THE LATEST TONY BENNETT CHRISTMAS ALBUM

News of the latest repackaged reissue of Tony Bennett Christmas Music did not reach us until the end of November, which was far too late to catch our December issue. This was a pity, because it is an attractive collection, which features some fine tracks that Tony recorded with Robert Farnon.

The following numbers come from that great "Snowfall" LP, first released in 1968: My Favourite Things; The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire); I Love The Winter Weather/I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm; Winter Wonderland; White Christmas

There are also some arrangements that Robert Farnon did for Tony’s Hallmark CD that appeared in 2002. This time the London Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Don Jackson, and a choir was added to Bob’s scores – not entirely to his liking: Deck The Halls; O Little Town of Bethlehem; O Come All Ye Faithful; Silent Night.

Other tracks feature Tony singing arrangements by Bill Holman, Torrie Zito, Jorge Calandrelli, Lee Musiker and a previously unreleased What Child Is This (Greensleeves) arranged by Marion Evans.

The catalogue number is RPM Recordings / Columbia / Legacy 88697 955762. You might like to order a copy now to save for next Christmas, but maybe yet another Tony Bennett collection of reissues may come along later this year?!

It seems that Tony Bennett is never out of the news, and last September he received a lot of publicity for the release of "Tony Bennett: The Complete Collection", issued to commemorate his 85th birthday. It comprises 73 CDs and could cost you around £260 in the UK if you shop wisely! Undoubtedly good value at £3.56 a disc, provided that it doesn’t duplicate too much of your existing collection. The bonus, of course, is the inclusion of everything he has done with Robert Farnon, some of it previously unobtainable on CD. 

THE BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA CELEBRATES ITS 60TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2012

BBC Radio 2 is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the famous BBC Concert Orchestra with an 11-part series of "Friday Night Is Music Night". From Friday 20 January until late in March, Ken Bruce is hosting a well-deserved tribute to one of the most famous radio orchestras in the world, broadcast on Radio 2 at 8:00pm.. Hailed as "a worthy instrument" presenting a "brilliant new era of entertainment music", they made their first broadcast on 11 September 1952. But their story began 20 years before, when they were known as the BBC Theatre Orchestra (conductor Leslie Woodgate), whose main role was to provide incidental music for radio plays, but who also gave light music and opera concerts. In 1949 for a few years they were renamed the BBC Opera Orchestra, conducted by Stanford Robinson. The series of eleven programmes features a different archive show each week, with performances from light music giants Sidney Torch, Vilem Tausky, Robert Farnon, Eric Coates and others. There are also performances with famous singers and soloists who have appeared with the orchestra, and interviews with players and conductors. Today the BBC Concert Orchestra is widely praised for its regular broadcasts on radio (both Radio 2 and Radio 3), its appearances at prestigious events such as the BBC Promenade Concerts, and its continually growing number of superb compact discs. 

Once again Edinburgh’s music lovers will soon be treated to some of the finest light music, courtesy of RFS member James Beyer, conductor of the Edinburgh Light Orchestra. The next Concert will be on Saturday 26th May 2012 at the usual venue - The Queen's Hall, commencing at 7:30. The booking office opens on 26 March – Queen’s Hall booking hotline 0131 668 2019; bookings direct from Edinburgh Light Orchestra 0131 334 3140. Ticket prices range from £9.50 to only £6.00 – an absolute bargain these days! More on the orchestra’s website: www.edinburghlight orchestra.moonfruit.com. Guest soloist will be the Baritone Bruce Graham who is an old friend of James. Bruce was born and educated in Edinburgh and played in many local amateur productions before beginning his professional career in 1978. He joined the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company with whom he played many of the Gilbert and Sullivan character roles. Since his spell with the D’Oyly Carte, Bruce has appeared in a number of shows in London’s West End, such as ‘Me and My Girl’ and ‘Cats’. Other aspects of Bruce’s work have ranged from film and television to Old Time Music Hall and pantomime; and he has appeared all over the world as a principal with the Carl Rosa Opera Company. 

Tony Bennett was interviewed by Aidin Vaziri for the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday 11 December 2011. We repeat below one of the questions, and Tony’s reply:

Q: Barring the present moment, do you have a favorite Tony Bennett era?

A: Wow, that is a tough question. I loved the time I lived in London in the '70s, as I got to work with the master Robert Farnon.

Our thanks to Forrest Patten for sending this to JIM.

Colin Berry did Light Music fans proud on his BBC Three Counties Radio shows over the Christmas period. He made good use of the Guild ‘Christmas Celebration’ CD. On Christmas Eve his listeners heard Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (Boston Pops), It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (Billy Vaughn), Christmas Alphabet (George Melachrino) and Nazareth (Mantovani). For his Christmas Day show Colin selected Christmas Sleigh Bells (Angela Morley) and Sleigh Ride (Boston Pops). 

Last Christmas we didn’t get another TV show from the John Wilson Orchestra like "Swingin’ Christmas" in 2010, but we did enjoy a repeat of the "Hooray for Hollywood" Prom and a semi-documentary about great Hollywood dancers that included some fascinating glimpses of John recording the music in the famous Studio 2 at Abbey Road. The subject of the 90-minute programme (first shown on BBC 2, then repeated a few days later on BBC Four immediately before John’s Prom) was the famous ballerina Darcey Bussell who stepped into the shoes of her Hollywood heroes to celebrate the enduring legacy of classic dance musicals. To quote from the BBC’s own publicity: "In the age of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Streetdance 3D’, Darcey, one of Britain's greatest living dancers and Hollywood musical superfan, discovers that the key to understanding where this dance-mad culture comes from lies in classic movie musicals. She takes famous dance routines from her favourite Hollywood musicals and reveals how they cast their spell, paying tribute to the legends of the art form and discovering the legacy they left. Darcey pays homage to Fred Astaire in an interpretation of Puttin' on the Ritz; plays Ginger Rogers in a rendition of Cheek to Cheek; pays tribute to the exuberant Good Morning from ‘Singin' in the Rain’; and stars in a new routine inspired by Girl Hunt Ballet from ‘The Band Wagon’. Darcey works with leading choreographer Kim Gavin and expert conductor John Wilson, who has painstakingly reconstructed the original scores, as she discovers how dance in the movies reached a pinnacle of perfection and reveals how the legacy of the golden age lives on."

Readers with internet access will know that there are many interesting sites out there at the click of a mouse. Nigel Burlinson has recently discovered that the 1945 film "I Live In Grosvenor Square" is available to watch at http://goo.gl/cnhhu. (Alternatively just visit YouTube and type in the title of the film). This was the film that featured Robert Farnon and the Canadian Band of the AEF, and it could be said to have firmly launched his working partnership with Anna Neagle and Herbert Wilcox. Only a few years later this produced "Spring In Park Lane", one of the most successful British movies of the last century.

Submit to Facebook

If you haven’t done so already, do make a point of visiting our President’s new websitewww.davidfarnon.com (there is a direct link from the home page of our own site). Before you do anything else, click on ‘Credits’ at the top of the page. You will be amazed at the number of times David’s music has been used all over the world. He now devotes himself exclusively to composition, and one of his latest projects is an Operatic Love Duet, for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra.

During the compilation of Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ CDs, David Ades and Alan Bunting take great care in trying to identify the composers and – where possible – the arrangers. Often emails go back and forth before decisions are finally made, and a recent message from Alan to David illustrates the problems they encounter! "While preparing the updated Composer listings I noticed that we had a discrepancy regarding the composer of Spanish Gypsy Dance. We have him as Mariano Marquina and Pasqual Marquina. After some thorough checking I discovered, much to my surprise, that his correct name is Pascual Marquina Narro. While I think we can regard Pascual and Pasqual as more or less the same thing, I had always believed his surname was Marquina as indeed it is on all the record labels I have seen. But Wikepedia and numerous scans of sheet music on the WEB clearly say Narro is his last name. However, ASCAP lists him as Pascual Narro Marquina and I found one entry which says the piece is ‘composed by Pascual Marquina Narro as Pascual Narro-Marquina’! No wonder getting things right is so difficult - if anyone asks me who wrote it I shall continue to answer simply ‘Marquina’!" Another problem that Alan didn’t mention is that it is not unusual for names of composers to be omitted entirely on American records. An added complication is variations in spelling. Titles with Gypsy can also appear as Gipsy, but that’s another matter!

André Leon has commissioned David Ades to provide 24 one-hour programmes for UK LightRadio. Twelve will feature recordings from "The Golden Age of Light Music" using the Guild CDs. The other twelve are in a series called "Journey Into Melody" which covers light music from many different sources. As we go to press, two of the "Journey Into Melody" programmes have already been broadcast on Radio Six International on Sunday afternoons. Other ‘friends of the RFS’ who have also been heard at this time (in syndicated UK Light Radio productions) include Brian Kay, Philip Farlow and Brian Reynolds. Radio Six International is available world-wide via the internet. Its programmes are also taken by numerous small local stations in the UK, USA and even New Zealand.

Andrew Lamb has recently published a bicentenary biography of William Vincent Wallace (1812-65), world traveller, virtuoso pianist and violinist, and composer of the once highly popular British operasMaritana and Lurline. The 237 pages of "William Vincent Wallace – Composer, Virtuoso and Adventurer" include 30 illustrations, and this paperback volume is available from usual retailers for £30. [ISBN 978 0 9524149 7 1]. It can also be purchased for £20 post-free (UK) direct from the author at 1 Squirrel Wood, West Byfleet, KT14 6PE, United Kingdom Tel. (+44) (0)1932 342566. e-mail: Your sterling cheque should be payable to ‘Andrew Lamb’. This is just the latest in an impressive list of titles from the same author, which include biographies on Henry Russell, Harry Fragson, Leslie Stuart and the Offenbach Family.

The Winter 2012 edition of "Freedom Today", the quarterly magazine of The Freedom Association, included an edited version of Alan Bunting’s article on Sound Copyright, which was published inJournal Into Melody last December. "Freedom Today" circulates among the major ‘shakers and movers’ in the British establishment, and it is to be hoped that the JIM article will alert them to the downside of the European Union’s directive. It is probably too late to expect a change of heart, although the proposals do not become legally binding until all EU states have ratified them; at the time of writing this has not yet happened.

There will be a swinging evening of jazz with the Nicola Farnon Trio on Wednesday 11 July at St Marys Church, Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, London NW3 3DJ. Featuring Nicola on piano and double bass, Piero Tucci on piano & teno sax and Phil Johnson on drums. This is a rare chance to hear Nicola (Robert Farnon's niece) in London. Tickets are £5 (£4 concessions) and can be obtained by email on , by ringing Celyn on 020 722 3238 or at the door on the night. Licensed bar.

It seems that Tony Bennett still has an endless supply of energy, for which his countless fans are eternally grateful. This year he is undertaking what would be a punishing schedule of performances for any singer, let alone one in his eighties. After tours in Australia and Europe he will be at several prestigious venues in the UK this summer, notably Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 24 June; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow – 25 June; Liverpool Empire – 27 June; the Royal Albert Hall in London on 30 June and 1 July; and the Palace Theatre, Manchester, on 3 July. Thanks to Mark Fox for keeping us informed.

André Leon missed our May London meeting this year, because he flew back to his original home in Johannesburg on 26 April. He writes: "During the time away I'll be celebrating my 50th Year in Broadcasting. It was in 1962 that the Natal Mercury in Durban wrote a half-page column In The Mood for Mood Music. ‘The Idler’ wrote the article about my unusual hobby of collecting signature tunes! (Now 50 years on I'm letting them know what's happened in-between!). The article led to an offer from a radio production Company, Herrick Merrill Radio Productions. They made programmes for SABC's National Commercial Service.... ‘Springbok Radio’. A year later I joined LM Radio, then on to the SABC in Johannesburg. I came to England in 1969 and found that the BBC was not exactly waiting for me!! But I've managed to make a few useful contributions since, and found good luck at Invicta Radio, Capital and later Classic fM! A few years at Decca Records, Carlin Music and Boosey & Hawkes and the rest (in a nutshell) is History! How nice, also to be involved with the Robert Farnon Society. And hopefully a future place will be found also for.... UKLightRadio! Where I'll be concentrating in early July to make more programmes. Next schedules via Radio Six International is now planned for August (Autumn season)." André Leon returns to London on 21 June.

We are sorry to learn that two more long-established music appreciation societies have recently closed down. The Dick Haymes and Glenn Miller societies have joined a growing list, indicating that younger music lovers are now seemingly unaware of the great musical heritage that is in danger of being neglected in future. Happily there are exceptions, and our friends in the Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby societies are still going strong. It is particularly sad that the Glenn Miller Society has closed down, because the Robert Farnon (Appreciation) Society had strong links with them back in the 1950s, through people like the late Geoffrey Butcher who was a walking encyclopaedia on Miller’s music.

Submit to Facebook

John Wilson’s latest CD for EMI is due to be released on 1 October. It features music from the film versions of five of their top shows, originally produced on Broadway. For more details please see page 54 of this issue. The John Wilson Orchestra will take the new Rodgers & Hammerstein album on tour in the autumn and will play the following dates in Britain: 

October 20 Birmingham Symphony Hall 
October 22 Leeds Town Hall 
October 23 Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Hall 
October 24 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 
October 25 Gateshead The Sage 
October 26 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall 
October 27 Brighton Dome 
October 29 London Royal Festival Hall 
October 30 London Royal Festival Hall 
November 1 Cardiff St David’s Hall 
November 5 Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Our friends in the Light Music Society regularly hold a series of events over a weekend in late summer, including a concert where its members form an orchestra under conductor Gavin Sutherland, who also happens to be the LMS Chairman! This year they have moved the event from its usual Lancashire venue down to Cambridge, over the weekend 22-23 September. On the Saturday LMS members will be participating in an Orchestral Play-Day which commences at 9:30am and continues until 5:00pm. The orchestra will be led by Shelley van Loen. Members will then have a short break before Dinner at the Royal Cambridge Hotel. (These events are subject to advance booking). On Sunday there will be an afternoon Concert by the Cambridge Concert Orchestra at 3:00pm where everyone is invited to attend.

Our RFS member, Ron Hare, has written and prepared an excellent background piece on fellow RFS member Frank Comstock. It appears on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Comstock (or simply search Google for ‘Frank Comstock’. Forrest Patten’s interview with Frank that originally appeared in JIM is also available on the Robert Farnon Society website.

Around two years ago David Ades was asked to assist the Imperial War Museum in recreating the original music that Rosie Newman chose to accompany her film shows, especially during and immediately following the Second World War. Alan Bunting also assisted by digitally remastering the original discs that were rediscovered in recent years, and the results appeared towards the end of last year in the DVD "Rosie Newman’s Britain At War in Colour" issued by Strike Force Entertainment in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum. The Federation Of Commercial Audio Visual Libraries (FOCAL) staged its 2012 International Awards in London on 2 May, and the Rosie Newman DVD won the Award for ‘Best Use of Footage in a Home Entertainment Release’. The DVD contains some amazing colour sequences from an era normally only shown in black and white. The film can be viewed as originally presented by Rosie Newman with the music soundtrack. It can also be seen with the music plus a commentary taken from Rosie’s writings. As a bonus feature there is a short documentary explaining how the DVD was prepared, including the restoration of the music soundtrack.

Serge Elhaik contacts us from France to tell us that he is enjoying his retirement, and putting it to good use! He writes: "I have finished for Marianne Melodie a CD of Paul Mauriat with 5 rare instrumentals of the 50s and the early 60s, together with 19 songs backed by Paul for various singers. Some are very popular singers, others are more obscure, and that is a collection which will please, I hope, the keen followers of Paul." Serge also hopes that he can devote more time to adding to his impressive list of books: he is currently thinking about a new project about French popular music.

The Edinburgh Light Orchestra, under its conductor James Beyer, is currently enjoying its 35thAnniversary Year, and its Spring concert on Saturday 26 May was a great success. Their next concert is on Saturday 3 November – as usual at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh commencing at 7:30, when the soloist with the orchestra will be the soprano Elizabeth McKeon. Programme details were not available as we went to press, but these are probably on the orchestra’s website by now -www.edinburghlightorchestra.moonfruit.com RFS members are also welcome to contact James Beyer direct at  or by telephone – 0131 334 3140.

RFS member – and distinguished light music composer - Paul Lewis is now well advanced with work on From Armchair Theatre to "Woof!" by Way of Benny Hill - Memoirs of a Media Composer, an autobiography for Kaleidoscope Publishing. This is an anecdotal account of Paul's life, from childhood as the son of a half-Russian violinist mother, one of a generation of professional musicians, through teenage years avoiding Music College by working for music publishers (including Paxtons in Dean Street, Soho), his time as Assistant Musical Adviser to ABC TV at Teddington Studios and his subsequent freelance composing career. The book will be profusely illustrated and will include a CD of extracts from some of Paul's earliest Armchair Theatre scores and the first TV production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 1967. More recently Paul enchanted children and their parents alike with his superb musical accompaniments for the ITV series Woof! which was so popular in the 1990s, and has been seen in many countries around the world. Each show (about the boy who could become a dog - and then a boy again!) had its own specially composed music score, played by musicians such as Tommy Reilly - something that would seem unimaginable for a children's drama series today. Publication of Paul's autobiography is scheduled for Spring 2013 to coincide with his 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his first TV credit. Other commitments permitting, Paul is hoping to renew friendships with fellow RFS members at our London meeting next May.

Joe DePaola contacted us from Texas to report that his local classical radio station WRR101 played two tracks from Robert Farnon’s Reference Recordings CD in June: A La Claire Fontaine and A Promise of Spring. It is a pity that these performances by Bob conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra are not heard more often.

Our committee member Brian Reynolds tends to hide his light under a bushel! From time to time he had mentioned that he has composed the ‘odd piece of music’, and we knew that Frank Chacksfield had included one of Brian’s works Souvenir de Montmartre occasionally in his BBC radio programmes. Just recently Brian confided in us that he had been surprised (and no doubt delighted) to discover that Frank had included this piece on one of his Decca LPs in the late 1960s. A recent letter to the Editor reveals that Brian’s composing activities have been far more extensive than he has previously revealed! He writes: "You may be interested to know that the Invicta Concert Band from Kent has approached me with an offer to make a complete CD of my compositions! The idea came from the band musicians (some of whom are RFS members) and has been approved by both the conductor and the Band Chairman. It's early days yet, but I hope it will come to fruition in the next few months. As the band ask me to conduct something at most of their concerts, I shall probably conduct one or two pieces on the CD. I recall approaching the Life Guards band with this idea years ago but was told (quite rightly) that my name would mean nothing to anyone and my pieces would not be familiar. I put the same argument to the Invicta band, but they would not hear of it and told me – ‘People like good tunes, and you compose good tunes’. So, as they say, - watch this space! Incidentally, I have found four of my pieces on 'Spotify' including Elizabethan Tapestry which I was asked to compose for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1975. Also, to my astonishment, I found mySouvenir de Montmartre from the Frank Chacksfield Orchestra! I had no idea that he'd ever commercially recorded it, although he often broadcast it!" As soon as we learn more about the proposed CD of Brian’s music, we will certainly give full details in JIM.

James Beyer recently sent us a cutting from ‘Projections’ – a privately published magazine for film (and DVD) collectors. The short feature relates that the notorious criminal and serial murderer John Christie was a film buff. He particularly admired Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo, so he must surely have seen "Captain Horatio Hornblower, RN" in which they both starred. But Christie’s cinema-going days were numbered. Soon after he would have seen the film (and presumably enjoyed Robert Farnon’s stirring music) three of Christie’s victims were discovered in his former flat at 10 Rillington Place. He was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 15 July 1953.

RFS member/composer John McLain tells us that the renowned theatre organist Len Rawle, MBE, has recorded four of his marches, and John’s novelty piece The Wedding Train is now in Len’s performance repertoire. UK members may remember that Len appeared many years ago in the outstanding BBC documentary "Metroland" where he played the organ at his home in Chorleywood to an appreciative Sir John Betjeman.

In June BBC Four in the UK screened a short documentary series called "London on Film". The first programme was about the West End, and a short sequence showing Piccadilly Circus was taken from the 1950s colour travel film "This Is London", with Robert Farnon’s music clearly heard behind Rex Harrison’s commentary.

Paul Barnes (who presents one of the best popular music shows on BBC Radio in the East Anglia region) did his usual birthday tribute to Bob Farnon in his late-night Saturday programme on 21 July. Paul has recently interviewed John Wilson for Saga magazine. He told us at the end of July: "I interviewed JW (he was kind enough to say it was the best interview he’d ever done), and I sat in on a recording session for the new Rodgers/Hammerstein album at Abbey Road. I also interviewed Andrew Haveron, Matt Skelton and Mike Lovatt. Saga went to town with the photography and they tell me that words and pictures make for a great spread. I think it’s scheduled for the August edition, which means that it should appear any time about now. Of course, Saga is available on subscription only, but it has sales in excess of 600,000, and a readership of about three times that."

Submit to Facebook

"THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIGHT MUSIC"

is currently being broadcast each Saturday evening at 20:00 GMT on Radio Six International, with a repeat the following Sunday morning. The programmes are compiled and introduced by David Ades, and feature music from the Guild series of Light Music CDs.

Radio Six International can be heard throughout the world via the internet: www.radiosix.com

The Guild "Golden Age of Light Music" series of CDs celebrated its 100th release in November 2012. For details of the latest collections, please visit the ‘Light Music CDs’ pages of this website, or visit guildmusic.com

Early in August we were in touch with Sam Jackson, Managing Editor of the UK classical music station Classic fm. Naturally the subject of the amount of Light Music played on national radio stations cropped up, and it was encouraging to hear Sam make these comments: "We're big fans of Light Music here, and we love to champion it on-air. There's always at least one Light Music piece on Alan Titchmarsh's Saturday programme (9am-midday) each week, and it forms a regular part of the rest of our output, too." John Brunning’s early evening ‘Drive’ programme presented several tracks from Iain Sutherland’s new CD "In London Town". We know that a number of RFS members get in touch with various radio stations from time to time. Unless they get some kind of feed-back from listeners, the presenters do not know if their audience enjoys what they are playing. It is not a bad idea to occasionally contact them to say "thank-you for playing light music!" Indeed Classic fm did do light music fans proud on Monday 17 September. The previous evening John Wilson conducted the Northern Sinfonia in a concert at the Sage, Gateshead, and Classic fm devoted two hours to it from 8:00pm onwards. Among the familiar works conducted by John were Calling All Workers, Summer Days Suite, Knightsbridge and By The Sleepy Lagoon (Eric Coates), Jumping Bean (Robert Farnon),Sketch Of A Dandy and London Landmarks Suite (Haydn Wood), Nell Gwyn Overture (Edward German), Dusk (Armstrong Gibbs), The Yeoman Of The Guard Overture (Sullivan), Devil’s Galop(Charles Williams) Coronation Scot (Vivian Ellis and Rouge et Noir (Fred Hartley).

The high cost of printing and distributing appreciation society magazines has taken its toll on yet another long established music society. The Spring 2012 issue (received in August) of ‘Pro Musica Sana’, the Miklos Rozsa Society publication which first appeared in 1972, is the last to appear in printed form. Like some others, its future existence will now concentrate on its internet website –www.miklosrozsa.org We are sure that John Fitzpatrick (in the USA) and Alan Hamer (in London) will continue to keep music lovers fully informed about this great composer, whose standing remains as high as ever among admirers of film music.

For those vintage film/documentary lovers amongst us, and we know there are quite a few, the British Council has put 80 of their films on line here :

http://film.britishcouncil.org/british-council-film-collection

Most of them date from wartime and there is some wonderful footage of London and the countryside more generally (some in colour) in many of these films. Some of the soundtrack music will appeal to light music lovers, and the quirkier topics include the origins of the English language, how the British Justice system works, etc. The film "Colour In Clay" has music by Jack Beaver; others feature music by William Alwyn, Richard Addinsell, Ralph Vaughan Williams etc.

Surfing members might also like to visit:http://landofllostcontent.blogspot.fr/search/label/Robert%20Farnon

(Thanks to Nigel Burlinson for this information).

An essential piece of information from Tony Clayden: Did you know that Brian Kay was the lowest ’frog’ on Paul McCartney’s recording of We All Stand Together [The Frogs’ Chorus ] ?

 

Norman Jackson is a big fan of the Scarborough Spa Orchestra. He tells us that the versatility of the players is amazing, and their library of ‘our kind of music’ is immense. As an example, Norman has sent us just one day’s programme of music performed by the orchestra (musical director Paul Laidlaw). Among over 30 pieces during two shows (at 11:00 am and 7:45 pm) the wide choice of music included Barnacle Bill (Ashworth Hope), Mam’selle Mannequin (Percy Fletcher), Vanity Fair(Anthony Collins), Devil’s Galop (Charles Williams, Jumping Bean (Robert Farnon), Blithlely Along(Paul Fenoulhet), The Girl From Corsica (Trevor Duncan), Penny Whistle Song (Leroy Anderson),Sailing By (Ronald Binge),Samum (Carl Robrecht) and the march Oxford Street (Eric Coates). Some years ago the orchestra was threatened with closure, but thousands of members of the public (Including Norman and his wife) joined forces to protest – and were successful at Keeping it alive. With a repertoire like this, perhaps we should all make a pilgrimage to Scarborough next summer!

For some years Philip Scowcroft’s book "British Light Music" has been out of print. Originally published in 1997 by Thames Publishing, it remains sought-after by light music aficionados and music students alike. The good news is that another publisher is interested in making it available once again. Dance Books Ltd (Southwell House, Isington Road, Binstead, Hampshire, GU34 4PH) are planning to issue a facsimile edition of the original, but Philip will be allowed to make a few amendments and there is likely to be a new cover. He would have preferred to undertake a complete update, and add many more composers, but this is not possible, no doubt for financial reasons. The new edition is likely to cost in the region of £12.50 and we will let you know when it becomes available.

Volume 3 of the British Transport Films Collection contains the 1956 film ‘Making Tracks’. The music haunted me but no details were included in the credits. It seemed to be folk inspired but my guess that it might have been written by Vaughan Williams proved unfounded. I didn’t want to give up and recently discovered that it was taken from Gustav Holst’s Suites Number 1 and 2 which were based on English folk songs. Although first published in 1909 and 1911 respectively, they had just been recorded by Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble and it is their version which was used on the film. These, along with The Planets, and other pieces are available on the Decca double CD 480 2323. Howard Ripley

We love to tell you about our talented fellow members, and a new book is warmly recommended. "It Shouldn’t Happen To A Teacher" is written by David Franklin, a retired deputy headmaster who kept a diary of incredible but true stories. Written in a highly engaging style and with a cynical irony born of decades of dealing with children, parents and fellow teachers, he has produced a work of both charm and wit, yet full of pathos. Hundreds of anecdotes include losing pupils at Alton Towers and on the Underground in London, catching a band of petty thieves while the Queen was driving past, discovering two pupils sleeping in a school wheelie bin, trying not to laugh when a colleague dressed as a frogman tripped over his flippers in assembly, and many more. Illustrated with several brilliant cartoons by JIM’s own talented artist, Ken Wilkins, this hilarious book will bring a smile to the face of all who remember their school days with affection and makes an ideal stocking filler for both parents and grandparents. For reasons you will understand when you read the book, ‘David Franklin’ is a pen name, and we have been sworn to secrecy regarding his true identity! The book is a softback (160 pages) published by Bretwalda Books Ltd - ISBN 978-1-909099-15-9, price £7.99. As a special offer to RFS members, the author has asked Peter Worsley (of ‘This England’ and ‘Evergreen’ magazines) to handle sales for him at a special price of ONLY £6 (which includes UK p&p) or £11 for two books. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, act quickly (supplies are limited!) and send a cheque, payable to P.R. Worsley, direct to him at Karakorum, Sunnyfield Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6JE, England.

In the notes accompanying the first volume of ‘Great British Composers’ (GLCD5195) the true identity of the conductor ‘Eric Johnson’ was the subject of speculation. Reference was made to researches on the internet which pointed to the likelihood of ‘Johnson’ being Dr Kurt List, but thanks to further investigations by music academics, prompted by Guild’s CD, it appears that the recordings were not made in London, but in the Mozart-Saal of the Vienna Konzerthaus between May and July 1960 by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. The conductor of the Eric Coates recordings was Josef Leo Gruber, a violinist with the Vienna Volksoper Orchestra. He conducted the Vienna State Opera Orchestra for several Westminster recordings, when this orchestra comprised musicians from its own members and also those of the Volksoper Orchestra. The recordings were produced by Kurt List, the Music Director for New York-based Westminster Records. Thanks to Andrew Lamb for this information.

The thorny subject of the raising of sound copyright from 50 to 70 years in the EU is continuing to concern many members, who realise that their hopes that more light music from the mid-1960s might be made available once more are likely to be dashed. Alan Bunting is in regular correspondence with the Intellectual Property Office regarding the UK’s response, and it seems that the Government plans to implement the legislation in the autumn of 2013. This means that recordings from 1963 onwards will no longer be available to independent record companies to reissue, unless they pay the large fees demanded by the major companies to license the material. But the preparatory work on the legislation is throwing up all kinds of problems regarding implementation, as we predicted in JIM. If similar difficulties over interpretation are being experienced by all the other EU countries which have this matter forced upon them, goodness only knows what the outcome will be. If Alan can make any sense of future developments, he promises to pass them on to us!

Submit to Facebook

Login Form RFS

Hi to post comments, please login, or create an account first.
We cannot be too careful with a world full of spammers. Apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Keep in Touch on Facebook!    

 If you have any comments or questions about the content of our website or Light Music in general, please join the Robert Farnon Society Facebook page.

Contact Geoff Leonard - editor of the RFS website
Contact Geoff Leonard to submit new articles only, please.

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.