Decca has just issued a few classic albums from their now legendary Phase 4 series although they could have done with some better planning with regard to Frank Chacksfield. Dutton has also released its own remastering of some Decca LP's and their latest offering includes 'Beyond the Sea' which also features on the Decca release. However both discs are worth acquiring for the companion LP's, 'Beyond the Limelight' and 'The Victors'.
'Beyond the Sea' contains some classic numbers such as the dreamy 'Shenadoah' and 'Deep River' by Stephen Foster. I also enjoyed Coates' 'Sleepy Lagoon' arrangement whilst the dramatic 'Victory at Sea' by Richard Rogers makes for a spectacular conclusion.
The Victors is replete with classic film themes such as 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari', 'From Russia with Love' and the morose 'The Cardinal' amongst its highlights. The 1960's was a heyday for action and spy films and this album recreates that mood quite excellently. Decca offer 'A New Limelight' as an accompaniment and here the main attraction is the haunting theme to the film of the same name by the inimitable Charles Chaplin, a tear jerker of the highest order that can descend to naked self pity at times.
As I said earlier, avid Decca Phase 4 lovers will want both discs although Dutton's copy contains a tump card in the form of excellent notes by David Ades whilst the Decca album contains nothing of the sort except some snazzy packaging. The recordings, always classics of their day have come up astonishingly well in these excellent transfers.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech