Ward 10. As if this was not enough, you can savour series ever-present (or so it seems) Roger Roger, Walter Collins on Paxton, Laurie Johnson on KPM, Wally Stott, Hans May on the Harmonic label - and others besides.
In fact, in short, there’s another raft of goodies here.
Jonathan Woolf  
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Bright Lights (Frank Sterling) Brussels New Concert Orchestra/F.G Terry [3:11]
Beachcomber (Clive Richardson) New Concert Orchestra/Jack Leon [3:12]
Hurly-Burly (Len Stevens) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch [2:32]
Trysting Place (Cecil Milner) The Harmonic Orchestra/Hans May [3:14]
Tempo For Strings (Bruce Campbell) Stuttgart Radio Orchestra/Kurt Rehfeld [2:51]
Main Event (Michael Sarsfield) Danish State Radio Orchestra/Robert Farnon [2:40]
Pastorale (Ronald Hanmer) New Century Orchestra/Sidney Torch [3:13]
Twentieth Century Express (Making Tracks) (Trevor Duncan) New Century Orchestra /Frederic Curzon [2:55]
Sagebrush (Dolf van der Linden) Dolf van der Linden and his orchestra [2:55]
Champs Elysees (Philip Green) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch [2:46]
Hydro Project (Charles Williams) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon [2:39]
Holiday Camp March (Jack Beaver) New Century Orchestra/Sidney Torch [2:54]
My Waltz For You (Sidney Torch) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch [3:10]
Pictures In The Fire (Robert Farnon) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon [3:08]
Practice Makes Perfect (Wally Stott) Telecast Orchestra/Wally Stott [2:50]
Prelude To A Play (Frederic Curzon) New Concert Orchestra/Cedric Dumont [3:22]
Rhythm Of The Clock (Peter Kane) London Promenade Orchestra/Walter Collins [2:55]
Procession (Vivian Ellis) Danish State Radio Orchestra/Hubert Clifford [2:48]
Panoramic Prelude (Ernest Tomlinson) Crawford Light Orchestra [2:59]
Paper Chase (Cyril Watters) Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [2:51]
Mayfair Parade (Jack Strachey) National Light Orchestra [3:17]
Silks And Satins (Peter Yorke) L’Orchestre Devereaux/Georges Devereaux [3:03]
Marche Heroique (Walter Collins) London Promenade Orchestra/Walter Collins [2:58]
Race Day (Roger Roger) Roger Roger and his Champs Elysees Orchestra [2:59]
Bold Horizons (Laurie Johnson) Group-Fifty Orchestra/Laurie Johnson [2:52]