Les Baxter His Chorus and Orchestra. Russ Morgan and His Orchestra. Lawrence Welk and His Champagne Music. Chris Powell and The Blue Fames. Poor People of Paris. Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra. Michel Legrand et sa grande formation. Franck Pourcel et son Grand Orchestre. Jan Corduwener and His Ballroom-Orchestra. John Gart. Os Pobres de Paris. Billy Mure. Les Paul and Mary Ford.
That aroma is pungent with decay, and that breath is the whisper of death. Although the sun is shining, and the birds are singing, and all around one Nature seems in the rich and glorious enjoyment of maturity, one is startled by the shock of consciousness in the inevitable shadow of the grave.
Strange that the gladness of autumn should be Beauty. For surely there is no season of the year so beautiful and so enjoyable. Spring has the ecstasy of youth, and summer the glory of the conqueror, but in autumn the fruits of victory are brought home. Good has it been to see the ears of com swelling in the generous summer sun, and, in the fine old phrase, "whitening to the harvest.
Yet in the midst of life we are in death, and fruition is followed by decay. There is a glory on the garden wall, and the house is draped with gorgeous tapestry. The afternoon sun falls upon leaves of such gorgeous tint, of such rich red and of such burnished gold, that the eyes rejoice in the feast of colour. Yet, alas! Already the paths are strewn with dead leaves, that shiver and rustle in each passing breeze and sometimes rattle their dead bones in a ghostly dance of death ; and though the gardener may brush and brush, and sweep them away into hidden comers, in vain pretence that summer is still in its prime, their comrades fall before the sickle of the unseen reaper, and the gardener has all his trouble again in the burying of them.
At that early hour the low-lying fields and the roadways dipping down to the valley are covered with a thin vapoury mist as white as the hoar frost which has not yet arrived. The vapour floats about with every breath of wind, rolling like quicksilver along the surface of the meadows, swirling round the trunks of trees, passing in a ghostly way through the thick hedges, creeping stealthily into barns and cattle-sheds, and lying like the smoke of fairy charcoal-burners upon the undergrowth of the woods.
Sometimes, indeed, it is wafted to one with the very smell of smoke from greenwood fires — a pungent, faintly intoxicating smell, but wholly delicious. This ghostly smell of burning — for it does not come from fires kindled by mortal hands — is a sure sign that autumn is upon us.
It comes really from the corruption of vegetable matter, a funeral burning of Nature's own children. It is only the early risers who see the first mists of autumn. Its tick-tick-tick, sharp and distinct when all is quiet, is like the beating of the baton in the orchestra of Nature's insect instrumentalists. But it is the ticking of a death-watch, and it is only heard when summer is at an end and the flowers are fading and dropping petals upon the great graveyard of plant- life.
The very sight of them, even in the warmth of autumn sunshine, brings to one's mind a sudden vision of naked branches, of keen north winds, of sparkling Jack Frost with his pale smile, of country roads foot-deep in snow ; for the robin redbreast is our winter bird, and summer is doomed when it hops upon the garden gatepost and pipes its shrill lyrics in full-throated melody.
But there is other music which plays the funeral march of summer — a deep, melancholy music, which during the last few nights has boomed out with an accompaniment of drums and bass viols, with the shriller notes of Nature's fifes and the twanging of Nature's harp. It is the great orchestra of the north wind. In spite of the glorious sunshine of these September days, so genial that, basking in it, we refuse to believe in the passing of summer, at night the wind has blown from the north-east, and light sleepers have already been disturbed by its shrill and plaintive wailing round the chimney- tops, and by its deep reverberating voices chaunting Gregorian litanies beneath the foliated arches of the trees.
Now and again the windows rattle and bang as though ghostly hands were knocking on the panes, and outside there is a sudden, long-drawn shriek, and a clatter as though a thousand demon horsemen were galloping furiously over the fields. They are the advance scouts of the winter legion, and where their hoofs have passed we find next morning in another day's sunshine trenches full of dead leaves, and beds where fallen flowers breathe out the last fragrance of their life.
How early in the summer, too, the prophecy of autumn comes! There is no other feeling like what is caused by the faint, doubtful, yet real perception — if it be not rather a foreboding — of the year's decay, so blessedly sweet and sad in the same breath. Ah, but there is a half-acknowledged melancholy like to this when we stand in the perfected vigour of our life and feel that Time has now given us all his flowers, and that the next work of his never-idle fingers must be to steal them one by one away.
In the -spring we feel the immortality of youth in the very joy of living; in the summer we may lie on our back in the grass watching the clouds flit by in a blue heaven, with no inclination for a moral ; but in the autumn no man can be quite unstirred by emotions that lead him on to meditate on the seven ages of man, and even the fool in the forest will tell us that "So from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, And then from hour to hour we rot and rot, And thereby hangs a tale.
A Reverie on New Year's Eve. In the towns the wind wails plaintively, rising now and again to a shrill shriek as it whirls through a funnel-like alley and emerges into an open space with a gust that sends the midnight wayfarers staggering backward a moment. In the country great billows of wind come rolling across moor and meadow with a sullen roar like the surging of the sea. Presently there is a lull, and over the land from north to south there falls a hush. To those who have come out to-night full of the sense that before another quarter of an hour has ticked its way into the shadow of the past another year will have gone, another come, their silence is full of a tense expect- ancy, so that the pulse is stirred with a strange excitement.
It is the night of New Year's eve. On a sudden the air is full of sweet bm! It is the song of the bells. From the city steeple a peal rings out with silver-clanging re- sonance.
The rippling notes flood through the quivering air with plaintive melody. Softly they begin like harp-strings touched by gentle fingers, but gradually louder and louder they chime out, awakening echoing notes from every quarter, then with un- restrained volume clashing forth into pealing cadences, heart- stirring and tumultuous.
The peal is jubilant, triumphant. Yet to many ears among those people who gather silently upon the footway they sound like the bells that peal forth a victory, when every note sobs in tearful harmony for those who have fallen in the fight and who do not share the triumph. For a few minutes only the City Church seems alone in its message of pealing notes. Then a neighbouring steeple takes up the song, mingling the first silver bell-sounds with deeper tones.
Now the signal has been given, and in many parishes, in many towns, and in many countries the bell-ringers are at work, and all the air is throbbing with melody, and the wind sweeping from one end of the country to the other bears with it a flood of trembling, eddying sound, which no mortal ear may hear in all its blending, melting harmony, but which to higher spheres might doubtless come like the melody of a wondrous instrument played by the hands of the Master.
The song of the bells! How differently it What the sounds to different ears, how differently interpreted! Look at that young man stepping briskly to and fro upon the pavement outside the church. He has been there for ten minutes, and every time he passes beneath the gaslight one may note a smile upon his face, flickering about his lips and eyes with a tell-tale joyousness of heart.
A very dolt could guess the thoughts passing beneath that low -crowned hat. They are thoughts of a woman's face, and of words that have been spoken by eyes but not yet by lips.
They are thoughts of a soft hand and of a little ring, and of a kiss to seal a compact that will last till death. The bells ring on, their tones stealing into the hearts of the listening throng, dispelling all thoughts of everyday incidents and commonplace details of life, but creating that weird sensation of watching the hand of Time's eternal clock, of counting the seconds by heart-throbs that still divide the Old Year from the New.
It is in a little country village. There is a midnight service, and up the little, straggling, cobbled street a score or so of villagers in twos and threes come to welcome the New Year with prayer and prayerful resolutions.
But though they have come to pray, it is with no solemn air and long-drawn visage. Cheery words are exchanged as they meet at the church porch, and up the road a clear laugh rings out in harmony with the music of the bells. But when they have all gone in, and the bells have ceased awhile, and solemn organ strains float into the midnight air, a woman-form passes through the churchyard gate, and, going to the foot of a grave with a new-cut tombstone, stands there motionless with clasped hands and bent head.
The light from the church windows falls upon a girlish face, frail and pale, lines of sorrow about the sweet, full mouth. What thoughts are they which cause the tears to tremble on those downcast lashes? A year ago and he was alive, and they two were full of hope. A year ago and he had written, "The war will soon be over, and I shall soon be home! And now the war was over — and he had come home, but only to sleep in the little churchyard with never an awakening in this world.
Why is it that the sound of the New Year bells brings all sorts and conditions of people out of doors to brave the coldness of the night? There must be more sentiment and imagination in human nature than is commonly supposed. Even among the noisy crowd surging round St. Paul's singing music-hall ballads intermingled with snatches of old national songs, there is real emotion hidden beneath the rather artificial rowdiness.
As the clock booms out the strokes which number the last moments of the dying year, a perceptible thrill passes through the motley crew, who clasp hands and bellow forth a verse of " Auld Lang Syne," and in the eyes of many who would be least suspected of emotion there is a moisture that tells of feelings strangely stirred. And so far I have never kept one of them! And yet, bless my soul, here am I to-night still registering vows which I know will be forgotten as soon as the first snore stirs my pillow.
With them are some frowsy women, more wretched- looking than the men, with pale, haggard faces, peering forth from ragged shawls. It is a representative group of the Great Unwashed. How strange, how passing strange, that any grain of sentiment should have moved these people to come listening to the bells.
How is it that any sentiment remains in hearts which from childhood have been hardened by the grim prose of life? Why should they listen to these bells ringing in a New Year which to them wiU bring the same number of miserable days, the same round of grinding toil, the same starving poverty, the same dreary, starving l2e, unrelieved by scarce a ray of brightness?
And not more than three paces away is a man who has all that they have not, and yet whose face is more miserable than any of theirs. He is a gentleman with a fur-lined coat turned up to the ears, and his tall hat pressed down upon his brows. His face is clean-shaven, with clear-cut features, but there is a stamp of inexpressible pain upon it with deeply graven lines about the eyes and mouth. For five minutes he has stood upon the curb-stone with folded arms across his chest, absolutely motion- less.
Then, as the last stroke of midnight reverberates down the street, a great sigh heaves its way from him, and he turns upon his heel and strides away with measured and heavy steps. The New Year has come. From thousands of belfries throughout the country the tintinabulation of the bells vibrates in the night air, making silver melody. And hundreds of thousands of people with their ears full of this sound wend their way homewards to sleep, and wake again to a New Year of life and work.
In studying the course of the world's history, and in estimating national character, one is apt to leave out of account the pro- found influence of climate. And yet it is this question of climate which determines to a very great extent the position which one nation stands in relation to another — its moral condition, its social characteristics, its religion, art, and intellect.
In the early ages of the world, when the races of mankind were in the seething cauldron of primitive barbarism, climate was the first cause of evolution.
In the same way that animal organisms are modified by their environment, adapting them- selves to surrounding circumstances, so as to ensure the survival of the fittest, the struggle for existence under different conditions producing distinct tendencies and character, which are further handed down by the laws of heredity, so also tribes and nations passing from one country to another were compelled to adapt themselves to altered conditions of life, which have re- acted inevitably upon individual character.
We know that the great Aryan race is the family from which the majority of European nations have sprung. In the plains of India the Aryans lived an agricultural and pastoral life of a distinct and homogeneous character. But when by pressure of other Eastern races they were forced westward, scattered into nomadic tribes, taking separate routes in search of new lands, the great Aryan family split up into nations which through the course of time became as diverse in character as in geographical distribution, and which we now recognise under such broad divisions as Celt, German, Greek, and Latin.
Take the case of the Germans, who plunged into the northern forests of Europe. Their life was a continual struggle for existence against the forces of Nature. The great gloomy woods through which they had to force their way, the mist-exhaling swamps, the cold, damp atmosphere, which killed off the weak, hardened the strong, chilled the early glow of their Eastern blood, and clouded their brains with something of that gloom and fog by which their life was surrounded.
The continual warfare against wild beasts and wild tribes bred in them a natural ferocity, and the rigours of climate coarsened and hardened their minds as well as their bodies, so that they found pleasure in gross lusts, in drunkenness and gluttony. In the shelter of rude huts, in clearings of the primeval forest, listening to the rain-storms beating upon the great trees and the water dripping from the leaves to the dank undergrowth, these skin-clad Germans were filled with sombre thoughts, dark superstitions of nature gods, fierce, horrible, and bloodthirsty, taking possession of their souls.
There is no living in these lands without abundance of solid food; bad weather keeps people at home; strong drinks are necessary to cheer them; the senses become blunted, the muscles are braced, the will vigorous. In every country the body of man is rooted deep into the soil of Nature ; and in this instance still deeper, because, being uncultivated, he is less removed from Nature.
Changed it may be, but for the worse, like all barbarians who pass from action to enjoyment. They are more gluttonous, carving their hogs, filling themselves with flesh, swallowing down deep draughts of mead, ale, and spiced wine, all the strong, coarse drinks which they can procure, and so they are cheered and stimulated.
Add to this the pleasure of the fight. Here the sluggish and heavy temperament remains long buried in a brutal life; people of the Latin race never at a first glance see aught in them but large gross beasts, clumsy and ridiculous when not dangerous and enraged.
If the carnivorous, warlike, drinking savage, proof against the climate, still shows beneath the conventions of our modern society and the softness of our modem polish, imagine what he must have been when, landing with his band upon a wasted or desert country, and becoming for the first time a settler, he saw on the horizon the common pasture of the border county, and the great primitive forests which furnished stags for the chase and acorns for his pigs.
The balmy warmth of the climate, not hot enough to be enervating and languorous, brought out the milder and softer tendencies of character. Nature being more kind, the people, not solely occupied in a fierce struggle for existence, had time for the cultivation of art. Their conditions of life per- mitted of joyous outdoor pleasures. Their architecture became beautiful because the efforts of the builders were not directed merely to protect the dwellers from rough and foul weather.
The sunny water enticed them upon its placid bosom, so that they could cultivate maritime trade with other nations. The blue vault of heaven, into which the eye might gaze through a rarefied atmosphere unclouded by fog or mist, raised the mind of man above the earth and filled him with bright visions and speculative thoughts that found their way into a beautiful mythology and a metaphysical philosophy.
This influence of climate is most clearly traced Reiiirion jjj j. The old paganism of the Danes and Germans was absolutely different in character from that of the Romans and Greeks. Fierce, gloomy, terrible were the gods of the Norsemen, embodiments of the most awful forces of Nature — the thunder, the storm, the lightning, and the flood.
But in the Roman and Greek mythology the gods are of a softer nature, more pitiful, more friendly to mankind, swayed by sensuous emotions, beautiful as Nature in those southern climes, the spirits of the stream, the glade, of the star, and of the cloud, now bright and ethereal as the sunlight, now sweet and melancholy as the shadows flitting across the hillsides of Olympus.
Those who dwell in cold latitudes are inevitably more energetic, harder-working, and dogged than those in the warmer South, who are less ambitious, less pushing. But in the South there is more gaiety, more easy-going enjoyment of life, more subtlety of thought, more culture and refinement; in the North more austerity and gloominess of thought, more hardness and roughness of character : in the South more song, more art, and the poetry of love ; in the North more depth of thought and earnestness of religion, and poetry that is not mere joyous carolling, but tells of great wrestlings of the soul.
Even in the narrow limit of the British Islands we may trace these influences of climate. The Highlander is mystic, passion- ate; the Lowlander practical and commercial; the north- countryman keen-witted, dogged, hard-working; the southerner in Somerset, Devonshire, Hampshire, and Sussex dull-pated, slow-moving ; the East Anglian taciturn, morose ; the Welshman hot-tempered, full of poetry and music and superstition.
In the narrow compass of this article I have had to write in broad and general terms, having no space for every necessary modification, but in the following pages I will give more particular examples. Effect of Climate on Character — continued. He had his first guitar lessons from his father. He toured with an orchestra led by George Hall in , marking the beginning of his professional life. His first recordings were duets with guitarist Carl Kress. Enoch Light left the Command label in to form the Project 3 Label.
Project 3 was not connected with ABC. After Light left, the quality of the albums on Command deteriorated until they discontinued releases in the main series in ABC used the "Command Quadraphonic" name from to for quadraphonic releases for albums that were originally on Command, ABC, and Dunhill, and reissued a series of two-record sets under the name "Command Two-Fers" in The first appearance of "subsidiary of ABC Records" appeared on , but was sporadic after that.
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