Label / Cat. No: RCA RD-27081
First Released: 1958
What The Album Blurb Says...
"Dinner at eight, Monsieur and Madame."
And here is Melachrino to cater to your dining pleasure with music to complement the most succulent cuisine, or add that little bit of extra seasoning that turns an ordinary supper into an adventure. In the Continental fashion chef George has arranged a dozen musical courses to accompany your delectation.
To start, an apéritif - vermouth for the gentleman, and perhaps Madame would prefer that exotic cocktail of American origin, the dry martini. Whatever the drink, the maestro has prepared a frothy, utterly sippable arrangement of an old favorite, Diane.
Pâté de foie gras is offered up next (with truffles, of course), to be nibbled at while the orchestra presents a lush treatment of Too Young. For the somewhat more autumnal touch of Kurt Weill's September Song, a chilled dish would be most fitting. Perhaps a lobster mayonnaise - but then again that deliciously iced soup strewn with watercress, Vichysoisse, is deserving of serious consideration.
And now for the entrée, something hearty, warming and elegant. A dish of classical proportions is called for - duckling with orange sauce bathed in flaming brandy, or for the less adventurous palate, a château-briand - the Parisian approach to a Kansas City steak. A semi-classical melody, Clopin Clopant, is an intriguing side dish to either choice. The deep tones of a nine-foot grand announce the lovely strains of the Warsaw Concerto and overcome the discreet tinkle of silver and crystal (and perhaps a slight loosening of the belt) as the waiter presents the pastry tray. His silver tongs hover lovingly over the eclairs, rum-soaked babas and brandied tarts, thereby throwing our gourmets into an exquisite agony of indecision. The black and white of Domino must surely signify the dark richness of cinnamon-spiced coffee in which a large helping of whipped cream floats languorously - a concoction to be sipped Tenderly.
A song of very old vintage, Charmaine, accompanies a digestif of even older date - a sparkling snifter of napoleon brandy brought up from the cool cellar especially for the occasion. Now the time has come for murmured whispers over the candlelight and for the romantic melodies of Faithfully Yours and the haunting Chansonette. Dark Secret must refer to the bil, discreetly hiding its face in a remote corner of the napery. And although Legend of the Glass Mountain signifies the end of a charming dinner, it also marks the beginning of a brilliant evening.
Perhaps your dinner lacks a few of the courses just mentioned; perhaps it's prepared in a one-room apartment and not in the kitchen at Maxim's. Perhaps the china isn't Wedgwood and the wine hails from California. But whatever the circumstances, Melachrino's romantic music will enrich your evening beyond measure.
This is a "New Orthophonic" High Fidelity recording, designed for the phonograph of today or tomorrow. Played on your present machine, it gives you the finest quality of reproduction. Played on a "Stereophonic" machine, it gives even more brilliant true-to-life fidelity. You can buy today, without fear of obsolescence in the future.
What I Say
George Melachrino. The Man. The Legend. When the history of romantic string music designed to accompany eating is written, I feel confident that our man George will feature highly in the list of movers and shakers.
Carefully selected to enhance even the most basic of meals, George's lush arrangements for strings makes good food taste great. I don't know what I did before I had this album. All my meals tasted bland and unadventurous. But then George came along and...
Oh, I should stop this now. Sarcasm isn't good for the soul. And I'm sure that George Melancholic deserves better. I mean, the music isn't to my taste in the least, and sounds to my uneducated ears to be competent but not outstanding arrangements of a number of middle of the road tunes. It's the kind of music that would be used for cut scenes in 1950s American films. Or accompanying documentaries about British family life where the nuclear family are gathered in their cosy living room powered by mains gas, listening to the light show on their shiny new bakelite and raffia wireless set.
I can't for the life of me relate what I'm hearing to the pastime of eating. I think old Georgie got the commission, threw any old tat together, and got some junior copy writer to tie it all together on the album notes with all that fancy talk about aperitifs and ducklings. In much the same way that the River-Boat Banjo Band album sleeve tried desperately to forge a link between boating and banjos, here the relationship between The Melachrino Strings and Dining is pushed to breaking point and probably beyond.
Let's be honest. This album does not enhance your eating experience. At all. I'm sat here with a Snickers, and it's done nothing for me. The joy of this album is all in the sleeve notes and the stylised cover of a civilised, perfect 1950's couple sitting down to enjoy each other's company and a light frothing of romantic strings. Speaking of the cover, I'm assuming that the white smudges in the middle of the picture are supposed to represent cigarette smoke. If not, then that bloke's cock's on fire and someone should tell him pronto. Maybe he could douse it down with his aperitif.
The one thing I can tell you though is that the fine people at RCA are as good as their word. They said that I could buy without fear of obsolescence, and I'm happy to report that this 48 year old record played perfectly well on my Stereophonic Phonograph. Obviously forward thinking chaps at RCA.
Almost finally, there's stamp on the back of the album that says "Return BBC Library". Seems that I may have the very album that accompanied a nation of gourmets indulging in their passion.
And actually finally, I can only assume that the modern equivalent of Music for Dining is probably the EastEnders theme tune. Discuss.
Diane I'm in Heaven When I See You Smile
Legend Of The Glass Mountain
Label / Cat. No: RCA RD-27081