The next concert by The Edinburgh Light Orchestra conducted by James Beyer will take place on Saturday 24 May in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh. For more information telephone 0131 334 3140.
Plans are still progressing for the premiere performance of Robert Farnon’s Bassoon Concerto.Daniel Smith tells us that he now hopes that this will take place in the spring of 2009, and we will naturally keep RFS members informed of developments.
Kym Bonython writes from his home in Adelaide to send warmest regards to his RFS friends, and say that he has started to write a sequel to his 1979 autobiography "Ladies Legs and Lemonade". His friend Barry Humphries suggested that it should be called "In ever decreasing circles…" probably alluding to the fact that Kym (born in 1920) has been forced to give up riding his beloved Agusta motor cycle. It has been sold to the Headmistress of a girls’ school in Britain! From being a highly decorated pilot in World War 2, Kym became one of the greatest jazz promoters in Australia, and he has also been an important patron of Australian art.
The inclusion of the BBC recordings of "Oranges and Lemons" on the Guild ‘Musical Kaleidoscope Volume 1’ collection prompted our good friend Frank Hare to remind us that using this piece to introduce the day’s broadcasting on the Light programme was following an established tradition. This traditional melody was also a ‘call sign’ for the BBC Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme, which commenced broadcasting on 7 June 1944 - one day after D-day. It then consisted of about 12 seconds of the tune repeated over and over again, with a short break between each, and played in single notes by the famous organist Charles Smart on a Novachord with a sustain. This can be heard at the start of the RFS CD featuring Captain Robert Farnon and the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces – still available from us for £6 (which includes p&p).
From Volker Rippe who discovered it in a German calendar for people learning English: Why is ‘our kind of music’ banned from radio and television? Too much sax and violins! (Say it out loud to yourself a few times and you’ll get the joke!)
Our thanks to Ann Adams who has sent us some nice colour photos taken at her Kensington Gardens Concert last summer. This time our colour reproductions had to be reserved for last November’s London meeting, but we hope to let you see Ann’s Ladies Palm Court Orchestra in the next issue.
Debbie Wiseman will be conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert of her Favourite Film and TV Moments at London’s Cadogan Hall on Sunday 30 March. Telephone bookings: 020 7730 4500.
Mort Garson (born 20 July 1924), the composer of the popular song "Our Day Will Come" died in San Francisco on 4 January 2008. During a long and successful career he worked with the likes of Doris Day and Mel Torme.
Thanks to the efforts of David O’Rourke, Robert Farnon’s How Beautiful Is Night was performed in a concert at New York’s Lincoln Center last November. James Beyer is planning to include the vocal version in his Edinburgh Light Orchestra’s concert on 26 May at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (for more details telephone 0131 334 3140).
The following text is taken from Warren Vache’s website, and dates from around April 2005: This has been a terrible month for trumpet players. We have lost such lights as Tutti Cammerata, Robert Farnon, Benny Bailey, Kenny Schermerhorn, and Danny Moore. Alison Kerr of the Glasgow Herald asked me to say a few words for an obit on Robert Farnon she will be doing, and the process of writing re-awoke all the awe and inspiration Mr. Farnon’s writing never failed to instil in me. He had accepted a commission to write one arrangement for me and the Scottish Ensemble for our recording this July (2005), and was not able to complete it. I thought I would include my thoughts here. Robert Farnon was simply one of the most musical, creative, and intelligent arrangers and composers to have graced the world. He was and will remain the apex of that genre, and an inspiration to anyone with the drive to write for orchestral settings. The more you look into his work, the more there is to see and hear. And with all that skill and intelligence, there is always a feeling and a beauty that is absolutely gut wrenching. He was a tone painter like no other. I remember doing a concert with The New York Pops, and sitting in the soloists section in the middle of the orchestra. Now, there are few sounds in the world as exciting for me as a full orchestra, and the sound of a live orchestra is an experience that cannot be reproduced by any recording equipment. Well, they began to play a Farnon setting of Harold Arlen’s ‘What’s Good About Goodbye?" It began with an oboe solo over a lush and surprising string background, full of wonderful, and unusual voiceings, and a very creative harmonic treatment. The oboe was a lone voice in a wonderland, and I wanted to be in that wonderland. As if that weren’t enough, at the bridge, the colour changed to four horns! It was such a dramatic and startling change, as if the sound of the horns rose from under all those strings to take the beauty to a higher level. Imagine the light changing on some far off mountain. I was a puddle of tears it was so moving. It is a gift indeed to live in this veil of tears and be able to see through all the pain and dirt to the beauty Farnon envisioned. The world will not see his like again, and for me, a great source of inspiration and a window to the beautiful has been closed. Hearing a Farnon setting was like love without the heartbreak, and it doesn’t ever get better than that. We are grateful to Malcolm Frazer for discovering this for ‘Journal Into Melody’. Paul Clatworthy reviews Warren’s CD in ‘Keeping Track’.
David Mardon has written to point out that Haydn Wood’s Soliloquy played by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon was not in the Chappell Recorded Music Library, but only on a Decca 78 (F 9265) and 10" LP (LM 4508). David also explains that the Radio Four Theme was initially recorded by the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Speigel (part composer), and there was an agreement with the Musicians’ Union that it was to be re-recorded every five years. As the ‘Northern’ is now the BBC Philharmonic, the last version was under Rumon Gamba.
Tony Foster tells us that the Daily Mail (Saturday 2 December) gave away a free DVD of the film "The Slipper and the Rose". As JIM readers will know, Angela Morley was the Musical Director on this film, and she worked wonders with her arrangements of the Sherman Brothers’ songs, as well as adding her own incidental music.
One of our USA members, Jesse Knight, has written an interesting article on Light Music for a website. If you have access to the internet, you are strongly urged to visit the Aristos site atwww.aristos.org and click on to Jesse’s article which is appropriately called "The Joys of Light Music".
Peter Burt asks us to correct a mistake which crept into his "Back Tracks" article in our last issue. He says: "it must have been the Little People and not gremlins that caused me to write that Vincent Youmans was Dublin born. It was, of course, New York. So not Vincent O’Youmans after all!"
The Secretary recently provided the National Theatre in London with a recording of Robert Farnon’sOpenings and Endings – the music which introduced "Panorama" when it first appeared on BBC Television back in the 1950s. It will be used in the play "The Reporter" by Nicholas Wright which went into rehearsal in January. The National Theatre had been unable to find a recording, and contacted us through our website. Readers may remember that this music was included on the Conifer 2-CD compilation of Robert Farnon’s compositions released in 1996 and long deleted.
On Tuesday 17 October the Coda Club honoured Angela Morley with their Burt Rhodes Award for lifetime achievement in music. Unfortunately Angela was not well enough to travel from her home in the USA to London to receive the award personally, so it was accepted on her behalf by John Wilson. As readers will know, John has recorded a number of Angela’s compositions and arrangements for Vocalion in recent years, and he said that he felt honoured to receive the award on her behalf.
■ Mrs. Judith Walsh, the daughter of Robert Farnon and his former wife Joanne, wrote recently to tell us about her son Thomas who seems to be following in the family’s musical tradition. Tom was 14 last June, and during the summer holidays he was busking on Colchester High Street every Friday afternoon playing jazz trumpet. On one of those occasions, Thomas was playing outside the George Hotel, and he was heard by a jazz double bassist who happened to be a committee member of the Association of British Jazz Musicians (ABJM). The man was Eddie Johnson, who was visiting from Southend to enjoy an anniversary dinner with his wife. While in their hotel room, Eddie happened to hear Thomas playing on the street below. He went down to have a good listen, and contacted Bill Ashton (director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra) to recommend Thomas. So now Thomas is in his element, playing at NYJO rehearsals every Saturday morning, along with his trumpet and flugelhorn. He has joined the Musicians’ Union, using the name Tom Farnon-Walsh in honour of his famous grandfather and their shared love of the trumpet!
■ RFS member Brian Luck presented a Tribute to Robert Farnon at Hornchurch Library last November.
■ James Beyer continues to spoil the good people of Scotland’s capital city with excellent concerts performed by his Edinburgh Light Orchestra. Last November he included a tribute to Robert Farnonwith Derby Day, The Westminster Waltz and Portrait Of A Flirt. The concert programmes for these events are always a mine of information about the music and the composers. The next concert will be on 27 May, and details are available from James Beyer, 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT.
■ RFS member Mike Carey hosts a popular weekly radio show on BBC Radio Derby, at 4.00pm every Sunday afternoon. "Memorable Melodies" can now be heard throughout the world via the nternet: www.bbc.co.uk/derby. The show includes light music, big bands, great vocalists and soundtracks from Hollywood, Broadway and West End musicals. Mike would be delighted to hear from fellow RFS members and play their requests (if possible!). He was one of several RFS members featured in last year’s BBC Four documentary "Music for Everybody".
■ RFS member Alan Willmott has recently produced a new film for his Windjammer Films company. Entitled "Along The Curved And Narrow", it tells the story of the progress of the privately operated steam hauled narrow-gauge passenger carrying railways around the British Isles. Eight of the eleven railways featured are situated in Wales, and can trace their origins to mining areas and quarries. Alan tells us that a DVD release is possible later in the year, and we will naturally let you have details if this happens.
■ Towards the end of last year Ray Purslow was concerned to learn that a rumour was circulating saying that his Record Store in Birmingham was closing down. Ray assures us that this is not true - in fact he has recently signed a new three-year lease. Ray is now one of the few retailers still offering expert advice and a first-class service to regular clients.
■ Our Canadian representative Pip Wedge usually covers local concerts in his regular column, but we would like to add our own congratulations to Charles Job and his Palm Court Orchestra following a splendid concert last September/October. The guest conductor was another Canadian RFS memberMarc Fortier, who waved the baton for some of his own compositions, as well as works by the likes of Haydn Wood, Clive Richardson, Eric Coates and Leroy Anderson. Robert Farnon was represented with A La Claire Fontaine. As a local paper reviewer reported: ‘Marc Fortier certainly kept the orchestra on their toes all evening, in the process evincing some of the finest playing I’ve yet heard from them – lush and full-bodied, with every instrument making its presence felt and ensemble as tight as one could wish.’
■ The winter issue of Classic Record Collector mentioned the Leslie Jones recordings of Robert Farnon’s music in a long article. An accompanying photo showed Leslie and his son holding a copy of the Farnon LP. [Thanks to Nigel Burlinson for this information].
■ In April Taragon Records will be issuing a 2 on 1 CD containing the two extremely rare albums originally made for the Japanese market KOGA MELODIES and RYOICHI HATTORI MELODIES. The original LPs were never issued in America although KOGA MELODIES had a limited release in Europe from CBS Holland. At the same time Taragon will issue the only other Faith album not already available on CD - FOOTBALL SONGS (also known as TOUCHDOWN!) Alan Bunting has been a driving force behind these reissues.
■ Around the time that you receive this issue, a new Dutton Vocalion CD will be released featuring the music of Anthony Collins. Among many rarities on this must-have CD are Festival Royal Overture, Symphony for Strings, Louis XV Silhouettes and film scores such as Victoria the Great, Odette and The Lady with a Lamp. Naturally Collins’ most famous piece Vanity Fair is also on the list. The sessions took place at Watford last September, with John Wilson conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra (Vocalion CDLX7162). Other releases in the same batch feature a cycle of music byRichard Arnell (CDLX7161) and the Lochrian Ensemble performing the romantic String Quartets of Edgar Bainton and Hubert Clifford (CDLX7164). Details of a further selection of Easy Listening CDs for release this March were not available as we went to press, but no doubt we will have a lot of good news for you in June!
■ Gary Williams was in the Abbey Road studios from 6-9th February recording his latest CD "In the Lounge with Gary Williams".
Alan Bunting has reported that he is investigating a claim that some of his restorations of Percy Faith recordings, currently available on Living Era's DELICADO 2CD set, and in which he holds the copyright, may have appeared on another label without his or Living Era's permission.
Glenn Adams likes the music of Albert Sandler, and wonders if many of his recordings have been reissued on CDs. He is aware of two, as he explains: "I have two and you may be interested in them for other members of the society. They are both excellent, one is "Albert Sandler with The Palm Court Orchestra and his Trio" It's on the Music and Memories label No MMD 1058 PO Box 99, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3YD. The other one I have is "Albert Sandler & His Orchestra at the Park Lane Hotel, London" with Jack Byfield, piano and Reginald Kilbey, Cello. This one is on the Pearl 'Flapper' label from Pavilion Records Ltd, Sparrows Green, Wadhurst, East Sussex,England. It is excellent and has some lovely old recordings, one of my favourites being "With you" a fox-trot with a vocal solo by a lady called Marjorie Stedeford who had a really lovely voice."
The long running legal disagreement between EMI and Naxos in the USA has been settled, according to a report in the March issue of ‘The Gramophone’. The result is that a large number of Naxos CDs will no longer be available in the USA. The losers are going to be music lovers, and it is a warning to us all about what will happen if the present 50-year copyright on sound recordings in the UK is extended.
■ 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!
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
The Robert Farnon Society has issued a CD featuring two important Farnon compositions, first released in 1960. For more details please visit the "Robert Farnon Society Compact Discs" page.
SUPERB NEW ROBERT FARNON CD FROM JOHN WILSON AND THE BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA
A new CD of Robert Farnon compositions was recorded at The Colosseum (formerly known as Watford Town Hall) on 1 & 2 June 2006. The highlight is the premiere recording of Robert Farnon's Second Symphony which is a magnificent work, and it is difficult to understand why the composer declined attempts to get it performed and recorded during his lifetime.
Robert Farnon admirers are in for a real treat when this CD is released on Michael Dutton’s Epoch label this autumn. Precise details were not available as we went to press, but it is likely that this CD will reach the shops during September or October at the latest.
Originally it had been intended that the CD would contain all three of Farnon's symphonies, but it emerged that they last too long to fit on to one disc.
When the first symphony was examined in detail it was discovered that many of the themes were later used by the composer in other compositions. However the scherzo can be enjoyed as a 'stand alone' work, so this has been included.
The decision was taken not to record Symphony No. 3 on this occasion; this was premiered by Iain Sutherland in Edinburgh on 14 May 2005 and he has expressed the wish to record it himself.
Several other Farnon compositions will complete the CD, some of them receiving their first commercial recordings in stereo.
Particularly welcome will be the suite "Captain Horatio Hornblower" which Farnon based on his score for the 1951 Warner Bros film starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo. This has not been available in Britain for some years, and Wilson's version is suitably stirring in the exciting action sequences, and deliciously romantic in the majestic "Lady Barbara Theme" which surely remains among the finest love themes ever composed for the cinema.
The pictures opposite were taken during breaks in the sessions. At the top we see the Leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra, Cynthia Fleming with conductor John Wilson. The lower picture features the team in the control room: John Wilson, Michael Ponder, Neil Varley (BBC Radio-3), Michael Dutton and Dillon Gallagher. Over the page the BBC Concert Orchestra is being rehearsed by John Wilson.
It took four three-hour sessions to complete the CD, following some rehearsals the previous day when the microphones were set up in readiness.
Thursday 1 June : 10.30 – 1.30
Symphony No. 2 – first and second movements
Thursday 1 June : 2.30 – 5.30
Symphony No. 2 – completion of second movement and third movement
Symphony No. 1 – third movement (scherzo)
The Frontiersmen – full concert version
Friday 2 June : 10.30 – 1.30
Captain Horatio Hornblower – suite based on the film score
Friday 2 June : 2.30 – 5.30
In a Calm
From the above details it will be observed that several works are receiving their first commercial releases in stereo.
The Colosseum at Watford is the present home of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and a close working relationship has been established with Michael Dutton, whose recording company is also based in Watford.
EXCITING NEWS OF NEW ROBERT FARNON RECORDINGS!
David Farnon has recently been involved in checking and cataloguing all of his late father’s musical works, and a number of unpublished compositions have been discovered. But the most exciting news concerns the first two symphonies composed by Robert Farnon when he was a young man, back in Canada. They received several performances in North America at the time, but have been ignored for over sixty years.
It seems that Robert Farnon did not wish them to be performed again during his lifetime, because he always replied to enquiries by saying that the scores had been ‘lost’. Happily this is not true, and when the discovery of Bob’s first and second symphonies was announced to RFS members at our meeting last November, Michael Dutton immediately said that he was willing to try and arrange for all three Robert Farnon symphonies to be recorded later this year, for release on a Vocalion CD.
Since then the wheels have been set in motion to get scores prepared, and the latest news we have as we go to press is that the sessions are likely to take place this summer, with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Wilson.
No doubt we will have further details to report in our June magazine.
It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that Robert Farnon passed away peacefully in his sleep during the early hours of Saturday morning, 23 April 2005. A private family funeral took place on Friday 29 April on the Channel Island of Guernsey where he had lived for the past 46 years.
A Memorial Service was held in London on Sunday 24 July at St. Paul's Church (known as the Actors Church), Covent Garden, London. This was attended by family members and many friends and colleagues of Robert Farnon, including some of the top musicians who were regular players in his orchestra for recording sessions in recent years. The speakers included BBC radio personalities Brian Kay and Malcolm Laycock, conductors Iain Sutherland and James Beyer, together with Robert Farnon's manager for 60 years Derek Boulton, and David Ades, secretary of the Robert Farnon Society. In between the speeches the congregation heard many of Robert Farnon's best loved melodies.
The entries that follow on this page are taken from recent issues of our magazine "Journal Into Melody". They illustrate vividly the fact that Robert Farnon was still enthusiastically composing and arranging right up to the end of his life, and his final works will probably prove to be as highly regarded as the many other notable landmarks in his illustrious career.
We continued to receive many heartfelt messages in memory of Bob, long after the deadline for our June/July issue had passed, and the following appeared in Journal Into Melody, September 2005.
What a shock to read of dear Robert’s passing. I am privileged to have worked with him and recall his lovely warm nature – what a man! Rosemary Squires, MBE
Over the years Mr. Farnon’s music has, and still does, give me endless pleasure. I was lucky enough to be present at a live relay from Norwich of "Journey Into Melody", the Sunday afternoon programme on the old BBC Light Programme, in which Robert conducted the BBC Midland Light Orchestra. After this hour we were invited to stay for another concert which was recorded for transmission on the BBC Overseas Service. For me, Bob Farnon was a lost link with a musical world which – alas – is no more. He will forever be associated with the great light music masters, David Rose, Andre Kostelanetz, Arthur Fiedler and our own Eric Coates. Thanks to record labels such as Vocalion and the Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ series, I can still enjoy the music of the masters, of which Robert Farnon must rank as one of the finest. R.C. Wilkinson
On behalf of all the members of the West Midlands Branch of the Sinatra Music Society, I would like to offer our condolences to Pat and all the family of Robert Farnon on their sad loss. If it is any consolation, we will have the wonderful legacy of music and recordings to enjoy and remember Robert. Phil Suffolk
I was saddened and shocked to hear of Robert Farnon's passing. The ABC's (Australia) "Classic FM" station mentioned it today (30/04/05) on the "Scene" programme and played two of his best known compositions "Westminster Waltz" and "Jumping Bean". In a way, here was a background to my youth, it was only much later that I found out who had penned the melodies. His work will live on. Rick Ashworth
I, too, was saddened to learn of Robert Farnon's recent passing. I only became aware of his music recently when his brother, Brian, and wife, Gloria, moved to our community and became active in our local music scene. Brian has lent me numerous recordings of Robert's music, and I have been delighted by it. As director of the College of Southern Idaho Wind Ensemble, I am happy to report that we were able to program two of Robert's pieces, Westminster Waltz and Derby Day, on our March 2005 concert, with Brian joining us in the clarinet section. Both the audience and the band members thoroughly enjoyed these pieces, and I am anxious to program more of his music on our concerts. I offer my deepest and sincerest condolences to Robert's family. George K. Halsell, Professor of Music, College of Southern Idaho
The wonderful work of the RFS has been crucial in securing the future, not only of Robert Farnon’s name and reputation, but of all the many recordings that have now become an historic and enduringly valuable and valued archive. It is very sad to bid mortal farewells to distinguished figures and close friends, but it is wonderful when they leave a great legacy of creations and recreations. We are very fortunate and must guard and foster it well. Long may the RFS flourish! Terence Gilmore-James
For lovers of light music Robert Farnon’s passing is a great loss, however we have the consolation that ‘the melodies linger on’. Olga and Norman Jackson
I just have no words that can describe what this sad news brings. One of the true greatest arranger of all times has left us... he was the foundation, the path to which every major arranger followed. He was a cathedral, he was the most innovative and daring arranger of his time and beyond. I send my warmest condolences to the Farnon family and to all of us, the Farnon musical family... I shall never forget him and he'll continue to be a huge part of my life. Jorge Estrada
Thank goodness for the medium of recorded sound, ensuring that the music of our all-time great Robert Farnon will live on forever. At Bob’s passing the world will never seem quite the same. Bill Watts
So sad to hear about Robert Farnon. It’s now up to all of us to conserve the musical legacy he has left to history. Robin King
I met Bob in the Golders Green Hippodrome in 1974 when he conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra. I was a musician in the army at that time and I had to play a bassoon Solo. He came up to me after the performance and said how much he liked it. It was an arrangement of a piece by Gilbert Vinter, also a bassoonist. Alan Rutherford
As an early founding Member in the 50's when my friend Ken Head formed the Robert Farnon Appreciation Society, it is hard to accept that our Icon Bob as we knew him, has left us aged 87 years leaving behind many happy memories of those meetings held in London sharing his and our love of Light Music. In those early years he always left us with a 78rpm Vinyl record with two of his latest compositions of light music. How we treasured these records. Having left England to live in Australia in 1969, I sadly missed those RFAS meetings in London with fellow music lovers. Gladly I learnt that the Society still flourished and had grown and renamed the ROBERT FARNON SOCIETY which appreciates all light music.
' If Music be the Food of Love play on '
As Bob died on the eve of Shakespeare's death on 24th April I think the above quotation is a fitting epitaph for Bob. He gave us the food and love of his music and we his admirers will continue to play it. As Shakespeare gave so much to England and the World through his literature, so has Robert Farnon given so much to England and the World through his music. May Shakespeare have the last word as we bid farewell to a much loved friend and talented musician.
'Our revels now are ended: these our actors (As I foretold you) were all spirits, and Are melted into air, thin air, And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud - capped Towers, the gorgeous Palaces, The solemn Temples, The great Globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And like this insubstantial pageant faded Leave not a rack behind : we are such stuff As dreams are made on ; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.'
Bob may you REST IN PEACE. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. ALLELUIA.
I am sure Ken Head will be waiting for you to form the Robert Farnon Society in Heaven !
Deepest Sympathy on the loss of Robert Farnon. He was a distant cousin of mine. I have an extensive Farnon Family tree. I was the youngest of 5 Farnons born in 1943 in Dublin, Ireland. I live in Georgia now. Good Luck with keeping his music with us. I hear his music frequently on 904 channel on TV while we are playing cards. Dianne nee Farnon Kenny
I received my copy of the special edition. I didn't know Robert as many of you did of course but after years and years of loving his music I feel the loss, I really do. I was listening this morning to "The wide world of Robert Farnon". I love the whole thing but I especially love "I Saw My Lady Weep" it's so exquisitely beautiful, there is a poignancy to it that really moves me. I'm so sad on the one hand but so glad that I managed to find the society before he left us. I was reading the lovely articles that had been written in remembrance of him, and it is amazing to me that nearly everyone remembers the first time they heard "Portrait of a Flirt"; it seems the lights went on for all of us with that particular joyous piece. I had high hopes of being able to find out whether or not he remembered my Uncle Leonard doing session work with him. Doubtful really when he knew so many fine musicians. Not to worry that wasn't meant to be, I don't believe that death is the end anyway and who knows we might all meet up one lovely day by "Lake Louise", or on "The Magic Island." Until then, I'll continue to add to my collection, my life will be the better for it. Hope you don't mind me sharing a few thoughts with you here and there I haven't got any one else to talk to about it, it's frustrating. There is a community radio Station here and there's a nice English announcer on there once a week and I know by his selection, (Nostalgia and light Music) that he would probably play some of my RF CD's if I asked him really nicely. He has his programme on Thursday and I spoke to the Station Manager and he has agreed that it's a good idea. So who knows. Cathy Frank
I was saddened to learn of Robert Farnon's passing as I had hoped to meet him when my wife and I visit England in a few years time. My great love and appreciation of his music and that of his contemporaries has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As Philip Brady reminded us in his tribute "the melody lingers on" and such beautiful melodies they are too. From all accounts Robert was a truly wonderful man who enjoyed bringing happiness into the lives of others through his music. A life of great fulfilment. Chris Guy
With great emotion I received the sad news of Robert Farnon; he was a genius of wonderful British music. Roland Buchholz
What a shock when I returned from holiday! We left on April 22nd and returned to a full-on computer crash on May 10th, so I did not know the bad news until I opened the special magazine. What a terrible thing to happen, especially as the report from Daniel Smith at the April meeting indicated that he was reasonably O.K. Please accept our condolences, and trust that everything goes OK with the Farnon Family. At least we have a wonderful legacy that we can continue to enjoy until our day arrives. The very first LP that I bought with Birthday money was "Something to Remember you by", and that got me started, first into buying records, and then into the Music business with the dance-band, and then my own band up here in Skegness - 38 years in all.
Bev Mastin It has long seemed remiss of me as a proud member of The Robert Farnon Society, not to express my appreciation of what being a member of the Society has meant to me. Along with most of the members listening to Robert's music now, reminds me vividly of my teenage years when, according to my state of mind, my sadness, happiness, joy or aspirations, his music painted pictures which have stayed in my mind ever since and I know always will. He has, for sixty years been MY COMPOSER and (and this may sound opinionated) I am proud to have been blessed with such good taste in music at so early an age. Robert, somehow, along with other great men, seemed indestructible. Surely God would not rob us of so great and ongoing a talent. Yet God gave us the pleasures of that talent and I reckon He thought that it was about time that Robert composed some music for him - that, I am sure, is happening. Along with the sad news of Robert's death, I must admit there came an apprehension that the Society might now fold. How pleased I am to know that this will not happen. Thank you for the Special Tribute Edition, which I will treasure. Until things find a level there will be difficult times ahead but I am sure that Robert's musical legacy is too great for his Appreciation Society not to continue to thrive. Terry Stowe I was saddened to read of the death of Robert Franon. I am sure he will be greatly missed by all music lovers. He has left us with a great legacy of beautiful music and wonderful memories. John Woodland Robert Farnon was the best composer and arranger of light music ever. Richard Crew I feel very saddened by Robert's passing. His compositions and performances introduced me to the joys of light music while I was in my teens. John Leeming I would like to send my condolences. I am sure that Robert Farnon’s spirit will live on through his music for many years to come. Michael J. Comley I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Robert Farnon. The news was still sinking in, days after I received the Special Tribute Issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’. I cannot add to the sentiments already expressed, except to say how proud I feel to be a member of the Society that bears his name. I never met him in person, but I feel I’ve always known him through his wonderful and unique music and from the warm and endearing portraits of him painted by contributors to JIM over the years. Gordon Moritz Receiving the Special Tribute Issue of JIM made me think back to the days of the wireless, when I heard Robert Farnon’s music for the first time – like ‘Jumping Bean’ and ‘Portrait of a Flirt’. In those days money was hard to save, but I did and bought the 78. Today I am still collecting his music, which to me paints pictures – such as ‘A La Claire Fontaine’ which reminds me of the New Forest. He had a rare gift to transmit lovely music and arrangements. John R. Harrison I suppose we all knew that we would hear the sad news one day, but always hoped it would be well into the future. Bob has left behind a most remarkable treasury of compositions, arrangements and recordings. Jerry Hicken I have known Robert Farnon’s music since the days when he appeared on "Friday Night is Music Night". I love his music, which I find so relaxing. Colin J. Fairbairn Although Bob Farnon was a good age, I was naturally very sorry to hear that he would be writing and composing no more. As an international statesman of western music, he was unique, as was the year he first came to my attention, 1944, when the formation of the Allied Expeditionary Force signalled that the end of the European part of World War 2 was in sight. That brightening time, as yet still free of commercial pressures, also gave a wonderful showcase and opportunity to the other two AEF bandleaders and musical statesmen, Glenn Miller and George Melachrino. We didn’t foresee then that the end of the war would soon mean the end of both big bands and light orchestras as main providers of the music of the day. Looking back, Bob had the stature of a musical Churchill, and Miller the magic of a Tuneful Roosevelt. Our own Melachrino was more of a melodious Atlee – big at the time, but not destined to be remembered so long. Allan Bula I cannot claim this great privilege in the normally accepted sense, yet Bob spoke directly to me through his music for the first time when I would have been about six or seven years old – and he has done so scores of times since then. Some composers grab one by the scruff (musically speaking) and shake hard; others ingratiate; others hold one at arm’s length, or put up rolls of barbed wire or build impenetrable stone walls. Robert Farnon held out his hand to me through his sparkling cameos – ‘Portrait of a Flirt’ and ‘Jumping Bean’ – all those years ago and said, as so often since: "Here I am. Here you are. Good to know you. I’m your friend." John Govier It seemed as if Robert Farnon would always be there. The world has lost a musical giant, but we are fortunate to have his great legacy of music to enjoy. Pierre de Bie The Special Tribute Edition of ‘Journal Into Melody’ was very much appreciated. The tribute in the weekly ‘The Stage’ included a very nice photo of Robert, just as we remember him. Robert Brown The tributes to Bob in the Special Issue of the magazine were wonderful. I think the word ‘approachable’ is just so right. I remember when I met him that he really made me feel that he enjoyed meeting me, and having his photo taken. It is so important that his music will be with us forever, and I hope that in due course he will have a fitting memorial to his long lifetime and the legacy which he has given to the world of music. Jennifer Cundall Like so many, I loved Robert Farnon`s music from a very early age. I heard it used on "Dick Barton" when the plot moved to Canada ("Jumping Bean" & "Canadian Caravan") and "Portrait of a Flirt", "Manhattan Playboy" etc.,were, as you well know, used on so many occasions on radio and at the cinema on newsreels and documentaries. I don`t think his music will ever date or cease to please. I’m sad that, unlike some other members of the RFS I never met him but the love and respect felt by so many gives me a very good word-painting of a great composer and a lovely person. My gratitude once again to everyone who works so hard in running a wonderful society and make great music available to us. Alec Adcock It was with great sorrow that I heard of the death of Robert Farnon. Without knowing it, Bob Farnon has played a very important role in my life. I was called up in 1946 and in '48 was posted to the British Forces Network in Hamburg, Germany as a trainee announcer. I eventually ended up presenting the BBC's "Two-Way Family Favourites" with Jean Metcalfe. It wasn't long before I realised that there was no DJ on German radio so I applied for the job and got it. The first show in '53 was a sensation - partly because of the music and partly because of my horrific British accent. I didn't have a theme tune, however, so when a copy of "Melody Fair" arrived (from Decca, I believe) it was love at first hear. By this time (1954) I was broadcasting in German from Cologne and Robert Farnon introduced every show until 1961 when I transferred to television. Of course, he came along too and stayed with me until 1970. In the years that followed, he also accompanied me to Mallorca, to Kiel, to Berlin and now, fifty years after his first play in '54, we're back on WDR Cologne radio again. It's been quite a long ride. I love his music and the Germans love "Melody Fair" too. Unfortunately it's pretty difficult to get CDs of his work over here which is one of the reasons I'm writing to you. I'd love a copy of "Journey into Melody" and assume that it will contain details of how I can obtain some more of his work. He was a great composer and arranger and his brilliance has always inspired me. He will, I'm sure, be sorely missed as a person but I reckon his music will go on for ever. Chris Howland The greatest musician of all time, Bob Farnon, has left us a magnificent library of music that will live forever. Music (and I mean real music) is to the mind what water is to the body. Bob’s music cleans and refreshes and just makes you feel Great. Bob’s gift – and what a gift it is – that made so many people happy, and will continue to do so. I feel so proud and humble to be part of any organisation that will ensure his music takes its place in history. John Strange I first encountered Bob’s music when I listened to "In Town Tonight" on Saturday evenings. I was later to hear his compositions in full in "Music While You Work" and was impressed and interested further. Bob’s music has always had different effects on me. It has been relaxing, stimulating and even surprising. Many other composers have tried to imitate his style. Some have got very close, but did not quite equal the Great Man. The world of music has suffered a great loss in his passing. I always found Bob to be so approachable, pleasant and placid in his manner, and ever the gentleman and a gentle man. A great musical light has been extinguished. Heaven now has the pleasure and benefit of his talents. Brian Coleman On behalf of my family I would like to say how sorry we were to hear of the death of Robert Farnon. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family. It is wonderful to know that writers and broadcasters will always keep his wonderful music alive. The likes of Robert Farnon and Nelson Riddle will be with us forever. Tony Webb Fortunately we in the USA were exposed to the beautiful and moving music of Robert Farnon. It was over the radio, primarily WQXR in New York City. "Journey Into Melody" was a theme used for some time for their ‘Dinner Concert’. Robert Farnon wrote melodies that were memorable – not just good tunes. My sincere condolences to his family and all you good people in the RFS. With our Society, Bob will always live. Herbert George An important light music link for me in New Zealand is Brian Kay’s weekly BBC Radio-3 programme, via the internet. It was from there on a Friday evening in May that I learned the sad news of Bob’s passing the previous weekend. For the past ten years, I’ve also had a weekly music programme – ‘Sounds Easy’. It goes out live for three hours on a Saturday, so I quickly ‘re-jigged’ things to arrange a short tribute for the following morning. Listeners would certainly have recognised the name since I regularly play light music, much of it with a Farnon connection. As well as the tribute pieces, the 9am ‘Saturday March’ spot provided an opportunity for ‘Derby Day’. In the early 1960s, I met Bob a couple of times at London meetings, and was relieved to find a relaxed, affable personality who perfectly matched the music I’d grown to love. I intend to write more about light music in my life, but for now, simply join with everyone in lamenting the loss of a quiet but towering personality in the world of fine music. Peter Richardson To my mind Robert Farnon was a musical genius, and it’s difficult to think of anyone who could match him for being so prolific. He had such a fertile musical brain which was always ready to commit pen to paper. What a vast treasure-trove of material in terms of film scores, compositions, arrangements, symphonic works, radio and television themes – no wonder he was so revered. R.W. Bartlett First of all, let me offer my condolences to everyone for the loss of a great man, Robert Farnon. As the saying points out that one man's death diminishes everyone else's life... I enjoyed his music and will use his recordings as a benchmark of what truly great music can do for all of us. Richard Jessen The sad news of Robert Farnon's passing was announced soon after my arrival in England on holiday on 23 April, the day he died. This date is also, of course, St George's Day, so I certainly won't forget the date. Although I never met Robert Farnon personally, I felt I knew him thanks to the RFS, of which I have been a member for many years. His name and music always conjure up happy thoughts of times gone by when his music was played and he conducted orchestras on the many BBC Light Programme radio sessions, particularly on Sunday afternoons. His recorded legacy means I can enjoy much of his music whenever I want to and I am particularly grateful to the record companies who have reissued so much of his work, particularly the classic Decca LPs, on CD over the last few years. The emotions the music evokes are sometimes extremely intense. As time goes by, all too quickly, more and more of the talented composers/arrangers/orchestra leaders and musicians pass on so it was inevitable that, one day, Robert Farnon would join them. Although sad that Robert Farnon has gone, I am grateful and feel so lucky that I lived in an era when his music attained the recognition and popularity it deserved. Long may his reputation be perpetuated through the continuation of the Robert Farnon Society. Michael Beaumont I was so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing…. In Hull, in 1944, at the age of 17 I heard the Canadian Band of the AEF for the first time, and have been a fan of Robert Farnon’s music and arrangements ever since. In 1944/45 they were wonderful years for music, together with the British and American bands, despite the war. I was so pleased to meet Bob for few minutes in Brentford, Ontario when he visited Canada a few years ago, and he told me that his mother also came from Hull. Thank-you for the Special Issue in May – a wonderful tribute. Norman Leisk I was deeply honoured that Robert Farnon chose me for what is now his final musical composition. Over the past months, we had been in touch frequently as the music took shape. Robert expressed often to me his enthusiasm and excitement about his new bassoon concerto and for him it represented a new lease on life and renewed purpose at a time when he took ill. I flew twice to Guernsey to discuss and go over the music with him, and along with working on the music, we spoke of many other things; his friends and colleagues over the years, his beloved wife, children and grandchildren, the importance of music and the arts, my own life experiences and along the way had a lot of good laughs. To me he seemed like someone 87 years old going on 35, full of enthusiasm and hope. There was never a moment of pessimism or negativity, just a great need to move forward and create something beautiful for the world to experience. Daniel Smith On behalf of the Sinatra Music Society, the national committee of same send their condolences on the recent death of Robert Farnon. Because of your appreciation of Robert Farnon’s life, work and career, we feel sure that your society will continue to flourish and give pleasure to your many members, as the SMS has done, since Sinatra’s death. Margaret Cummings, secretary Whe I was given the new that Bob had passed away, I was left with a feeling of dismay and utter disbelief, and that I had lost a dear friend. Bob was truly a gentle gentleman – an absolute musical genius, and we shall never see his like again. He has left us a wonderful legacy, and his music will live on and remain in all our hearts for ever. Thank you Bo, rest in peace. Edna Foster As a comparative newcomer to the Robert Farnon Society, and also one of the younger members, it was such a shock to hear of Bob’s passing. I only met and spoke with him once, at a meeting a few years ago, but I soon realised what a genuinely friendly and sincere person he was, and he really made me feel sat ease. In the eight years that I have attended the meetings at the Bonnington Hotel, I have come to both learn more about his music, and love those lush orchestral sounds, more so each time I listen to them. What a legacy he has left to us all, and indeed the world. He will be sorely missed. Tony Foster I would like to add my deep sorrow at the passing of Bob Farnon. Although I never had the good fortune to meet the man I feel through the pages of JIM I had come to learn a tremendous amount about his life and music. We are lucky to have so much of his wonderful music on disc. The one thing that must continue is the ‘Journal Into Melody’ magazine. The capable team is providing an immense service for us all. Long may it continue. Colin A. Adamson