THE LONGINES SYMPHONETTE RECORDINGS Some Recollections
by Angela Morley
Reuben Musiker has asked me to write about the work I did
for the Longines Symphonette Society in the 1960s. His request
to me was triggered by his rediscovery of some orchestral
recordings, such as Evening Serenade, an album
of standards which he felt to be of truly excellent quality.
I dont have a single record from
that series of recordings which I dont really think
was as good as the Readers Digest Series, which I
described in an earlier issue of Journal into Melody.
All I can remember about it is as follows.
Sometime in the middle 1960s, I received
a letter from an old friend of Norman and Betty Luboff called
Gene Lowell. When Norman was demobilized from the army after
WWII ended, he headed for New York to find a job singing.
There were at that time several big radio shows that had
choirs. One was called the Rail Road Hour where the musical
director was Lynn Murray who became much later a respected
Hollywood film composer for writing scores like The
Bridges at TokoRi, the Gary Grant and Grace Kelly
film To Catch a Thief and many others. Lynn
Murray had an assistant called Gene Lowell and it was the
latter who auditioned singers for Lynn. Norman Luboff turned
up one day and sang for Gene who gave him the Rail Road
Hour and some other shows. Anyway, I received Genes
letter asking me if he could produce records for the Symphonette
in London. I didnt have time to read the letter because
I was just leaving the house to take my car on a holiday
to the continent with my son Bryan. The first time I had
to write a reply was in Andorra.
Gene really liked hearing from Andorra
of all places. When I got home again I phoned Gene
and the first recording happened soon after that. We did
all the recordings at the old CTS Studios in Westbourne
Grove with Eric Tomlinson and later John Richards as recording
engineers. The first package was a Christmas album and I
managed to do it all myself. After this, the work became
so heavy that I couldnt do.
From then on, theres not much to
remember. The work continued until about 1970. None of us
were ever credited for either arranging or conducting, the
name on the records was, I believe, just made up to look
impressive. Maybe the lack of recognition was the reason
why I didnt rank it with Readers Digest. Im
afraid I do not know anything about Evening Serenade.
Several arrangers could have done it, perhaps Peter Knight,
Ken Thorne and quite a few others. Maybe I did some of it
without knowing the title Evening Serenade.
Gene Lowell passed away in the late 1980s. His dear wife,
Helen, is still alive probably in her 90s. Im certain
that she would not be able to help you.
Angela Morley 2004