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Jack Hylton: Vienna, City of My Dreams

March 27, 2010

Rudolf Sieczyński.

Jack Hylton and His Orchestra
Vienna, City of My Dreams

Recorded in 1938

We say farewell (for the moment) to Jack Hylton with another “symphonic” arrangement, this one very late in his band’s career. This light-classical art song is pretty much the only thing Rudolf Sieczyński is remembered for today, and even this is largely forgotten now. But it’s worth remembering Jack Hylton’s version: this is his band at its most ambitious and polished.

It’s also not too long before the band broke up permanently. The Second World War accomplished what the Depression had not been able to do: it made Jack Hylton give up. Maintaining an orchestra on this scale was an expensive and laborious task, but it was worthwhile because the band was a magnet for the best musicians in Britain, and the British public knew it. When the best musicians in Britain were drafted, how could they be replaced? Jack Hylton concluded that they could not be replaced, and he gave up bandleading so that he would never have to settle for second-best. There was never a decline for Jack Hylton’s orchestra: only a peak of perfection, and then sudden silence.

Not that Hylton retired. He already had a finger in every pie in show business, and he went on to become perhaps London’s leading theatrical impresario. When the war was over, he got into television in a big way, too. He spent money almost as fast as he could make it, but not any faster, and he died in 1965 almost universally loved and admired.

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From → Classical

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