Music of romance seems invariably to draw forth the most rapturous melodies composers can offer, and Percy Faith’s arrangements of the tunes in Exotic Strings are undeniably in keeping with their mood of moonlight, romance and rapture. Probably no other conductor-arranger is so successful in the presentation of romantic music, keeping the sound tastefully rich and – at the same time allowing full outpouring of the melodies.
The Faith technique is stunningly evident in the present collection. To the fifty virtuoso strings comprising his orchestra, he has added exotic rhythm instruments to enhance the sonorous depth and breadth of his arrangements. The immense Hollywood recording studio where this album was made is ideally suited for capturing the flowing components of orchestral voices and countermelodies.
The repertoire of Exotic Strings offers fine Broadway and Hollywood ballads by Alexander Borodin (by way of Robert Wright and George Forrest’s musical version of ‘Kismet’), Arthur Schwartz, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Vincent Youmans. And in addition to such favourites as Poinciana, Nightingale and My Shawl, Percy has included an original composition, Chico Bolero. The unusual effect of plucked strings playing in countermelody against soaring strings is one of this selection’s particular delights.
In Exotic Strings, the Faith sound is gloriously displayed. The music provides a splendid medium for orchestral enchantment, and the enchantment, in turn, enhances the music in a way that is both intimate and expansive.
Label: CBS BPG 62121