GLCD 5126 – The Golden Age of Light Music: “SOLOISTS SUPREME”


To the CD in our Shop

International Record Review, February 2007

‘Soloists Supreme’ is the self-evident title of a fascinating disc in this series, including examples of classical musicians in unfamiliar roles. Chief among them is Reginald Kell, with Camerata’s Orchestra, in the delightful Dance of the Three Old Maids – every clarinettist will want to hear this. Incidentally, could room not be found on an album for Robert Farnon’s arrangement of Chopin’s Fontaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor for flute, clarinet and orchestra, played by Arthur Gleghorn and Kell, also with Camerata’s Orchestra? There are several fine tracks here: John Addison’s The Maggie (for tuba and orchestra), Dmitri Tiomkin’s High and Mighty (fabulous whistling by Muzzy Marcellino) and Alec Wilder’s Goodbye John (the great Mitch sing-along-a-mitch Miller is soloist on cor anglais and oboe). May we have Mitch’s premiere recording of Vaughan Williams’s Oboe Concerto with Daniel Saidenberg conducting? This fabulous perfor­mance was issued in the USA by Mercury on LP. On this CD are the Roy Bargy/Paul Whiteman 78s of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody (rather heavily cut but still preserving the nature of much of the work; is Miller on this track?), the mini-orchestral poem Lulworth Cove for organ and orchestra, with the composer Charles Shadwell conducting and Reginald Foort as soloist, and Friml’s Allah’s Holiday by the legendary Savoy Orpheans under Carroll Gibbons with Sidney Torch (also on organ) from 1932 (Guild GLCD5126, 1 hour 17 minutes).   Robert Matthew Walker
Memory Lane Spring 2007

This is slightly out of character with previous CDs where the orchestras held centre stage but pleasing nevertheless. Many of the soloists featured will be well known to dance band enthusiasts including Eddie Calvert, Freddy Gardner (both superb as might be expected), Bett Weedon and Reg Leopold. Good also to hear again Edward Rubach’s piano, Ronnie Ronalde’s lyrical whistling and that master of the clarinet, Reginald Kell. Production, as always from Guild, is excellent.

Klassik.Com 28.12.2006

Musik zum Schmunzeln

‘Was haben wir gelacht. Stundenlang haben wir uns auf die Schenkel geklopft’. Solche Worte fallen bestenfalls nach einem Kabarett-Abend oder einer guten Filmkomödie. Man wird dies aber nicht mal nach der gelungensten Aufführung von Wagners ‘Meistersingern’ sagen. Musik und Humor ist eine heikle Angelegenheit, wenngleich eingehender wissenschaftlicher Betrachtung wert. Kann Musik per se lustig sein? Sobald man ihr ein Programm beigibt, durchaus. Dann beginnt die Imagination zu arbeiten und bei Titeln wie ‚Dance of the three old Maids’, ‚Skeleton in the Cupboard’, ‚The Elephants’ Tango’ oder ‚Laughing Violin’ wird einem doch das eine oder andere Schmunzeln entlockt.

Denn wieder einmal packt ‚Guild’ ein feines Kompilations-Päckchen in der Reihe ‚The Golden Age of Light Music’ voll, mit Musik, die keinem weh tut, die nichts anderes will und wollte, als zu unterhalten. Dieses Mal hat Produzent und ‚Kompilator’ David Ades intrikate Solisten-Stücke aus den Archiven geholt. Melodienselige, ohrwurmträchtige Virtuosen-Piècen. Die bekanntesten darunter sind Leroy Andersons ‚Buglers’ Holiday’ oder Dimitri Tiomkins Thema aus dem Film ‚High and the Mighty’, gespielt von Victor Young und seinen ‚Singing Strings’ sowie von Muzzy Marcellino gepfiffen – ja, gepfiffen. Wieder sind die vertrauten Orchesterchefs mit von der Partie: Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch, Ray artin, Richard Hayman, Charles Williams, Laurie Johnson, Peter Yorke u.a. Die Reihe der Solisten wird angeführt von Dave Goldberg auf der Gitarre, gefolgt von Reginald Kell auf der Klarinette, Macky Kaspar (Trompete), Mitch Miller (Englisch Horn und Oboe), Joe Henderson (Klavier) und etlichen anderen. Wieder sorgt Alan Bunting für den ‚guten’ Ton, d.h. bestmögliche Restaurierung der Bänder und klangtechnisch zufriedenstellendes Remastering für die Aufnahmen aus den 30er, 40er und 50er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts. Ein audiophiles Zuckerhäppchen bekommt der Hörer am Ende der CD serviert: die ‚Second Rhapsody’ von George Gershwin in einer Einspielung mit Paul Whiteman und seinem Konzertorchester. Roy Bargy ist der Solist in dieser Aufnahme von 1939. Leichthändig musiziert, mit Witz und Spritzigkeit.
Erik Daumann

Music Web Wednesday December 06 2006

Whether credited or hidden here are twenty-five very different soloists in a wide array of guises. So we range from the discographically significant Roy Bargy with Whiteman essaying Gershwin the year after the composer’s death to rather more conventionally light fare such as the anonymous tuba playing on Sidney Torch’s recording of Song of the Maggie.

There doesn’t seem to be an over-arching philosophy here, just a mélange of styles and performances, so it would be best to see this compilation in strictly those terms.

Farnon accompanies the short-lived guitarist Dave Goldberg, whose jazzier licks are impressive. Reginald Kell’s recordings with Camerata, one of the more unlikely areas of his life on disc, have been reissued in DG’s complete American Decca recordings boxed set. Things move into enjoyably sub-Rachmaninovian mode for the Last Rhapsody theme played by pianist Edward Rubach and Sidney Torch for Parlophone in 1953. The same goes for the unimaginatively titled First Theme played by Joe “Mr Piano” Henderson. Still, what a lot of compression went into those three-minute Light Music pocket concerto “singles.”

Jackie Bond comes on all juicy-toned and Freddie Gardner-esque on Today and Every Day. Gardner himself is close at hand on Valse Vanite where he teams up with Peter Yorke to pour some glutinous sauce over the tune. We also hear from a brace of virtuoso whistlers in the forms of Muzzy Marcellino and Ronnie Ronalde. Mitch Miller, as is only to be expected, makes a fine showing as well when teamed with Percy Faith. Eddie Calvert, another who died at too young an age, just about survives – though this is debatable – the slushy environs of Margot’s Minuet as dispensed by Norrie Paramor.

Mention of Calvert should also alert one to a stalwart on the American scene, Rafael Mendez, who digs into Hubay with combustible brilliance. Finally the Roy Bargy-Paul Whiteman recording of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody, which was made in 1939. One should note that it’s been somewhat rescored and cut to fit onto two twelve inch sides but it is of some historic importance given that both men knew Gershwin.

The transfers have been done well in the main. But it’s noticeable how airless and dry the HMV 78 of Lulworth Cove sounds and how equalisation has sought a standardised sound for these discs. Otherwise with perspicacious notes and the usual good selection priorities the Guild Light Music series goes rolling on.
Jonathan Woolf