Reviews

GLCD 5146 – The Golden Age of Light Music: Stringin’ along

Various

To the CD in our Shop


Memory Lane Winter 08

Victor Young’s composition gives this CD its title and the maestro conducts the piece in fine style with his own orchestra. Barring a couple of 1949 tracks all the numbers on this selection date from the 1950s and many of the leading light orchestras from that period are represented, including Andre Kostelanetz, with a sparkling version of Carioca, Dolf Van Der Linden, Robert Farnon, George Melachrino, Ray Martin and David Rose. Some less well known names also appear, such as Alfonzo D’Artega, Otto Cesana, Frank Perkins and Bernie Wayne. All are worth listening to as is George Tzipine who makes his debut an Guild with a catchy number, By Heck. David Carroll, who I believe is still alive in his mid 90s, Winds things up with a nice bouncy version of The Little Ballerina. Excellent sound throughout and comprehensive liner notes.
GH

Klassik com Friday November 07 2008

Mit Streicherschmelz gegen den Zeitgeist

Interpretation

Klangqualität

Repertoirewert

Booklet

Der Titel dieses neuen Nostalgie-Silberlings aus der ‚Golden Age of Light Music’-Serie von ‚Guild’ ist doppeldeutig: nicht nur tummelt sich hier eine ganze Phalanx an vibrato- und portamento-reichen Streicherkaskaden, sondern sie regt zugleich dazu an, es ihnen gleichzutun. Und so sind auf mehr als 75 Minuten die Bogen und Saiten ordentlich gespannt und umschmeicheln die Lautsprecher mit einem Schmelz und Schmalz, vibratös und portamentös, dass es eine Freude ist. Endlos scheint der Horizont im Land alter Aufnahmen im Bereich der leichten Musik. David Ades, der vor einigen Jahren diese Serie initiierte und seither ganz wunderbare Sammelalben zusammengestellt hat, scheint einen krisensicheren Job zu haben. Zum einen werden ihm die vielen, vielen musikalischen Kostbarkeiten, die noch in den Archiven harren, so schnell nicht ausgehen. Zum anderen scheint der Bedarf und die Sehnsucht nach dem ‚guten Alten’ gerade in Zeiten von Unsicherheit und seelischer Überfrachtung enorm groß zu sein und irgendwie auch Rückhalt zu geben. Insofern ist David Ades so etwas wie der Florian Silbereisen der Tonarchive.

Alles an diesen alten Aufnahmen der späten 40er und 50er Jahre atmet Zeit: die Zeit, den herrlichen Diamanten der leichten Musik Feinschliff zu geben, sie interpretatorisch so kongenial auf die Schallplatte zu bringen, und das mit der Genialität des ‚Wie mit leichter Hand’. Einer dieser Genies war Victor Young. Man höre nur sein so stimmig-schlüssig hinkomponiertes ‚Stringin’ Along’. Oder man höre all die anderen hochmusikantischen Orchesterchefs wie Werner Müller, Guy Luypaerts, Eric Rogers, Dolf van der Linden, Emile Deltour, Andre Kostelanetz, George Melachrino, Laurie Johnson, Ray Martin oder David Rose. Sie alle sind mit wunderbaren Kostbarkeiten aus vergangenen Tagen vertreten. Alan Bunting, die Goldhand unter den Tonrestauratoren, hat die Aufnahmen entstaubt, entknackt, ihnen aber den typischen ‚Schalen’-Sound der 50er Jahre belassen. Für Nostalgiker und solche, die es werden wollen – früher oder später.
Erik Daumann


MusicWeb International Wednesday October 15th 2008

Perhaps the time has come when we can paraphrase, like the advertisement for a certain beer, and drawl that this is ‘probably the best Light Music series in the world.’ It’s certainly the most extensive and is also compiled with a curatorial sense for the themes involved – seemingly inexhaustible but then someone has to sit down to do the hard work and collate the things, so it’s hardly automatic.

This latest entrant’s title is pretty self-explanatory. Many of the names of the composers and orchestras will be very familiar to initiates of the genre and to adherents of the series in general. Victor Young kicks things off with fanciful string work in the title track, the B section of which is a luscious intermezzo for solo violin (Young was himself a violinist) and then comes a dollop of Rachmaninovian piano to liven things still further. It’s a locus classicus of packing in a veritable symphony of moods and impressions. Werner Muller unveils a very suave Penthouse Serenade – one can imagine the à la mode 1956 furnishings from this ultra sleek number; the musical equivalent of Ernő Goldfinger’s furniture. By comparison there’s a bright, sprightly and brisk offering called Mam’selle Moderne from Kurt Rehfeld and his Stuttgart band; the number was written by Trevor Duncan. Note the elegant pizzicati.

Kermit Leslie contributes a very glamorous MGM waterfall of a piece, shot through with romantic reverie and that in its turn is immediately contrasted with the Regent Classic Orchestra’s spruce Heading for Home, on the esteemed Bosworth label.

Variety within the sub-genre, as one can tell, is the name of the game. Rehfeld appears again with a very witty and pictorial Binge number Man in a Hurry – the poor chap keeps getting stopped en route. From the busy annoyances of him we flee to the glittering imprecations of Wedding of the Violins and then on to visit the spicy Latin charms of Aperitif. George Tzipine makes a welcome appearance directing his Salon orchestra. Aficionados will remember that he made solo records as a violinist for Pathé, Odeon and Parlophone. His band has an easy swing and sports some fine winds and harp.

Ambrose swivels his hips – impeccably, naturally – for some Latin-Americana on Tentacion de Amor but I can’t say I much warmed to Bernie Wayne’s Zsa-Zsa. I know the Great Gabor could be cheesy but there really is a grim (dubbed?) choir to lessen the spirits. Robert Farnon’s Moomin re-establishes humour and confidence. And we end with a Tchaikovsky-doffing The Little Ballerina.

Plenty of vibrant vitality then in this issue. The transfers are good, the notes even better.
Jonathan Woolf

MusicWeb International – Wednesday August 20 2008

What a wonderful series this is, full of surprises …
This is a super disk. Don’t let the title mislead you – this isn’t a collection of music for strings, it’s a disk of magnificent miniatures for concert orchestra where the emphasis is on the string section. There’s some real winners here!

Victor Young’s Stringin’ Along gets things off to a fine start. It’s a scherzo piece with a Rachmaninov–like central section with a dreamy piano solo. Lovely stuff. Penthouse Serenade is one of those “Hi honey, I’m home” pieces which we always equate with 1950s filmic domestic Americana.

It’s always a pleasure to hear anything by Trevor Duncan and Mam’selle Moderne is a delightful piece of pizzicato enchantment with a more sustained middle section. Rainy Afternoon brings us back to domesticity while Heading For Home is a fun-packed mini travelogue. A New Born Love is a very graceful waltz which takes its time whereas Binge’s Man In A Hurry doesn’t have any to spare. This is one of the joys of this disk. Wedding of the Violins is a toccata for the fiddles, with a beautiful middle section, which, at the end alludes to Wagner’s Bridal March!

Paul Lincke, he of Glow–Worm fame, offers a suave Whirl of the Waltz which is very Berlinerisch! Another pizzicato piece, Aperitif, lightens the textures and then we’ve got a superb arrangement of Vincent Youmans’s Academy Award nominated Carioca from his score the Astaire/Rogers film Flying Down to Rio. This is one of the most exciting tracks on this disk. More domesticity with Devotion whose spell is broken by the up-tempo Fresh Up, where the music is led, quite discreetly, by the brass. Home-spin Americana in By Heck and heavy Viennoiserie in I’m In Love With Vienna. Polka For Strings – but where’s the Polka? – is one of those Holiday for Strings–type pieces, and none the worse for that, a brilliant toccata for the strings. Waltz-time returns with Melachrino’s Gay Romance – surely a waltz too fast for dancing – and once we reach the middle it all changes and the music fairly races away with itself. South America is visited via Cugat’s sultry and sexy Tentacion de Amor in a fine, and slightly restrained, Laurie Johnson arrangement.

Two Ray Martin pieces follow. Six Proud Walkers was a BBC TV serial and I wonder what it was about for the whistling at the start and reference to the Westminster chimes are fascinating. Ballet of the Bells seems a bit heavy handed for the ballet but as a piece of music it’s most pleasing. Between these two pieces comes Flight 101 – Vivian Ellis having got off the Coronation Scot almost immediately boards an aeroplane! And this couldn’t be more different from his famous train work. No big tune, and sleek contours as befits the new-fangled jet travel.

Zsa-Zsa is a fast and loose piece of high-speed fiddling, with contrasting middle section complete with women’s chorus, and The Frustrated Floorwalker is an hilarious piece of nonsense for the flute and strings. It has a most memorable, quirky, tune. Bordeaux – the drink, the place? A nice interlude by the great David Rose. You’ll know Moomin, written as a tribute to Tove Jansson’s cartoon creation, it’s a delightfully playful work.

We’re overseas for the final three items. Bobby Sox rushes away with infectious humour, Apple Flap includes some very infectious brass writing and, to end, The Little Ballerina includes reference to several famous ballet moments.

There’s much to enjoy in this sparkling collection. The transfers are good, but, as you’d expect, there is some variety of sound because of the various recording dates and venues. The booklet, for some reason, doesn’t discuss, or even bother to mention, some of the pieces on this disk but perhaps that is because, like me, as I trawled the internet for information, I discovered that there simply wasn’t any!!

What a wonderful series this is, full of surprises and the disks are always well planned with lots of variety and interest.
Bob Briggs