Reviews

GLCD 5159 – The Golden Age of Light Music: More Strings in Stereo!

Various

To the CD in our Shop


Essex Chronicle June 2010

On the lighter side of classical and cross over music is a series of releases with a distinctly nostalgic feel from Guild Records. David Ades has compiled More Strings in Stereo!
featuring some of the top names of the post-war years such as Nelson Riddle, Morton Gould and Percy Faith and their respective orchestras. With tunes such as high Noon and By a Sleepy Lagoon, you won’t be disappointed (Guild GLCD 5159).
And, of you enjoy this release, then Guild have many more in the same Light Music series including one featuring hits from 1940s (Guild GLCD 5102) and another from the 1950s (Guild GLCD 5103). Chris Green

MusicWeb International Tuesday December 08th 2009

If truth were told I am heartily sick of enjoying these re–issues from Guild, because they are so pleasurable and entertaining, not to mention packed with great tunes and fabulous orchestrations. What is a boy to do when spoiled with such riches?

Well, yet again, all I can do is tell you about my favourites and hope that if you haven’t discovered this marvellous series I will be able to whet your appetite and get you to sample the delights herein.

I’d never heard of Anthony Tamburello before but I am very happy to have made his acquaintance with his jaunty little Cross Country Tour which contains some nice writing for trombones. Hill–Bowen’s Chansonette is a lovely piece of string writing and a nice foil for the Tamburello. Rotten Row is usually credited as being Angela Morley’s best known work but it sounds more like a stroll down Park Lane, But who cares, it’s magical. Percy Faith’s wonderful arrangement of Victor Herbert’s March of the Toys seems to me to be mock-heroic, tinged with a little of Gounod’s Funeral March of a Marionette at the start – odd but it works – and it culminates in a proper boisterous march.

Eric Coates’s By The Sleepy Lagoon needs no introduction, and this performance by Mackerras is excellent, with just the right amount of swing to the theme. The two excerpts from Morton Gould’s score for Windjammer are full of things nautical, and have an open-air, almost English, sound to them. In fact, after giving it some thought I realise that what these pieces remind me of is the marvellous score Jenny McLeod wrote for the 1984 film The Silent One – come on Naxos, there’s a score for film which should be heard widely for it is a winner. It’s great to hear an excerpt from Young’s score for Around The World In Eighty Days, which isn’t the title music – which I must admit to finding the weakest part of this fascinating score. India Countryside is the sub-continent suffused with a Hollywood glow. Fabulous stuff.

The songs are, in general, given good arrangements and performances, and Les Baxter’s Harem Silks From Bombay is full of eastern promise as the advertisement used to have it. Whiteman and Grofé’s Wonderful One shows us another side of these two important figures from the early part of the 20th century and Roy Straigis’s Moon Over Montevideo is another of those travelogue pieces which use every cliché in the book to create what we think the music of whatever area is being depicted is really like.

Strangely, there are two duds in this set – possibly the first time this has happened. Joseph Kuhn’s Beachcomber is a rather heavy-handed sun and beach combination and it fails simply because Clive Richardson’s composition of the same name is far too enjoyable and quirkily magical, and Kuhn cannot hold a candle to that approach. Likewise the arrangement of Tiomkin’s excellent theme for the film High Noon. The whole point about the film High Noon is that it is one man standing against the forces of evil, and in the film the song is accompanied by guitar and drums, this arrangement is far too fussy and sumptuous. Sometimes it’s best to leave things alone and this is a case in point.

Apart from that moan yet again Guild has come up with a well packed disk which is essential for all lovers of good tunes and devotees of light music. This disk has no theme to it: it’s simply a collection of early stereo recordings and that gives it a little cachet over some of the other, themed issues. What I would now like is a disk devoted entirely to British composers. There are riches there which are still untapped – what about those John Ansell 10 inch discs for instance? But whatever Guild issues next I will be waiting for it with bated breath.
Bob Briggs