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The Golden Age Of Light Music: The Lost Transcriptions, Vol. 1

Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 5174   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George GershwinJerome KernEdward B. ClaypooleDavid Rose,   ... 
Performer:  Lou Whiteson
Conductor:  Sidney TorchPercy FaithDavid RoseDolf van der Linden,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

After suffering for eight days with the worst bout of flu I’ve had in years - and this after having the flu jab which, my vet assured me, would protect me from the dreaded lurgy - I was feeling pretty low and fed up. Then I put this disk in the player and what a tonic! It really perked me up with its bright and breezy feeling. Good tunes, excellent arrangements and, as usual, brilliantly planned programme. The music spans some 100 years from Béla Kéler to Eric Coates and beyond. I suddenly feel much better. Forget LemSip, take The Golden Age of Light Music!

Things get off to a brilliant start with three great swinging arrangements by three of the best arrangers - Sidney Torch, Percy Faith and Len Stevens - and they’re fantastic!
Read more I am not usually taken with arrangements of songs but here, with arrangements which have a special verve I am all in favour of them. Claypole’s Ragging The Scales sounds as fresh, if not fresher than it first was, in 1915, in this excellently extrovert version.

All three arrangers re-appear, and their contributions are most welcome. Sidney Torch delivers a sensitive version of If You Please by the great Jimmy Van Heusen. This has a rich and romantic sound and feels like an American arrangement not a British one! Len Stevens’s version of Duke Ellington’s Solitude is a veritable cornucopia of good things from slow melancholy to fast jauntiness. Nice piano and saxophones here. Two more from Percy Faith, including a discovery from Vernon Duke, a sumptuously scored slow dance and a nicely racy version of La Bamba - move over Richie Valens and Los Lobos, this is the real thing!

David Rose wrote a lot of music and here’s a real discovery - The Butterfly and The Alligator, a kind of gossamer scherzo with a curious middle section. Delightful. Pepper Tree Lane is the street which leads to the Hollywood Bowl and only makes one wish to hear the whole suite. Rose was married to Judy Garland from 1941 to 1944 - he was the first of her five husbands - and one must wonder if that is why he made this arrangement of a song from her most famous film. It’s a fun-filled affair, with a nice light touch. I particularly liked his use of harp.

Song of The Flame is a lost film, only the soundtrack remains. This title song is Spanish in flavour and over too soon. Too Romantic, from the first Road film, was a duet for Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby and emerges as a lovely middle tempo tone poem, with strings and trombones. Vincent Youmans’s title song for the film Flying Down To Rio, whilst lacking girls on aeroplane wings, is a kind of muzak version of this great tune, with an easy-going lilt and a smile on its face.

For the rest we have original compositions. The Peanut Vendor is highly coloured and warmly rhythmic. Jupe Elders’s Primavera is a romantic wisp of a piece, Anthony Collins’s Jota is a million miles from what one expects from this composer - it’s a wild Manuel de Falla style piece with light music touches added for local, English, colour.
Lamar Stringfield was a Pulitzer Prize winning composer and founder of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. Despite being based on the song Frog Went A-Courtin’, Dance of The Frogs would find a happy home in any film set in the wild west; it speaks the vernacular of cowboy film music. Nice stuff. I once read, I forget where, that Armas Järnefelt’s Praeludium appealed to simple-minded music-lovers! I love this perfectly formed miniature, and I suspect that that puts me firmly in my place. I hope that at some point Guild can find Henry Wood’s delicious recording of this piece for issue.

Three big pieces to end. Don Gillis, he of Symphony No.5½ fame, wrote quite an amount of music, and some of it is being newly recorded. Here is yet another rarity. These Three Sketches are well proportioned brevities and marvellously unpretentious in scale and outlook. I am so pleased to have made their acquaintance. Eric Coates’s The Three Men Suite is more robust and a very pleasant and varied suite. Indeed, it’s one of the best I have heard from Coates. The Man From The Country has a freedom about it - wide open spaces are evoked. The Man About Town has a suitably relaxed, and cosmopolitan, air. The Man From The Sea is a rollicking fantasy on Follow Me Down to Hi-Lo and Three Blind Mice! This is a very clever piece of work and very entertaining. Finally, Béla Kéler’s Romantic Overture, a big work - it’s a Verdi or Rossini overture with slightly more obvious jokes. It makes a suitably exuberant conclusion to a stunning disk. Great sound and good notes contribute to the success of this issue.

-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Strike up the Band: Strike up the band by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Sidney Torch
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927/1929; New York, USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Swing Time: Medley by Jerome Kern
Conductor:  Sidney Torch
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Ragging the Scales, for pops orchestra by Edward B. Claypoole
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
The Butterfly and the Alligator, for pops orchestra by David Rose
Conductor:  David Rose
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
If You Please (for the film "Dixie") by Johnny Burke
Conductor:  Sidney Torch
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Primavera, for pops orchestra by Jupe Elders
Conductor:  Dolf van der Linden
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Pepper Tree Lane, for pops orchestra (from "Hollywood Bowl Suite") by David Rose
Conductor:  David Rose
Period: Modern 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Balboa Barcarolle, for pops orchestra by Vernon Duke
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
La Bamba de Vera Cruz, traditional dance melody by Mexican Traditional
Conductor:  Percy Faith
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Song of the Flame: Song of the Flame by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Phil Spitalny
Period: Modern 
Written: 1925 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Solitude by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Lou Whiteson (Violin)
Conductor:  Sidney Torch
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Wizard of Oz: Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead by Harold Arlen
Conductor:  David Rose
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor), for pops orchestra by Moises Simons
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Jota, for pops orchestra (from "Spanish Dance Suite") by Anthony Collins
Conductor:  Philip Green
Period: Modern 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Three Sketches, for pops orchestra by Don Gillis
Conductor:  Harry Bluestone
Period: Modern 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Dance of the Frogs, for pops orchestra (based on the song "Frog Went a-Courtin'") by Lamar Stringfield
Conductor:  Lewis Williams
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Praeludium by Armas Järnefelt
Conductor:  Eric Robinson
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
The Three Men by Eric Coates
Conductor:  George Melachrino
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; England 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Overture romantique (Romantic Overture), for orchestra by Béla Kéler (Adalbert Paul
Conductor:  F. Vivian Dunn
Period: Romantic 
Length: 7 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Too Romantic, song (from "Road to Singapore") by James V. Monaco
Conductor:  Leith Stevens
Period: Modern 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Flying Down to Rio by Vincent Youmans
Conductor:  Carmen Dragon
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 

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