The Golden Age of Light Music: The 1930s Revisited

The Golden Age of Light Music: The 1930s Revisited


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The Guild label's sizable Golden Age of Light Music series covers the genre known as easy listening music in North America. Many of its releases have been organized thematically and have focused on the music's heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, when it evolved in tandem with sound recording technology. But this disc looks back to the origins of the genre and defines the contents by time period rather than them; the music actually goes back as far as 1927 in the case of "Dancing Tambourine," by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra. Guild has already issued a couple of 1930s albums in the series, and this one is the equal of those. If you're looking for an introduction to easy listening music, you might do well to select one of the label's more general anthologies (such as the two volumes of Four Decades of Light Music). Those already immersed in the genre will find several gems in this nicely remastered set, however. Despite the later identification of easy listening with American and Canadian artists, the genre's origins were European, and most of the orchestras represented are British, with a few Continental groups. The sole American orchestra, that of André Kostelanetz, offers a small gem: "Swamp Fire" displays the daring arranging style of composer Hal Mooney later put at the service of singers like Sarah Vaughan. Many of the British pieces make the connections between easy listening and classical music especially clear; at this early stage, what made something "light music" was often short duration rather than musical language, and the "Entrance of the Little Fauns," a French composition rendered by Jack Payne and His BBC Dance Orchestra, offers watered-down Impressionism. Another highlight is the finale, with German composer Eduard Künneke conducting his own "Foxtrot" with no less an ensemble than the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. As David Ades points out in his notes, it was surprising that Künneke could command such an august group, doubly so considering the 1938 date, by which time American music in general and music with any hint of African-American rhythm in particular were both being strongly discouraged by the Nazi regime. But that just goes to show how pervasive this music was, even in the 1930s, and Guild deserves major credit for rescuing these pieces from the archives.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/09/2010
Label: Guild
UPC: 0795754516326
catalogNumber: 5163
Rank: 141260

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Eric Coates   Conductor
André Kostelanetz   Conductor
London Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Jack Hylton   Conductor
Ray Noble   Conductor
Ambrose Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
William Hodgson   Conductor
BBC Dance Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Jack Payne   Conductor
Marek Weber   Conductor
Drury Lane Theatre Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Ambrose   Conductor
Louis Levy   Conductor
Charles Prentice   Conductor
New Mayfair Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
J.H. Squire Celeste Octet   Ensemble
Louis Voss Grand Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Regent Concert Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Jack Frere   Conductor
Charles Shadwell   Conductor
Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Louis Levy's Theatre Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Commodore Grand Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Louis Mordish   Piano
Joseph Muscant   Conductor
London Palladium Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Eduard Künneke   Conductor
André Kostelanetz Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Jack Hylton & His Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Marek Weber Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Little Salon Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Orchestra Mascotte   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

Eric Coates   Composer
Gabriel Pierné   Composer
Irving Berlin   Original Material
Jerome Kern   Composer
Joseph Lanner   Composer
Sid Phillips   Composer
Harold Mooney   Composer
Peter Yorke   Arranger
John Ansell   Composer
Kenneth Grant   Cover Painting
David Ades   Liner Notes
Ivor Novello   Composer
Charles Prentice   Arranger
Charles Ancliffe   Composer
Theodore Moses Tobani   Composer
Henri Mouton   Arranger
Charles Shadwell   Composer
Carl Robrecht   Composer
William C. Polla (aka Powell)   Composer
Eduard Künneke   Composer
Cecil Armstrong Gibbs   Composer
P. Rivelli   Composer
Henry Steele   Composer
Esslinger   Composer
Clarence Willoughby   Arranger

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