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Iconic Tracks: Francis, Day & Hunter’s Maestro Series

21 Aug 2023


The invention of television in 1927 and the following entertainment boom created a need for high-quality recordings explicitly made for productions. Respected music publishers like Francis, Day & Hunter Ltd. were up for the task and expanded their catalogs with works from the top composers in the industry. 

Francis, Day & Hunter established dominance as a British music publisher in the realm of Music Hall and live performance music since their start in 1877. Their influence expanded into the United States in the early 1900s with published works from leading legends like Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern. Mood Music, a label created to score productions, was established in 1946 and featured many popular and useful styles of music. The tradition of publishing only the highest quality music endured is evident in the music they released. EMI Publishing acquired the rights to the Francis, Day & Hunter catalog in 1972 and has meticulously preserved the original recordings ever since. 

APM digitally released the Mood Music catalog in its original A-side/B-side album format in 2019. The recordings sound pristine and have a wide range of styles to choose from, including comedy, drama, Jazz, orchestral panorama, fanfares, and showbiz. The albums were originally released in the early-1950s through the late 1960s and sound extravagant (not to mention expensive) by today’s standards due to the large ensembles, intricate compositions, and the acoustics of historic recording studios used to create these timeless tracks. 

This historic catalog has been recompiled into the Maestro Series: Each release features works from a legendary composer celebrating their mark in production music. Here is some history behind each composer: 

FDH-0001 Anthony Collins (1893 – 1963)  

Anthony Collins was a British composer and conductor with strong ties to Hollywood. He scored around 30 films and was nominated for three Academy Awards in three consecutive years (1940-1942) in various music categories. These orchestral compositions capture the lively spirit of the 1950s and 1960s with arrangements of well-known tunes like “Oh Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” and “Beautiful Dreamer” and originals with a vibrant authenticity to the era. 

FDH-0002 Fredric Bayco (1913 – 1970)  

Fredric Bayco’s signature sounds of orchestral humor and jaunty playfulness have earned him sync placement fame in popular animated classics like SpongeBob SquarePants, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Count Duckula. He was a British composer, organist, music professor at St. Gabriel’s College in London, and the Director of Music at Holy Trinity Church in Paddington. 

FDH-0003 Harry Dexter (1910 – 1973)  

Harry’s influence at Francis, Day & Hunter was solidified by his position as the Head of the Light Orchestral Department and his status as a composer. This collection of his works has a German flair with traditional Polkas and stately orchestral compositions that capture all the drama and melodrama of 1950s Hollywood. 

FDH-0004 Leon Young (1916 –1991)  

With Sousa-styled orchestral marches, mysterious Bebop Jazz, and British fanfare regalia compositions, Leon Young covers all the stylistic bases of the times. He was the Staff Arranger at Francis, Day & Hunter and arranged music for Petula Clarke, Acker Bilk, Frank Chacksfield, and Charlie Chaplin’s film Limelight. He formed The Leon Young String Chorale in the 1960s, which consisted of the best session musicians in England to produce high-quality recordings. 

FDH-0005 Rin Maidana  

Information on Rin Maidana is limited. It is presumed that this name was used as a pseudonym, making this composer fit for a whodunnit mystery. 

The rumors online hint that the actual composer behind the Rin Maidana moniker could be Mary Dawn Slaney (née Ludlow), Ariana Dim, or Adrian Mina. This collection of orchestral compositions from 1964 has a youthful vibrance and energy, perfect for scoring slapstick comedies, Hollywood showbiz panorama, and crime dramas. 

This rare collection is a time capsule of the compositions that scored television history. Discover the composers that made some of the best production music of all time with each new release. 

By Sarah Scarlata