■ The Sidney Torch feature in the centre of this issue is thanks to Lew Williams, who has great admiration for Torch as a cinema organist before World War II. Lew also has plenty of admirers himself: as our member Robin King tells us, "Lew is a superb, very much respected musician. He is one of the world’s finest organists – both classical and theatre – equally well-known in UK organ circles as in the USA. He is resident organist at Organ Stop, Mesa, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) which has the world’s largest Wurlitzer housed in a public place … 5 manuals and 77 ranks. Awesome! There is more information (and some audio samples) at www.organstoppizza.com "
The March issue of The Gramophone included a full page article on Light Music by Andrew Lamb.Guild and Vocalion CDs were specifically mentioned.
A major light orchestral hardback biography is on its way, hopefully out in time for the centenary of Mantovani's birth on 15 November next. "Mantovani – A Lifetime In Music" tells of Mantovani's relentless quest for perfection in a musical career that lasted over 50 years. Written by Colin MacKenzie and to be published by Melrose Books, it follows the maestro's musical career in detail, from his early days as an aspiring classical musician, his dance band days of the 1930s, his activities as a musical director in the theatre and his successes in America and worldwide in the 1950s and up until his retirement in 1975. The author has had unique access to the Mantovani family, his record producers, arrangers, musicians and fans from various parts of the globe to provide a very detailed portrait of his life and times. It's the "full Monty", of interest to Mantovani fans everywhere, but also to anyone interested in light orchestral music and the history of popular music in the 20th century. More details as and when we have them.
Derek Boulton tells us an amusing story from Russia. In last September’s JIM we told you about the Russian singer Willi Tokarev, who is infatuated with the music of Robert Farnon. Willi lives in a block of flats in Moscow, which has been renovated from former army barracks. The old public address system is apparently still intact, and wired to all the flats. Each morning Willi wakes up his fellow residents to the strains of either Portrait of a Flirt or Westminster Waltz!
Paul Barnes is back on Saturday evenings. His radio show "Gold for Grown-Ups" from BBC Radio Norfolk (beamed to many BBC local stations in Eastern England) is no longer on Sundays (where it failed to reach its potential target audience) to Saturdays between 6.00pm and 9.00pm. Check the frequencies in Radio Times and tune in next week. Alternatively you can listen via the internet on the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk
Former BBC Radio-2 producer Anthony Wills now runs Golden Sounds Productions, but radio isn’t his only passion. He is also the Chairman of the National Piers Society, which publishes a fascinating magazine. If you’d like to know more, drop a line to the Membership Secretary: Phil Johnson, 26 Weatheroak Close, Webheath, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 5TF, England.
Allan Bula has previously reported on the Hastings Light Orchestra, and the latest news is that it will join the Waldron Light Orchestra to perform a joint open-air concert near Lucas Hall, Waldron, on Sunday July 10th from 3.00pm onwards. Waldron, an ancient village approx. three miles east of Uckfield, East Sussex, is in the Domesday Book as Waldrene (from ‘the forest house’) and acquired its modern spelling in 1336.
John Wilson conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on April 21st at London’s Royal Albert Hall before a capacity audience (reports Tony Clayden). The Classic FM Live concert included popular items by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Handel and Walton; the latter’s Spitfire Preldue and Fugue was given a particularly spirited performance. Two compositions by Saint-Saens were featured, the Carnival of the Animals and the finale of the Third Symphony, which showcased the recently rebuilt RAH organ. The programme concluded with Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with Julian Lloyd Webber as soloist. John has now done a lot with the RLPO, and the synergy between conductor and orchestra was most evident.
We are pleased to report that Ann Adams has been invited to play once again in a London park this summer. The venue is Kensington Gardens, on Sunday 31 July and as we go to press the concert is expected to start at 2.30 pm. If you plan to attend, you may care to ring Brian Reynolds beforehand (telephone number on inside front cover) to check that there have not been any last-minute changes.
Shelley Van Loen has just released a new CD – "In The Shade Of The Palms" - on her own PalmCourt Records label. Full details, plus a review, will appear in our next issue, but if you would like to order a copy before then you can telephone Shelley on 01869 351990.
Sound Copyright – the battle goes on! In April a New York Court of Appeal found in favour of Capitol in a dispute with Naxos. Initially this raised alarm bells since there seemed a prospect that record companies reissuing recordings over 50 years old could be prohibited from selling in the USA. However this appears to have been an over-reaction, and the suggestion has been made that Capitol’s win could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. It is alleged that the judgement only applies to record companies with an office in New York (such as Naxos of America). Another complication is that a query has arisen as to whether EMI could assign rights to its Capitol subsidiary in recordings that had already fallen out of the 50-year copyright in Britain, and were therefore in the public domain. Clearly there are going to have to be even more court cases in an attempt to clear up what is becoming a very messy situation. One speculates as to how any judgement in one country could prevent the world-wide trade in CDs that now exists via the internet. The best answer for the major record companies would seem to be to exploit their own catalogues by bringing out reissues themselves, competitively priced, so that there would be no point in independents such as Naxos trying to gain a share of the market.
Within ten days of the news of Robert Farnon’s passing, Sanctuary Living Era advised all their dealers of the CD "A Portrait of Farnon" originally released in February 2004.
BRAVO MARK STEYN!
For all the 49-odd years that our Society has existed, we have come to expect snide, derogatory comments about ‘our kind of music’ from musical snobs who wouldn’t recognise a tune if it jumped up and slapped them in the face. Give them atonal cacophony and they roll over with their legs in the air waiting to be tickled, just like the Editor’s black cat Mamba. But to admit to enjoying melody …?
Therefore it’s all the more pleasing when, occasionally, a columnist does have the courage to admit to liking something musical which gives pleasure to the majority. Even more surprising, is a columnist who takes his fellow writers on the same newspaper to task.
This is what Mark Steyn said in his Daily Telegraph column on 3 May:
"It's the little things in the paper that drive you nuts. I made the mistake of reading Thursday's obituary of Robert Farnon on a plane and the following sentence caused my mouthful of coffee to explode over the guy in front of me and set his hair plugs alight: ‘He also did some suitably syrupy arrangements for the crooners Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Vera Lynn.’
Good grief. There's nothing "syrupy" about Farnon's arrangements for Sinatra. If you listen to his work on Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain, the guitar coda on "Garden in the Rain" and the trumpet obligato on "If I Had You" are worth the price of admission alone.
I felt rather depressed at the thought that "syrupy" should be my paper's final judgment on the greatest Canadian orchestrator of popular music ever, especially when you consider that "Now is the Hour" (the "Maori farewell song") was co-written by Clement Scott, the Telegraph's drama critic from 1872 to 1899.
It remains the only song by a Telegraph journalist ever recorded by Sinatra, at least until the lost tapes of Frank Sinatra Sings the Boris Johnson Songbook are discovered.
So I dusted off the Great Songs From Great Britain CD and was reassured to find the Farnon arrangements as ravishing as I remembered them. The key line is from "Garden in the Rain": "a touch of colour 'neath skies of grey." That's what Farnon's orchestrations brought to even the dullest material, like "We'll Meet Again", whose stiff-upper-lip sexless stoicism Sinatra can't get his head around at all.
We'll be hearing "We'll Meet Again" rather a lot this VE anniversary week. Looking back at that Sinatra/Farnon album, you're struck by how - in 1962 - so many of the numbers they chose are wartime songs, either from the Second War - "We'll Gather Lilacs" - or the First - "Roses of Picardy".
One of the reasons why it's effortlessly easy to "commemorate" the Second World War is that popular culture had signed up for the duration. It was the war that brought Robert Farnon to Britain, to lead the Allied Expeditionary Force's Canadian band, as Glenn Miller and George Melachrino led the American and British bands."
Bravo, Mark Steyn! We need more writers like you to bring some commonsense to the blinkered musical establishment.
■ 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.
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!
■ Earlier this year we received an e-mail from Mark Sobolev, who introduced himself as a nephew of Monia Liter. He has a fascinating story to tell about the family, especially the period in Shanghai and Russia during the early years of the last century – we hope that his reminiscences can form the basis for a future article about Monia. Mark now lives in Israel, where he is a cellist with the Ashod Chamber Orchestra. Sadly the political situation in the Soviet Union prevented him from ever meeting his famous uncle, although more recently he has performed in London.
■ That great Ray Conniff fan, Manfred Thönicke, published the final printed edition of ‘S Conniff in May. Increasing personal commitments had finally forced Manfred to accept that the work in producing the magazine was becoming too onerous, so Ray’s fans in future will have to rely upon information in several web sites on the internet dedicated to his music. His magazines (which he started in 1981) were always of a high standard, and we are sure that Manfred will continue his appreciation of Ray, using the latest technology now available. We wish him well in his future endeavours.
■ British members may like to know that there is a club devoted to the BBC Concert Orchestra. Since this is the only major BBC orchestra that still performs Light Music, it deserves the support of all of us. For membership details write to: BBC Concert Orchestra Club, PO Box 213, Baldock, SG7 6ZP.
■ Frank Comstock was 18 years only when he joined Benny Carter’s Band, and sat next to J.J. Johnson. Also in the line-up at that time were Gerald Wilson and Snooky Young. Just recently there has been renewed interest in the "Tangence" CD that JJ and Bob made together – resulting in the Grammy for the best orchestral arrangement of xxxx.
■ According to some recent research by RFS member Alan Keeling, two Robert Farnon LPs ("From the Highlands" and "From the Emerald Isle") were used during ITA trade test transmissions in 1960/61. Both these fine LPs are now available on one Vocalion CD – CDLK4100.
■ Alexander Schatte tells us the the correct spelling of the composer of Little Jumping Jack (on Guild GLCD5114) is Ralph Maria Siegel (1911-1971). He wrote this piece (original title Kleiner Hampelmann) in 1941 for the female singer Ilse Werner, and also wrote the lyrics for this popular tune.
■ Brian Henson reports that Nigel Ogden remember Bob Farnon in his BBC Radio-2 programme "The Organist Entertains" on 17 May. Nigel played Journey Into Melody (performed by John Giacchi),How Beautiful is Night (William Davies) and Jumping Bean (Jim Riggs).
■ The next concert by James Beyer and The Edinburgh Light Orchestra will be on 12 November. For more details contact James at 4 St. John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT.
■ Allan Bula attended the concert on 10 July by The Waldron Light Orchrestra conducted by Herbie Flowers as previewed recently in JIM. The programme included Puffin’ Billy (Edward White)and Jumping Bean – as a tribute to Robert Farnon.
The Memorial Service for Robert Farnon was held on Sunday 24 July at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, attended by many RFS members and celebrities who knew and worked with Bob during his long career. A full report will appear in our next issue. A recording of the proceedings will also be made available to RFS members.
As mentioned in the Editorial, British readers should keep an eye on the television schedules for BBC Four this autumn. Light Music will be featured in at least two programmes – one of them a broadcast of "Friday Night is Music Night" recorded at the Mermaid Theatre on 5 August. John Wilsonconducted the BBC Concert Orchestra in a superb selection of British Light Music – radio listeners to BBC Radio-2 will have heard the entire concert ‘live’, and TV viewers will probably be treated to the highlights in a one-hour show. Also coming up is a special feature about Light Music in the years following World War 2. Andy King-Dabbs is producing what promises to be a fascinating selection of reminiscences, including interviews with Ernest Tomlinson and Trevor Duncan. RFS Secretary David Ades has been helping out with some archive material, and it is possible that Robert Farnonwill be featured in a recording session with George Shearing at the CTS Studios. This comes from RFS Archives, and it is hoped that the necessary permission can be obtained for it to be screened. In our next issue we should be able to give you further information. Although BBC Four is currently only available on digital TV to around 55% of the UK population, the good news is that its programmes are often repeated, so you may be able to watch it more than once!
Be sure to scrutinise Radio 4's schedules for November and December. Producer Jolyon Jenkins is readying an hour long Mantovani programme, tentatively called "The Mantovani Sound" which will probably got out on a Saturday evening around 8 o'clock. These arrangements are, however, subject to change. More news as and when it is available.
Apologies to Miss Poulton!
In Jim Palm’s article "In The Beginning" (JIM 164, page 52) near the foot of column 2 his music teacher’s title is missing (no doubt ‘lost’ in the transfers between computers!). So ‘Poulton’ should read ‘Miss Poulton’. Jim also noticed that the Steel Foundry piece he mentioned was used recently in BBC-1’s "Picture of Britain" series.
Wilfred Askew has noticed a mistake in the date of birth given for Billy Vaughn in the notes for the Guild CD "Travellin’ Light". Billy was born on 12 April 1919, not 1931 as stated in error elsewhere. He died at the age of 72 on 26 September 1991.
A batch of CD releases this summer from Vocalion includes:
CDLK4271 Werner Muller On Broadway / Hawaiian Swing
CDLK4282 Maurice Larcange Paris for Lovers / Avec Moi a Paris
CDLK4299 Ronnie Aldrich All-Time Piano Hits / Melody and Percussion
CDLK4308 George Evans and his Symphony of Saxes Greatest for Dancing – Volumes 1 & 2
CDSA6813 Lance Ellington with John Wilson and his Orchestra Lessons in Love
More details of these, and other new releases from Vocalion, will appear in our next issue.
Our friends in other societies and publications have been generous in their praise of Robert Farnon’s great musical achievements. The Summer Newsletter of The Light Music Society paid a very nice tribute to Bob, and used the photograph from our March issue on their cover. Crescendoalso had a colour photo of Bob on the cover of their June/July issue – the one which was featured on the front page of last December’s JIM. The Cinema Organ Society also praised Bob, describing him as ‘often imitated though seldom equalled’.
RECENT BRITISH DOCUMENTARY FILMS NOW ON DVD
Ray Clark has sent us details of several new releases which will certainly interest members who enjoy vintage documentary films, and the mood music that usually accompanies them. Pride of place must go to a new collection from the British Film Institute called "On and Off The Rails"(BFIVD590). This first volume, on 2 CDs, runs for over 260 minutes, and includes an interesting selection of 14 British Transport Films, with classic titles such as Blue Pullman (music by Clifton Parker), Elizabethan Express, Snowdrift at Bleath Gill and John Betjeman Goes By Train. The dates range from 1951 to 1980, and five films are in colour. The official price is around £20 but you may find it cheaper on the internet.
For an interesting catalogue of vintage films of many types, you may like to contact Panamint Cinema, Abercorn Schoolhouse, Newton, West Lothian, EH52 6PZ, Scotland (telephone 01506 834936, www.panamint.co.uk). "Roundabout – Volume 1" (PDC2015) features a collection of short ‘Cinemagazines’ from 1962-1974 made by Associated British Pathe for the Central Office of Information. These colour shorts have not previously been seen in Britain, because they were made specifically for showing in Australia and South East Asia. The running time is a bit mean at 56 minutes, considering the £20 price tag, but these are very rare films.
■ The North American premiere of Robert Farnon’s Symphony No. 3 is scheduled to take place appropriately in Robert Farnon's homeland, Canada. William Eddins will conduct the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on Sunday 20 November 2005. The concert at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music commences at 2.00pm. As we go to press we understand that the concert will be recorded and subsequently broadcast on CBC Radio in Canada. It should be available worldwide via the internet. Our Canadian representative says that the broadcast is unlikely to happen before December, and he will let us have further details when known. This information will appear in the ‘Latest News’ section of our website.
■ In his September Newsletter to friends of the Edinburgh Light Orchestra, James Beyer included a long and thoughtful appreciation of the premiere of Robert Farnon’s Symphony No. 3 in Edinburgh last May. James also reported on the Memorial Service in London on 24 July, when he spoke eloquently of the way in which Bob’s music was enjoyed by amateur musicians. As we have observed on previous occasions, the good people of Edinburgh are indeed fortunate to have such a dedicated champion of Light Music in their midst. Hopefully many of them will have attended the ELO’s recent concert on Saturday 12 November at the Queen’s Hall. For regular information on the orchestra’s concerts, you should contact James Beyer at 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT.
■ The Robert Farnon Memorial Concert was also well covered in the August /September issue of Crescendo & Jazz Music. Musician Duncan Lamont wrote about the time he had declined a Bob Farnon session, because he felt that a lack of recent experience meant that he might have let Bob down. He talked about "a kind of spirituality about Bob’s recording sessions and he never had to raise his voice. Bob was an extremely kind and thoughtful man but he was, I imagine, extremely complex and that’s where his music comes into its own. Otherwise, it would be just lovely, instead of wonderful". In the same issue Brian Gladwell reported at length about the service itself, and what each of the speakers had said. He concluded: "I never met Robert Farnon, nor had I occasion to speak to him on the phone, but after thus wonderfully uplifting service I felt I knew him".
■ Derek Boulton received a friendly message from Vincent Falcone soon after he learned of Bob’s passing. Vinnie wrote: "Thanks for sending me the picture and memorial booklets. I’m so sorry that I could not see him one more time before his passing. He meant a great deal to me."
■ The September issue of the BBC Music Magazine included an article by Brian Kay called "Let There be Light Music". Brian tied his article in with the BBC Four documentary "Music for Everybody", which he narrated, and covered the Light music scene of around 50 years ago, leading up to today’s revival of interest. He concluded: "…there is more Light Music available today on commercial recordings than there ever was during the supposed ‘golden age’, and this clearly indicates a thirst for it among the record-buying public. Younger listeners are tuning in; where older ones turned away and sought pastures new, they are returning and with the help of those adventurous record companies, and always, hopefully, the BBC, light music at its brightest and best will surely survive well into the 21stcentury".
■ The motto of the Order of Canada is "DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM" - they Desire a Better Country. Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson has announced That Diana Krall has been named Officer of the Order of Canada. She comes from Nanaimo, British Columbia, is one of Canada's most famous musicians. Back in 1997, Diana Krall performed at the special Ottawa concerts in honour of Robert Farnon’s 80th birthday year. Diana joins a growing list of Canada's jazz elite who have been given this country's highest cilvilian honour. The list includes Peter Appleyard (a member of the RFS), Tommy Banks, Guido Basso, Ed Bickert, Charlie Biddle, Jane Bunnett, Terry Clarke, Oliver Jones, Moe Koffman, Fraser MacPherson, Rob McConnell, Phil Nimmons, Oscar Peterson, Doug Riley and Rick Wilkins.
■ On the same evening that BBC Four was showing two memorable programmes about Light Music, at least two excellent concerts were offering the same fare to live audiences. Malcolm Frazer told us about the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth at the Fairfield Concert Hall, Croydon. The concert included Warsaw Concerto (Richard Addinsell), Barwick Geen (Arthur Wood), Westminster Waltz (Robert Farnon), Cornish Rhapsody (Hubert Bath), Devil’s Galop & Rhythm on Rails (Charles Williams), Coronation Scot (Vivian Ellis) plus no less than four works by Eric Coates plus pieces by Malcolm Arnold, Frederick Delius and Benjamin Britten.
■ More light music could be heard at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster on Wednesday 24 August, where a large audience heard Dam Busters (Eric Coates), Belle of the Ball (Leroy Anderson), and aTribute to Robert Farnon (arr. Duthoit) alongside show tunes and ballet music. The conductor of the Merton Concert Band was Martin Bruce, but RFS member Brian Reynolds was persuaded to take the stand to conduct his own Tarantella.
■ There is a special website on the internet where relatives and friends are invited to include their own special messages is remembrance of loved ones who have departed. The site is called ‘Relatives Remembered’ and Robert Farnon is included. You can visit this site at www.relrem.com
■ RFS member David Barton is willing to assist any fellow members wanting information on the existence of sheet music and/or music scores of any genres of music. He has extensive contacts at most publishers, and is experienced in assisting people searching for particular works. You can write to David Barton at: 72 Courtfield Road, Quedgeley, Gloucester, GL2 4UG, ENGLAND; e-mail This helpful service has been mentioned in previous issues of our magazine. David has specially asked us to request that any members sending in handwritten enquiries about sheet music should write clearly. He has recently received several requests that have been almost illegible, requiring additional correspondence to ascertain exactly what is required. If you have a typewriter (or better still a computer) please use it … it makes things so much easier!
■ A number of members have written to express their sadness that other commitments prevented them from attending the Memorial Service to Robert Farnon on 24 July. Typical was a letter from Reg Arthur: "I was lucky to have known Robert Farnon over the years through my association with the BBC in London, where it was my privilege to serve the Radio Orchestra as librarian which splendidly interpreted Bob’s orchestrations on so many memorable occasions over the years. Unfortunately Bob’s visits to the BBC in London were restricted for contractual reasons due to his residence in Guernsey, so the ‘buzz word’ among musicians went around – Bob’s coming over! "
■ During his speech at the Memorial Service, Iain Sutherland said that he was busily trying to raise the necessary funds to cover the expense of making a commercial recording of Robert Farnon’s Symphony No. 3. After the service, Iain was approached by a member of our Society who generously pledged £2000 towards the recording costs. There is no news at present of a likely recording, but this illustrates the extent to which some music lovers are prepared to go to perpetuate the memory of Robert Farnon.
■ Tony Foster has advised us that the July 2005 edition of the Elgar Society newsletter includes an interview with Mike Dutton, in which he talks about his early days in the record business, and what prompted him to set up his own highly praised company Dutton Laboratories.
■ There are two Robert Farnon tracks on a new 2-CD release called "Café London" CAF800153 –Flirtation Walk and Yes We Have No Bananas. Other light orchestras among the 50 tracks include Ron Goodwin (Jet Journey & Skiffling Strings), Stanley Black (Falling in Love with Love & From Here to Eternity), Mantovani (Charmaine & Dancing with Tears in my Eyes), Cyril Stapleton (For Always, Carnavalito & Meet Mr Callaghan), Frank Chacksfield (Limelight & Ebb Tide), and George Melachrino(Cole Porter Fantasy). Vocalists include the ‘usual suspects’ – George Formby, Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields. But mainly it seems to be an instrumental collection, with the likes of Kenny Baker, Joe Loss, Winifred Atwell and Eddie Calvert.
■ The latest issue of The Light Music Society Newsletter (Autumn 2005) carries a forthright message from the Chairman, Ernest Tomlinson, making the case for pressure to be placed on the BBC to increase the amount of air time it allocates to Light Music on the radio. There is also the story of the man who composed the famous ITN signature tune Non Stop. The pseudonym ‘John Malcolm’hides the true identity of John Batt, a successful lawyer. Other features include listings of forthcoming concerts, and news of music played on radio and television. We know that some RFS members wonder if our two societies duplicate the same kind of material in their magazines, but this is rarely the case. Anyone who wants to be kept fully informed of all that is going on in the wide world of Light Music owes it to themselves to belong to both societies!
■ The anagram of "Vivian Ellis’s Coronation Scot" is: Violins in octaves; train's cool. It’s amazing what you find on the internet!
New Mantovani Biography
Mantovani - A Lifetime in Music by Colin MacKenzie has just been published by MelroseBooks (Book Sales), St Thomas Place, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4GG (tel +44 (0) 1353 646608) on the occasion of the centenary of Mantovani's birth on 15th November 1905.
Their e-mail address is and their website is
www.,melrosebooks.com. This is a 352 page deluxe hardback, telling the full
story of Mantovani's remarkable musical career plus much else besides. There
are about 80 photographs integrated into the text, many of which have not
been previously seen. The book can be ordered direct from Melrose at £18.99
or US $29.99. The UK postage rate is £2 per book, plus £1 for each additional
copy, Europe is £3 (or $6), USA £4 (or $8) per book, plus $2 for each
additional copy. The ISBN No. is 1 905226 19 5. The book should also be
available online and at UK retail outlets.
The Christmas releases from Mike Dutton’s Vocalion label offer some great ideas for presents (to oneself?). Full track-listing details were not available as we went to press, but the following list will give you a good idea of what’s on offer:
CDLK4300 Franck Pourcel Thinking of You / The Importance of your Love
CDLK4302 Ron Goodwin In Concert / Plays Burt Bacharach
CDLK4306 Pepe Jaramillo Moonlight in Mexico / Meets Manuel
CDLK4309 Ted Heath Salutes Tommy Dorsey & Benny Goodman
CDLK4310 Edmundo Ros Ros Remembers
CDLK4312 Ted Heath Decca Singles and Rarities – Volume 3
CDLK4316 Ronnie Aldrich Where The Sun Is / For Young Lovers
CDLK4317 Mantovani All American Showcase
CDLK4319 Kenneth McKellar The Tartan / Scottish Saturday Night
CDLK4320 Mantovani Evening with Mantovani / More Mantovani Magic
CDLK4322 Frank Chacksfield Film Festival (this includes Robert Farnon’s ‘Irena’ from "Shalako") / King of Kings
CDLK4323 Stanley Black Blockbusters from Broadway / Broadway Spectacular
CDEA6110 Geraldo Parlophone compilation
CDVS1945 Harry James Trumpet Time
Sheet Music of Robert Farnon’s compositions
The Secretary is receiving an increasing number of requests for sheet music of Light Music compositions by Robert Farnon and other composers. This is sometimes required for concert performances, or simply to play on the piano at home. Kindly note that the RFS does not supply sheet music.
Many publishers now contract out their music libraries to specialist companies, so it is often difficult to know who to approach. In the case of Robert Farnon, the following addresses may be helpful:
Caroline Underwood, Warner Chappell Music Group Ltd., The Warner Building, 28 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4EP – telephone 0207 938 0000; fax 0207 368 2777.
This is the Music Vault, Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, London, W6 8BS – telephone 0208 222 9210 (ask for Vicky in Archives).
Concord Music Hire Library, 5 Bushley Close, Old Barn Lane, Kenley, Surrey, CR8 5AU – telephone 0208 660 4766; fax 0208 668 5273.
The Light Music Society Library, Lancaster Farm, Chipping Lane, Longridge, Preston, PR3 2NB – telephone 01772 783646; fax 01772 786026.
Naturally all these organisations will make a charge for hiring out music.FS member David Barton is willing to assist any fellow members wanting information on the existence of sheet music and/or music scores of any genres of music. He has extensive contacts at most publishers, and is experienced in assisting people searching for particular works. You can write to David Barton at: 72 Courtfield Road, Quedgeley, Gloucester, GL2 4UG, ENGLAND; e-mail If sending in a request in handwriting, please ensure that your requirements are written clearly.