Having Wonderful Time, Wish You Would Hear… – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

Michel Legrand And His Orchestra – Love Paris, Frank Sinatra – Over The Rainbow, Art Van Damme Quintet – I Saw Stars, The Norman Luboff Choir – Colorado Trail, Les Elgart And His Orchestra – Alice Blue Gown, Frankie Laine, Buck Clayton – That Old Feeling, Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra – Emperor Waltz, Percy Faith And His Orchestra – The Loveliest Night Of The Year, Paul Weston And His Music From Hollywood – I’m Comin’ Virginia, Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye – You’ve Got Me Crying Again, Erroll Garner – Summertime, Louis Armstrong And His All-Stars – Aunt Hagar’s Blues

Having Wonderful Time, Wish You Would Hear... - Various Artists
inner poster

Label: Columbia CZ 1
Cover photograph courtesy of Esso Engineering and Research

1956 1950s Covers

Jackie Gleason – The Torch with the Blue Flame

Sleeve Notes:

This album sets a new standard in sensitive, subdued listening, by a master of the most unusual in musical enjoyment, Jackie Gleason. The magical Gleason touch that translated images into sound in “Oooo!” and “Velvet Brass” is vibrantly present again in an orches-tral setting that features eight marimbas and the luminous trombone of Lawrence Brown. Two of the selections. Time and Alone In The Crowd, are Gleason originals.

Underscored by strings, guitar and harp, vibraphone, piano and orchestra bells, the marimbas and trombone blend in rich versions of low-keyed mood songs…soft, dream-provoking Gleason sounds that sing with a flickering, haunting light …The Torch With The Blue Flame.

Jackie Gleason - The Torch with the Blue Flame

Label: Capitol LCT 6161
Cover Photo by Peter Fink

1958 1950s Covers

Jackie Gleason presents Music, Martinis and Memories

Sleeve Notes:

Music, Martinis and Memories

…each creates a wonderfully soft, romantic haze. Put them all together and you have a veryspecial effect—a mood whose warmth and tenderness are irresistibly appealing.

The memories and martinis should be yours, of course; the music may be provided by someone else—and nobody can do that more expertly than Jackie Gleason. His famous album presentations—lovely ballads richly orchestrated and featuring the lyric trumpet of Bobby Hackett—are remarkably conducive to that intriguing sentimental spell.

It’s really quite possible, in fact, to omit the memories and martinis; but with or without them, you’ll find this collection of Jackie Gleason interpretations to be romantic music at its very best, an ideal setting for your most delightful listening moments.

Jackie Gleason presents Music, Martinis and Memories

Label: Capitol SM 509 (reissue)

1954 1950s Covers

Eugene Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Frédéric Chopin – Les Sylphides Ballet and Strauss Family Polkas and Marches

Sleeve Notes:

Michael Fokine’s Les Sylphides, a ” romantic reverie ” in one scene, is deservedly the most celebrated example of a ballet blanc without story or plot in which the abstract, expressive qualities of classical dancing are used to evoke a subtle but irresistible mood. Before arriving at the ballet in its present form, however, Fokine had experimented with an earlier version. This was made up of five unrelated episodes, each with a different setting and two of which told a definite story.

This version of the ballet, called Chopiniana, was first produced at a charity performance at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, on March 8th, 1908. The thought of creating a Chopin ballet had come to the choreographer in a music shop while turning over the pages of Glazunov’s Chopiniana, a suite composed of orchestrations of four Chopin piano pieces—a polonaise, nocturne, mazurka and tarantella. Fokine added to these a waltz—the Op. 64, No. 2 in C sharp minor—which Glazunov also orchestrated at his request.

The ballet opened with a stately Polonaise danced by the corps de ballet in rich Polish costumes. In the Nocturne, Chopin himself was depicted, seated at his piano in a ruined monastery and menaced by the ghosts of dead monks as he attempted to compose. The Mazurka showed a Polish wedding celebration, at the height of which a young girl left her elderly husband-to-be to run off with her lover. The Waltz was a classical pas de deux in which the costume worn by the danseuse (Anna Pavlova) was copied from that originally worn by Taglioni in the famous 19th-century Romantic ballet La Sylphide. This pas de deux of a sylph and a poet was to be the nucleus around which Les Sylphides as we know it was to grow. The ballet concluded with a Tarantella danced by a gay Neapolitan throng.

Dissatisfied with the ballet, Fokine produced a second version of Chopiniana, danced by students of the Imperial Ballet School at a pupils’ performance on April 6th of the same’ year. The C sharp minor Waltz was retained in Glazunov’s orchestration, but otherwise. a new suite of Chopin pieces was assembled by the choreographer and this time orchestrated by Maurice Keller. The setting was now a moonlit glade and all the danseuses wore white muslin ballet dresses á la Taglioni, the single male dancer the traditional romantic costume of white tights and silk blouse under a short black velvet tunic. When Fokine joined Diaghilev the following year to help form a company with which to acquaint Western Europe with the glory of Russia’s ballet achievement, Chopiniana was taken into the repertoire and renamed Les Sylphides, on the suggestion of Alexandre Benois, who designed a new decor for the production first given at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, on June 2nd, 1909. Since then Les Sylphides has been produced by practically every ballet company of note.

The Prelude in A major, Op. 28, No. 7, heard first as a short overture, establishes the rapt, dream-like atmosphere that is later sustained throughout even the most animated sections of the choreography. The Nocturne in A flat major, Op. 32, No. 2, danced by the full company, is followed by the Waltz in G flat major, Op. 70, No. I, a rhythmically intricate solo for a premiere danseuse. Then, to the Mazurka in D major, Op. 33, No. 2, the danseuse Rolle emerges from the shadows to cross and circle the stage in bounding grands jetes. To the Mazurka in C major, Op. 67, No. 3, the premier danseur performs an elegant variation In which the basic steps of the Polish mazurka can be clearly’ discerned. An exquisitely restrained solo for a premiere danseuse is danced to the same A major Prelude that has already served as overture. The Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2, is the music for the pas de deux performed by the leading ballerina and male dancer; and finally the Grande Valse brilliante in E flat major, Op. 18, is danced by the entire company.

The difficulty of preserving the Intimate delicacy of Chopin’s music while at the same time making it theatrically effective has taxed the ingenuity of many arrangers since Les Sylphides was first given. Disliking Keller’s orchestration, Diaghilev commissioned a fresh version from four Russian composers—Stravinsky, Tcherepnin, Lladov and Glazunov. Other composers, who have orchestrated the music include Taneyev, Gretchaninov, Rieti, Gordon Jacob, Benjamin Britten and Ainslie Murray and Felix White. Gretchaninov’s version Is heard on this recording and the order in which the dances are played, which differs from that adopted in the ballet, is as follows: Prelude, Op. 28, No. 7; Nocturne, Op. 32, No. 2; Waltz, Op. 70, No. I; Prelude, Op. 28, No. 7; Mazurka, Op. 67, No. 3; Mazurka, Op. 33, No. 2; Waltz, Op. 64, No. 2; Grande Valse brillionte, Op. 18.

dance music for three-quarters of a century. Johann Strauss, Senior, the founder of the dynasty, was the first to be acclaimed ” Waltz King “. But the crown was soon wrested from him by his eldest son, Johann the Younger, who surpassed his father’s achievement in every field, except possibly as a conductor. But if the name of Strauss is synonymous with the Viennese waltz, it should not be forgotten that the family—including the other sons Josef and Eduard—wrote an even greater number, all told, of polkas, galops, marches and quadrilles to satisfy the insatiable popular demand of the day.

Father Strauss is represented on this record by the work by which he is nowadays best remembered, the Radetzky March—though his contemporaries would no doubt have plumped for his Lorelel-Rheinkldnge Waltz or Donaulieder. It was composed as a tribute to General Radetzky after his victories at the head of the Hapsburg armies over the Italian forces in 1848. Revolution was in the air in Vienna, Radetzky was the popular hero of the Republicans, and tempers ran high. Strauss, a loyal monarchist, had intended his new March merely as an expression of patriotic feeling, but it was invested by the Viennese with a political significance it was not meant to carry, and the resulting outcry did great harm to his reputation. However, the matter was soon forgotten and the March came to be regarded as Austria’s unofficial national anthem.

As with his waltzes, the marches and polkas of Johann II show a greater sophistication than those of his father. The glittering Oriental colouring of the Egyptian March recalls the turquerie of Mozart’s Entfuhrung. Dedicated to Archduke Friedrich of Baden, the March was first heard at one of the promenade concerts given by the Strauss Orchestra at the famous Baden-Baden Spa. The Annen Polka, with its wistful feminine charm, stands out as something of an exception among Johann’s hundreds of racy polkas. It can be taken as a portrait of his mother, Anna Strauss, after whom Strauss, Senior, also named a polka.

As their titles suggest, Thunder and Lightning and Explosions are two of the most exuberant of Strauss’s polkas, their unbuttoned boisterousness making a perfect contrast with the delicate plucked-string effects of the famous Pizzicato Polka, a joint composition of Johann and his brother Josef, who quite possibly contributed the Trio section. Tritsch-Trotsch, another popular favourite, amusingly depicts the tittle-tattle of scandal-mongers and gossips. The Overture to Waldmeister is all that is ever heard nowadays of Strauss’s penultimate operetta. The story, about a village whose inhabitants become mysteriously Inebriated, was blamed for the work’s failure, though Brahms admired it and left a token of his respect for the composer by adding a counter-melody for the first violins to the waltz theme at the point where It returns near the end played by the flutes.

David Hunt

Eugene Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Frédéric Chopin – Les Sylphides Ballet and Strauss Family Polkas and Marches

Label: Philips GL 03547 L
Cover photograph: Carla Fracci, by Mike Davis

1956 1950s Covers

The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra – Chopin Les Sylphides

Sleeve Notes:

CHOPIN: LES SYLPHIDES In 1894 Glazunov published an orchestral suite entitled “Chopiniana,” consisting of orchestrations of four piano pieces by Chopin. At the start of the new century the choreographer Michael Fokine (1880-1942) decided to use this suite for a ballet.

He set to work and after an additional Valse had been selected and orchestrated by Glazunov the work was produced in St. Petersburg. Shortly afterwards “Chopiniana” was redesigned and danced to a new selection of music orchestrated by Maurice Keller: the only item retained from the previous production was the additional Chopin-Glazunov Valse. The Keller version was presented at St. Petersburg in April, 1908. A year later Diaghilev decided to include the work in the opening season of his “Ballets Russes” at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, and it had its first performance on June 2, 1909. At the suggestion of Alexandre Benois the title “Chopiniana” was dropped and that of “Les Sylphides” substituted : for this same production, the score was reorchestrated by Stravinsky. In Les Sylphides, a number of danseuses dressed in white and one danseur, also in white apart from black shoes and jerkin, join in a series of dance numbers against a background of moonlit glade and ruined monastery. The work provides a perfect unity of music, movement, scenery and costume.

TCHAIKOVSKY: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, his second important ballet, was first performed on January 1/15, 1890, at the Maryinsky Theatre, with choreography by Marius Petipa. The story is based on the well-known tale of the Sleeping Beauty, as related in Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé. Modern revivals have differed in their treatment of the ballet as a whole; but it was originally presented in five scenes. The first (Prologue) represents the christening of the Princess Aurora; the festivities include dances by various fairies, of whom the most important is the Lilac Fairy—she is, as it were, the guardian angel of the story. The wicked fairy Carabosse, who has not been invited to the christening because everyone thought she was dead, suddenly interrupts the festivities and places a terrible curse on the Princess. In the second scene (Act 1), which takes place sixteen years later, the Princess is at her spinning-wheel; the spindle pricks her finger, and she falls into a deep sleep from which she cannot be awakened. The third scene (Act 2, Scene 1) is a hundred years later; Prince Charming is out hunting with his friends. The Lilac Fairy appears to him and shows him the Sleeping Beauty in a vision; she promises to guide him to her. The fourth scene (Act 2, Scene 2) shows the Princess’s awakening by the Prince, and in the fifth (Act 3) we see their wedding celebrations. The well-known Suite consists of music from various parts of the ballet, and is in five movements.

ROGER DESORMIERE Roger Desormiere is one of the most outstanding French conductors of our time. Born at Vichy in 1898, he studied music at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1922 won the Prix Blumenthal for composition. Two years later he took part in the soirees held by Count Etienne de Beaumont in Paris and later directed the performances of the Swedish ballet. From 1925 to 1930 he was musical director of the Diaghilev ballet, and conducted performances of this company all over Europe. When the company broke up after the death of Diaghilev, Desormiere toured Europe as a guest conductor, appearing in Paris, London, Brussels, Munich,Budapest, Leningrad and Moscow. He has taken part in most of the I.S.C.M. annual festivals, and in 1949 was invited to the Edinburgh Festival with the Paris Radio Orchestra. In 1944 Desormiere was appointed director of the Paris Opera-Comique, where he conducted many important revivals. In 1946 he ceased to hold any official appointment, but continued to make guest appearances in the main musical centres of Europe.

The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra - Chopin Les Sylphides - beautiful album cover from 1958, one of hundreds of beautiful album covers at coverheaven.co.uk

Label: Ace Of Clubs ACL 8
Cover photo by Houston Rogers of Meriel Evans in ” Les Sylphides.”

1958 1950s Covers

Jackie Gleason presents Music To Make You Misty

Sleeve Notes:

Beautiful music can evoke sentimental memories … and Jackie Gleason has chosen the loveliest of ballads for his Music To Make You Misty… melodies whose nostalgic phrases bring back the tender moments of everyone’s romance. For Jackie Gleason has just the right touch … the deft touch that has already given best-selling popularity to two great albums — Music For Lovers Only and Lover’s Rhapsody. Now, in this presentation of favorite tunes, he appeals again to all the young in heart.

Two superb instrumental soloists are featured in this album, Bobby Hackett on trumpet and Toots Mondello on alto saxophone; the tasteful arrangements are by Sid Feller and Richard Jones. Their lyrical work is a tribute to Jackie Gleason’s fine musical taste. So here is Jackie conducting his orchestra in a splendid offering for your romantic listening pleasure.

Jackie Gleeson presents Music To Make You Misty

Label: Capitol W455
Photo by Richard Nadel, Camera Associates, Inc.

1957 1950s Covers

Carmen Dragon – Tempo Español

Sleeve Notes:

Flamboyant rhythms and seductive melodies presented via the thrilling medium of Full Dimensional Stereo recording.

For centuries, music has been one of Spain’s principal exports, produced in a multitude of shapes and forms and transmitted to other lands in both hemispheres over those mysterious, duty-free routes which works of the imagination have always traveled.

It is possible, however, that even more Spanish music has been composed outside of Spain than in it. Its highly emotional, insidiously rhythmic, blazingly colorful characteristics have seduced the world’s most eminent composers.

It is possible, however, that even more Spanish music has been composed outside of Spain than in it. Its highly emotional, insidiously rhythmic, blazingly colorful characteristics have seduced the world’s most eminent composers. Debussy, Chabrier and Ravel are notable among the great French talents who, at one time or another in their careers, fell under the spell of Spain. Jules Massenet, represented in this album by the graceful Castillane from his opera El Cid, was another. Probably the consummate expression of Spanish musical influence on a French-man was Carmen, one of the most sublimely integrated and emotionally stimulating operas of all time, and of course the crowning achievement of its composer, Georges Bizet. The Intermezzo heard on this recording is from Carmen Suite No. 14. It contains rippling flute and harp passages of unparalleled tranquility and delight, which reflect the potent blend of, French dramatic lyricism with themes that are inescapably Spanish.

The devious route which carried the music of Spain out to the rest of the world proved to be a two-way street through which foreign idioms came in. Manuel de Falla is an interesting illustration of this. One of Spain’s most gifted musicians and a dedicated pupil of the Iberian nationalist composer Felipe Pedrell, Falla was in turn strongly influenced by the impressionists Debussy, Ravel and Dukas, whom he met in Paris when he visited there in 1907. The engaging Danza (Spanish Dance No. 1), included here, is from the opera La Vida Breve (The Short Life), one of his earliest works. Its inherent excitement is skillfully dramatized by Carmen. Dragon. The impress of the tempo español is nowhere sharper or more vivid than in Latin American folk tunes, whose character was molded by the long-ago conquistadores and their numerous descendants. The folk themes which permeate most Spanish music—from the hoarse
flamencos of the cantinas to the classical studies for violin, guitar and piano—emigrated to the New World, where the syncopated Iberian beat and the percussive Indian rhythms took to each other readily and made a happy marriage. The body of folk songs which resulted —sentimental, bawdy, tender, sad, gay and altogether wonderful — inevitably crossed the border into the United States, where they have become increasingly familiar and popular. Two particularly charming examples of Latin America’s folk music — Ay, Ay, Ay and Jesusita en Chihuahua—have been chosen for this album by Carmen Dragon, who treats them with the affection they deserve. Jesusita includes the extra delight of a typical Mexican mariachi hand, which engages in a musical dialogue with the full orchestra. Spanish dance forms crossed the great ocean to the Western Hemisphere along with Spanish music, and one of the most spectacular of these was the tango. Descended from a Negro dance called the tangano, it journeyed in various forms to Andalucia, the. rest of Spain and to the Americas. Its last major excursion was up from Argentina to the United States, as an exhibition dance. Characterized by aristocratic but free-flowing movements, the tango persists as a steady favorite in this country, and La Cumparsita is possibly the one most frequently heard. Conductor Dragon gives this composition a sparkling performance in which soaring strings, growling trombones, crackling trumpets and the hypnotic interbeat of castanet and tambourine emphasize its fascinating rhythm.

Other successful Castilian-accented residents of the United States are Lady of Spain, Jalousie and Valencia, all three enjoying long careers as popular standards and susceptible to a variety of stirring treatments. Carmen Dragon displays taste and flexibility in gracing these favorites with the opulent spectrum of tone, rhythm and harmonic richness which only the full symphony orchestra can provide. Mr. Dragon ebulliently explores the rhythmic variations of fandango, waltz, tango, galop, beguine, samba and mambo with a dazzling counterplay of instrumental colors—calling upon marimbas, flutes, bongos, castanets, maracas, tambourines and all the varied percussive accents which punctuate so much of Spanish music.

Produced by RALPH O’CONNOR

CARMEN DRAGON has distinguished, himself in America as an out-standing composer, arranger and conductor in many fields of music, including motion pictures, radio and television, and appearances with major symphony orchestras throughout the nation.

Carmen Dragon - Tempo Español - a super Spanish themese beautiful record cover from coverheaven.co.uk

Label: Capitol

1959 1950s Covers

Rimsky Korsakov, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – Scheherazade

Sleeve Notes

In the year spanning 1887 and 1888, Nicolai Andreyvitch Rimsky-Korsakov managed to produce three symphonic tributes to three separate lands — his own Russia, Spain, and the Land of Make-Believe. The Russian Easter Overture (Opus 36) and Capriccio Español (Opus 34 ) both offered glittering festival music.

But the elements of pageantry, excitement and sensuality found even more triumphant expression in Opus 35 —which is Scheherazade. Rimsky always regarded this work with special interest and affection, suspecting perhaps that here he had created his immortal monument.

The career of Rimsky-Korsakov got off to a singularly unpromising start.

In the Navy circles in which, as a midshipman, young Rimsky moved, he was conceded to be indifferent officer material but a first-rate musician.

Among musicians, he was rated a rather bad pianist.

On reaching his twenty-first birthday in 1865, Rimsky had yet to decide just where he belonged. He loved the sea; but the dull, vulgar, and inhuman life with the Tsar’s Imperial Navy depressed him. And although he possessed an unmistakeable musical gift, Rimsky’s disposition was better suited to being an aristocratic young dilettante than to study, practice, and serious composition.

Yet, from such lean beginnings finally emerged one of the most astonishing talents in music!

Of the group of rebellious Russian composers later to be immortalized as the Mighty Five, Rimsky is considered by many as the mightiest. Balakirev, Cui, Moussorgsky, and Borodin made up the rest of the coterie. These five young men were the musical manifestation of the drive toward nationalism which all Russia was feeling at the time. Together they waged war on traditional “conservatory” music, as symbolized to them by Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky. Each of the five had his special genius to contribute. But none of the group (and, indeed, very few composers before or since) addressed himself with such success to the imagination of his listeners, as did the composer of Scheherazade.

It is to the lasting credit of Mili Balakirev, leader of the young dissidents, that he saw beyond Rimsky’s ignorance of harmony, notation, and the use of the musical instruments themselves. With a teacher’s intuition, Balakirev guessed at Rimsky’s latent greatness and goaded his protege to abandon mere musical dabbling. Not only was such waste of talent an abomination, but the Mighty Five needed a major musical work with which to gain recognition and stature. Thus Rimsky-Korsakov’s First Symphony, performed in 1865, was also the group’s first public testament.

The audience applauded, then gasped, as the composer was brought out onto the stage wearing his Naval uniform! But by September of the same year, Rimsky’s sailing days had ended, and he settled down to work in St. Petersburg. As he learned, he composed. And as he composed, he learned. Two fresh works: Sadko (1867), a symphonic poem; and the opera, The Maid of Pskov (1868 ) further established his success.

Yet he was scarcely prepared, in 1871, for an incredible stroke of luck: his appointment to a professorship at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Urged on by his friends (particularly by Balakirev who jumped at the chance to plant one of his rebels in the hostile Conservatory), Rimsky accepted the post. Had he known a little more about music at the time, he would have been appalled at the magnitude of his own inadequacy. When the realization did smite him, it was too late to back out.

By diligent application and brilliant bluffing, Rimsky managed to hide his ignorance from his students and, eventually; to keep one jump ahead of them. As the composer explains: “… having been undeservedly accepted at the Conservatory as a professor, I became one of its best and possibly its very best pupil!”

He was engrossed in some revisions of Borodin’s Prince Igor when he received the inspiration for an orchestral piece derived from and suggesting the exotic tales of the Arabian Nights. And, in the summer of 1888, the symphonic suite in four movements — entitled Scheherazade, was completed.

In all of music it is hard to single out another composition equalling Scheherazade’s power to liberate the imagination of the listener and send it flying by magic carpet to the strange and wonderful world which Rimsky-Korsakov conjured up—a land of Oriental splendor—of djinns and magical fantasies-of heavy-lidded princesses — glistening Nubians — cruel Caliphs — beautiful slave-girls dancing and stamping their little belled feet in the crowded bazaar.

Each listener, according to his special mood and fancy, may improvise symbols of his own — just as did the composer of the music and the choreographer of the famous ballet based upon it.

For Rimsky-Korsakov intended his tone poem to be evocative rather than narrative. The “kaleidoscope of fairy-tale images”— as he himself characterized it — shifts from one to another with no continuing plot.

The titles of the four movements: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship; The Kalander Prince’s Tale; The Prince and the Princess; The Bagdad Festival and the Ship Dashing Upon the Rock Surmounted by the Bronze Statue of a Warrior — serve mainly as thematic cues. The combined effect of these four movements is a melodic reflection of some of the tales by which the Sultana Scheherazade —over a period of A Thousand and One Nights — charmed her surly husband, the Sultan Schahriar, out of the notion of executing her.

The first violins establish the theme of Scheherazade as narrator. This same theme, repeated and embellished, leads to other musical figures and to other images. Wood-winds, horns, harp, cymbal, and tambourine take their turns assembling the mosaic of sound and enchantment.

Here is magnificent proof of Rimsky-Korsakov’s pain-fully acquired virtuosity. Every symphonic ornament is exhibited in this satisfying work, as though the composer had challenged not only himself but the orchestras and. conductors who would perform it. A concert showpiece from the day of its debut, Scheherazade makes exacting demands, ranging from pianissimo solos to its fortissimo climax and exploiting all of the colorations and shadings of musical sound.

No amount of repetition can diminish the vitality of such a composition. It brings something new and wonderful to all who hear it for the first — or for the hundredth — time.

WILLIAM STEINBERG is justly celebrated as one of the foremost conductors of our time. Coming to the United States in 1938 with a European reputation of the highest order, he has since distinguished himself with equal success and acclaim on this continent. His memorable appearances with most of the nation’s major symphony orchestras are climaxed now in his permanent conductorship of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with which he displays the full scope and sensitivity of his magnificent talent. Among their recordings are these works:
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”) P-8159
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 2 Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”) P-8162
STRAUSS: Till Eulenspiegel Death and Transfiguration P-8291
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 8 P-8292
RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 2 P-8293
TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade in C Major PROKOFIEV: Classical Symphony P-8290
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor P-8325

Rimsky Korsakov, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - Scheherazade

Label: Capitol P8305

1955 1950s Covers

Victor Silvester and his Silver Strings – You Were Never Lovelier

Sleeve notes:

THE TUNES included on this superb Long Play Record have been chosen with a dual purpose in view; for those who wish to dance, and for those who wish to listen to some of the most romantic melodies ever written.

In his lifetime Jerome Kern composed so many excellent numbers that it was a difficult task to decide on just which should be included in this selection, but we think you will agree that Victor Silvester has certainly chosen most of Jerome Kern’s greatest successes.

“You were never lovelier”, “I’m old fashioned” and “Dearly beloved” were all featured in the 1943 film “You were never lovelier”, which starred Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth.

From “Showboat” which was first presented in 1927, two numbers are included —”Make believe” and “Why do I love you?”

“Smoke gets in your eyes” and “Lovely to look at” are from the 1935 production “Roberta”, starring Fred Astaire and Irene Dunne, although the first title was originally from a musical show “Gowns for Roberta” in 1933.

“Moon love” was written for “The Beauty Prize”, a show produced in 1923.

In 1940 Jerome Kern wrote a haunting melody that was to win an Academy Award film “Oscar” as the best tune of 1941—a tune that recalled the capital of France before its war-time occupation. The film was “Till the clouds roll by”. The tune—”The last time I saw Paris”.

“They didn’t believe me” is the earliest of Jerome Kern’s many hit tunes, dating back to 1914, when it brought happiness to many people during the first World War. It was in a show called—”Tonight’s the night”.

“All the things you are” was composed for a show called “Very warm for May”, in 1939, and was later featured in a Hollywood film “Broadway rhythm”.

“All the things you are” was composed for a show called “Very warm for May”, in 1939, and was later featured in a Hollywood film “Broadway rhythm”.

“A fine romance” and “The way you look tonight” both came from one of the early Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire successes “Swingtime”. Incidentally “The way you look tonight” also won an Academy Award “Oscar” as the best film tune of 1936.

In 1942 he wrote the music for what was to be his last film score; Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly were the stars, and the film was called “Cover Girl”. Even if you find it hard to remember the film, one tune from it has become a standard favourite—”Long ago and far away”.

These, then, are the melodies featured on this record—melodies by one of the greatest composers of all time. Victor Silvester has paid tribute to a famous American by presenting these tunes to you in a way we think you will long remember, and, we hope, enjoy over and over again.

THE NAME of Victor Silvester is synonymous with dancing and music for dancing throughout Europe and South America, and in large sections of Asia and Africa. In addition, many G.I.’s returning home after the war from places as far apart as Chung-king and Casablanca carried with them memories of his inimitable music.

At the age of 22 Victor won the World’s Dancing Championship, an outstanding feat as he had only begun dancing three years before. His success was due to intensive training and exceptional ability.

He then opened his own dancing school in London’s famous Bond Street, and this became the largest and most famous in the British Isles. People from all parts of the world came to learn dancing there, and these included many notable personalities, such as Madeleine Carroll, Merle Oberon and Belita—to mention only a few. It was his experience as a dancer and his association with Columbia which led to the formation of his Ballroom Orchestra.

At his Dancing Academy—in common with other teachers at the time—Victor found that it was difficult to obtain satisfactory records suitable for dancing, and so he hit upon the brilliant idea of forming his own orchestra. He had learned to play the piano as a boy, and his studies at a London College of Music were to prove of great value. His records were best-sellers from the first issue.

The popularity of Victor’s Ballroom Orchestra led to the formation of an entirely different unit—the Silver Strings—and this combination, featuring the music of Latin-America—soon emulated the popularity of its ballroom counterpart. Today he is one of the few artists in the entertainment world who has at least three records issued every month! He has a seven year contract with Columbia (English label), and a three-year contract with the B.B.C., for whom he has provided a regular programme called “The Television Dancing Club” since 1948. He also undertakes well over 100 broadcasts a year in B.B.C. radio series, among which is a request programme “Music for Dancing” which has been heard regularly on the North American Service of the B.B.C. for the past ten years. Recently Victor has begun to open dancing studios throughout the British Isles in association with the Rank Organisation, and it is estimated that over two hundred studios will be in operation within the next three years.

He has written a book “Modern Ballroom Dancing” which has sold over a million copies in 50 different editions! With his pianist Ernest Wilson, who is also his arranger, and who so brilliantly orchestrated the music for this record, he has written over 150 dance tunes, including Tangos, Rumbas, Sambas, Viennese Waltzes, Mambos, Calypsos, and Rock and Roll! Victor decided to extend its range to encompass the more general field of popular music.

His Orchestras play, and have always played, for those who like to dance, as well as those who like to listen. The musical sound he has achieved is as distinctive in its own right as that of the late Glenn Miller, with whom he formed a close personal friendship during the war, which continued until Glenn’s tragic death in 1944.

Perhaps the best summing-up of the principles which Victor believes in, was given by the maestro himself when he said “The basic essentials of true dance music are melody, simplicity and a consistent rhythm. Join these three entities together and you have music that is nice to dance to and pleasing to listen to.” These principles are clearly defined on this record, and we feel sure that you will find many hours, days and years of enjoyment with this record.

Victor Silvester and his Silver Strings - You Were Never Lovelier

Label: Columbia 33SX 1061

1957 1950s Covers

Ray Conniff and His Orchestra – Hollywood In Rhythm

Sleeve Notes:

The inimitable music of Ray Conniff turns up once more in still another enlivening and royally entertaining dance programme, this time turning the spotlight on Hollywood. Mr. Conniff and his talented associates have already saluted Broadway and melodies from the classics, in addition to their three other best-sellers, and this time around finds them no less fresh and imaginative.

In the strictest sense, two of the songs did not originate in Hollywood, but they have shown up in motion pictures, and are splendid examples of superior song-writing to boot. The Conniff arrangements, neatly tailored to the requirements of dancers, give each of the numbers a cheerful new touch, and along the may he adds a few new ideas of his own, too.

The new Conniff collection opens with Love is a many splendoured thing, a 1955 creation from the movie of the same name. Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain were the composers, and the Conniff treatment is properly in the ballad vein, with the customary strong beat. Next comes the Leo Robin-Ralph Rainger tune forever associated with Bob Hope, Thanks for the memory, from “The Big Broadcast of 1938” (the song was actually published in 1937), again in a catchy, easy beat. Cole Porter is the composer of Easy to love, from 1936’s “Born to Dance”, and in this arrangement, as usual, the Conniff voices add an extra dimension of sound and excitement to a favourite tune. The conductor-arranger shows up as composer as well in the next selection, Pacific sunset, which he wrote in 1958. The selection has, along with its charming melody, the kind of infectious rhythm that is no much a part of the Conniff style. Cheek to cheek from “Top Hat” of 1935 brings Irving Berlin’s touch to the programme, and Ray serves up the classic melody with a light, engaging treatment. The Rodgers-Hart My heart stood still, which winds up this side with a breezy shuffle beat, originated on Broadway in 1927, in “A Connecticut Yankee”, but has done screen service as well, and adds yet another cheerful note to the collection.

In 1932, Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger wrote Please for Bing Crosby to sing in the first edition of “The Big Broadcast”, and it has remained one of the most popular tunes of our time. Ray Conniff then presents a brace of title tunes, from “Love Letters” and “Laura” both of 1945. The former was written by Edward Heyman and the late Victor Young, the latter by Johnny Mercer and David Raksin. Love letters is heard in a smooth, romantic setting, while the familiar Conniff beat comes to the fore in Laura. “The Uninvited”, an eerie ghost story of 1945, also included the lovely Stella by starlight theme, written by Ned Washington and Victor Young, and heard here in a setting that mirrors its concerto-like quality. Yesterdays, by Otto Harbach and Jerome Kern, appeared first on the stage in “Roberta” in 1933, but showed up in both movie versions of the production, the most recent being called “Lovely to Look At” after another Kern melody. Ray Conniff gives the melody a lightly swinging arrangement that is nevertheless coloured with the melancholy moodiness of the basic idea of the song, and then concludes his programme with It might as well be spring, the Academy Award-winning song by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II from their 1945 success, “State Fair”. Here, as throughout this eminently enjoyable collection, Ray Conniff and the orchestra present another delightful sample of the kind of music-making that has made them among the most popular dance organizations of the present day, music that is light, airy and as delightful to listen to as it is for dancing.

Ray Conniff and His Orchestra - Hollywood In Rhythm

Label: CBS BGP 62043

1959 1950s Covers