collective was born out of a partnership between RCA and Reader’s
Digest in the 1960s. George Marek, an A&R man with RCA, sent producer Charles
Gerhardt to England
to put together a series of recordings for the entertainment giant. The albums, which would bear the “Reader’s
Digest” moniker, were to be in a lighter vein than the recording
company’s regular repertoire.
For these, some of the finest musicians in London were plucked for easy-listening
versions of classical pieces, movie soundtracks, and pop songs. The orchestra at this time went by a
variety of names, including the London Promenade and Victor Orchestra. By 1970, they were known as the
National Philharmonic Orchestra of London.
One of their
earliest recordings was The Sea
Hawk: The Classic Film Scores
of Erich Korngold, in 1972.
“The Sea Hawk”, backed with “Of Human Bondage”,
was released as a single on 26th January 1973.
The orchestra has
appeared on several movie soundtracks, such as Alien, Barry Lyndon, The Boys from Brazil, Brazil, Capricorn One, The
Changeling, The Dead Zone, The Final Conflict, The Ghost and the Darkness, Grizzly,
High Velocity, Legend, License to Kill, Not
Without My Daughter, The Omen,
Outland, The Philadelphia Experiment, Phobia, Sabrina, The Secret of N.I.M.H., Supergirl, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Total Recall, Tribute,
and The Wicked Lady.
The National Philharmonic Orchestra of London Plays Agapeland for the Whole Family in 1982. Don Marsh collaborated with them on
1989’s Beside the Still Waters
Volume Three. Éclair de Lune, recorded in
tandem with Philippe Leduc, received Instrumental Album of the Year at the
Felix Awards in 1993. In 1997,
they joined forces with The Holiday Singers, Doc Severinsen,
and The Tonight Show Band on the stocking stuffer, Christmas at Home III.
Much of the
Reader’s Digest output, including The
Golden Age of Light Music and The
World’s Most Beautiful Melodies series, is now available on CD.
National Philharmonic Orchestra of London recordings
Medley: Good Christian Men Rejoice/Lo, How a
Rose e’er Blooming/O, Come All Ye Faithful (Frederick Oakeley/Traditional/John
Arranger & Conductor - Larry Dalton
Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Excelsis Dio Praise Magnificat Christmas)