19 Sep

Sound of Music 'Liesl' actress Charmian Carr dies

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The American actress Charmian Carr, who played Liesl in The Sound of Music, has died aged 73. She was the daughter of musician Brian Farnon, and the niece of Robert Farnon.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-37403372

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charmian_Carr

http://charmiancarr.com/

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17 Sep

Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra on Radio

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Adam Bakker writes:

Dear All,

Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 17 Sep 2016, Kingston Hospital Radio is doing a feature on the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra from 3:15 to 5pm.

They get people from all over the world listening to this programme.

You can tune in too with the link below:

http://tunein.com/radio/Kingston-Hospital-Radio-s248346/

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12 Sep

David Rose's "Gay Spirits," alternate piece with same title

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During the course of my travels over the light music segment of the music repertoire, through various selections, some familiar, others less so, I came upon a rather unique situation upon revisiting a piece that I've known for the longest time.

That piece is David Rose's "Gay Spirits," which was one of the earliest light music selections that I acquainted myself with, and incidentally, even before encountering the composer's "Holiday for Strings" which would inevitably remind me of "Gay Spirits," as these two pieces are remarkably similar in their bearings. But I didn't know the name of the selection due to its manner of usage as accompanying music in what they refer to in the UK as a test card and in the USA as a test pattern. As hours of daily broadcasting have considerably expanded over the years, one is much less likely to encounter these intervals between live broadcasts, at least here in the USA. But due to the circumstances of my initial exposure to this piece, I was not to obtain the much desired particulars about it - the title and composer - until a few more years had passed. And this latter took place on a radio show entitled, "The Charlie Stark Music Shop" which I had occasion to refer to when commenting on Bob Walton's analysis of "Frenesi."

Read the entire article here...

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During the course of my travels over the light music segment of the music repertoire, through various selections, some familiar, others less so, I came upon a rather unique situation upon revisiting a piece that I've known for the longest time.

That piece is David Rose's "Gay Spirits," which was one of the earliest light music selections that I acquainted myself with, and incidentally, even before encountering the composer's "Holiday for Strings" which would inevitably remind me of "Gay Spirits," as these two pieces are remarkably similar in their bearings. But I didn't know the name of the selection due to its manner of usage as accompanying music in what they refer to in the UK as a test card and in the USA as a test pattern. As hours of daily broadcasting have considerably expanded over the years, one is much less likely to encounter these intervals between live broadcasts, at least here in the USA. But due to the circumstances of my initial exposure to this piece, I was not to obtain the much desired particulars about it - the title and composer - until a few more years had passed. And this latter took place on a radio show entitled, "The Charlie Stark Music Shop" which I had occasion to refer to when commenting on Bob Walton's analysis of "Frenesi."

In one of my earliest articles on this site, "Differing Versions of the Same Set Light Music Selections," I compared differing versions of the same pieces as presented by different conductors. In some cases, the versions were identical though by diverse conductors who adopted different tempos or emphasized different facets of the piece. In others, the orchestration was noticeably different or perhaps the piece was in some manner abridged or extended, either by revision or by the necessity of fitting the selection on a single 78/45 RPM side. But in all these cases, the piece still remained essentially recognizable and thus easily identifiable as such.

In the case of "Gay Spirits" I have noted a situation that is totally different from anything I referred to above, as here we have a transmogrification of a piece that is utterly different from the original presentation of it, though still bearing the same title. It uses only one small feature of the original and then proceeds along quite its own lines. Those who are expecting to hear an updated version of the original will likely emerge from it quite disappointed, at least if they have a special affection for the original version, as I have.

To be sure, the so-called original version I refer to that came out on disc in the early 1950s was preceded by an earlier version, evidenced by comparing this with the piano sheet music publication of the piece. In this latter, the introduction to the main idea is slightly longer by a few bars and the reprise section is given in its entirety. More than likely, Mr. Rose felt compelled to make these very slight abridgements out of concern whether the complete version could be handily fit on the side of a single disc.

In 1964, in the process of scoring for a film entitled "Quick before it Melts," he used a small portion of this material in this film, and subsequently, in a desire to preserve some of this on disc, created a boiled down version of it, not necessarily in the same order as appearing in the film, and not necessarily in the identical arrangement. This result was released on disc under the same title, "Gay Spirits," as the one that appeared years before, although to all intents and purposes this was an entirely different piece and should clearly not have borne the same title as the earlier one.

Upon listening to it, I heard a rather hard introductory gesture which eventually leads into the lyrical middle section of the earlier piece, in the version that it first appears (with strings) but not identically - I have noted some very slight changes in the melody. This leads to its own middle section - somewhat engaging as to specific material but still difficult for me to relate to the other main idea that was formerly the middle section.

Eventually, this is reprised, and at the end of the statement there is a move that almost suggests that we will next hear the flute version of this melody as in the original, but this does not occur; very soon after, the piece abruptly ends.

One may regard it as a reminiscence of a moment from the film, as obviously Mr. Rose desired to preserve it for some reason, but as an independent movement, for me it simply does not work, although I have already encountered opinions to the contrary, favoring this piece over the original "Gay Spirits." In any event, I would invite debate on this issue.

I should point out that the sister piece, the far better known "Holiday for Strings," has similarly been knocked around for all sorts of usage - I recently watched a choreographic sequence with Cyd Charisse using a version that had a few deviations - with such frequent re-usage, this is bound to occur. But I have encountered nothing with this piece such as I have with "Gay Spirits" and I would hope that the newer piece bearing that title but sharing little in common will never come to supplant the earlier one which I continue to regard as one of David Rose's most quintessential creations.

And I will add that in 1955, Mr. Rose made some changes in regard to "Holiday for Strings," regarding the reprise which was somewhat expanded, and a completely different ending, featuring a slight allusion to the middle section idea. It is still recognizably the same piece, with none of the total overhaul that occurred with "Gay Spirits." But in general, I prefer the more straightforward reprise of the earlier version.

William Zucker

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09 Sep

Next London Light Music Meetings Group meeting on October 9, 2016

Written by

  llmmg1

llmmg2

Our next Spring meeting will take place on Sunday 7th May 2017
and our special guest will be Sigmund Groven,
world famous virtuoso Norwegian harmonica player.

 

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06 Sep

Lap of Luxury

Written by

(Wally Stott)
Analysed by Robert Walton
[Written before the composer underwent a change of identity to Angela Morley]

Just mention the name Wally Stott/Angela Morley and that’s your guarantee of the highest quality music.

Read the article here...

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(Wally Stott)
Analysed by Robert Walton
[Written before the composer underwent a change of identity to Angela Morley]

Just mention the name Wally Stott/Angela Morley and that’s your guarantee of the highest quality music. And that’s not just in the orchestration department that was this composer’s first forte. Once ‘up and running’ with compositions for the Chappell Library, all Stott’s tunes just oozed with class from the word go. There was no stopping him after the first effort A Canadian in Mayfair inspired by his great hero Robert Farnon’s Portrait of a Flirt. Although unquestionably influenced by Farnon, Stott went on to develop a very personal style that became quickly established in the world of light music.

Take Lap of Luxury, for example, written in 1957. It might not have been immediately obvious but the model for this composition was Farnon’s Westminster Waltz even though Lap of Luxury was in 4/4 time. I must admit I never noticed this until I took a closer listen. The harmonies might have been more complex but there was no denying the spell of Farnon isn’t far away.

After a brief mysterious introduction and not wasting any time getting down to business, we go straight into the ravishing Lap of Luxury, effectively Westminster Waltz as a foxtrot. But not for long. The melody soon goes off on its own tangent aided by some rich chords giving the feeling of absolute opulence. One might say from ‘lush’ to plush! If this tune doesn’t give you goose pimples I don’t know what will. After two gorgeous jazzy chords we’re back to Westminster Waltz territory again with an oboe solo and much less tension. Completing the first chorus the strings in close harmony produce another dazzling display of pure diamond-studded glitz.

Taking a leaf out of Stott’s Tinkerbell, two bars of playful warm-up woodwind continue to play when the tune restarts enriching the proceedings. Climbing to a new key the final 16 bars only confirm his arranging prowess with his love of strings shining through.

The lack of a bridge doesn’t seem to matter, as some compositions just don’t need one. And the fact that there are virtually no filler passages is a tribute to such a strong tune that just playing it through does it full justice.

The Chappell recording of Lap of Luxury is available on the Guild CD “The Show Goes On” (GLCD 5149)

Robert Walton

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06 Sep

Tony Clayden acquires the record collection of the late Alan Bunting

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Alan Bunting, who passed away in January 2016, amassed a huge collection of CDs, LPs, ‘45’ and ‘78’ rpm records, all of which have now been purchased from Alan’s family by Tony Clayden.

Amongst several thousand items are a great number of light-orchestral recordings by Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, David Rose, David Carroll and many others. Some are in mint, unused condition, whilst many others had been pre-owned and were obtained by Alan from all over the world.

Also included is a very large collection of record catalogues, many dating-back to well before WW2, and a selection of music reference books.

These will all require a great deal of sorting-out, but eventually it is hoped to produce a definitive list.

In the meantime Tony invites preliminary enquiries from serious enthusiasts who are potentially interested in this material. He may be contacted as follows:-

by email - Send Tony an email
by telephone - 020-8449 5559 (from outside the UK +44 20 8449 5559)
by post - 49 Alexandra Road, Well End, BOREHAMWOOD, Hertfordshire, WD6 5PB, England.

 

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01 Sep

Wagner - 'The Ring' Without Words

Written by

ORCHESTRAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RING CYCLE

Berlin Philhamoniker / Lorin Maazel
Telarc CD80154

Richard Wagner (1813-83) is a “Marmite” musician –

Review by © Peter Burt 2016.

Read entire review here...

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26 Aug

Silent Night played by The Queens Hall Light Orchestra

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To celebrate STUDIOCANAL's 40th Anniversary 4K release of Nicolas Roeg's 'The Man Who Fell To Earth', starring David Bowie, UMC will be releasing for the first time in any format the original soundtrack, containing seminal pieces by Stomu Yamash'ta and John Phillips, who composed specifically for the film.

This long-awaited release is significant for the Robert Farnon Society only because it includes Silent Night played by The Queens Hall Light Orchestra, conducted by Robert Farnon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Fell-Earth/dp/B01J71M76C/ref=sr_1_1_twi_aud_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1472160225&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Man+Who+Fell+To+Earth+Soundtrack

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About Geoff 123
Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.