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The four creative minds of The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) and “Jesus Christ Superstar’s” two originators (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice) are unanimously considered by both musicologists and casual listeners as among the very best composers of the last 50 years. Their music has been, to this day, the soundtrack of our lives. They are continually paid homage by other artists who record interpretations of their music.

In 1970 and 1971, one of Columbia Records’ most prolific and popular musicmakers, orchestra leader Percy Faith, produced two projects, “The Beatles Album” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” that reflected the public’s fascination with the two, and the joy their music brought to millions.

Since 1950, when he arrived at Columbia as both a recording artist and music director, the Toronto-born Faith began producing albums of tunes that were linked either conceptually, lyrically, or through association with a specific artist, project or part of the world. Albums like “Viva! The Music Of Mexico,” released in 1958, and “The Sound Of Music,” a 1960 issue, focused on their subjects to great effect, achieving commercial success. Faith would utilize the formula of translating well-known melodies into fantastically ornate and richly wrought orchestral works of dynamic beauty. His distinctive voicings for strings and innovative recording techniques made him the undisputed leader in the field of recorded instrumental music. He treated pop with the dignity of classical music, and made records that have withstood the test of time.

What can be said about the Beatles that has not been already said by hundreds of writers? No one alive during their time will ever forget them. Their songs combine romance with fancifully imaginative concepts in a refreshing innocence that is at once strange, yet completely memorable. Combine with a joie de vivre that was a trademark of the Sixties, and you have music that resides at pop’s pinnacle.

The delight of surprise abounds in Beatles music, and “The Beatles Album” is full of creative interpretations of their music. The pizzicato strings of Eleanor Rigby, the quiet grace of Because, which is based on Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata played in reverse, and the unlikely choice of The Ballad Of John And Yoko, one of the group’s more controversial tunes, are highlights. The musical contributions of Ted Nash on saxophone and Buddy Childers on flugelhorn should not go unnoticed, as they excel in their solo spots.

As the son of William Lloyd Webber, the director of the London College Of Music, Andrew Lloyd Webber was exposed to “good” music at a tender age. He would later train at the Royal Academy Of Music, an unlikely place for a “pop” songwriter to begin his career.

In the 1970s, “concept” albums were in vogue. A record album was a relatively inexpensive way to stage a musical. His first effort, “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” received critical kudos but at the time remained unproduced. The second attempt to write a musical by Webber and lyricist Tim Rice was a world-wide ground-shaking event. “Jesus Christ Superstar,” released in 1971 first as a full-length recording project, had all the right elements. A fresh, melodic score with the brash swagger of great rock music made the piece a natural for theatrical production, as well as being based on the most famous “book” and lead character in history.

The musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” re-energized Broadway, and paved the way for later Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpieces like “Evita,” “Cats,” “Phantom Of The Opera,” “Aspects Of Love,” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Andrew Lloyd Webber is today the reigning monarch of the musical.

His “Jesus Christ Superstar” partner, Time Rice, has also fared well in the theatre. Besides their collaboration on “Evita,” Rice has the album / musical “Chess,” written in collaboration with Abba’s Bjorn and Benny, and his recent work with Elton John (“The Lion King,” “Aida,” and “The Road To El Dorado”) as evidence of his outstanding contribution to the history of Broadway and the film musical.

In the capable hands of a master like Percy Faith, the music of The Beatles and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is meticulously presented. They are our modern-day Schubert and Gershwin, creating popular songs for the ages. Here now are two landmark examples of their brilliant careers, “The Beatles Album” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

— Al Fichera

The music of George Gershwin played in this collection by Percy Faith and His Orchestra is discussed here chronologically, to help place it in perspective.

Somebody Loves Me

This song was unforgettably interpreted by Winnie Lightner in the Scandals of 1924. Its appeal is primarily melodic, for in this song Gershwin tapped the rich, full-blooded lyricism that henceforth would identify his best love songs. Gershwin’s way of suddenly interpolating a flatted third in the melody here personalized his writing. The nebulous harmony was also a part of the song’s charm. “Somebody Loves Me” was one of Gershwin’s greatest hits after “Swanee.”

Oh, Lady Be Good and Fascinatin’ Rhythm

Lady Be Good was Gershwin’s first major musical-comedy success. It opened on December 1, 1924, the first musical produced by the new team of Aarons and Freedley, who were to be associated with so many Gershwin musicals. Fred and Adele Astaire were starred. Cast as a brother-and-sister dancing act who had come upon unhappy days.

Gershwin’s music was the principal attraction of this gay musical. Never before had he brought such a wealth of original invention to his stage music. The irresistible appeal the repeated triplets in the title song, the kinesthetic effect of the changing meters in “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”—all this represented a new sophistication in popular music.

The Man I Love

The best song Gershwin wrote for Lady Be Good was not in the show when it opened in New York. It has since become one of the Gershwin song classics, and the one song he often considered his greatest. But before it finally achieved recognition it had an eventful history. The chorus as it is known today originated as the verse for another song; but Gershwin soon realized that the individual melody consisted of a six-note blues progression that reappeared through with cumulative effect, achieving poignancy through the contrapuntal background of a descending chromatic scale. In rewriting his song, Gershwin now used the verse as the chorus, and prefaced it with a simple but appealing introductory tune.

“The Man I Love” was sung by Adele Astaire in the opening scene of the Philadelphia tryout of Lady Be Good. In that setting the song missed aim completely; it was too static. Vinton Freedley insisted that it be dropped from the show, and Gershwin consented. In 1927, Gershwin removed the song from his shelf and incorporated it into the score he was then writing for Strike Up the Band (first version). Once again it was tried out of town, was found wanting, and was deleted.

But the song found admirers. One of them was Otto H. Kahn, to whom Gershwin played it when he planned using it for Lady Be Good. Kahn liked the song so much that he decided to invest $10,000 in the musical. Another admirer was Lady Louis Mountbatten, to whom Gershwin presented an autographed copy in New York. When she returned to London, Lady Mountbatten arranged for the Berkeley Square Orchestra to introduce the song there. It became such a success that—though no printed copies were available in England—it was picked up by many other jazz groups in Paris, where it also caught on. American visitors to London and Paris heard the song and, returning home, asked for it. Then singers and orchestras took it up until its acceptance in this country became complete.

Gershwin has explained that the reason it took so long for the song to be appreciated is that the melody of the chorus, with its chromatic pitfalls, was not easy to catch; also, when caught, it was not easy to sing or whistle or hum without a piano accompaniment.

Preludes Two and Three

On December 4, 1926, at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York, Marguerite d’Alvarez, the operatic contralto, gave a serious song recital that included French and Spanish art songs. Gershwin participated, not only by accompanying her in his songs, but also by appearing as piano soloist. On this occasion, he gave the world premiere of his Preludes for the piano.

The second, in C-sharp minor (Andante con moto e poco rubato) is the most famous of the set: a poignant three-part blues melody set against an exciting harmony that grows richer as the melody unfolds. Rhythm once again predominates in the third prelude, in B-flat major (Allegretto ben ritmatto e deciso), an uninhibited outburst of joyous feeling.

Clap Yo’ Hands, Maybe, and Someone to Watch over Me

Oh, Kay, in 1926, was the first American musical comedy starring Gertrude Lawrence, who had made her Broadway debut in 1924 in the Charlot’s Revue imported from London. When Aarons and Freedley discussed with her the possibility of coming to New York in a new musical, she was considering a similar offer from Ziegfeld. The information that George Gershwin would write the music was the deciding factor in her acceptance of the Aarons and Freedley contract.

The Gershwin score was a rich cache of treasures, “a marvel of its kind,” as Percy Hammond Reported. To no other musical production up to this time had he been so lavish in his gifts. There was “Someone to Watch over Me,” in his most soaring and beguiling lyric vein touched with the glow of Gertrude Lawrence’s charm, “Clap Yo’ Hands,” with its fascinating rhythms, and “Maybe.”

‘S Wonderful

In 1927, Aarons and Freedley built a new theater for their productions, the Alvin on West 52nd Street. It was a house that Gershwin had helped build with the profits from Lady Be Good, Tip Toes and Oh, Kay. What, then was more appropriate than that it should be opened on November 22 with a new Gershwin musical? The musical was Funny Face, in which Fred and Adele Astaire made their first welcome return in a Gershwin musical since Lady Be Good. Victor Moore was also in the cast, appearing as a helpless, hapless thug who gets involved in all sorts of difficulties while trying to steal a string of pearls. “’S Wonderful” was the hit of the show.

Liza

“Liza” was a particular favorite of Gershwin’s. He continually played it for friends, frequently with improvised variations. It appeared in Show Girl, a lavish Ziegfeld production, in 1929. Ruby Keeler sang and danced to its tantalizing rhythms, as her husband Al Jolson ran up and down the aisles singing the refrain to his wife—for several nights an unscheduled, unexpected and unpaid-for attraction.

Soon

With Strike Up the Band, in 1929, a new kind of musical came to Times Square. This was no longer just a spectacular for the eye and an opiate for the senses—as had been the case with so many earlier Gershwin musicals—but a bitter satire on war, enlisting all the resources of good theatre….It was first launched in 1927…and was abandoned. In 1929, the authors returned to the play….It brought new dimensions to musical comedy by being one of the first with a pronounced political consciousness.

The Gershwin score—which was published in its entirety—is not only rich in details. Individual songs stand out prominently, “Soon” is one of Gershwin’s most beautiful ballads, unforgettable for its purple mood.

Embraceable You, Bidin’ My Time, I Got Rhythm

Girl Crazy, one of Gershwin’s greatest musical-comedy successes, began a long run at the Alvin Theatre on October 14, 1930. The book, by Bolton and MacGowan, was no better—and no worse—than earlier ones for which Gershwin supplied the music….One of the things that made Girl Crazy as good as it was—“a never-ending bubbling of pure joyousness,” as one New York critic described it—was the casting. Ginger Rogers, fresh from her first screen triumph in Young Man of Manhattan, here made her bow on the Broadway stage. Willie Howard brought his accent and uninhibited comedy to the part of Gieber Goldfarb. Allen Kearns, veteran of many Gershwin musicals, was cast in the male lead. Each of these gave a performance calculated to steal the limelight. But the limelight belonged not to any of them, but to a young and then still unknown lady whose personality swept through the theater like a tropical cyclone, and whose large, brassy voice struck the consciousness of the listeners like a sledge hammer. She was Ethel Merman, in her first appearance in musical comedy….In “I Got Rhythm” she threw her voice across the footlights the way Louis Armstrong does the tones of a trumpet. When, in the second chorus, she held a high C for sixteen bars, while the orchestra continued with the melody, the theater was hers: not only the Alvin theatre, but the musical theater as well. “I Got Rhythm” is remarkable in its chorus not only for the agility of the changing rhythms, but also for the unusual melody made up of a rising and falling five-note phrase in the pentatonic scale.

“Embraceable You,” the hit song of the production, belongs to the half dozen or so of Gershwin song classics in which his melodic writing is most expressive.

Mine

In 1933, many of those who had helped make the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Of Thee I Sing” the historic occasion it was in the theater, joined forces for a sequel entitled Let ‘Em Eat Cake….There was much that was bright and witty and stinging; but the play as a whole did not quite jell. The critics and audiences rejected the play and it failed to reach its hundredth performance on Broadway.

On the positive side was one of Gershwin’s important songs, “Mine.” This was a pioneer attempt to use a vocal counterpoint for the main melody (a practice subsequently employed so effectively by Frank Loesser in “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Irving Berlin in “You’re Just in Love”). The vocal counterpoint consists in an aside by the chorus which carries overtones of Gilbert and Sullivan.

I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’, Summertime, Bess, you Is My Woman Now, My Man’s Gone Now

The writing of Porgy and Bess occupied Gershwin for about twenty months. Most of the actual composition was done in about eleven months and completed in mid-April 1935. While some of the orchestration for the first act had been done in September 1934, that task consumed about eight months in 1935. Then it was completed: seven hundred neat and compact pages of written music (560 pages of the published vocal score), which if performed as written would require four and a half hours. During rehearsals, cuts had to be made in order to compress the opera within the prescribed limits of a normal evening at the theater.

Porgy and Bess opened at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on September 30, 1935. The audience began early to demonstrate its enthusiasm, and by the time the opera ended the ovation reached such proportions that the shouts and cries lasted over fifteen minutes….Two weeks later, on the evening of October 10, Porgy and Bess came to New York, to the Alvin Theatre….

They Can’t Take That Away from Me, They All Laughed, A Foggy Day, Nice Work if You Can Get it, Love Is Here to Stay, Love Walked in

After 1935, and up to the time of his death, Gershwin worked exclusively for motion pictures. His first film, during this period, was a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical, Shall We Dance?, described by The New York Times as “One of the best things the screen’s premiere dance team has done, a zestful, prancing, sophisticated musical.” Gershwin’s score was a gold mine, and two of the treasures were the deft and suave “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “They All Laughed.”

One chore completed, Gershwin went to work for another screen musical. The star once again was Fred Astaire, but this time he was paired with a new dancing partner, Joan Fontaine. This film, A Damsel in Distress, would not have been “half so good without the splendid Gershwin melodies,” reported Howard Barnes in the New York Herald Tribune. The best of these melodies were “A Foggy Day” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”

Gershwin’s last score was for the Goldwyn Follies, for which he did not live to complete. He was able to write only five numbers for that production, and for some of those Vernon Duke had to provided the verses. Since two of these Gershwin songs are among his most beautiful—“Love Is Here to Stay” and “Love Walked in”—it is apparent that even in his last troublesome months there was no creative disintegration, and that when he died so prematurely he was still at the height of his melodic powers.

For You, for Me, for Evermore

Manuscripts left behind by Gershwin were explored for possibilities, and in 1947 a new motion picture, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim with Betty Grable, offered a “new” and posthumous score, with lyrics, by the irreplaceable Ira. Several of the songs became popular, the most lasting of them being “For You, for Me, for Evermore.”

He was something of a giant, Victor Herbert. A big, big-hearted man who wrote big-hearted melodies, he strode across American popular music for some twenty-five years, leaving behind him waltzes, marches and polkas that preserve in their innocent appeal the innocence of those years. He has been called the father of American music, but this is not true, for he was Irish born and German trained. Bit he was the first composer truly oriented toward the tastes of the United States.

Photo of Victor Herbert courtesy of the Bettmann ArchiveBefore him, American operetta—the major source of lasting popular music at that time—was largely without character in either music or plot; after him, regardless of what may be said about much of it, there was his legacy of honest sentiment and genuine musicianship. It must have been a proud feeling for Americans of his time to go to a Herbert presentation. Theretofore almost everything worthy of note had come from Europe: the brisk madness of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Viennese confections of Lehar and Oscar Straus, and before them the incomparable Strauss family of Johann jr., Josef, and Johann sr., and the French bonbons of Planquette derived from the frothier gaîtés of Offenbach. And then came Victor Herbert, with Naughty Marietta and Mlle Modiste, The Red Mill and Babes in Toyland, Sweethearts and The Fortune Teller. After that, it was never quite the same in the musical theater. The way had been paved for Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and the others who have made American musicals a vibrant form of art.

In many ways, the music of Victor Herbert reflects the times in which he lived, times which today seem sunny with ease and elegance and confidence (however trying they may have been to those who lived through them). Those were the days of Rector’s and Luchow’s, of driving to the theater in horse-drawn carriages, of suppers of champagne and lobster and cold chicken, of top hats and opera capes, tiaras and sweeping gowns. Not everyone lived that way, of course, but it is agreeable to think of those times in a kind of Gibson Girl setting and not, where Herbert is concerned, without accuracy. Opera stars, such as Emma Trentini and Fritzi Scheff, appeared in Herbert’s operettas, foreshadowing the Metropolitan-to-Broadway moves of later artists such as Ezio Pinza, Helen Traubel and Robert Weede, and if the librettos were more than usually simpleminded, no one seemed to care in the freshet of charming melodies. (One of Herbert’s works, The Gold Bug, lists in its cast of characters such uninviting personalities as Lotta Bonds, Lingard Long, Penn Holder and Lady Patty Larceny, but the composer cannot be held responsible.)

This generous survey of the music of Victor Herbert, arranged and conducted by Percy Faith, draws mainly from his operettas—of which there were forty-two in various guises. There are selections, too, from his grand opera Natoma, from his serenades and from his piano music, melodies that have later become popular in other forms. Herbert is so well known as a composer for the popular theater that it is often forgotten that he composed two operas that reached the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, a cello concerto of considerable merit, and a large body of piano music, art songs and other works. He was, moreover, conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for six seasons, was the first composer in America to compose a score for a motion picture (the silent movie The Fall of a Nation) and was of course the major force in the establishment of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Victor Herbert was born February 1, 1859, in Dublin, Ireland. His was a musical family, and as a child he absorbed the musical traditions to which he devoted his life. Some years after his father’s death, his mother remarried and moved to Stuttgart, Germany, where Herbert spent most of his formative years. He began to study the cello early, and in time became a celebrated virtuoso on this instrument. As a youth in Central Europe, he played in many orchestras, as a member of the ensemble and as a soloist, and among those under whom he played was Eduard Strauss, brother of the celebrated Johann.

He also began to compose, and his earliest known work is the Suite for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 3, of 1883. The fate of both Opus 1 and Opus 2 remains a mystery. In 1885, he met the well-known soprano Therese Förster, and after a swift courtship they were married the following year. Shortly after their marriage, they were both summoned to New York by the then youthful Metropolitan Opera Association, she as a dramatic soprano, he as cellist, and moved to America in the autumn of 1886. Mrs. Herbert made her Metropolitan debut as The Queen of Sheba and her second appearance in the Metropolitan premiere of Aida. Although she was well received, she sang only a few more seasons of opera, retiring to devote herself to her family.

Herbert himself, meanwhile, adapted to New York with gusto, making friends with such luminaries as James Huneker, Anton Seidl and Xaver Scharwenka and finding excellent companionship in the eminently respectable beer halls of that era. He made his American debut as a soloist on January 8, 1887, with Walter Damrosch conducting, in portions of his own Suite. Later he played with the New York Philharmonic, and in subsequent years organized his own orchestra for extensive tours and concerts. An idea of his stature as a cellist may be gained from the fact that he played the American premiere of Brahms’ Double Concerto under Theodore Thomas, with Max Bendix as violinist.

Despite all these activities, however, he continued to compose, and made his initial move toward the theater with a dramatic cantata, The Captive, in 1891. His first work for the lyric theater was something called La Vivandière; no one knows quite what it was, for it was never produced and has been entirely lost. In 1893 he began a career as a bandmaster and threatened to rival Sousa, but returned to the theater with a comic opera, Prince Ananias, first performed on November 20, 1894. This was followed by a more notable success, The Wizard of the Nile in 1895, and the following year by his single dismal failure, The Gold Bug, employing the characters cited earlier.

Then in 1897 he had his first unquestioned success, The Serenade, paving the way for The Idol’s Eye and The Fortune Teller the year after. In that same year—1898—he was appointed conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and remained for six stormy seasons, musical politics being what they are. In 1899 he composed for operettas—Cyrano de Bergerac, The Singing Girl, The Ameer and The Viceroy. His symphonic poem Hero and Leander, Op. 33, appeared in 1901, and in 1903 began the endless procession of memorable operettas—Babes in Toyland, Babette, It Happened in Nordland, Miss Dolly Dollars, Mlle Modiste, The Red Mill, Naughty Marietta, Sweethearts, The Only Girl, Princess Pat, Eileen, Orange Blossoms and Dream Girl—some forty-two in all Moreover, he found time to contribute songs for interpolation in other productions, such as the various Ziegfeld Follies.

In 1911, his grand opera Natoma was produced with Mary Garden and John McCormack. It had been commissioned in 1909 by Oscar Hammerstein, but the loss of his Manhattan Opera House forced the producer to relinquish the rights. The opera was rehearsed in Chicago and Philadelphia before the premiere, and was excellently mounted, but reactions were mixed. Most of the critical fire centered on the book, but there was also a feeling that Herbert had perhaps overreached himself. Nevertheless, excerpts from the work are popular to this day. His other operatic venture, in one act, was Madeleine, produced on January 24, 1914, with Frances Alda. During this time, also, Herbert’s interest in forming a society to protect the rights of composers caught fire, and with eight others, he took the lead in the formation of ASCAP, of which he was director and vice president until his death.

In 1916, he became the first American composer to score a full-length motion picture, The Fall of a Nation, an indifferent film but the first for which a wholly originally accompaniment had been written. That same year he collaborated with an unlikely associate, the young Irving Berlin. The score they turned out was for The Century Girl, and extravaganza for which Herbert wrote most of the instrumental music and some of the songs. With changing tastes in theatrical entertainment, not a few of the Herbert shows of this era were only modest successes. This is surely less his fault than that of the men who compiled the jokes to piece out the time between melodies, but it is also clear that the days of operetta as Herbert knew it were numbered. Still, there was Eileen to come, and Orange Blossoms and The Dream Girl, as well as the celebrated “jazz” concert by Paul Whiteman at Aeolian Hall, for which Herbert composed his A Suite of Serenades. That the Suite was overshadowed by the premier of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on the same program was perhaps to be expected, but the music is nevertheless brimming with the familiar Herbert warmth and charm.

Victor Herbert died on May 26, 1924, collapsing during a visit to his doctor. In a eulogy printed two days later, Deems Taylor wrote: “He is not dead, of course. The composed of Babes in Toyland, The Fortune Teller, The Red Mill, Nordland and Mlle Modiste cannot be held as dead by a world so heavily in his debt.”


The Columbia Album of Victor Herbert, arranged and conducted by Percy Faith, includes the following numbers:

Percy FaithAH! SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE from Naughty Marietta (1910). The final song of the production, it was introduced by Orville Harrold, and has become perhaps the best-known song Victor Herbert ever wrote.

SPANISH SERENADE (1924) is derived from A Suite of Serenades, written for Paul Whiteman and his orchestra and introduced at the famous Aeolian Hall concert that also introduced George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

DREAM GIRL from The Dream Girl (1924), Herbert’s last operetta. Fay Bainter was starred as the heroine.

BECAUSE YOU’RE YOU from The Red Mill (1906) starring Montgomery and Stone. The original production ran for 274 performances, and a 1945 revival in which Fred Stone’s daughters participated—one as a producer, the other as a performer—ran for 531 performances.

TOYLAND and MARCH OF THE TOYS from Babes in Toyland (1903) an extravaganza intended to duplicate the success of The Wizard of Oz.

GYPSY LOVE SONG and ROMANY LIFE from The Fortune Teller (1898). The first song was introduced by Eugene Cowles. Alice Nielsen was the star of the production.

A KISS IN THE DARK from Orange Blossoms (1922). Edith Day introduced this song, one of Herbert’s finest.

I WANT WHAT I WANT WHEN I WANT IT from Mlle Modiste (1905). Fritzi Scheff was the star of the production, having deserted opera for Herbert’s earlier Babette. This number was not hers, however; it was sung by William Pruette.

WHEN YOU’RE AWAY from The Only Girl (1914) was introduced by Wilda Bennett. One of Herbert’s most successful works, The Only Girl followed the opening of The Debutante by only five weeks.

CUBAN SERENADE is also from A Suite of Serenades written for Paul Whiteman in 1924.

INDIAN SUMMER was originally composed for piano in 1919. It was later orchestrated, and some twenty years later was adapted as a popular song with unusual success.

EVERY DAY IS LADIES’ DAY WITH ME from The Red Mill (1906). It was introduced by Neal McCay as the Governor of Zeeland.

KISS ME AGAIN from Mlle Modiste (1905). This was Fritzi Scheff’s greatest success, part of a number called “If I Were on the Stage.” Legend—fairly well substantiated—indicates that she originally detested the song, and that it remained in the production only at Herbert’s insistence.

HABANERA from Natoma (1911). Herbert’s grand opera was produced with a cast headed by Marty Garden and John McCormack. Burdened by a soggy libretto, it nevertheless contained many memorable moments, among them this richly atmospheric selection.

TO THE LAND OF MY OWN ROMANCE from Sweethearts (1913). Christie MacDonald was the star of the production, which ran for 136 performances. A revival in 1947 achieved 288 performances.

DAGGER DANCE from Natoma (1911) is yet another atmospheric excerpt from Herbert’s grand opera, building to a dramatic climax. The opera remained in repertory for three seasons, something of a disappointment to its well-wishers but a distinguished effort in American opera of its time.

ITALIAN STREET SONG from Naughty Marietta (1910) was a showpiece for Emma Trentini of Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera Company. She, and the score, helped make the production a classic of the operetta stage.

SWEETHEARTS from Sweethearts (1913) is a typically Herbertian waltz, and one of the most popular he ever wrote.

YESTERTHOUGHTS (1900) was composed for piano, later orchestrated and, like Indian Summer, transformed into a major popular song in the late Thirties.

STREETS OF NEW YORK from The Red Mill (1906) demonstrates another type of Herbert waltz—light-hearted, rollicking and tuneful as always.

I’M FALLING IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE from Naughty Marietta (1910). Orville Harrold, of the Manhattan Opera Company, introduced this song, one of the high spots of Herbert’s finest score.

THINE ALONE from Eileen (1917). This production was Herbert’s heartfelt tribute to the land of his birth, one of his loveliest scores and a curiously neglected one. Its most famous excerpt, presented here, was introduced by Walter Scanlan and Grace Breen.

The booklet includes extensive liner notes which will be reproduced sometime in the future.

Editorial Review from Amazon:

The Essential Percy FaithIt’s not too much of a stretch to say that Percy Faith invented easy listening music; along with Mantovani, he pioneered the use of string sections to soften and sweeten the brass-dominated sound that dominated popular music during the ‘40s. Faith was also one of Mitch Miller’s main men at Columbia Records, where he provided arrangements for everybody from Doris Day to Tony Bennett to Johnny Mathis, and he composed some of the most memorable soundtrack themes of all time. Now, Real Gone pays tribute to one of the great arrangers and composers in pop music history with a 32-track set spanning 22 years of recordings, including hit singles, tracks drawn from a total of 20 different albums, and a number of his most revered compositions for the screen. Among the highlights: the #1 hits “Delicado,” “Where Is Your Heart (from ‘Moulin Rouge’),” and “The Theme from ‘A Summer Place;’” his soundtrack themes to the films Tammy Tell Me True, The Oscar, and The Love Goddesses, and the TV series The Virginian; and some of his signature adaptations of Latin music like “How Insensitive (Insensataez)” and “Brazil (Aquarela Do Brasil).” Joe Marchese provides the notes, and the package includes photos from the Columbia vaults as well as some of the great cover art that adorned Faith’s album releases. Remastered by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York…like the title says, the definitive—and largest ever—Percy Faith collection!

In Percy's handwriting:

The orchestra and I enjoyed the experience of recording this concert "live" at Kosei Nenkin Hall in Tokyo on May 19, 1974.

Percy Faith

“The Love Goddesses” is a movie about the movies. It is a 60-year history of how sex has been treated on the motion picture screen, and how the Love Goddesses have been a reflection of the customs, manners and morals of the times.

Percy Faith has written his themes to match the various and changing moods of these Love Goddesses.

The story begins at the turn of the century with America and her movies still in the shadow of the Victorian era. Lillian Gish expresses this Victorian innocence—a heroine who could not smoke, could not drink, could not even admit she had ever heard about sex. But someone had to do what a good girl could not and the vamp was created.

World War I was to shatter the Victorian age. Overnight women’s role in society changed, their point of view changed. The result was an amazingly different American woman.

The result was Clara Bow, the culmination of the flapper heroine. A sexy little girl, a tease. She was flaming youth—adding zest and high spirits to rebellion and parading a new worldly wisdom that sex somehow meant a good time.

The year now was 1925. The Twenties had started to roar. Inhibitions were cast aside. People were beginning to look for new experiences. The demand arose for something unusual, something exotic (Pola Negri and Lya de Putti). Even in the late Twenties, standards in Europe continued to be different from those in the United States with its basic puritan background. Special versions of American films were made for export to Europe.

One European film made at the end of this period did cause a sensation in the United States. It was “Ecstasy” and starred one of the most beautiful women in the world, Hedy Lamarr.

By 1929 a public caught up in the wondrous, booming Twenties was demanding the unattainable. The result was the creation of an exotic image. A woman not to be loved, but worshipped and even feared. It was this queen-like image that was next to rule the American film—Garbo, Dietrich.

The period of wide-open sex in America though often mistakenly thought to be the Twenties was actually the years from 1930 to 1933; The Blonde Bombshell, Jean Harlow, the time of Busby Berkeley, a genius of design who dreamt up images that would have shocked Sigmund Freud himself.

The same years were full of irreverent comedies starring charming comediennes like Carole Lombard. It was a new era in fashion too—the lingerie era. And just as bathing scenes had been part of the Twenties, so in the early thirties the film makers usually found an excuse to get the heroine down to her step-ins.

But of all the Love Goddesses of comedy, one was to dominate. She was a goddess molded by two opposing forces—one the demand for an ever-increasing frankness about sex, the other a traditional reluctance to face it openly. Mae West is remembered (even by people who never saw her) as the sexiest of the Love Goddesses. In fact it was not so much that she was sexy, but that she was funny about sex. Those who see her will realize why she completely dominated the early Thirties.

The depression re-shaped America’s attitudes. The consequences of a people having to face bread lines and starvation were to be a tightening up of their values. This attitude brought about the production code, an age of innocence and a brand new Love Goddess. It was the period of Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, Andy Hardy and the top Love Goddess of 1937—Snow White. In a country trying to restore its faith in the good life at home the Love Goddess was now the girl next door. The Love Goddess had become a normal, well-shaped, well-rounded girl—a heroine with whom you flirted and whom you married. But because she could not say or do what the Love Goddess of the early Thirties could do, there were sweaters and sarongs and Lana Turner, Betty Grable and Dorothy Lamour.

Then for a second time, a World War crushed an age of innocence. The second cycle was becoming clear. Once again the brakes were off and with gathering momentum into the Sixties moral restrictions were to be loosened. Only one Love Goddess was to span the period from the age of innocence into the Sixties, from “National Velvet” to “Cleopatra”—Elizabeth Taylor, probably the most beautiful Love Goddess of them all. The film, “A Place in the Sun,” shows the beginning of that change.

In the Fifties as in the Twenties the demand again arose for something more exotic, something more unusual—this time for a love image both larger and smaller than life. As the Sixties loomed, history continued to repeat itself. “Room at the Top” marked the beginning of a new period of frankness about sex. Just as Clara Bow had symbolized the rebellion of the Twenties, Brigitte Bardot was the image of a new generation’s rebellion. And to the screen came a stage of nudity such as had not been seen since the late 1930s in Europe. But nudity itself seemed not exciting enough and with Europe in the lead, film makers took to shooting love scenes in the nude—“Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” “The Lovers,” “One Summer of Happiness,” “And God Created Woman.” Combinations of beauty, violence, sex and nudity became the formula of the Sixties. In thirty years the movies had once again come full circle. If anything, the treatment of sex was more overt than ever before.

We could not end even temporarily a history of sex without paying tribute to all of the movie makers who, faced with no other choice but having to use a symbol, have done so memorably. Perhaps the best of all was DeMille’s “Cleopatra.” It starred Claudette Colbert and Henry Wilcoxon. Who else but Cecil B. DeMille would have added to a simple seduction scene a hundred extras, dancing girls, four rows of galley slaves and a drum?

On Side Two of this album, Percy Faith, a gifted composer as well as a superb conductor-arranger, presents six of his original works. Two of them, The Virginian and Celia’s Waltz, Percy wrote for the color television series based on Owen Wister’s classic American novel, “The Virginian.” As background for the CBS Television Network color special, “A Look at Monaco,” composer-conductor Faith captures the festive atmosphere of the charming Mediterranean principality in The Monaco Theme. Long interested in south-of-the-border rhythms, Percy creates sinuous themes that brilliantly conjure up the excitement and magic of Latin America in one of the best-known pieces, Chico Bolero. The unusual effect of plucked strings playing in countermelody against soaring strings makes this selection a special delight. Two more instances of Percy’s persuasive compositional talents are Our Love and concluding the album, Oba!, and exciting bossa nova.

Can a 52-year-old arranger-conductor cut one of the best-selling instrumentals of the rock era? The answer for Percy Faith was a resounding yes. The man known for Theme From A Summer Place was well into middle-age when he did an easy listening version of the theme from the popular movie. He already had a long string of hit albums and singles, had provided instrumental backing for other artists on their successful recordings and was a noted radio and TV arranger.

He was born April 7, 1908, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By the time he was 6, Faith had demonstrated musical abilities, drumming out rhythms on family chinaware. Unwilling to encourage his drumming interests, Faith’s dad responded to his son’s musical interests by buying him a violin and paying for lessons. After three years of fiddling, Faith turned to the piano, which provide to be his forte.

By the time he was 11, Faith was working professionally, providing “Cowboys and Indian” music for silent films in a Toronto theater. The youngster was so short he had to sit on a stack of sheet music to reach the piano. For his efforts, he took home $3 a night and carfare. When he was 15, Faith debuted as a concert pianist and at 18 was writing special arrangements for other musicians and touring with a small concert group.

In 1928, Faith and Joe Allabough, who would go on to manage a radio station in Chicago, formed a radio team they called “Faith and Hope.” Faith was responsible for the music and Allabough, or “Hope,” was the comedian. By 1933, Faith was a staff conductor, arranger and pianist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a position he would hold for seven years. His duties included writing music for special programming including coverage of a visit to Canada by the King and Queen of England.

Faith’s work in Canada was not unnoticed by broadcasters in the United States, and, in 1940, he left his home country to serve as musical director for NBC. By 1950, he was working for Columbia Records, charting with Cross My Fingers, featuring a vocal by Russ Emery. He went Top 10 that year with All My Love, followed by the holiday themed Christmas In Killarney, done with the Shillelagh Singers.

Besides arranging and producing hits for himself, Faith worked his musical magic as an arranger and producer for a number of artists including Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day and others. He was also an accomplished writer and his My Heart Cries For You was a hit for Guy Mitchell, Dinah Shore and Vic Damone in the ‘50s.

Although he was busy with other Columbia artists, Faith continued to have his own hits. In the spring of 1951 he went Top 10 with On Top Of Old Smoky, an old folk song that featured a Burl Ives vocal. He also did well with When The Saints Go Marching In and its flip-side, I Want To Be Near You. In the spring of 1952, he topped the charts with Delicado, featuring Stan Freeman on harpsichord.

In the spring of 1953, Faith had a hit with Swedish Rhapsody. After about a month, the B-Side, Song From ‘Moulin Rouge’ (Where Is Your Heart), with a strong vocal by Felicia Sanders, charted and went all the way to No. 1, where it stayed for 10 weeks, earning Faith his first gold record. He followed with another movie theme, Return To Paradise, and closed out the year on the charts with Many Times.

Faith continued to score popular singles with his lush instrumental sound even as rock ‘n roll took over the pop charts. In 1954 he did well with Dream, Dream, Dream and The Bandit. In ’56, he charted with Valley ValparaisoWe All Need Love and With A Little Bit Of Luck. He continued to do well with albums, especially the romantic “Passport To Romance,” issued in 1956, and a collection of songs from “My Fair Lady” that went Top 10 in 1957. His albums were also popular in the ‘60s, as he opened the decade with the Top 10 “Bouquet.” Faith also went Top 10 in 1960 with “Jealousy” and did the same in early ’61 with songs from “Camelot.”

Faith would go to #1 again with another movie theme. “A Summer Place” was a 1959 film that starred veterans Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire as disapproving parents while teen stars Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue played misunderstood young lovers. The theme was written by Max Steiner and recorded by Faith in September 1959.

There was some radio play for Theme From “A Summer Place,” but it took almost six months for the record to finally catch on. It charted in the second week of 1960 and headed to the top of the Billboard pop charts, where it remained for nine weeks, selling more than a million copies. It also won a Grammy as record of the year and picked up nominations for best performance by an orchestra and best arrangement.

Theme From “A Summer Place” was followed by the Top 40 Theme For Young Lovers. Meanwhile, Faith’s albums continued to reflect his more adult-oriented sound, as “Mucho Gusto! More Music Of Mexico” sold well in 1961 and “Bouquet Of Love” and “The Music Of Brazil!” were hits in 1962. In 1963, Faith tried something different. That summer, the “Themes For Young Lovers” album was issued, featuring 12 current pop hits that got the warm Faith treatment, including Go Away Little GirlOur Day Will Come and I Will Follow Him. It became an immediate best-seller, was certified gold and nominated for a Grammy in the best performance by orchestra category.

After “Shangri-La” in 1963 and “Great Folk Themes” in ’64, Faith was back in the summer of that year with “More Themes For Young Lovers.” He would continue into the ‘70s with popular albums that focused on movie themes and pop hits of the day, from “Dr. Zhivago’s” Somewhere My Love to Santana’s Black Magic Woman. His last charting album, “Day By Day,” was issued in 1972.

Faith died of cancer on February 9, 1976, not long after overseeing an updated disco version of Theme From “A Summer Place.” He left a rich legacy of music for humself and other artists that covered 50 years and hundreds of records. This collection of two of his best albums for Columbia clearly demonstrates his talent and versatility.

–Mark Marymont

Billboard chart numbers courtesy of BPI Communications and Joel Whitburn’s Record Research

Brazil is many things—most of them spectacular. It is large enough to hold continental United States, with room for another Texas. It possesses the world’s largest river, the Amazon. It has two great waterfalls higher than Niagra. To many widely traveled tourists, Rio de Janeiro, until 1960 Brazil’s capital for nearly two hundred years, is “the world’s most beautiful city.” And there is Brazil’s spectacular music—rhythmic, brilliant, torrid!

As in his previous collections of south of the border music, notably Mucho Gusto!, Jealousy, Malaguena and Viva!, Percy Faith has polished these numbers to a dazzling sheen, giving them his famous, inimitable “Percy Faith” —sumptuous arrangements, brilliantly played.

In his newest album, The Music of Brazil, this is particularly evident, for the excitingly percussive rhythms of the selections are as infectious as their melodies. The vivid exhilaration of Rio’s famous carnival time flashes out of each of these Faith selections to present a musical fiesta. From the torrid Brazil through the kaleidoscopic shadings of Ba-Tu-Ca-Da, from the sultry Baia to the catchy Minute Samba, Percy’s collection of Brazilian rhythms offers an invigorating glimpse of one of the most exciting countries in the world!

Once the screenplay of the motion picture “The Oscar” was completed and the principal parts cast, we had to choose a composer to do the score.

We cast him as carefully as we had cast any of the stars, since we wanted someone who could give us the excitement of Oscar night—that “going out for a good time” sound. We wanted someone who combined a strong cinematic instinct with the gift of devising a powerful melodic line. Even though “The Oscar” has many highly dramatic scenes, it is a fast-paced motion picture, and it needed a composer who could give us a tempo—a pace. We decided that Percy Faith would be the exact man for the job.

A musical score should be an integral part of the story. It must blend with the character delineation, with the action, and it must emphasize dramatic impact without being intrusive. However, in the case of “The Oscar,” we provided the composer with an added zinger. We made Faith’s job doubly difficult because we wanted the kind of drive and fast pacing that would be appropriate to the film, yet one that would always emphasize melody. Though “The Oscar” is a dramatic story, it is primarily entertainment, and we needed strong, but listenable, music.

Percy Faith has provided this . . . and more. In our opinion, for a dramatic score, he has created for “The Oscar” some of the most entertaining music we have heard in any motion picture in years.

SIDE ONE

Main Title: Academy Award night—they don’t make nights much bigger than this one. Millions of people who have viewed Oscar night on television are acquainted with the sound of it. The crowds. The lights. The liveried limousines. The anticipation of entertainment history in the making. The electric sensation of glamor vying with glamor for center state. Percy Faith had to capture all that. And he did.

Laurel’s Dance: In this scene, we meet the provocative Laurel (Jill St. John) for the first time. Faith had to provide an immediate characterization, while, at the same time, establishing the scene. The earthy, poor days. The smokers. The tank towns. The dives. The music of the striptease as Laurel climbs the stage of any bawdy gin-mill that can ante up the price for a display of her “talents.” And the going rate isn’t very high. The music had to say just that. It had to be good. Listen to it!

Kay and Frankie Dance: This is an orchestral arrangement of the film’s love theme. In this scene, the lover’s dance without speaking a single word. Frankie (Stephen Boyd) hasn’t seen Kay (Elke Sommer) for several years. Suddenly she appears. Only the music speaks. A delicate, even fragile musical treatment is given this episode, but still the actors dominate the scene. Not an easy trick, but Percy pulled it off.

Cheryl: This was one of the most difficult of the musical subjects for Faith to capture. Here again it was the introduction of a new character—this time Cheryl Barker, played by newcomer Jean Hale. We think Percy has succeeded in nailing Cheryl’s character with something new and certainly different. His music has given this scene added dimension and has delivered the characterization just as we needed it. We think that this is one of the most clever moments in this, or, for that matter, any other of our film scores. Instead of Mickey-Mousing (a trap into which many composers might have fallen), Percy has turned out as deft a piece of characterization as we have ever heard.

Mexican Hoedown: Here, too, Percy had to pull us, all at once, into a new mood. He succeeded owing to his unique melodic drive.

SIDE TWO

Tony Bennett Sings: It was a good day for us when we came up with the idea of casting Tony Bennett for the dramatic part of Hymie Kelly. The combination of Percy Faith and Tony Bennett is well known. It was Faith who arranged and conducted three Bennett million-selling records.

Posh Party: In this scene, Percy was again faced with writing music meant to serve a double purpose. The setting is a big party at a producer’s home (Joseph Cotton). It’s a black-tie, glamor-laden affair. It’s also a key scene in which an important part of the store it told in dialogue, underscored in counterpoint, playing the contrast of the gala affair against the drama of the dialogue. Percy came up with a bossa nova that fits perfectly.

The Glass Mountain: This is the central character’s theme. He is a man who does evil but doesn’t know that it is evil. He can stir a beautiful, desirable, highly moral woman to love. He is terribly complex, yet Percy has captured this man, Frankie Fane, with a melody that supplies all the shadings. Musically speaking, the audience will know Frankie—who he is; what he is.

We most respectfully submit to you this Percy Faith album taken from the sound track of the film “The Oscar.”

We think it’s new. We think it’s fresh. We think it’s contemporary.

CLARENCE GREEN - Producer
RUSSELL ROUSE - Director

Percy Faith once described his desire to arrange music as “being in a constant state of pregnancy.” Known primarily for his arrangements of other writer’s compositions, he was troubled by the characterization of his work as merely “arranging,” as his arrangements were more accurately “recompositions.” Percy Faith was born in 1908 to parents who encouraged his study of music. Although the smell of rosin made him ill, he was encouraged to play the violin and later moved to piano. In a twist of fate, Percy’s little sister set her clothes on fire, and Percy burned his hands putting out the flames; while this temporarily left him unable to play, he was encouraged to continue the study of music, and to establish a firm classical background in music theory and composition. Mr. Faith was able to share with us his gift of arranging popular music for orchestra, through a long recording career with Columbia Records beginning in 1950. Prior to that he enjoyed an extensive career “on the air” in Canada. Mr. Faith brought a high level of orchestral sophistication to the radio. His opulent string sound provided not only a showcase for his own stylings, it provided an ideal background for his vocal guests and hosts. Many of the selections heard on this treasury were initially written (arranged!) by Faith during his radio days, then “updated” (minor changes, mostly in tempo and orchestration) for the “LP” days. He died in 1976, with several years remaining in his recording contract, a tribute to his lasting talents.

Faith is considered a “giant” among the conductors of the “mood music” era. His technique was unique and immediately identifiable. Through a great deal of classical/traditional training, he approached a new song stripped to a one-note melody, then added his own unique countermelodies and rich harmonizations which were then orchestrated in the unique Faith style with emphasis on strings. There is a great deal of horizontal writing in any Faith arrangement, owing to his extensive studies in classical work; his approach to arranging popular music was that of scoring for string quartet. Several selections in this collection represent what many consider the essence of Faith’s writing for strings only. Bouquet, Tenderly, Laura, Beyond the Sea, Autumn Leaves, Speak Low, Deep Purple, Ebb Tide, I Only Have Eyes For You, Music Until Midnight, and I Concentrate On You are textbook examples of the rich sound Faith achieved with a 45 piece orchestra featuring string players only. The Faith “sound” is achieved without gimmickry, and perhaps the best tribute to the perfection achieved is that you can listen to a Faith arrangement repeatedly – there is little fatigue to be had listening to perfectionist work, especially so when the arrangements carry countermelodies of incredible beauty. His arrangements are very true to the original composition, distortion of the melody and frequent tempo changes were not his style; and because of his careful phrasing of each song, his albums were heralded as great instrumental listening with songs divorced from their lyrics because “the orchestra sang the words.”

The first half of Percy’s career was as a famous on-the-air arranger/conductor in Canada where the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation carried such rpograms as Streamline and Music by Faith. Percy rarely spoke on the radio; rather, he let his music speak for him. This background in radio is, perhaps, part of the reason that a Faith arrangement is so rich – he had years of experience dazzling audiences with his exciting orchestral sound in the radio days “on the air” before his recording career.

Represented here are several lush tracks with a definite emphasis on strings. Also we hear Percy’s arrangement of Max Steiner’s Theme From A Summer Place, that won Mr. Faith not only a gold record, it earned him a Grammy and a chart topper status as well (the song never left the charts in 1960). We also hear an instrumental version of another Faith gold record, The Song from Moulin Rouge: due to his successful popular adaptation of the much longer original song. Several other songs, from various periods of popular music history, are represented here with the Faith orchestra, such as Kisses Sweeter Than Wine and Scarborough Fair/Canticle.

Percy Faith’s album of instrumental versions of popular music from Broadway and Hollywood were proof of Percy’s theory that the public would enjoy repeated hearings of show-and-movie tunes divorced from the lyrics; we hear proof of his ideas in Bali Ha’I, I Could Have Danced All Night, Moon River, and Do I Hear A Waltz? From “Kismet” we hear Percy’s renditions of And This Is My Beloved, Stranger In Paradise, and Baubles, Bangles and Beads.

Percy was a Canadian with a definite appreciation for Latin-influenced tunes – Malaguena, Besame Mucho and Delicado offer a glimpse of the excitement that Percy found in this music. We also hear some sparkling arrangements from an album that featured his stirng section and non-tuned percussion – My Shawl and I Get A Kick Out Of You. With strings, woodwinds, vocalize (the wordless female chorus dubbed “The Percy Faith Magic Voices” in earlier years), we hear some rich examples of an album from 1963 that featured especially rich versions of Moon Over Miami, Stars Fell on Alabama, and Carolina Moon.

The essence of twenty-five years of recording, augmented by classical training and arranging for radio all the way back to 1928, can be heard in each arrangement. The quality of Percy Faith’s orchestral work is something we won’t forget and something that we can always enjoy through the magic of the compact disc. We most respectfully present the Percy Faith Treasury and know that you will enjoy many fine hours of listening.

Bill Halvorsen

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