Reviews

GLCD 5125 – The Golden Age of Light Music: Childhood Memories

Various

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If you’ve been collecting this se­ries you probably have these CD’s already. If not, jump right in. There are now nearly 30 CD’s in the series with no duplication of performances, and you can “start” anywhere.

Hall of Fame Volume Two gives us performances from the 1950’s except for two selections from the 1940’s. Alan Bunting’s restora­tions are excellent as usual, and there is no surface noise at all. Perhaps the most unusual number is Possession (from “Perfume Set to Music”) by Harry Revel with Leslie Baxter conducting an or­chestra and chorus. He was un­known in 1950 when this re­cording was released with Dr. Samuel Hoffman playing the Theremin~-

There are many delights, but the best feature of the CD is 5 tracks of music by Leonard Trebilco better known as Trevor Duncan and in one case here under the name Steve Bretton. Do consider this one.

Believe it or not I knew nearly none of the selections on “Childhood Memories”. All Brit­ish favorites which never made it to these shores, I guess. You’ll enjoy discovering them as I did. A really cute number is Charles Wil­liams’s The Music Lesson with lots of piano scales and a metro­nome ticking away. Williams con­ducts his Concert Orchestra. But best of all to close the CD is the famous Sidney Torch perform­ance of Quilter’s Children’s Over­ture complete. Many Delians will recall Michael Stairs’s and Davyd Booth’s performances of the 4­hand piano version (most recently at Longwood Gardens last June) of this medley of English nursery tunes. Many of those are well known here as well. Recommended highly


Keena Sentinal 3-5-2007

Those people at Guild Light Music in Switzerland have done it again. Using several pristine LPs from the early 1950s, they have given us yet another unusual CD anthology in their evergrowing The Golden Age of Light Music series. Having used “delightful” to describe the dozen or so others I have already reviewed, I have to switch to “charming” when referring to “Childhood Memories” (catalog number GLCD 5125).

Here are 27 little musical gems based an childhood figures and games. Almost all the composers are unfamiliar to me: Robert Farnon, Bruce Campbell, Edward White, Angela Morley, et al. The orchestras are equally obscure: Danish State Radio Orchestra, Louis Voss and His Orchestra, West End Celebrity Orchestra, and so on. I suspect many of these are ad hoc names used only for recording a particular LP.

But what matter, when the music tinkles along with titles such as “Peter Pan,” “Marbles,” “Fun Fair,” “Model Railway” and “Skippy.” The program notes give Information for each selection, and the CD gives some perfect ambient music for happy little get-togethers.
Frank Behrens


IN TUNE INTERNATIONAL JANUARY 2007

Since the introduction in 2004 of the GUILD label series “THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIGHT MUSIC” it has been my great pleasure to review the marvellous programme of compact discs compiled by David Ades and Alan Bunting and with the latter contributing outstanding sound restoration.

The opening quarter of 2007 will see several reviews of material now available, indeed there is some catching up to do with six more discs having been released or about to be released. My very grateful thanks go to David and Alan for their valued assistance thus enabling me to continue to cover this unique programme of light music.

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES offers the chance for a really satisfying nostalgic wallow! The mood for a “journey back in time” is set by the opening selection, Robert Farnon’s, Playtime and there follows 26 more tracks of charming melodies. David Ades has drawn a lot of tunes from the splendid libraries of the music publishing companies, Boosey & Hawkes, Bosworth et al and these particular recordings will surely please the more discerning light music collector. With titles like Clockwork Clown, Tinkerbell and Model Railway the tunes certainly evoke many childhood memories.  More Guild items next month.
Brian Belton

Klassik com Wednesday November 01 2006

Erinnerungen an die Kindheit anderer
David Ades ist ein Jäger und Sammler. Für die ‚Light Music’-Reihe von ‚Guild’ durchforstet er beständig meist seine eigenen Archive und die von Alan Bunting, kompiliert, kompiliert, kompiliert und kompiliert und bringt ein nostalgisches Schmuckstück nach dem anderen heraus. Die ‚Light Music’-Serie wächst und wächst. Eine der neuesten Kompilationen ist dem Motto ‚Childhood Memories’ gewidmet. Nach bewährtem Rezept hat Ades für diese Veröffentlichung wiederum Aufnahmen aus den 1930er, 40er und 50er Jahren zusammengestellt. In diesem Fall Ohrwürmer zum Thema ‚Kindheit’ für das Kinder- , aber ebenso für das Erwachsenenohr. Es müssen jedoch weitgehend angelsächsische Ohren sein, für die diese Aufnahmen einen gewissen Wiedererkennungs- und Nostalgiefaktor aufweisen, sind dies doch Erinnerungen an die Kindheit anderer – zumindest nicht musikalische Erinnerungen an die deutsche Kindheit jenes Zeitraums zwischen den 1930er und 1950er Jahren. Gleichwohl wird man auch hierzulande dem Charme dieser handwerklich liebevoll gestalteten Musikstücke erliegen, haben sie doch diese herrlichen Ohrwurmqualitäten.

Die bereits auf zahlreichen Veröffentlichungen vertretenen Komponisten und Orchesterleiter sind auch hier zu Gast: Robert Farnon (der mit seinem aparten ‚Playtime’ einen exzellenten Vorhangheber für diese Kompilation abgibt), Bruce Campbell, Edward White, Dolf van der Linden, Angela Morley, Henry Croudson, Douglas Brownsmith, Roger Quilter, Trevor Duncan, Ray Martin, Roger Roger, Charles Williams und viele andere. Es sind dies Musikstücke, die keinem weh tun, die farbig orchestriert sind, die keine uneingeschränkte Aufmerksamkeit verlangen, die aber dennoch der Beachtung wert sind, weil sie werde banal noch trivial sind. Und dies lässt sich am besten bei einer anglophilen Tasse Tee, vorzugsweise um 17 Uhr, zelebrieren. Alan Bunting hat, versiert wie immer, die alten Bänder klangergiebig restauriert und remastered. Kein lästiges Rauschen stört den Höreindruck. Der typische Sound der 50er Jahren steigert den Hörgenuss zusätzlich. Man möchte diese Stücke auch gar nicht in steriler Superqualität genießen, sondern gerade in dieser klanglichen Restriktion der seinerzeit technischen Unvollkommenheiten. Die Orchester agieren hier mit einem Spielwitz und einer Verve, wie sie heute kaum mehr zu hören ist, weil individuelle Klanggestaltung heute meist einem qualitativen und langweiligen Egalisieren gewichen ist. Hier wird mit Herzblut musiziert – wehmütige Reminiszenzen an eine vielleicht menschlichere Zeit.
Erik Daumann


Review By Raymond J. Walker

There is much to delight in ‘easy listening’ mode on this disc. Its welcome issue allows us to put a style to those composers of which little is heard…

This addition to the Golden Age series continues to feature a similar bunch of composers and orchestras as previous discs in the series. This time the theme is ‘Childhood’. But childhood in what sense? This will be childhood memories of those, like me, who were children when the pieces were originally broadcast on the BBC’s Light Programme. They were written between 1939 and 1955. Childhood is also their subject matter. Composers featured and not generally known are Armandola, Englemann, Charrosin, Croudson, Clair, Campbell, Brownsmith, Morley, White and Ferraris, yet fine pieces like the ones by White and Charrosin may be familiar to the ears of listeners now in their fifties and sixties!

The majority of these short numbers (2-3 minutes) are unashamedly straightforward in orchestration, with clear melody line and bouncy, skipping or catchy rhythm and an absence of sophistication. They belong to a genre of music so successfully expanded by Tomlinson and others in the 1950s. The pieces portray or describe the objects/situations of their titles and do not use nursery rhymes. An exception to this is the eight minute Quilter Children’s Overture which takes two nursery rhymes, ‘Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clements’ and ‘Here we go gathering nuts in May’. His setting is unashamedly simplistic, with light orchestration, yet the inclusion of a central fugue section adds a sophistication that sets the piece on a higher plane and so allows appreciation to adults as much as children.

A nicely constructed piece is The Music Lesson where a metronomic tick provides the opening beat and scales lead us into a colourful melody line. The delicacy of the piece gives appeal and promotes accurate images to match its title. Particularly endearing is Charrosin’s Playbox where a seamless and gracious flow is contrasted with some choppy martial passages and staccato effects. Equally entrancing is Vivian Ellis’s Jolly Juggler, which brightly bounces along with gay abandon. Perhaps a little obtuse, though, is van der Linden’s Peter Pan; here soaring legato strings seems to be at odds with the imagery the composer is trying to achieve through use of his impish wind section – it seems more adult in its appeal. An unusual ‘Hoe down’ opening to Fun Fair runs into a vivacious piece of promise with Spanish overtones, but the meagre main theme does not in my opinion deliver anything memorable. I expected to find Jessel’s memorably catchy, Parade of the Tin Soldiers by the New Light Symphony Orchestra (HMV B8005) featured amongst the tracks, but sadly not so.

There is much to delight in ‘easy listening’ mode on this disc. Its welcome issue allows us to put a style to those composers of which little is heard.