Reviews

 

GLCD 5184 – The Golden Age of Light Music: The Lost Transcriptions – Vol. 3

Various

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Brattleboro Reformer – 14 April 2012

Lost Transcriptions 3 – As I have been reporting for years now, Guild Light Music has been releasing a seemingly endless series of CDs under the main title of “The Golden Age of Light Music.” They are now up to the 84th entry, and it is a most unusual one. As a departure from the past compilations of commercial mono and stereo recordings of the late 40s to the middle 50s, this one takes an interesting direction. 

“The Lost Transcriptions, Vol. 1, 2, 3” consist of recordings that were never meant to be sold to the public. As the excellent program notes tell us, musical selections were transcribed onto 7-inch and 12-inch 78 rpm discs as well as 16-inch discs that played at 33 1/3 rpm. They were sent to the troops all over the world to be played in barracks or over PA systems for the whole camp to hear. (It is said that the Germans close enough to hear would wait for Bing Crosby, because he sounded like a German baritone. They affectionately called him Der Bingle!)

The sound is not bad, given their dates (from 1943 to 1955); and these selections are a good mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. Having already reported in this paper about “Lost Transcriptions, Vol. 1, 2,” I will concentrate on the third volume that has just gotten into the Guild catalogue

The first seven of the 25 selections feature Mantovani and His Orchestra. Some of the others are the orchestras of David Rose, Al Sack, the BBC Variety and Carl Chandler.
Among the more familiar selections are “So in Love,” “Turkey in the Straw,” “Malaguena” and “Stairway to the Stars.” Among the less familiar are “Elizabethan Serenade,” “The Deserted Ballroom” and “Flower of Love.”

As the notes inform us, all of these discs were to be destroyed after hostilities, but many servicemen took one or more home as souvenirs. It is from these surviving copies that Guild has gathered its material for this historically and musically interesting collection.
Frank Behrens


MusicWeb International – November 2011

The third volume in Guild’s Lost Transcriptions series — essentially broadcast and radio station inspired discs — concentrates on Mantovani and David Rose, happily bisecting these two monolithic Light Music figures with a smattering of other leaders in the field. Guild has even demarcated the three ‘chapters’ so you will always know where you are when looking at the running order in the booklet.
All the Mantovani cuts come courtesy of Lang-Worth Feature Programme transcription discs made in 1952. There are seven in all. Kenneth Baynes’s Ad infinitum, arranged by trusty Ronald Binge, is a skittering if rather odd piece. But soon we’re in prime Mantovani territory with a gloriously ripe So in Love in another elite Binge arrangement. The arranger’s own Elizabethan Serenade follows, one of the most charming of all his compositions, and then we have one of Mantovani’s own pieces, Prima Donna, via the pseudonym of Paolo Cortese. This combustible and dramatic piece is something of an operatic pastiche, and is very well written for the winds in particular. Connoisseurs of the Light Music genre will appreciate track seven in which Mantovani plays the work of his American ‘rival’ Morton Gould, The Deserted Ballroom.
David Rose contributes nine cuts from c.1942-45.They derive from Standard Radio and World Programme service transcriptions, the latter being either American or Australian. There’s an especially luscious arrangement of A La Bien Aimée and several examples of Rose’s own compositions — notably the punningly titled Rose of Bel-Air. Fortunately all were well recorded and have been seemingly well preserved; certainly they’ve been excellently transferred. The tranche of Rose and Mantovani tracks is augmented by a selection of Anglo-American material. The highlights include a gutsy Turkey in the Straw from Van Phillips in his own arrangement in 1943 or ‘44, and a charming Prunella, composed by Leslie Bridgewater and played by the Army Salon Orchestra under Eric Robinson. Who was the fine fiddler who plays the extended solo? Farnon directs his Canadian Band of the A.E.F. with pianist Denny Vaughan in tow in a concertante take on Stairway to the Stars. Rather trickier to take is the steroid boost given to Moszkowski’s Malageuna by Vivian Dunn and the Marines Band, and possibly also the smorgasbord of oddity that is Handley’s Seaside Holiday, played by the BBC Variety Orchestra under Charles Shadwell — on a BBC Transcription disc from around 1947.
So, we have variety, panache, breadth of repertoire and rare discs. With typically excellent notes, I say roll on volume four.
Jonathan Woolf
Variety, panache, breadth of repertoire and rare discs.