Reviews

GLCD 5114 – The Golden Age of Light Music: Great American Light Orchestras – Volume 2 – Travellin’ Light

Various

To the CD in our Shop


Bratteleboro Reformer 03-01-2007

Travellin’ Light — 1 find it difficult to keep up with the CDs on the Guild label that make up the ever growing series called The Golden Age of Light Music. The latest to come my way, “Travellin’ Light, Vol 2” is a sequel to one I recommended quite some time ago.

Unlike most of the series, which is mainly devoted to orchestral selections played by British bands and orchestras, this one salutes American bands and orchestras. The generous selection of 25 pieces recorded an LPs in the 1950s include the orchestras of Walter Scharf, Hugo Winterhalter, David Rose, Camarata, Morton Gould, Andre Kostelanetz, Percy Faith and too many others to list here.

Among the melodies played, there are “Blue tango,” “Laura,” “Limehouse blues,” “The very thought of you,” “I love Louisa,” “All the things you are” and “Hi-Lilli, hi-lo.”

These familiar items are mingled with several less known such as “The Grasshopper” and “The little toy shop.” Like all the other Guild discs in this series, this is a lot of fun and just perfect for Parties and dining. Local bands might do well to hear this CD to get some ideas for their next concert.

Frank Behrens reports an classical and Broadway music as well as recordings of books and plays for the Arts & Entertainment section.
Frank Behrens


Essex Chronicle 16-06-2006

Good clean fun

“F” WAS for France last week, now it is for fun, and there are plenty of CDs out which provide that.

So, where to start? Well, a series of reissues of old 78rpm recordings from Swiss-based Guild Records provides as good a starting point as anywhere. The company has a Golden Age of Light Music series which covers a range of topics such as Light Music from the Silver Screen (Guild GLCD 5109), Great American Light Orchestras (Guild GLCD 5114), and In Town Tonight – the 1930s (Guild GLCD 5116). Alan Burning has masterminded the transfer to CDs, and soon the ear adjusts to the compressed sound, but fit is the content which interests me. Take the second volume of the 1930s. Here there are 19 tracks, all with exotic titles like Procession of the Sirdar, actually an arrangement of a famous classic, Donna Juanita and La Paloma. The orchestra line-up is an A list from the period such as Percy Faith, Nelson Riddle, Boston Pops, and David Rose.

For me, the most enterprising is the Silver Screen selection with tracks from mainly forgotten films such as Idol of Paris, and The Woman’s Angle. On the other hand, there are some celebrated releases like The Man Between, Shane, Odette and The Glass Mountain. So, for choice, there are plenty more from the same source revealing, as many of us know, that there is a growing nostalgia market.
Chris Green

MusicWeb December 2005

Travellin’ Light – Great American Light Orchestras: Volume 2

Guild have followed up their 1st volume of American Light Orchestras with this second volume, subtitled Travellin’ Light after the sparkling piece by Victor Young which opens this collection. Guild have cast their net widely and this disc features some twenty different ensembles, all the tracks having been recorded in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

It is difficult nowadays for us to realise quite how ubiquitous light music was, thanks first of all to the radio and then to LP. A number of ensembles on this disc made their name as radio broadcasters in the 1930s and 1940s before expanding to LPs in the 1950s. Of course this situation did not last and light music orchestras were left behind as the younger record-buying public became more interested in rock-and-roll.

Show tunes feature quite strongly. The title track from the film ‘Laura’ is played by David Rose and his orchestra; Rose himself is credited with scoring some 36 films. Morton Gould gives us an attractive arrangement of Limehouse Blues from ‘André Charlot’s Revue of 1924’. Andre Kostelanetz was notable for his imaginative arrangements and his version of Mine from the Gershwin musical ‘Let ‘Em Eat Cake’ is no exception.

The Continental from ‘The Gay Divorcee’ is still pretty well known nowadays; here played by the Boston Pops Orchestra. But I Love Louisa from ‘The Band Wagon’ is less well known. It is played on this disc by The Pittsburgh Strings, in fact the string section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This use of string only ensembles was a feature of the 1950s; Victor Young and his Singing Strings appear playing Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo from the film ‘Lili’ and The Pittsburgh Strings reappear with The Piccolino from ‘Top Hat’.

Cole Porter’s I concentrate on you is played by Kostelanetz and His Orchestra, one of the few groups to appear twice in this compilation. The attractive final track is What’s Good About Goodbye’ from the film ‘Casbah’; not a film that is familiar to me but the song was co-written by Harold Arlen, which is always a good sign.

There is an interesting clutch of novelty numbers including Kreisler’s Tambourine Chinois and Morton Gould’s arrangement of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers with Gould conducting, not his own orchestra but the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra.

All in all this is an attractive compilation. A remarkable feature is the uniformity of style across these rather disparate ensembles. Perhaps the selection will not create many new light music devotees but it will certainly make existing ones very happy.
Robert Hugill


MUSICWEB AUGUST 2005

Travellin’ Light – Great American Light Orchestras: Volume 2
They keep coming from the Guild Light Music stable. Here’s volume 2 in their American Light Orchestras series with a full complement of top notch bands, arrangers, arrangements and songs and the result is naturally pleasurable and entertaining. I suspect Victor Young might have transatlantically lopped one “l” off Travelling but the song that gives the disc its title is a string-based classic complete with a classic B section bluesy clarinet solo. One can’t begrudge Leroy Anderson anything, even his gee-tar insertions in Blue Tango, still less when he writes so well for trombone and percussion. And David Rose, whose reissues are so splendid a feature of this and other recent discs, contributes a lush Laura though it sounds to have been taken direct from the soundtrack as the sound is rather dampened down. Morton Gould has a lot of fun with the Limehouse Blues converting it back away from its status as a jazz standard into a fully bedecked tone poem, with orientalism a-plenty, muted trumpets and portentous orchestration. Wittier is the Camerata-conducted Grasshopper one of the many genre animal pieces that kept bands so busy during the years.

Richard Hayman contributes a rather overblown The Very Thought Of You as if afraid to let Ray Noble’s song just unfold but the frolics of Latin Americana are very much to the fore in The Girl With The Spanish Drawl. This series has thrived on the variety and dextrous colouration of this type of material and this disc is no exception as one can hear in Nelson Riddle’s arrangement of I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me which is characteristically eloquent in its distribution of weight and sonority, and has a fine solo for his own instrument, the trombone. True, Aquaviva writes a strange tune in New York In A Nutshell which isn’t – but should be – subtitled, An American in New York so indebted is it to Gershwin’s cosmopolitan model but at least he laces it with a big, fat, hammy trumpet solo.

Throughout in fact we find witty orchestrations and charming moments of whimsy and humour – two tunes at once in the Calico Square Dance, a touch of the military in Rose’s The Flying Horse. I assume some linguistic fun was had at the expense of Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois, which here becomes Tambourine and is bedecked in bongo drums and a tropical feel. What the man from Vienna felt, still very much alive at the time, must remain a mystery though doubtless the royalties didn’t go amiss.

This is very much an indication of the fun and warmth to be found here; unpretentious in spirit but often scrupulous in craftsmanship, especially the best known. Transfers are effective and the notes once more a pleasure.
Jonathan Woolf