02 Jun

Dateline March 2004

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Robert Farnon completed his Symphony No. 3 in F major at the beginning of December. It lasts approximately 25 minutes, which Bob considers is quite long enough for him to be able to develop his ideas. He believes that so many symphonies last too long, allowing audiences to become bored with them before the end. As you will have seen on the opposite page (and later in this issue) the news of Bob’s new symphony has made the headlines in Edinburgh, and it is hoped that its premiere performance may take place in Scotland’s capital city later this year.

■ Once his symphony was completed, Bob began work on a new 2-part composition for flautist Jane Pickles entitled Songbird. It is not know whether this will be recorded in the near future, but she wanted a special work that she can perform at concerts with a fairly large orchestra. At the same time (unusually for Bob, since he rarely moves on to another piece of music until the work in hand is fully completed) he began sketching out a semi-classical work for the Canadian Brass trumpet player Fred Mills, which will be called Veracity. Fred has been performing Bob’s Schertzando for Trumpet regularly in his concerts, and he said it would be nice to have something else as well!

■ The latest Robert Farnon CD of new recordings with flautist Jane Pickles took place in January, and Bob told us that he was delighted with the work Jack Parnell did in conducting the orchestra. We hope to allow RFS members to hear a preview at our next London meeting on 4 April, and we will have further details of this new release in our June magazine.

■ Robert Farnon’s latest composition (as we went to press at the end of January) is a piece for full string orchestra (ten first violins, 8 second violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos and 4 double basses – plus harp and keyboards) entitled This Is My Beloved. Bob couldn’t say how long it would be: "It all depends where the inspiration will take me!" he explained.

■ Last November, the US President George W. Bush made a State Visit to Britain, and he was the Guest of Honour at a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on 19 November, hosted by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The following day the London Times gave full details of the guest list, and what they had to eat and drink. The music performed by the Band of the Scots Guards, directed by Major R.J. Owen was also listed (16 pieces), and we were pleased to see that the third item was Westminster Waltz by Robert Farnon. Other featured composers and arrangers included Richard Rodgers, Michael Kamen, Sousa, Leroy Anderson and Charles Ancliffe.

■ Robert Farnon has contributed the foreword to Laurie Johnson’s new autobiography "Noises in the Head". Reproduced in his own handwriting, Bob writes: Whenever friends wish to know the name of my favourite British film composer, the answer has remained the same since I first listened to the brilliant underscoring by the true musician and gentleman who is responsible for this book of rich and varied musical tales, Laurie Johnson.

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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.