03 Jun

Dateline March 2005

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■ Last Christmas a BBC-1 ident showed young children bouncing in the snow on Christmas puddings. Several British members contacted us to ask about the attractive music heard in the background. It sounded like vintage mood music, but no one could identify it. Eventually Ralph Thompsonmanaged to track down a lady at the BBC who said that it was simply called "BBC Ident" and was published by the BBC. It was specially written by Peter Lawlor; we wonder if any readers know of him – has he composed any other music like this? 

■ Allan Bula tells us that Herbie Flowers says the Hastings Light Orchestra could rise again this Spring. 

■ Thanks to Sigmund Groven, we can report that the ‘Warren’ who composed Martinique (the Ray Martin version on a Decca 78 was included on the Guild CD GLCD5101), is actually Norman Warren, an arranger and composer who was a backroom boy active on the London music scene from the 1940s to the 1960s. Martinique was also recorded by Tommy Reilly on Parlophone R3560. Warren and Reilly also co-composed Blow Man Blow and No Dice which Tommy recorded on a Philips single in 1962 (BF 326 543).

And on the subject of mysterious composers, Brian Reynolds has told us that the ‘Stewart’ who wroteThe Whistling Boy on the recent Mantovani Guild CD was not Ian Stewart as we had been informed, but a Colin Stewart (perhaps a pseudonym?). 

■ The American record company Reference Recordings has experienced problems in recent years, partly due to a change in ownership. The Gramophone magazine has been listing some of their CDs among their details of new releases, including Robert Farnon’s ‘Concert Works’ (RR-47CD). Since this has deleted some while ago, we were hoping that it would be available once again, but so far it does not appear on any distributors’ lists. 

■ The Royal Marines CTCRM Band are planning a disc of the Music of Ron Goodwin – expected release date August 2005 on their own ‘in house’ Chevron Label (writes Roger Hyslop). 

■ Ena Reilly has recently launched The Tommy Reilly Appreciation Society in honour of her late husband, regarded by many as the finest harmonica player in the world. The special event took place towards the end of last September, involving performances at the local Royal British Legion and Tommy’s church at Frensham. Paul Lewis (who worked with Tommy for many years on the TV series "Woof!") acted as compere, and some of Tommy’s former pupils from as far afield as Japan attended a masterclass in his honour. If any readers would like more information, they are welcome to contact: Mrs. Ena Reilly, Hammonds Wood, Frensham, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3EH, England – telephone 01252 792422. 

■ Alan Bunting tells us that Quantegy, the world’s last remaining manufacturer of ¼" and professional recording tape, unexpectedly closed down over last Christmas and filed for Chapter 11 (in the USA this is often a prelude to a business ceasing trading). 

■ Forthcoming Concert dates:

John Wilson conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus in "Cinema Classics" at the Royal Festival Hall on Thursday 12 May at 7.30pm. The concert will be recorded for BBC Radio-2’s "Friday Night is Music Night". Tickets from RFH box office 08703 800 400.

The following day (Friday 13 May), John Wilson will be at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, withGary Williams and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a Tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole. Box office 0121 780 3333.

Robert Farnon has decided to call his new Bassoon Concerto "Romancing The Phoenix". It is dedicated to the American virtuoso Daniel Smith (see page 5 in this issue). 

As we went to press, we learned that the new work dedicated by John Fox to his dear wife Joy was due to be recorded at Whitfield Street Studios on 22 February. Gavin Sutherland conducted the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and we will naturally give further details when the CD is released. 

We were saddened to note the death of actress Virginian Mayo on 17 January aged 84. It was for her role as Lady Barbara in "Captain Horatio Hornblower" that Robert Farnon composed one of the most beautiful love themes ever heard in a film. 

Finnish Television is making a documentary on the famous ‘Moomin’ cartoon character called "Moomin’s Memoirs", which will be shown in 2006. Robert Farnon has been invited to be interviewed for the programme; readers will recall that Bob composed the catchy Moomin back in the 1950s when the newspaper cartoons became popular in Britain. Bob often used to turn up at early RFS Meetings wearing a tie with little Moomins all over it! 

Consuelo Velazquez, composer of the popular 1940s hit Besame Mucho died on 22 January in Mexico City, aged 88. She began her career as a classical concert pianist, but later became a singer and one of the best-known composers in Mexican history. 

There will be an exhibition of works by Benedetto at the Catto Gallery, Heath Street, London from 5 to 24 April. The artist is better-known as Tony Bennett

Universal has issued a 2-hour TV documentary featuring Bert Kaempfert on DVD. The film by Marc Boettcher is based on his biography on the bandleader, and includes rare footage and photographs from private archives, as well as interviews with friends, colleagues and musicians. There are also excerpts from Kaempfert’s stage and TV appearances. Also included is a special bonus CD with 20 complete tracks where the music in the film is only heard in part. There is an English soundtrack, as well as German. The DVD is called "Strangers In The Night: The Bert Kaempfert Story". 

Sessions will take place this year towards a third Campion CD of original compositions by Matthew Curtis. Once again Gavin Sutherland will be conducting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, A few tracks were actually recorded last July, and titles selected so far include On the Move, Flute Concerto (soloist Jennifer Stinton), Five Dances for String Orchestra, At Twilight (strings and harp), Partita andDivertimento Concertante for clarinet and small orchestra (soloist Verity Butler – who also happened to be Mrs. Gavin Sutherland!). 

If you have one of the RFS pens that have been available at some of our recent London meetings, you may like to be reminded that standard rollerball refills from W H Smith will fit (make sure youonly buy the WHS own brand, not others such as Parker which are a different shape). 

James Cahall (from Louisville, Kentuckey) sent us an amusing cutting from his local newspaper. It informs that "Westport Road is closed just east of Herr Lane, but motorists may detour via Bob Farnon Way and Lyndon Lane! 

The March issue of ‘The Gramophone’ includes an article on Light Music by Andrew Lamb. The Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ series is mentioned, along with some recent Vocalion CDs. 

The next concert of The Edinburgh Light Orchestra will be on Saturday 28 May, at the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh as usual. Conductor James Beyer hopes that some RFS members will come along to join the capacity audience that these concerts now regularly attract. Further details from James at: 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT. 

Composer Adam Saunders was in Prague at the end of January, recording come of his latest works for a Chappell CD "Epic Choral" with the City of Prague Philharmonic. The choir is the Brighton Festival Chorus (overdubbed in England). 

Philip Farlow is continuing to be involved in the regional BBC South, South East 'evening share' programme on Fridays that he instigated mid-1998 called 'Big Band & Swing'. Nowadays Philip mainly gets involved in ‘specials’; he ceased doing it regularly in December 1999 as all the time spent producing a 'proper' programme was de-focussing him from his Audio Services work. Philip’s ‘slot’ was admirably filled by Grant James, but Philip now goes into the studios to do 'specialised' presentations which he regards as being quite prestigious – especially as there is a large audience over the Solent, Southern Counties, Kent, Berkshire and Oxford transmitters area. Some while ago Philip interviewed John Wilson and he would like to discuss his career with him again – if he can be fitted in with John’s very busy work schedule. Just before last Christmas Philip compiled a 'Glenn Miller in England' documentary which he understands from the subsequent feedback was received very well. "Big Band and Swing" can be heard on Friday evenings between 9.00 and 10.00pm. For those who live outside the areas covered by the local transmitters the programme can, of course, he heard via the BBC website on the internet. 

NEW RELEASES

As usual, there will be many new CDs to tempt us to open our wallets during the coming months, but as we go to press we only have very sketchy details of some of them. No doubt we will be able to provide much fuller information in our next issue.

First of all, on the Film Music front we have heard whispers that we can expect collections featuring film scores by Stanley Black and Mischa Spoliansky.

Mike Dutton has many attractive new releases lined up for the Spring, among them a new CD from the John Wilson Orchestra called "Dance Date" featuring scores by Roland Shaw and Pete Moore. From the vaults of Decca and EMI, Mike promises vintage albums by Victor Silvester, Ray Martin, Guy Lombardo, Eric Jupp (including the often requested "Music for Sweethearts"), Mantovani, Frank Chacksfield, Stanley Black, Ronnie Aldrich and Winifred Atwell.

Mike Dutton is also planning a new series of single LP reissues from Decca Deram, and one of the first will be the Robert Farnon / Tony Coe collaboration "Pop Makes Progress" (originally on the Chapter One label).

In February, the Dutton Epoch label issued a second volume of "British Light Music Premieres and Arrangements" (CDLX 7151) with works by Philip Lane (Overture on French carols), John Field (Concertino for flute and small orchestra), Haydn Wood (British Rhapsody), Rimsky-Korsakov (Variations on a theme of Glinka), Anthony Hedges (Festival Dances), Richard Addinsell (Harmony for false lovers) and Carlo Martelli (Romance, Greensleeves, Aubade).

Other Epoch releases include the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Barry Wordsworth performing music from Ballets associated with Sir Frederick Ashton (CDLX 7149), and a notable premiere of Sir Edward Elgar’s Piano Concerto (CDLX 7148).

Mantovani fans should be in seventh heaven with a new 4-CD box set from Jasmine containing 99 tracks. The period covered is 1951-1954, and inevitably there will be many duplications with CDs already released by several other companies. There is not room for a tracklisting here, but no doubt we will have a review in our next issue. If you cannot wait that long, you can order direct from: Jazmail, Unit 8, Forest Hill Trading Estate, Perry Vale, London, SE23 2LX, England (major credit cards accepted). The set is reasonably priced at £17.99 and UK postage is £1.00; Europe £1.50; rest of the world £2.80. Coming soon from Guild is a second collection of Mantovani – By Request, but you will be glad to know that this should be all material not previously on CD. Another Spring release from Guild will feature a second helping of Great American Light Orchestras. Full details – of course – next time!

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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.