Few are liable to turn down a tour of Europe, whether it is a complicated affair led by an expert guide or a single ride on the Orient Express. Guild's The Golden Age of Light Music series offers a musical counterpart in its entry European Tour, featuring selections recorded between 1946 and 1958. Given the time period and theme, one might automatically conclude that such a collection might potentially drown in its own bathos, but with a couple of exceptions the selection is actually quite lively throughout with some being very much so, such as David Rose's hyperactive Roman Holiday. However, as these pieces are somewhat limited to descriptive references to places, most aren't musically very ambitious, although some that are might surprise you: Robert Farnon's dovetailing of Comin' Thru the Rye and My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose, the so-called Cinema Sound Stage Orchestra (i.e., 101 Strings led by Joseph Kuhn) in an imaginatively arranged combination of Passe Partout and El Gato Montes and Guy Luypaerts' weird The Spider of Antwerp. The most adventurous track, however, is the original European hit version of Heino Gaze's Tivoli-Melodie by Werner Müller with its dense orchestration and speedy tape tracks; this later became a hit in America, as well, in a sanitized and straitened version by Lawrence Welk -- under the inexplicable title of Calcutta -- in the last pre-Beatles year of 1963. Although they are among the least adventurous items among the tracks here, there are also a couple examples of straight-ahead classical artists dabbling in lightweight fare; Hans Rosbaud and the Baden-Baden Symphony playing When It's Spring in Baden-Baden (say that five times real fast) and Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén conducting his own Springtime in Roslagen. Needless to say, the places represented in this collection aren't in the 21st century what they were in the middle of the 20th, when these recordings were made. As a result, Guild Light Music's European Tour offers a European tour that's part time travel as well.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|From the Highlands|
|Around the World in Eighty Days|
|The Third Man|