Reviews

GLCD 5170 – The Golden Age of Light Music: Magical Melodies

Various

To the CD in our Shop


MusicWeb International Wednesday August 04 2010

The big name boys are here
It must be getting increasingly tricky to think up new titles for Guild’s Light Music marque. This one is ‘Magical Melodies’ and whilst I can’t quite agree on the magical quality of all the selected tracks I will happily concede that a good number are magical enough to pass muster.
As always the compilers and programmers ensure that there is a selection of orchestras and conductors, composers and arrangers. But the astute will also note that the big name boys are here; Farnon, Mantovani, Rose, Kostelanetz, Melachrino, Chacksfield, Trotter, Weston et al.
Let me first extol the virtues of Rudolf Friml. The 79 year old was coaxed into the studios to record some of his pieces and we hear one example, a slow, gorgeously phrased Loveliest Of The Lovely with the orchestra known as the 101 Strings. The Dvorák pupil lavishes great affection on his engulfing opus and the rich cantilena – with so much time to breathe – is a real example of how to phrase with breadth but not to lose an underling pulse. By contrast one could also note the glutinous sax in the bluesy opus that is Autumn Nocturne.
I’ve never really associated Hans Georg Arlt with anything overly snazzy – in fact his performances often annoy the bejasus out of me – but Warum Nur, Warum? is, for him, quite sassy. Jolly is the word I’d employ to characterise I’ve Got My Eyes On You as performed by Victor Silvester and his Silver Strings – Light Music does encourage these sibilant names. By contrast Frank Chacksfield, a master of his craft, ensures that we have a retro drum-kit on hand in the period touches of Lullaby Of Broadway – here it’s 1959 going on 1927. There’s a fine arrangement of I’m Thru With Love in which Paul Weston does the honours and Kostelanetz sports some virtuosic wind players in his outing. There’s a whimsical piece of geographical programming – Return to Paradise is immediately followed by Underneath Tahitian Skies. I wish Bruce Campbell might have dispensed with insistent percussion in Too Soon, because it’s otherwise a sensitive arrangement. David Rose is typically elegant, Harry Horlick’s Eva Waltz is a bit too spick and span, but Farnon’s Without A Song is simply terrific.
It’s worth adding that the booklet notes are as good as ever and that the transfers are glitch-free.
Jonathan Woolf