26 May

Dateline June 2007

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Martin Massini Ezcurra, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a great fan of the music of Stanley Black. Before spending a year studying in Britain, he got to know Stanley and his wife Edna, and met him many times in 2001 and 2002. Martin has prepared a list of Stanley Black recordings which he would be pleased to share with any fellow admirers. If you are interested,in the first instance please contact our membership secretary, Albert Killman. 

Danny Robinson alerted us to the following letter which appeared in the London Times on 12 February under the heading Light Goes Out "Sir, My ears were opened to the joys of British light classical music by a series of free BBC concerts in the early 1990s. The beautiful sounds of Binge, Coates, Curzon, Torch and others came alive. In recent years, Britons have been able to hear a regular selection of these light classics, most of which are only three or four minutes long, courtesy of Brian Kay's Light Programme on BBC Radio 3, with the bonus of the playlist on the website. His one-hour programme made for a delightful interlude, well-suited to working in front of the PC or a break for afternoon tea. This week, however, Radio 3 has killed off British light music. No more dipping into an important, but little-known, strand of our national musical heritage. What a pity that the BBC cannot find time any more for these little snapshots of Britain. It makes one wonder who the controller thinks he serves. LESTER MAY, London NW1"

One of our German members, Alexander Schatte, has written to tell us about an ongoing project in honour of a leading composer. "For some years I have been working in my leisure time as archivist for the "Franz Grothe Foundation". Franz Grothe (1908-1982) was one of Germany's leading film and light music composers from the late 1920's until the mid 1960's. His musical output contains the music for 170 feature films, popular songs and also fine light concert works. Some of his hit tunes also became successful abroad like his "Midnight-Blues" in 1957. Last year I heard his famous slow waltz melody "Illusion" (also recorded by Dolf van der Linden and other international artists) on BBC via Internet-Radio. During recent months I have constructed a website for the Grothe-Foundation (presently only in the German language) which is now online at www.franzgrothe-stiftung.de The website also contains an online "orchestra catalogue" (103 titles) and in addition a second catalogue with our collection of original historic arrangements for salon orchestra (185 titles). I think these catalogues are interesting for all orchestras and small ensembles, musicians and conductors who enjoy performing traditional light and film music from this period. Every interested website visitor is most welcome to contact with me for further information."

The Scarborough Spa Orchestra is now one of very few light orchestras regularly performing light music. Their reputation has spread far beyond their native Yorkshire, and we hope that readers of this magazine who may happen to be in the north-east of England this summer will make a special effort to attend at least one of their concerts. The season starts on Sunday 3rd June and continues to Friday 21st September. The Scarborough Spa Orchestra gives six morning concerts and four evening concerts every week. Morning concerts are Sunday to Friday inclusive at 11am in the Sun Court, and evening concerts are Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7.45 in the Grade II listed Grand Hall. For more details visit the orchestra’s website, which you can reach via the ‘Links’ page on our own website. RFS member Peter Luck was intrigued by one of the tracks on the Guild CD "Childhood Memories". When he listened to Time For Fun And Games he realised he’d heard it before, but where? The penny eventually dropped when he discovered that it was in "The Two Ronnies" ‘St Botolph’s Country Dance’ sketch that he had on a DVD. David Lennick has written about the Robert Farnon cutting on page 25 of our last issue – ‘The Tinder Box’. He thinks it is likely to be from January 1943, and stresses that the name of the radio series was "Magic Carpet". We were sorry to learn from James Beyer that the Edinburgh Palm Court Orchestra gave its last concert on Sunday 11 February. The orchestra’s Director, David Lyle, explained that they were having problems in finding suitable rehearsal premises, and it was difficult to find time in busy schedules for all the players and soloists to get together. There was also the recurring problem of hard-to-locate scores, and rising costs generally were a constant worry. Also their loyal audience was getting older, and ticket sales were slipping. Happily the Edinburgh Light Orchestra (under conductor James Beyer) continues to go from strength to strength, and their Saturday Concerts at the Queen’s Hall are a well-established popular feature in Edinburgh’s music scene. Their most recent concert was on 26 May, and it included works by Angela Morley, Robert Farnon, Edward White and Eric Coates. For details of their next event you can telephone 0131 334 3140. Have you ever wondered why some musicians only use their initials? Jack Docherty thinks he knows the answer. He recently discovered that H.M. Farrar’s full name is Hubert Murgatroyd Farrar!

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About Geoff 123
Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.