Reviews

GLCD 5179 – The Golden Age of Light Music: Portrait Of My Love

Various

To the CD in our Shop


MusicWeb International July 2011

If you’re an admirer of contemporary artist Jerzy Marek, Polish-born but who has lived in Britain since 1948, you will recognise his The Love Birds. It graces the cover of this album from Guild and Love is very definitely In The Air. David Ades’s first paragraph in his booklet note skirts the cheesy, and indulges one especially wry gag, but his biographical and musical muscles are soon put to good use as he guides us through song, composer and band in this 79 minute collection.
We’re off to a fine start courtesy of Cyril Ornadel, whose luscious romance gives the disc its title. Can you get much better than ‘Farnon conducts Coates’? Try Impression of a Princess, Coates’s portrait of Princess Margaret, though Ades reminds us that on the record label Farnon was disguised as that venerable Scandinavian ‘Ole Jensen’ – which, given as the orchestra doing the honours was the Danish State Radio is, I suppose, at least mildly explicable. Another royal connection is supplied via Dimitri Tiomkin’s The Prince and Princess Waltz – the two being Rainier and Grace, of Monaco fame.
Victor Sylvester’s Silver Strings meanwhile give a very full-bodied view of I Love You Samantha – a bit too much port wine in this interpretation, perhaps. Faux classical clarinet lines infuse Mantovani’s take on April Love and there’s genial Wedding Day by little known Douglas Brownsmith. Courtesy of the notes I can tell you that Brownsmith (1902-65) was a British composer who had hits from the late 1920s onwards but then also ran a bakery in Sussex, exchanging it for a restaurant in Bexhill-on-Sea. He loved music and cricket. Music, food, cricket: what more could you want from life?
Robert Stolz’s big-hearted waltz, Two Hearts In Three-Quarter Time, gets the big-hearted Kostelanetz treatment and there’s an anonymous concertante piano role in Like Someone in Love, played by the elite Paul Weston – his name Gentiled for mass consumption (he was born Wetstein). Mantovani throws plenty of sentiment over Can’t Help Loving That Man, but Peter Yorke gets caught in treacle when he tries to do likewise for If I Should Fall In Love Again. Jazz fans will recognise the beautiful sound of Bobby Hackett’s trumpet in You’re My Thrill whilst D.H. Lawrence would doubtless have spat at the ingratiating music to the film of Sons and Lovers. One of the very best performances here comes from Leslie Jones and his Orchestra of London as they perform Farnon’s gorgeous To A Young Lady. Percy Faith gets glitzy in Amor, and then we end with two weddings but no funeral, courtesy of The Wedding Dance and The Wedding Song; the former with pulsing vocals getting rather out of hand, the latter more clement. The last named is performed by Manuel and the Music of the Mountains. ‘Manuel’ was Geoff Love, and his mountains were located somewhere in the county of Yorkshire.
Lots of interesting music here on a variety of record labels. The discs span less than a decade. Good stuff for lovers one and all.
Jonathan Woolf
Lots of interesting music here. Good stuff for lovers one and all.