Sunday, August 7, 2016
The Lamp Is Low - Robert Maxwell
His Harp and Orchestra
MGM Records E3308
Available from a few online vendors, so I will not be posting a sample.
Although I can find no release date for this album, Maxwell's Harp Magic (MGM E3171) is listed on the back cover which was reviewed in a 1955 issue of Billboard.
Well executed orchestral mood arrangements that feature, but are not overwhelmed by, Maxwell's harp. The cover art and title nicely support the tone of the set.
From the back cover: The extensive listing of theaters, night clubs, hotels and television shows which have hosted harpist Robert Maxwell gives a hint of his popularity with the American public. Yet, to all intents and purposes this enormous success of a harpist defies the usual convention. But after a few moments of listening to this youthful entertainer performing on his chosen instrument, all doubt as to the reason of his popular following will disappear. First and foremost, Robert Maxwell is an entertainer. The harp is merely his channel to entertaining an audience. A natural showman as well as a highly trained musician, Bob turns his harp into theatrical property. Specially fitted with a system of colored lights which he operates with his feet to dramatic effect, the harp takes on a brilliant new role in the hands of Robert Maxwell. His repertoire is enormous, including classical selections, show tunes, current novelties and "pop" numbers. He can produce mood music – or he can "swing." His ability to use his instrument for comic effect as well as straight performance has endeared him to thousands of his fans. Bob's study of the harp is both unique and comprehensive – but the manner in which he started study is unique. While a student in a New York grammar school, Bob entered a competition with fellow pupils in a musical aptitude test. He won and was awarded a scholarship to Juilliard School Of Music. A choice of instruments was offered him, but he was so smitten at the sight of a harp that he chose it. His various engagements in orchestras in the vicinity of New York led to his becoming a member of the National Symphony Orchestra. He was seventeen at the time, the youngest member of that stellar group. Recitals in New York and Los Angeles and engagements as Arturo Toscanini and Serge Koussevitsky follow. It was not until Bob became a member of the Coast Guard during the war that featured solo work came his way and the chance to show his individuality on the harp. His C.O. in the Coast Guard was Rudy Vallee, who might be said to have given Bob his first real break. Valley got him the chance to tour the U.S. and the South Pacific as a soloist entertaining servicemen. This gave Bob the experience and composure to go on to becoming a solo performer later in civilian life. He began modestly in radio, passing from there to his present position of fame and demand. He has appeared in motion pictures, on the biggest of TV shows and his recording career has been phenomenal. He is married and the father of two little girls, both of whom he hopes will become harpists.
The Lamp Is Low
I Surrender, Dear
The Nearness Of You
Love By Candlelight
You Belong To My Heart
Should I Believe You?
Don't Let Me Love You
I'll Never Be The Same
They Can't Take That Away From Me