Reviews

GLCD 5168 – The Golden Age of Light Music: British Cinema & Theatre Orchestras – Vol. 3

Various

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Memory Lane Autumn 2010-08-13

Two more CDs in the Guild `Golden Age of Light Music’ series have been released and they maintain the standard of excellence that we have come to expect. Strings in Rhythm (GLCD 5167) starts off with a lively version of Habanera from the Percy Faith orchestra and concludes in explosive style with Robert Farnon’s version of Fireworks Polka. The other 26 tracks, most of which have a Latin American flavour, are all delightful, with Gordon Jenkins, Norrie Paramor, Carmen Dragon, Nelson Riddle and their respective orchestras all in particularly good form. There are fewer tracks on BritishCinema & Theatre Orchestras – Vol.3 (GLCD 5168) but we still get 79 minutes of pleasurable listening. The London Palladium Orchestra is much to the fore, firstly under Clifford Greenwood with Palladium Memories, and subsequently with three separate tracks where the baton is wielded by Richard Crean. The redoubtable Joseph Muscant trumps that with his Commodore Grand Orchestra including, appropriately, an excellent rendition of Perfection.
GH

Music Web International July 2010

Another GAOLM disc arrives from the fecund Guild. It covers the expected variety of performances, and introduces us to orchestras and directors and conductors of note, repute and somewhat lesser renown. As ever it’s been compiled with a sure eye and ear.

There are a number of ‘selections’ here from theatrical shows, ones that take up two sides of a 78. Almost always – unless they defeat the compilers and only one does, the Countess Maritza selection – these numbers are identified in the booklet notes, so you can identify the tune to which you’re whistling, so as not to be whistling in the dark. There is some perky authority from Clifford Greenwood and the London Palladium Orchestra, a suitably top notch aggregation with whom we start the selection. Guild has reversed the two sides of their Palladium Memories selection so that we end with the jaunty Life Begins at Oxford Circus. We can also be entertained by Anton and the Paramount Theatre Orchestra ‘featuring Al Bollington’ the organist, because their confident brio cuts a right old dash, and even Al’s woozy Wurlitzer brings period charm.

If this doesn’t grab you there’s always the selection from Vincent Youman’s show Hit the Deck – it includes Sometimes I’m Happy. The eminent conductor Richard Crean conducts Water R Collins’s Moontime – a peppy opus. And we have virtuoso trumpeter Albert Coupe (I hope he didn’t change it from Cooper) who is in galloping mood on an Edison Bell. Joseph Muscant is a big presence in this disc with four appearances, not least with the Woodforde-Finden Indian love Lyrics which are breezily orchestrated and played with – to be frank – fruity confidence on another Edison-Bell. He also conducts a genial and very attractive waltz by Zimmer called What the Forest Whispers. There are some saucy classical quotations in the music from Künneke’s show The Song of the Sea; there’s also an evocative violin solo and a saxophone one too.

Drdla’s Serenade is a highly welcome piece in the line-up; it’s played by Anton once again. The Plaza Theatre fiddlers are on tremulous form for their outing in Friml’s Chanson (in love) and the short-lived Regal Virtuosi shine on Lincke’s Beautiful Waltz.

The transfers are smooth and clean, though rather more airless than I like. But the booklet is full of great gen as always.
Jonathan Woolf

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