Paul Barnes hosts one of the best music programmes on BBC Eastern Counties radio stations. At the end of November he took his cue from the news in our last magazine and informed his listeners that Doris Day was now a member of the Robert Farnon Society. To celebrate, he didn’t play a Doris Day record – instead he chose "Great Day" by the Robert Farnon Orchestra and the George Mitchell Singers!
We are very sorry to have to report the death of our member Robert Rudhall last December, following a long illness. Only a year ago Robert contributed a special tribute to his friend Ron Goodwin in JIM 154 (page 15). Robert first met Ron back in 1995 when he was doing research for his book about the making of the film "Battle of Britain".
Another Tribute to Angela …
I doubt that there are many in the Robert Farnon Society that need convincing that the new Vocalion CD of Angela Morley’s compositions and arrangements is a ‘must buy’. When I wrote the articles on her career a few years ago she sent me a tape of some of the music now contained on the album. I am glad that every lover of true artistry can now share my pleasure in hearing this music as some of the work she wrote for American TV series did not get a showing in the UK. John Wilson and his producers deserve a vote of thanks for enriching the world of music.
Lucky Scots enjoy Light Music
"There’s something blissfully anachronistic about the Queen’s Hall. With its florid cornices and church-like pews, the venue has a certain timeless grandeur which lends itself well to feelings of nostalgia. And after a week of self-congratulation in the Capital in the shape of the MTV awards, the unashamedly backward looking sound of the Edinburgh Light Orchestra was the perfect antidote to contemporary clutter. While easy listening classical music may not exactly be in vogue, the soaring cadences of the glissando strings during the ELO’s opening tune, Journey Into Melody, was enough to uplift the spirits of even the most cynical heart."
Thus wrote Duncan Forgan in his review for the Edinburgh Evening News of James Beyer’s concert last November. No doubt the esteemed critic was impressed by the fact that the hall was filled to capacity (about 800 people), and the enthusiastic applause from the audience perhaps raised a question mark regarding his comment about this kind of music not being in vogue. It seems likely that many more people would welcome the opportunity to attend concerts like this, but few towns and cities have a James Beyer to organize and conduct them!
As usual the programme was well balanced between light music, popular songs and works from the worlds of stage and screen. The closing work was Robert Farnon’s Sounds Familiar which, although written around a quarter of a century ago, still contains many tunes that bring instant recognition.
James Beyer and the Edinburgh Light Orchestra will be back at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh for their next concert on Saturday 29 May – for more details telephone 0131 334 3140.
Ray Clark also writes enthusiastically about the Yesterday’s Britain YB30 spotlighting London buses (reviewed by Glynn D. Parry on page 51). Ray additionally tells us about two Classic Railway Newsreels from British Movietone News which contain many examples of mood music from Chappell, Charles Brull, De Wolfe and Paxton. They cost £12.95 each and are available from: The Signal Box, 1 Albion Street, Anstey, Leicestershire, LE7 7DD – telephone 0116 236 2091.
Must Close Saturday Records
What’s in a name? Often it can be a very important marketing tool, but we wonder how many readers will realise the kind of music that is the speciality of the above new record company! But when you think of it, the name is rather clever, because it conjures up images of countless ambitious little theatrical productions whose appeal to audiences has sometimes fallen short of the aspirations of the talented performers. And that is often the kind of music that Adrian Wright passionately believes deserves to be remembered.
His new company concentrates of British musicals from the 1950s onwards that have been largely forgotten. The major record companies have original cast recordings in their vaults, but it takes a real enthusiast like Adrian to license this material, repackage it attractively, and issue it on CD. So far the label has issued The Crooked Mile, Oh What a Lovely War and Tom Brown’s Schooldays. If you are interested in musical theatre from around 40/50 years ago, keep an eye open for these CDs.Thanks to Peter Worsley for this information.
As we went to press we learned that Tony Bennett had been nominated in two categories for this year’s Grammy Awards in New York. Let’s hope he was successful!
Jack Docherty has drawn our attention to a section about Albert Ketèlbey on his home-town Birmingham Council’s website: www.birmingham.gov.uk/ketelbey
Musicians’ Union Election Success
RFS member Tony Whittaker has just been elected onto the Executive Committee. "I am delighted to have won the election" says Tony, who lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, "and I look forward to representing the Midlands area for the next two years". Members who attend our London meetings will know that Tony is a keen supporter of RFS activities, and we are pleased to congratulate him on winning the confidence of his musical colleagues.
"Inside Antiques" on BBC4 (Friday 23 January) was devoted entirely to the subject of the collectors’ market and interest in railway travel posters, in the context of popular seaside destinations of the 1930s and 1940s. Several pieces of light music were heard in the programme:Coronation Scot was used for the opening titles and also the end credits. At other points we heardRhythm on Rails, Jumping Bean and Will o’ the Wisp. No other light music was used, and it added even more interest to a fascinating programme. Report from Peter Luck
Brian Neal owns a Blüthner Grand Piano which was formerly the proud possession of the composer Lambert Williamson. Before that it was the property of Victor Hely Hutchinson – probably during World War 2 around the time when he was Head of Music at the BBC.
Robert Walton recently discovered that Philip Buchel (co-composer with Robert Farnon of Jockey on the Carousel and Winter Jasmine (featured on the new "Showcase for Soloists" CD) played alto sax with Spike Hughes’s DeccaDents. Hughes himself was a jazz bassist and arranger, and another notable member of the same group was trumpeter Max Goldberg. Philip Buchel was also a talented tap-dancer; he and his wife Betty choreographed several British musicals, including "Spring in Park Lane" and "Maytime in Mayfair".
RFS member Johnny McLain is still succeeding in getting his new works published. Recent settings to poems include Mamble by John Drinkwater (1882-1937); Adlestrop by Edward Thomas (1878-1917); and I Came To Oxford by Gerald Gould (1885-1936). These pieces are being published by Westerleigh Publications (based in Devon) under the collective title ‘Three Places in Old England’. If any readers would like more information about Johnny’s music, they are welcome to write to him at: 42 Osidge Lane, Southgate, London, N14 5JG.
Towards the end of this year Sigmund Groven will be releasing a new CD of harmonica music, in which he is accompanied by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra Conducted by John Wilson. We look forward to giving you more details in a future issue.
Charles Prior heard On a Spring Note by Sidney Torch on a US radio commercial for Walgreens (a drugstore chain) last year. He also spotted Champagne March in a documentary about Cedar Point, an Ohio amusement park.
Frank Comstock keeps an eye on the jazz column in a local California paper The Orange County Register. When Billy May died, Steve Eddy wrote that he was the last of Sinatra’s arrangers. David Ades sent him an e-mail, which resulted in the following note a few weeks later: "Who says the Register doesn’t cross the ocean? The Robert Farnon Society’s David Ades gently took me to task (as only Brits can do) for saying in a Billy May obit that he was ‘the last surviving member of Frank Sinatra’s exclusive club of musical arrangers’. Ades rightfully pointed out that Farnon is still with us and active at age 86. And, while they weren’t as associated with Sinatra as May, Nelson Riddle and some others, you can add at least a couple of others who penned charts for Blue Eyes, and are still alive and kicking – Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones."
Franck Leprince has been keeping very busy as a professional violinist since he left the Army. This April he played at a Wigmore Hall concert as a member of ‘Ensemble – Inconstantes’ under the baton of Alan Danson, which featured the violinist Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne (former BBC Young Musician of the Year, and also BBC Radio-2 Young Musician 2000), and the soprano Hasmik Papian. Franck tells us that he gets little chance to play light music these days, although he is involved with a group of four musicians including the fine pianist and RFS member Elaine Korman, who has recently retired from the English National Opera. They perform "An Evening of Popular Classics" about once a month at various venues in the South West of England, and their repertoire includes pieces from the 1920s and 1930s – and even the 1950s!
From time to time we are asked about certain ‘big names’ in the music world, who have very little written about them on the internet. Often it is virtually impossible to discover what they are doing and if, in fact, they are still active musically. Such a ‘name’ is Tutti Camarata, so we were pleased to find a recent piece about him in Encore, that interesting monthly magazine aimed at professionals in the theatre. Recently Camarata received a Disney Legend Award from Walt Disney’s son. It will be remembered that Camarata first came to our attention in England in the 1940s when he was engaged by J. Arthur Rank to work on the musical "London Town" which featured the Ted Heath Orchestra and many leading British stars of the time. The film flopped, but Camarata stayed behind in England to work at Decca and set up London Records in the USA. Eventually he returned to the USA, and joined Disney, making a success of their record label. Today, with his son Paul, he runs Sunset Sound Studios in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, and is still very active despite reaching 90 years of age. Some of his recordings from over 50 years ago are starting to appear in the new Guild Light Music series of CDs.
Don’t forget that our website is one of the facilities offered to you as a member of the RFS. You are encouraged to visit us regularly at www.rfsoc.org.uk and specifically we recommend you to check the Latest News section of the RFS Information page to see if there are any important announcements.
If you are on the internet, do visit the ‘Links’ page on our website regularly. This is continually being updated by Chris Landor, and just recently he has come across some very interesting places for you to visit.
Hans-Andreas Winkler has set up an internet website in honour of his late father, the German composer Gerhard Winkler (1906-1977). Although presently only in German, it is well worth a visit and you can hear two recordings of one of his best-known songs "Capri-Fischer". Of course his biggest international success was "Answer Me". www.capri-fischer.de
Alan Nuttall and the Hale Light Orchestra presented ‘A Springtime Festival of Light Orchestral Music’ in Altrincham, Cheshire on 28 March reports David Mardon. The concert included many familiar favourites such as In Party Mood (Jack Strachey), Shortcake Walk (Sidney Torch), Puffin’ Billy(Edward White) and Ronald Hanmer’s arrangement of Mexican Hat Dance.
Ray Clark has alerted us to some recent interesting documentaries on video from Beulah and other companies. There are also plans for some classic British Transport Films shorts to appear on DVD later this year. Ray points out that the quality on DVD is often better than on video, so it may be worth while waiting for forthcoming DVD releases in some cases. Here are some recent releases that Ray recommends:
Capital Transport [Yesterday’s Britain] No. 31 – Beulah YB31 (send for their catalogue - Beulah, 66 Rochester Way, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 2DU); Holidays on Wheels – promotional films from the 1950s for Wallace Arnold coaches (telephone orders on 01624 640000); Look At Life – The 1960s, another 6 films from this well remembered Rank Organisation cinema series available on video and DVD (Video 125, PO Box 81, Ascot, SL5 9TC – tel. 01344 628565); Those Were The Days – Pathe Newsreels from various decades, issued on both video and DVD (widely available through retailers); Northumberland in 1953 – a Northern Heritage production featuring a BTF film on rural life including footage not included in the original film (order by Freephone 0800 716959). All these films make full use of contemporary mood music from the likes of Chappell, Boosey & Hawkes etc.
The clarinettist, saxophonist and singer Gerry Ozarow, born on 18 December 1922, died on 1 February 2004 writes Sunil Hiranandani. In a Nostalgia article ‘Life Was Funny Sometimes’ Gerry described himself as the poor man’s Charlie Ventura or, on a good night, the poor man’s Illinois Jacquet. He remembered doing a version of Roses of Picardy which turned into Roses of Jeopardywhen the trumpeter’s mute dropped out! He recalled one musician doing an impression of the bandleader, at which the bandleader walked in and said: "this is my impression of you getting the sack!" His early career found him in the bands of Billy Merrin, Billy Bevan and Lou Preager, playing in locations like the Cumberland Hotel, where Joan Collins was waiting on tables.
■ Doris Day has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour that the USA can bestow upon its citizens. Doris is one of 12 people to receive the award, which was announced on 22 June. But her fear of flying prevented her from accepting the award personally from the President in Washington. She told the Associated Press: "I am deeply grateful to the President and to my country, but I won’t fly." Doris blames her fear of flying on too many overseas trips with Bob Hope entertaining U.S. troops. "Bob would fly even if a cyclone was coming," she recalled. "I saw him on his knees many a time. In fact we were all on our knees. We flew in snowstorms to get to the next show. When we hit the ground I said ‘never again’." The Medal of Freedom was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their World War II service. It was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honour distinguished service in a range of fields, including the arts, sports, business and science. Doris is not a newcomer to awards: she won an Oscar nomination for "Pillow Talk" and made several gold records. She was named the No. 1 box office star four times. She has also been recognized for founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and all her fellow RFS members around the world will be delighted at this news.
■ RFS member John Bladon wonders if some fellow members might be interested in Frantisek Kmoch (1848-1912), whose Society can be found on a website: www.kmochsoc.co.uk John tells us that the Kmoch Society aims to promote music played by Central European military and civilian wind bands, with some overlap into light orchestral music from the same area. Marches, polkas and waltzes form the basis of this repertoire, with emphasis on pieces mainly written in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is tuneful music, just like the best British light music, but different in style and performance.
■ David Mardon has sent a recent programme for the Hale Light Orchestra’s concert on 6 July. Archibad Joyce’s The Brighton Hike opened the show, followed by Eric Coates’ Summer Days Suite. Other notable pieces included Butterflies in the Rain (Sherman Myers), English Folk Songs Suite(Ralph Vaughan Williams) and Frederic Curzon’s Robin Hood Suite. It is good to know that performances of light music are still taking place – if you can find them!
■ David Mardon has also sent in some useful information about Charles Williams and early Chappell 78s. Although he did write Girls In Grey in 1943, Chappells didn’t record it until 1944. There was quite a gap between the move from EMI at C192, and Levy’s Sound Studios taking over at C193. In fact C200 was the first one recorded by Levy’s. This helps to explain why so many of Charles Williams’ compositions were ‘moth-balled’ or ‘stockpiled’ between C193 and C205.
■ Mark Fox reports that Tony Bennett completed his upcoming album "The Art of Excellence 2" at Bennett Studios, Englewood, New Jersey at the beginning of June. Conducting honours for the 47-piece orchestra were shared by Johnny Mandel, Jorge Calandrelli and Lee Musiker. The CD is scheduled to be released in the USA in September, with UK release following on 8 November.
■ Matthew Curtis tells us that a second CD of his orchestral music should be released by Campion Records this autumn. Once again the Royal Ballet Sinfonia is conducted by Gavin Sutherland, and production has been in the capable hands of Philip Lane. There were five sessions in total: one in February at Pheonix Sound (the old CTS) in Wembley, and four more at the beginning of July at Whitfield Street studios in central London. For two of the sessions Matthew enjoyed the rare luxury of enlarged strings, which he says makes a big difference to the effect of the more symphonic works. The titles are: Ring In The New, Romanza, Little Dance Suite, Irish Lullaby, Graduation Day, Autumn Song, Sinfonietta and Bon Voyage! An extra 17 minutes of music was also recorded towards a possible third CD, so Matthew’s growing band of admirers have much to look forward to in the future. RFS members had the pleasure of meeting Matthew at the Bonnington Hotel in April.
■ Once again James Beyer and the Edinburgh Light Orchestra entertained an almost capacity audience at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh in their recent concert on Saturday 29 May. As usual, the varied programme mixed some well-known classics with lighter pieces, the latter including Up With The Curtain (Jack Strachey), Prunella (Leslie Bridgewater), film music from "Goodbye Mr Chips"(Richard addinsell, reconstructed by Philip Lane), The Laughing Violin (Kai Mortensen), The Toy Trumpet (Raymond Scott) and Leroy Anderson Favourites. Another selection which must have been great fun was "Looney Toons Overture" based on the music from the famous Warner Bros. cartoons. The ELO’s next concert will be on 6 November, and if you want further information just drop a line to: James Beyer, 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT. The Edinburgh Palm Court Orchestraholds its musical afternoons on Sundays, when it is directed by David Lyle. The next concert is on 26 September, commencing at 2.30pm.
■ London’s Royal Festival Hall is now undergoing a major refurbishment, involving the construction of an extension building alongside the Hungerford Terrace to provide space for future administrative needs, with shops and catering facilities at terrace level. The foyers and auditorium are due to close in June 2005, and the major renovation of the hall should finish at the end of 2006. The Royal Festival Hall will reopen in January 2007.
■ Robin King’s feature in our last issue, where he mentioned organist Lew Williams (who lives near Angela Morley) has produced some interesting correspondence. Lew has rightly taken your Editor to task over his description of the theatre organs played by Sidney Torch as ‘electronic’, and he has also provided some information about several of these famous instruments from the pre-war days. Lew writes: I know it's difficult to keep track of all the various bits of information from that era, and given the amount of hyperbole that was often put into publicity in those days, it's not hard to be confused. In the booklet notes to the "All Strings and Fancy Free" CD on Living Era, there is reference to the Gaumont State, Kilburn as "......the largest cinema organ in England." I believe that the Gaumont was, perhaps, at 4,000 seats, the largest cinema in the UK. However, the organ itself consisted of some 16 ranks (sets) of pipes. The Trocadero, Elephant & Castle, had the largest Wurlitzer organ in Europe (at 21 ranks), but the largest cinema organ in all of Europe was the Regal, Marble Arch, with a total of 36 ranks. As to the construction dates, etc., of the various cinemas, the Regal, Marble Arch opened in November 1928, Regal, Edmonton in 1934, and Gaumont, Kilburn in 1937. As none of the organs were altered or added to after opening, Marble Arch leads the pack as to sheer size. Sadly, it's been rotting away in a barn in Cornwall since being removed from the cinema in 1964, and will probably never play again. The Edmonton organ has been removed to the Memorial Hall at Barry, in Wales. The Kilburn instrument is the only remaining original cinema organ in the London area. Though Torch steadfastly refused to talk to anyone about his organ days during his later years, I do have a 3-part interview with him that was published in 1972 in the American journal "Theatre Organ," on the occasion of the re-release of a double LP or his organ tracks. Torch's orchestral pianist, William Davies, told me a few interesting bits about Torch: how he learned Greek after his retirement from conducting so he could read the classics in the original language, and how WD tricked ST into playing the organ during an orchestral rehearsal for a sound check, much to Torch's annoyance. Editor: excerpts from that rare Sidney Torch interview will appear in ‘Journal Into Melody’ next year.
■ We are very pleased to report that the music of Ron Goodwin is not being forgotten. In November, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robin Stapleton performed three concerts in Weymouth, Swindon and Bournemouth under the title MY KIND OF MUSIC - A Celebration of the life and Music of Ron Goodwin. Unfortunately the news of these concerts did not reach us until early September, so we could not give details in our last magazine. However full information was posted in the "Latest News" section of our website, so we hope that many members will have seen it there. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to remind those of you who have access to the internet that late news items such as this can been seen on our website. Please look at our "Latest News" from time to time. We have been told that some members have made our website their ‘home page’ so that it serves as a regular reminder to them!
■ Klaus Teubig used to work in the German branch of Francis, Day & Hunter. He has fond memories of the music of Les Reed, and he also offers the following cameo: the composer ‘Montague’ responsible for the early Matt Monro recording You’re The One Of My Hit Parade was actually a pseudonym for Sir Frederick Day, son of the founder of FDH. He wrote it in the 1920s for his wife Doris, then a Tiller Girl. When they married she became a true English ‘Doris Day’!
Debbie Wiseman will be sharing conducting honours with Owain Arwel Hughes at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Christ Concert on Wednesday 15 December at Fairfield Hall, Croydon – box office 020 8688 9291.
Tony Bennett’s only UK appearance this year will be at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday 6 December. By the time you read this, unfortunately it will be far too late to get any tickets!
Some vintage Anne Shelton recordings have been discovered by Philip Farlow. A new CD features a BBC/AEFP broadcast where she is guest vocalist with the Glenn Miller AEF Band, and there are some other rare tracks. Details from Anne’s niece – Kelly Richards, PO Box 160, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 4YF, England – or visit the website www.anne-shelton.co.uk The CD costs £12.04, including postage.
Since writing his review of the Frank Sinatra ‘Platinum Collection’ (see ‘Keeping Track’), your Editor has read in the Sinatra Music Society magazine that the uncredited writer of the excellent booklet notes is Ken Barnes.
The World Soundtrack Awards were announced at the 31st Flanders International Film Festival in Bijloke, Ghent, on 9th October. Gabriel Yared received two of the most prestigious awards: Soundtrack Composer of the Year for Cold Mountain and Best Original Soundtrack of the Year forCold Mountain also. The latter movie was awarded with a third prize: Best Original Song Written for Film with the song ‘You will be my Ain True Love written by Sting and performed by Alison Krauss. The Public Choice Award went to John Williams for the Soundtrack of Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, while the Discovery of the Year was given to Santaollala Gustavo for 21 Grams. Sir George Martin gave a Lifetime Achievement Award that recognised the talent of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, while the Prize for the Best Young Belgian Composer was taken by Steven Prengels for the soundtrack he wrote for Le Réveil Tam-Tam a silent short.
In case you are still searching for an amusing CD to fill a Christmas stocking, can we remind you about the new 2-CD collection of music and dialogue from the "Carry On" films – Silva Screen SILCD1168. Jeff Hall mentions it in his ‘Film Music Bulletin’, but he covers so much ground in his column that you may have missed it! The ASV CD ‘The Carry On Album’ WHL 2119 has been a big seller, and we are pleased to give advance notice that a sequel by the same team is due to come out soon – "What A Carry On!" with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland on Vocalion Digital CDSA6810. All these CDs are available from the RFS Record Service, although the Vocalion CD may be an early 2005 release.
In the summer of 2003 John Wilson spent 12 days at EMI’s Abbey Road studios recreating the songs of Bobby Darin for a film musical on his life. The late singer is portrayed on screen by Kevin Spacey, who incredibly did all the vocals himself. Your Editor can remember John saying how impressed he was with the actor’s dedication to this project, and the end results are simply amazing. With the film about to be released, Spacey was interviewed by the London newspaper Observer in October, and it was good to see him acknowledge John Wilson’s important contribution to the project. Kevin Spacey said: "The most rewarding 12 days I have ever spent were in the Abbey Road studio with a 48-piece orchestra laying down all the tracks before we started shooting with Phil Ramone, my music producer, and John Wilson, my musical director. These genius guys completely understood how to capture the sound and spirit of Bobby."
Major Archive Release from Boosey & Hawkes
Boosey Media have just embarked upon a major project to place all of their 78s on CDs. The first phase involves the BH1900 series from the 1930s, and we will give full details in a special feature in our next issue. The CDs will be available through the RFS Record Service.