Sunday, May 22, 2005

Early lounge--examples #1

When we think of easy-listening, we tend to think of massed strings. (Well, I do, anyway.) Amazingly, this echo-laden, somewhere-in-the-back-of-the-studio sound was not an invention of the 1950s. Rather, it dates back to 1930s and 1940s radio and recordings. Here's proof: released in 1940 (and recorded in 1939, according to the matrix #), this is Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra playing a beautifully syrupy arrangement of Debussy's famous Clair de Lune (misspelled Claire de Lune on my file), with plenty of strings that are plenty far away. Originally released on a thick and heavy 12" Columbia 78!

This next one also came out on a thick and heavy 12" Columbia 78: it's Morton Gould, from 1947, playing the very same arrangement of Beyond the Blue Horizon that appeared on his well-known 1961 RCA Living Stereo LP of the same name. No train effects, but, otherwise, it's the same chart. Long-playing records were a year over the horizon when Gould recorded this classic. Ripped from an original 78 copy.

And here's Percy Faith and His Orchestra from 1949 (on RCA Victor) with a superb version of the exotica standard, Cumana. What this version might lack in exotica, it fills in with energy, volume, and (to borrow a term from Gunther Schuller) orchestrational ingenuity.

(I cheated. This dates from the early LP era.)

Important note: It's best to save each file rather than open it; the latter may not work on your computer (it often doesn't on mine).




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