Give Me A Smile Songs and Music of World War II/Compilation

June 25, 2010

Offering eighteen selections’ including many of the British standards such as “The Warsaw Concerto,” “Colonel Bogey March,” and “The White Cliffs of Dover,” Carl Davis has put together a fine nostalgic collection of material re-recorded for the BBC Concert Orchestra, Brighton Chorus, and several popular soloists. The exception is “Hymn To The Fallen,” the John Williams composition to the film Saving Private Ryan while written in the 1990’s was indeed about World War II so it is and isn’t part of the era.

As far as this reviewer is concerned the highlight of this CD was the Litolff “Concerto Symphonique No. 4, Op. 102 Scherzo,” performed by Melvin Tan. The world of music continues to fascinate me everyday as this is yet another composer/work I’m not familiar with. It is a technical delight of non stop scales some performed at a breakneck pace with a definite Mendlessohn flavor to the seven minute work. This seems to be the only work that has survived from Litolff. I can’t comment further on the performance comparing it to others; it sounds just fine to me.

Tan also performs the “Warsaw Concerto” in fine fashion. It is pure schmaltz but in this case it is a good thing and a composition always welcome to my ears.

“Colonel Bogey March” takes me back to my high school and college marching days blowing my trombone and trying to stay in step with everyone else. If I remember correctly there was a nice part written for the horns.

“Hymn to the Fallen” is a moving patriotic religious piece which begins with a Copland fanfare and is quite a moving work that is meant to bring a tear to your eye and does so.

Many of the other selections are just pure nostalgia and people who were involved will find that memories will come back to them. Songs such as “I’m Gonna Get Lit Up,” “London Pride,” and We’re Gonna Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line” are examples. I actually quite enjoyed “Goodnight Children Everywhere,” performed nicely by Mary Carewe. Perhaps thinking of it as a lullaby and being a grandfather could have something to do with it.

This is a CD that you’re going to have to decide for yourself based on the information I’ve given you.

Track Listing:

1. Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye [02:47]

2. Warsaw Concerto [09:16]

3. Goodnight children everywhere [03:58]

4. Bless ’em all [02:40]

5. the white cliffs of Dover [02:41]

6. Dambusters [04:02]

7. We’re gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried line [03:06]

8. London pride [04:21]

9. Litolff Scherzo [07:12]

10. Keep the homefires burning [04:20]

11. Lilli Marlene [02:11]

12. Colonel Bogey [04:17]

13. When they sound the last all clear [03:06]

14. There’ll always be an England [03:44]

15. When the lights go on again [03:19]

16. I’m gonna get lit up [03:10]

17. We’ll meet again [03:03]

18. Hymn to the fallen [06:37]

Total Time is 74:00

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