The arranging and orchestration was done by the amazing Conrad Salinger. Kay Thompson did the vocal and choir arrangements. The clip is from the movie "Till the Clouds Roll By." It was a movie produced by the Arthur Freed unit at MGM. That was the "class" unit making musicals at MGM and responsible for a large percentage of the greatest musical ever made. Salinger was one of the primary reasons for the "sound" of MGM musicals. He worked almost exclusively for Freed. Conrad developed much of the vocabulary in arranging and orchestration for movie musicals. A simply amazing man. If you want to see his astounding abilities in full bloom find a copy of "Ziegfeld Follies and listen to the "Limehouse Blues" and "This Heart of Mine" sections. Andre Previn once said that Salinger could take any tune and make it sound like Daphnis et Chloe - such was the enormity of his ability. He had a great influence on other wonderful arranger/orchestrators like Leo Arnaud, Robert Van Epps, Alexander Courage and others. Salinger is the foundation for everyone interested in this kind of writing and I strongly encourage people to explore his accomplishments.
I just wish he had written a book imparting his knowledge to the ages before he died. As it is, we need to settle for examining the recording sessions. Oh well. At least much of the raw audio session work from the early '40s to the early '50s has been released from the MGM vaults (and in stereo, no less.) Treasures.
I love watching the oldies. Love the sound and the spectacle of it all.
Tom, like you I wish they had at least written down the basics of their thought process. Seems like so much has been lost, or it takes years of study to try to duplicate it. And why not. The sound really is timeless. I keep hoping some of those out there who understand this style will publish books with audio examples, much like the orchestration course being offered here. It would be worth a tuition to gain that knowledge.
I'm always keeping my ears and eyes open to info from this era.
This is beauty...this is sweet and clear and utterly, completely human...oh the joy!
Check out 'Summer Breeze' and 'One more for the Road' if you like what you've heard here (and if you have any doubt whatsoever that Sinatra was an Artist!)