02 Jun

Dateline December 2004

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We are accustomed to having many of Robert Farnon’s earlier recordings made available again on compact discs, but it is always a very special event when a brand new release reaches the catalogues! This month last January’s London sessions showcasing the talents of flautist Jane Pickles have appeared on a new Vocalion Digital CD of Farnon arrangements and compositions entitled "Hey There". Full details can be found in our ‘Light Music CDs’ section and, of course, this new CD is available from the RFS Record Service.

We are still waiting for some firm news regarding the premiere of Robert Farnon’s Symphony No. 3 – the ‘Edinburgh Symphony’. From recent issues of this magazine you will have grasped that it is Robert Farnon’s wish that the first performance should take place in the city to which the work is dedicated, but early indications suggested that orchestras in Montreal or Oslo might win the race. As we go to press, the latest news is that the Scottish conductor Iain Sutherland has appeared on the scene, and a recent Canadian newspaper report seems to suggest that the premiere now seems certain in Edinburgh next spring. After so many hopes have been dashed, we hesitate to get too optimistic, but as soon as a date is fixed we will tell the world in the ‘Latest News’ section of our website.

■ The first performance of Robert Farnon’s new arrangement of Song of Scandia for bassoon and strings took place on 27 August in "Friday Night is Music Night" on BBC Radio-2. Margaret Pollock was the soloist, and the BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by John Wilson.

■ A new Frank Sinatra book has been widely praised by the press and Sinatra fans alike. Called "The Sinatra Treasures" it is written by Charles Pignon, and has forewords by Frank Sinatra jnr. and Quincy Jones. Naturally Sinatra’s album with Robert Farnon gets mentioned, and the accompanying CD includes Roses of Picardy from the ‘Great Songs From Great Britain’ album. The book (which doesn’t come cheap – the UK price seems to be around £35) contains 30 removable artefacts comprising expensively replicated items from Sinatra’s life.

■ Back in 1946, Robert Farnon was in charge of the Geraldo Orchestra while the boss was away on business in the USA. During October and November Bob conducted the orchestra on ten titles recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road studios for the Parlophone label (full details can be found in our Robert Farnon Discography: the printed version is no longer available, but the complete Discography is on our website). A new Living Era CD includes two of those numbers: Getting Nowhere (with a vocal by Carole Carr) and Sleepy Serenade (featuring Ivor Mairants on Guitar) – bother recorded on 4 October 1946.

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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.