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The Golden Age Of Light Music: The Pianist In The Spotlight

Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 5173   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francis CraigNicholas BrodszkyMarvin FisherDavid Rose,   ... 
Performer:  Roger WilliamsPaul WestonGeorge ShearingDon Ferris,   ... 
Conductor:  Roger WilliamsPaul WestonBilly MayDavid Rose,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Billy Mayerl Rhythm EnsemblePall Mall RevellersCarroll Gibbons & His Boy Friends
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Grand sound, good notes, great fun!

The piano has always been the instrument of choice when making such arrangements as these for the simple reason that most band leaders, composers, arrangers, conductors play the piano. Also, it’s a musical world in itself, and a welcome partner of an orchestra, whether light or symphonic. Here we have arrangements of well known tunes and some fine miniature piano concerto movements.

Victor Young’s Love Letters is a nicely sentimental ditty, contrasting well with the jauntiness of Francis Craig’s Near You. With Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky’s Because You're Mine we return to the sentimental mood and Paul Weston’s arrangement successfully
Read more marries Debussy and Ravel with a rich string background. Sir George Shearing and Billy May’s arrangement of Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You has a nice samba feel - cocktail lounge stuff this, with a delicate percussion presence. David Rose’s Concerto is full of sweeping strings and is most un–Concerto-like. It’s a miniature, as if it were the big tune of a larger piece, but most engaging.

Joe, Mr Piano, Henderson gives a very breezy performance of Kern’s great love song The Way You Look Tonight. Soft Sands brings us back to earth in a romantic mood and Norrie Paramor’s Silly Billy Norman is a kind of manic cousin of Edward White’s Puffin’ Billy, and a nicely rhythmic entertainment. Richard Addinsell wrote incidental music for the British premiere of Jean Genet’s play Ring Round The Moon in 1949. The Invitation Waltz has achieved a life of its own away from the theatre. It’s a very attractive piece, which receives a full, syrupy, performance here.

Zaldivar’s Carnavalito starts as a Concerto for two horns then settles into a delicate samba with jingling bells and hunting horns. Pierre Dorsey’s piano is most discreet. Winifred Atwell, on the other hand, really gives it some heft in Ken Jones and Chris Armstrong’s Vendetta. This is marvellous chase music – get the baddies stuff. Ivor Slaney’s Georgian Rumba features a piano which is half way to an harpsichord! Very attractive!

No issue in this series would be complete without either Robert Farnon or Morton Gould and this disk is blessed with arrangements by both of them. Farnon gives a perfect version of Kern’s Can I Forget You – a neglected song, worthy of revival. Gould turns his attention to Kurt Weill and one of his greatest Broadway tunes. My Ship is the pivotal song in Weill’s Lady in the Dark and Gould gives it a slightly hesitant, not quite sure where I am, arrangement. He ends in a most dreamy manner. This is a very long arrangement but Gould is a master and carries off the extended length with aplomb. I would welcome a whole album of material such as this.

Robert Docker’s Legend alternates virtuoso flourishes with a good tune, and it could almost be an intermezzo movement from a light concerto. A very laid-back version of Hoagy Carmichael’s Heart and Soul returns us to the Concerto style of piano work – Otto Cesana’s Starlight. Like the Docker, this brackets two types of music: the big tune and more reflective sections for the piano alone. Munro’s Punch and Judy Polka could almost be the kind of thing Chico Marx would have played, had he been given the chance!

Semprini’s Mediterranean Concerto is part Rachmaninov, part Falla, part Warsaw Concerto, part any number of late-romantic composers. It’s quite pretty and proves Semprini to be an expert in pastiche. I wonder if he wrote anything of more originality. It’s certainly fun, and could do well in a “Who wrote this?” type of music quiz.

Jungle Bird is another of those Caribbean hothouse pieces: lashings of colourful percussion, and a theme of eastern promise! While a Cigarette was Burning is so full of nicotine, in the sound of saxophones, I felt that I might never manage to give up smoking! Or perhaps one could use it instead of patches! A disk called Pianist in the Spotlight deserves to have a piece written by a man called Keys! And Robert Keys’s City Centre is full of hustle and bustle. Delightful.

A pleasant little potpourri of Dubin and Warren leads to a fantastic Raie Da Costa composition - At the Court of Old King Cole – where the Ray Noble Orchestra really swings. There is a wide variety of styles on this CD, perhaps more than on most issues in this series, and this is a fabulous idea for a series within a series. I look forward to more like this. Grand sound, good notes, great fun!

-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Near You, song by Francis Craig
Performer:  Roger Williams (), Roger Williams (Piano)
Conductor:  Roger Williams
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Because You're Mine: Because You're Mine by Nicholas Brodszky
Performer:  Paul Weston ()
Conductor:  Paul Weston
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You, song by Marvin Fisher
Performer:  George Shearing (), George Shearing (Piano)
Conductor:  Billy May
Period: Modern 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor by David Rose
Performer:  Don Ferris (Piano), David Rose ()
Conductor:  David Rose
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Swing Time: The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern
Performer:  Joe "Mr. Piano" Henderson (), Joe Henderson (Piano)
Conductor:  Bill Shepherd
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Soft Sands, for piano & pops orchestra by Lou Stein
Performer:  Lou Stein (Piano), Lou Stein ()
Conductor:  Bill Fontaine
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Silly Billy, for piano & pops orchestra by Norrie Paramor
Performer:  Norrie Paramor (Piano), Norrie Paramor ()
Conductor:  Norrie Paramor
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Ring Round the Moon: Invitation Waltz by Richard Addinsell
Performer:  Semprini (), Alberto Fernanco Riccardo Semprini (Piano)
Conductor:  Alberto Fernanco Riccardo
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Carnavalito, for piano & pops orchestra by Edmundo Zaldívar
Performer:  Pierre Dorsey (), Pierre Dorsey (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dorsey
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Vendetta by Ray Martin
Performer:  Winifred Atwell (), Winifred Atwell (Piano)
Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Georgian Rumba, for piano & pops orchestra by Ivor Slaney
Performer:  Dolores Ventura ()
Conductor:  Ivor Slaney
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
High, Wide and Handsome: Can I Forget You by Jerome Kern
Performer:  Bill McGuffie (Piano), Robert Farnon ()
Conductor:  Robert Farnon
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Legend, for piano & orchestra by Robert Docker
Performer:  Melachrino Orchestra (), William Hill-Bowen (Piano)
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Heart and Soul by Hoagy Carmichael
Performer:  Roberto Inglez ()
Conductor:  Roberto Inglez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Starlight (after E lucevan le stelle from Puccini's Tosca) by Manfred Dreilich
Performer:  Otto Cesana (), Bernie Leighton (Piano)
Conductor:  Otto Cesana
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Punch and Judy Polka, for ensemble by Ronald George Munro
Performer:  Billy Mayerl Rhythm Ensemble ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Billy Mayerl Rhythm Ensemble
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Mediterranean Concerto, for piano & pops orchestra by Alberto Fernanco Riccardo
Performer:  Sidney Torch ()
Conductor:  Sidney Torch
Period: Modern 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Jungle Bird, for piano & pops orchestra by Maurice Burman
Performer:  Stanley Black (), Stanley Black (Piano)
Conductor:  Stanley Black
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
While a Cigarette Was Burning, song by Nick Kenny
Performer:  Art Waner (Piano), Latin Quarter Orchestra ()
Conductor:  Art Waner
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
City Centre, for ensemble by Robert Keys
Performer:  Pall Mall Revellers ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pall Mall Revellers
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
At the Court of Old King Cole, song by Raie Da Costa
Performer:  Raie Da Costa (), Raie Da Costa (Piano)
Conductor:  Ray Noble
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Love Letters by Victor Young
Performer:  George Greeley (Piano), George Greeley ()
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; United States 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air: Am I in Love / Remember Me by Harry Warren
Performer:  Carroll Gibbons (Piano), Carroll Gibbons ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carroll Gibbons & His Boy Friends
Period: Modern 
Written: 1937 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Lady in the Dark: My ship by Kurt Weill
Performer:  Morton Gould (Piano), Morton Gould ()
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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