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'The Best of Palm Court' and 'Too Beautiful for Words'

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Monday, 1 March, 2004

The Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra is one of, hopefully, a growing number of ensembles now specialising in Palm Court repertoire.

It has now made two CDs, the first in 1998, the other in 2003. I have heard them both and enjoy the ADRO's stylish playing.

The earlier disc has three tracks by Charles Ancliffe (Nights of Gladness is given with great spirit, less well known are the charming Fragrance and El Saludo) Also particularly delightful are Montague Ewing's Woodland Shadows and Manuel Bilton's Spanish serenade Anita and it is good to hear Melodie d'Amour by Jan Hurst, who directed so many of the resort orchestras.

The latest CD includes popular items like Ketèlbey's In a Persian Market, Fletcher's Bal Masqué and possibly Rendezvous (Aletter: this could ideally have been lighter in touch), W.H. Myddleton's Down South and Joe Rixner's Ragamuffin.

But what about the irresistible two-step Billy Possum's Frolic by Martin Leonard, a real foot-tapper, Alfred Grünfeld's shapely Romanze and the delectable Valley of Poppies (Ancliffe again).

Most of the other titles are also new to me; the Quartet from Rigoletto is arranged by the ADRO's flautist Roy Bell. Playing time at 45-50 minutes is not over generous but I am happy to give a warm welcome to these discs.

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CD review by Philip Scowcroft for the Light Music society News-letter Spring 2004, and for Journal into Melody

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