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."

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"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!

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If you fancy a weekend by the sea, and at the same time enjoy some light music, Morecambe is the place to be at the beginning of September. The late summer weekend organised by The Light Music Society is now a well established part of Britain’s light music scene, and each year it seems to get better. On Saturday 3 September the Society will hold its Annual General Meeting at Heysham Methodist Church at 11:00am, followed by lunch. At 2:00pm the LMS Orchestra will be rehearsing (members can observe) and there will be a talk and exhibition of Light Music Memorabilia. In the evening a Festival Dinner will be held at the Clarendon Hotel, Morecambe at which the guest speaker will be Philip Lane. On the Sunday morning the LMS Orchestra will have another rehearsal, with the concert taking place at The Platform, Morecambe at 3:00pm with Gavin Sutherland conducting. For more information please visit the LMS website – www.lightmusicsociety.com – or email the secretary, Hilary Ashton: 

If you are one of the many people now on Twitter, you’ll be glad to know that Debbie Wiseman posts regular updates about her latest work, albums and concerts on there. Her username (which you need to find the correct page!) is @wisemandebbie. On June 2nd Debbie is conducting a suite from "The Promise" at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Film Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Alan Willmott was delighted with the recent Dutton Epoch CD of film music by Doreen Carwithen (reviewed on page 59 of our last issue). She was the wife of William Alwyn and, although many of her film scores were for dramatic subjects, she also wrote the music for the British Transport Films travelogue "East Anglian Holiday" in 1954. Alan (who worked for British Transport Films) reckons that he must have screened it about 150 times, and it remains one of his particular favourites for its melodious score. Some years ago Alan mentioned this film to Philip Lane, who has reconstructed the score for this CD by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland. Alan is still active in documentary film circles: The London Film School of the University College of London is making a documentary about his work with the British Rail Cinema Coaches, and later this year Alan is planning presentations about Hammer Films (1957-1972) with a tribute to the late Ingrid Pitt, who he had the pleasure of meeting at various times. Music composers James Bernard, Malcolm Williamson and Harry Robinson will also be featured.

Brian Reynolds visited the Chelsea Flower Show on 27 May - but not to admire the flowers! He tells us: "I went to the Chelsea Flower Show primarily to hear one of the daily concerts by the band of the Guards Association. You'll be pleased to know that they played Robert Farnon's Jumping Bean. They had apparently only bought it a couple of days ago and, despite sight reading it, gave a very good performance to an audience of hundreds! Some of the parts had been reduced to the point of being barely legible, to get the music on one page - and the principal clarinet came over to me, exclaiming ‘How am I expected to read this - it's so small!’ Light music was clearly alive and well in Chelsea as there were quite a few pieces of light music in the concert, such as Jack Strachey's In Party Mood, Jack Coles' Mexican Serenade and Frederic Curzon's Robin Hood Suite."

The jury is still out regarding the BBC TV documentary "The Joy of Easy Listening", screened on BBC Four in May. David Ades had chatted with the producer the previous February, and he had gained the impression that the programme makers were unsure how light music should be mentioned – if at all. Apparently the first version of the show did try to place light music as part of the general popular music scene of the post-war period, but this section was later consigned to the cutting room floor. The documentary did pick up on the fact that "easy listening" began in the 50s with light orchestral music but skated over this period. Nevertheless Percy Faith got a good screening even thought it compared his appearance to that of a bank manager! Of Robert Farnon there was no mention alas, although Portrait Of A Flirt was heard at one point, but not identified. As Colin Mackenzie commented to us: "what do you expect when you have a plonker like Joseph Lanza involved in the early part of it? I took him to task in my Mantovani book about a couple of serious Mantovani errors he had made in his less than classic 1994 volume ‘Elevator Music’, but here he was again, this time telling us that it was Paul Weston who was the catalyst for all the orchestral music of the 50s. It's news to me. It was an irritating, rather condescending programme which tried to cover too much ground in an hour and a half, but there was some quite good footage of some old favourites. Mantovani even made an all too brief cameo at the start and, curiously, Charmaine was played as background to a film of 1960s rioting!" A highly respected BBC radio producer told Journal Into Melody that he found himself frequently shouting "NO!" at the screen in response to some of the comments from so-called ‘experts’. It is good that the BBC is trying to make its audience aware of something other than the classics or rock’n’roll, but "The Joy of Easy Listening" was merely a frothy 90 minutes which was enjoyable to watch for much of the time, but lost its way when it tried to be factual. Let’s hope that someone will one day make a series of television documentaries about light music that concentrates on the real composers and conductors who were involved, and ignores the likes of Englebert Humperdinck, James Last and The Carpenters. The 2005 BBC production "A Little Light Music" (expertly narrated by Brian Kay) was a good example of how light music can be covered in a television documentary, in a highly enjoyable and factually accurate manner. But this is such a wide subject that one occasional programme can only scratch the surface.

A record label in Japan has bought 20 tracks from Reader’s Digest to produce a CD of recordings by Rosemary Squires. No doubt they will include some of the marvellous arrangements that Angela Morley (then working as Wally Stott) did for her. There are still many collectors in Japan who enjoy quality popular music from 40-odd years ago, and Rosie’s CD should sell very well.

BBC Radio 3’s "Live In Concert" on Friday 10 June treated listeners to a superb programme of film music played by the BBC Philharmonic from their new studio in the BBC’s growing Salford complex. Conductor Robert Ziegler concentrated mainly on films from the USA, with John Williams’ Star Wars, Korngold’s Adventures of Robin Hood, Herrmann’s Taxi Driver and Vertigo, Elfman’s Batman and Badalamenti’s Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me. From Italy we heard a suite based on Nino Rota’s memorable themes for La Strada. But can anyone at the BBC explain why such a concert was broadcast at the same time as "Friday Night Is Music Night" on Radio 2? Goodness knows there are few opportunities to enjoy music like this on the radio these days, so why cannot those in charge of the schedules ensure that clashes like this do not happen. But there was a bonus! As well as being available the following week on the usual ‘Listen Again’ facility via the BBC website, UK viewers with Freeview who happened to tune in to channel 301 during the following week were treated to TV pictures of excerpts from the concert, screened at various times from 6:00am in the morning and repeated until the evening. This isn’t the first time that a radio concert has appeared unannounced in a TV version, so it is always worth wondering what may be lurking when you press the red button!

British members will be familiar with the magazine ‘Evergreen’. Anthony Wills writes to say that the summer edition has a feature on the popular vocal group The Stargazers, founded by Dick James in 1949, who in addition to a prolific career on radio became the first British group to top the British record charts in April 1953 with Broken Wings. There are also brief mentions of The Keynotes, The Johnston Brothers and The Cliff Adams Singers. A CD (C135) containing tracks recorded by The Keynotes and The Stargazers can obtained from Evergreen, PO Box 52, Cheltenham, GL50 1YQ for £9.95 inc. p & p (telephone 01242 515156 for credit card purchases). Evergreen is rather a good read. It is the size of the old Reader’s Digest magazine and comes out 4 times a year, price £3.75 (UK).

The letter from Sidney Torch reproduced in our last issue prompted American organist Lew Williams to send us a cutting from the Daily Mirror which reported that Torch had suffered an accident at the end of a performance in 1940 at the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn. Under a banner headline TRAPPED BY ORGAN – PLAYED ON the report stated that Sidney had trapped his foot between the steel-plated stage and his half-ton organ as it rose so that he could take a bow. This was at the end of his recital, but he simply bowed to the audience as usual and pressed a button to lower the organ which released his crushed foot. He then collapsed, saying "Look what I’ve done" and was taken to Willesden General Hospital, where it was discovered that he had broken a big toe and others were crushed. He was unable to play again for several weeks, and told the newspaper: "To think I’ve been going up and down on that organ for two and a half years and now this happens. I should have been used to it by now!" Lew says that it was the only organ he played regularly that had a turntable lift. The space allotted for the console lift was very small; indeed, the console had to be built to very narrow specifications. It sat on the turntable, and there wasn't space for a proper organ bench. A "Howard Seat" (two oblong pads to sit on, supported by a steel pipe anchored into an iron plate which slid under the backside of the pedal board) had to suffice. Lew used to think that the story might have been apocryphal, as it was long a part of cinema organ legend: "Oh, Sid caught his foot, that's why he stopped playing, etc." Torch himself never spoke of this event to anyone, as far as Lew knows. He tells us: "I myself played Kilburn in 1987, but by then, the console had been repositioned from the far right side of the pit to just under the chamber openings. One heard it much more clearly in that spot. Perhaps you know that Torch had a small speaker installed in the centre of the music rack. A feed from a microphone placed in front of the chambers enabled him to hear the organ more clearly, despite the considerable distance from the chambers across the auditorium." Lew Williams was a friend of Angela Morley when she was living in Scottsdale, and she used to visit to hear him play. He says: "Fortunately, the crowds keep coming to Organ Stop where I play, so the downturn in the economy hasn't really affected us at all. I guess it's a blessing to be able to work in Light Music in times such as these."

In the booklet notes with the recent Guild CD "Bright and Breezy", mention is made of the few discrete passages in "South Of The Alps" where an organ is heard. This is usually absent in later recordings, where woodwinds often take over the organ passages. Ralph Harvey has confirmed to us that the organist on these 1937 German HMV 78s is actually the composer of the suite, Ernst Fischer. He used the pseudonym ‘Marcel Palotti’ for his organ recordings, many of which were once available in Britain on Parlophone.

Debbie Wiseman MBE will be conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a special festive concert in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign – "The Magic of Christmas". This takes place on Sunday 4 December at London’s Cadogan Hall, commencing at 3:30 pm. Debbie will be joined by presenter Simon Bates, and special guests Nigel Havers, Cherie Lunghi, George Layton, James Loynes, Gary Lineker and Sir Bobby Charlton. The magical programme will be suitable for all the family, with Christmas favourites such as The Nutcracker Suite, Sleigh Ride and White Christmas alongside Debbie Wiseman’s own lyrical setting of Oscar Wilde’s fairy story The Selfish Giant. Telephone bookings - 020 7730 4500; online bookings – www.cadoganhall.com

We continue to receive comments from readers in praise of Angel Radio, which is based in the south of England. If you are on the south coast roughly between West Sussex and East Dorset you may be able to receive it on your digital radio, but if you have internet access visit www.angelradio.co.uk. It was the first community radio station to be honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Many hospital radios also benefit from tireless volunteers, and our committee member Chris Money is involved with Radio St Helier, at the St Helier Hospital in Carshalton, Surrey. In the past Chris has interviewed John Fox on his regular Light Music programme.

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Back in June (JIM 188, page 11) we wished our good friend Nick Farries well in his future endeavours, following the sale of Carlin Music. At our recent London meeting we learned from David Farnon that Nick is setting up again in London, and David’s son Tom is also getting involved with him. Nick has promised to let us know more about his exciting plans next year!

In our last issue Jim Palm asked if anyone knew the date of a broadcast in celebration of Sidney Torch’s 80th birthday (page 18). David Daniels was quick off the mark with the information that the date was 10 July 1988 – around six weeks after his actual birthday which was 5 June.

Boosey & Hawkes Production Music has now been rebranded as Imagem Production Music. Their address is still: Alywych House, 71-91 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4HN.

In David Ades’ report of his "Light Fantastic" experiences in our last issue (page 64) he mentioned I Concentrate On You which had been arranged by Robert Farnon. We have now learned that this did not come from the libraries of Ted Heath or Geraldo, but was one of two scores that Bob did for the publishers – it was intended that there would be a whole series of such numbers, but in the event only two were completed.

Many readers will have discovered Brian Reynolds' website http://www.mastersofmelody.co.uk/ which gives accounts of the careers of many musical directors, often accompanied by actual radio programmes by their orchestras, to which you can listen. Now Brian has a YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MastersofMelody1 which features hundreds of his video recordings made at bandstands - brass bands, military bands and a considerable amount of light orchestral material from three orchestras which used to play on bandstands until fairly recently. Of particular interest to members of this society will be Romando and his Gypsy Orchestra whose vast repertoire of music from the turn of the last century to the early sixties will reveal many long forgotten delights. In similar vein are the repertoires of the Ladies' Palm Court Orchestra (Ann Adams) and the London Theatre Orchestra (Peter Civil). You can either type the names of these orchestras in to Google or go to the above URL and type the orchestra/ band name into the search box, whereupon you will have all their videos at your fingertips. There is everything from the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band and the Grenadier Guards to the Charleston Chasers!

Andre Leon, boss of UK LightRadio is still working to hard to launch his internet radio station on a permanent basis, and his latest press release announces further progress. From 6 November two hours of UKLR output have been broadcast by Radio Six International on Sunday afternoons, from 4:00pm GMT onwards. Hopefully these will still be available by the time this magazine is published; the site to visit is– www.radiosix.com

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Following the great success of his “MGM Prom” last year, John Wilson and his hand-picked orchestra of top musicians will performing again at London’s Royal Albert Hall on the afternoon of Sunday 22 August commencing at 4:00 pm. This time John turns the spotlight on the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein with selections from great shows such as “The Sound Of Music”, “Carousel”, “The King And I”, “Flower Drum Song” and “Oklahoma!” The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and will be recorded by BBC Two for a television broadcast on Saturday 28 August. The concert is expected to last around 90 minutes, and singers will include Kim Criswell, Anna Jane Casey, Julian Ovenden and Rod Gilfry with the Maida Vale Singers.

If you live in or around London you may want to be at the Cadogan Hall on Tuesday 22 June at 7.30pm. Three of our leading composer/conductors will be on the podium in front of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert which includes the premiere of Adrian Sutton’s Suite taken from the music for the play “War Horse”. Other highlights include Geoffrey Burgon’s “Brideshead Revisited”, Nigel Hess’ Suite “The Food of Love” and Christopher Gunning’s “Oboe Concerto”, with the solo performed by his daughter Verity. Nigel Hess, Christopher Gunning and Gavin Sutherland are the distinguished conductors, and the box office is 020 7730 4500.

On 5 February “Friday Night Is Music Night” was devoted to the music of Angela Morley. The BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by Keith Lockhart, who is the current principal conductor of the Boston ‘Pops’ Orchestra, which often commissioned special arrangements from Angela. Several from the orchestra’s library were included in the programme. Another special feature was extracts arranged by Angela for the musical “The Good Companions” by Andre Previn and Johnny Mercer. Among the works featured were: Tara theme from “Gone With The Wind”, A Canadian In Mayfair, My Funny Valentine, themes from “The Quiet Man”, Music Of The Night, Keehar’s theme from “Watership Down”, Main title and love theme from “Superman” (Angela assisted John Williams on several of his most famous film scores), Lover, Christmas Song, Oblivion, Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing, Laura, No One Is Alone and Waltz from “Slipper And The Rose”. Angela’s partner. Christine Parker, heard the broadcast via the internet and she told us: “You can imagine my pride in this latest grand homage covering so much of the gamut of her work, and of course I wept a bit; just the grandeur of the orchestra sound in Tara got me going, and I was happy they chose the Slipper and the Rose Waltz as a finale. When you think how her career went from Geraldo through Dusty Springfield, Noel Coward and Mel Torme all the way to Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, it's staggering, isn't it! They just couldn't resist quoting Harry Secombe's tasteless joke again unfortunately. Still, it was gratifying to hear the tremendous applause after certain items, like Oblivion. It was quite a coup getting Keith Lockhart to conduct: that way they could have access to the Boston Pops Library. I'm so glad the Beeb pulled out all the stops!” A short while after the concert, Keith Lockhart sent a personal message to Chris: “Bridget Apps, the BBC producer, was kind enough to forward me your email. I'm glad you enjoyed the tribute to Angela's music (except for the Harry Secombe line, which I was shocked that they used, honestly). I didn't have the privilege of knowing Angela well, but was the beneficiary of her beautiful creations, both of my own commissions with the Pops and through my associations with Mel and John Williams. It was an honour to bring all of those beautiful settings together on one programme.”

Although we are sure that many RFS members have read and enjoyed publications from Reader’s Digest over the ages, it is perhaps their light orchestral records that have delighted us the most. In their most productive period from the 1960s onwards, conductors and arrangers such as Robert Farnon, Angela Morley and many others using pseudonyms created some beautiful music, often recorded in London. Therefore the news earlier this year that Reader’s Digest was in serious financial difficulties will have saddened many of us. Did it mean the end of those lovely recordings, and the frequent letters telling us that we might have won £300,000 in their latest draw (even if we didn’t buy the products they were trying to sell us)? It seems that the huge hole in their pension fund was the main reason for the financial meltdown. It seems that someone has come to their rescue – at least the British operation; surely there must be some real value in all that Reader’s Digest has achieved during its long history.

Kevin Stapylton has reminded us that the Decca versions of Robert Farnon’s "Portrait of a Flirt" were different on the “Journey into Melody” 10 inch LP and the later 12 inch "Melody Fair". The latter version is the most widely known, and is the same as on the original Decca 78 by the Kingsway Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bob. The other version (on the 10” LP) would have drifted into obscurity were it not for Mike Dutton who has put the lesser-known take of this piece on to his bargain-price CD "Fingerbustin’”. Presumably it was an alternative take at the same session. If RFS members want to ensure that their Farnon collections are as complete as possible, they should know that the Dutton CD is an essential ‘must have’ - if only for that rare track!

A shock ran through the music business in February when it was suggested in the press that the famous Abbey Road studios might be sold by EMI, who are trying to reduce their considerable debts. The story was quickly denied, but the situation – as they say – is ‘fluid’. There was one report that the National Trust might launch an appeal to buy the famous studios. No doubt this story will surface again, and goodness knows what the position will be by the time this news appears in print. One headline ran: “Abbey Road for sale – zebra crossing not included”!

Terence Gilmore-Jones writes to say that the 2009 Centenary of his wife’s father, Mansel Thomas (1909-1986) went well, and in response to suggestions from friends and admirers special events are being extended into June this year. Ideally they would like to see some of his compositions appear on a CD, particularly the Six Welsh Dances, Breton Suite and Variations on a Nursery Rhyme – Polly Put The Kettle On. They are part of a popular group Mansel wrote for the BBC Welsh Orchestra when he was their Principal Conductor following the Second World War.

Members will recall reading about Nicola Farnon in previous magazines. In a recent message she updates us on her current activities: “I was regularly in touch with Robert Farnon - on the phone and in letters - until his death and he really was fantastically encouraging and brilliantly enthusiastic as ever - right up until the end. I'm still gigging and recording up and down the country and people can still get to see what I'm up to on my website - www.nicolafarnonmusic.com. I also have a new project that might interest some members.... It is entitled Nicola Farnon and The Divas of Song and basically covers the wonderful ladies of swing (Ella, Anita, Bessie Smith, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone and many more - and touches slightly on soul with Aretha Franklyn and Dusty Springfield) and spans from the 1930s to the 1960s and includes the hits they had, some anecdotes and wonderful arrangements for a six piece band (which of course includes me on double bass and vocals!). It has a website with more information at www.divasofsong.co.uk. I'm still ‘oop Narth’ in Sheffield(!) and the girls are now eleven and nine years old and blossoming into beauties.... of course I am biased! But I do get down south most holidays to visit mum in Wiltshire. At most gigs I get people coming up to ask if I'm related to the late great Bob Farnon and the more I hear and learn about him and listen to his wonderful music the more proud I feel that he is a relative (my dad's cousin to be precise - their fathers were brothers who left Ireland at the turn of the century for Canada and my dad's father came back to England) and that he must be somewhere in my genes!”

Thanks to Philip Farlow (who seems to know all the right people!) another ‘lost’ recording of a “Canada Show” broadcast is now safely tucked away in the RFS archives. Members heard an extract at the recent London meeting. The show actually dates from just after the end of the Second World War – it went out live from the Queensbury Club on the AEF Programme on Monday 9 July 1945. Captain Bob Farnon and the Canadian Band of the AEF were joined by the harpist Mario ‘Harp’ Lorenzi, with comperes Gerry Wilmot and Wilf Davidson: the announcer was Dick Misener and the featured vocalists Paul Carpenter, Joanne Dallas and Gerry Travers.. The programme included Trolley Song (Chorus), Idaho, Robin Hood (Paul Carpenter), Poet and Peasant (Mario Lorenzi), Cherokee, Too Much In Love (Joanne Dallas), Stairway To The Stars, The Men of Harlech (Mario Lorenzi), Loch Lomond (Mario Lorenzi), Poinciana (Gerry Travers and chorus).

We hope our UK members noticed the schedules for BBC Four on Easter Sunday. In one of the rare treats, for which this channel is now becoming recognised, was a tribute to American songwriter Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics to around 1,500 songs – many of them among the finest of the last century. Even if you didn’t watch just for Johnny himself, the never-ending film clips and interviews with the stars were sheer bliss for those of us of ‘a certain age’. The producers must have had a real headache securing the rights and no doubt paying substantial fees for all the vintage recordings used – but how it was all so worth while! This BBC co-production (Clint Eastwood was the main producer) included British material, and it was good to see snatches of interviews with Michael Parkinson and Humphrey Lyttleton. As a bonus the following programme was a repeat of a BBC show from 1974 in which Johnny was ‘In Concert’ with the Harry Roche Constellation.

On 16 April “Friday Night Is Music Night” had an Indian theme, and the BBC Concert Orchestra wanted to perform Robert Farnon’s Taj Mahal. Unfortunately it was not possible to locate the score; possibly it may have been one of those lost in the disastrous Chappell fire in 1964.

If you attended our London meeting in April 2009 you will have had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie Cullerne and Gilles Gouset. They are understandably excited about new CDs of Haydn Wood’s music, and we recently received the following report from them. “It is with great confidence that we announce the long awaited CD release of Haydn Wood's Violin Concerto (1928). Many of you will remember the thrill you had listening to Haydn Wood's Violin Concerto on BBC Radio 3 in 2008, with soloist Tasmin Little, and Gavin Sutherland conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra. At last, the concerto has been recorded by Dutton Epoch in October 2009, with soloist Lorraine McAslan, and an ever-so-devoted Gavin Sutherland and the BBC Concert Orchestra. The CD includes yet another thrill – Haydn Wood's long-forgotten Adagio for Violin and Orchestra (1905), the manuscript of which we found languishing at the BBC Music Library. If you love Haydn Wood's light music, you'll love his serious music. He always remained true to his own style – beautiful melody, consummate orchestral writing, with sophisticated and elegant harmonies floating easily one into the other. He was from his early twenties totally at home writing big forms; the Adagio dates from 1905, around the same time he wrote his symphony and his piano concerto. Lorraine McAslan's grand and sweet-toned virtuosity admirably suits the Violin Concerto, and her sensitivity captures the dreamy, caressing mood of the Adagio. The CD also includes Lionel Sainsbury's Violin Concerto (1989). You can read all details about the Dutton Epoch CD on the Dutton web page. And if you love Haydn Wood's songs, you still can purchase our CD ‘A Breezy Ballad’, 24 songs and ballads of Haydn Wood.”

Tony Bennett was featured in several UK newspaper articles in mid-April. The Daily Telegraph included a reference to his work with Robert Farnon: “The rock and pop revolution of the Sixties eclipsed the jazz music he loved and the kind of songs that had defined Bennett’s career, and Columbia Records pressurised him to record contemporary pop hits. The final straw was his 1970 album Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today! - a commercial and artistic catastrophe. It prompted a split with Columbia, and while Bennett experimented with his own label, Improv, and cut a pair of well-received albums with jazz pianist Bill Evans, the end of the Seventies found him without a record deal and facing career burn-out. A cocaine habit didn’t help. Bennett strenuously plays down this low period now, insisting that he came to England and found a new lease of life collaborating with composer and arranger Robert Farnon. ‘Columbia promoted the idea that my career went down and my records stopped selling,’ he claims. ‘I had the greatest time of my life in England for a couple of years, and Robert Farnon made some of the best music I’ve ever been around.’ 'Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook Vol. 1’ was released on Sony on Apr 19.”

Geoff Sheldon. Chairman of the Eric Coates Society tells us that they are now working on a follow-up concert in view of the success of last year’s “Eric Coates – The Man and his Music”. On October 16th a concert entitled “Eric Coates and Other Music” will feature Peter Dempsey and Guy Rowlands, The Nottinghamshire Police Band and the Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir. Geoff is especially looking forward to hearing the Police Band play Men of Trent, which Eric Coates composed for them. They still have the original manuscript supplied by Coates. The venue will again be the Central Methodist Chapel in Hucknall, some 500 yards from ‘Tenter Hill’, the house where Eric Coates spent his formative years and began his music lessons.

The Editor is always delighted when RFS members make suggestions for new features in our magazine. A recent note from Philip Farlow certainly rekindled happy memories for him of buying precious 78s 60 years ago. At the time David Ades was a schoolboy living in Leigh-on-Sea, and ‘his’ record shop was Hodges and Johnson, although you had to weave your way through the pianos to reach the small room at the back where the records were kept. If you wanted to hear them an elderly gentleman would put them on a record player, often managing to skate the pickup over the first few grooves! Were your experiences similar? Here’s what Philip suggests: “How about appealing in Jumping Bean for readers to write about their early days of record collecting; not so much what was bought but from the angle of where they actually bought records from. All the original type of record outlets like music shops, radio TV and electrical stores and other unlikely places that retailed records have now all but disappeared. These places were often full of original character, many going back to the twenties and before, employing a whole variety of respected (or otherwise) characters of largely varying vintages. The larger chains and music shops generally had a proper record department with permanent knowledgeable staff - whilst in smaller towns and particularly in radio, TV and electrical stores one often found records resigned to a corner, upstairs, downstairs or anywhere they could be shuffled to, with just a Saturday assistant dealing with all and sundry - perhaps not very well. Being even in my early days of technical inquisitiveness it never ceased to intrigue me the different number of ways there were to audition records. I recall converted radiograms playing 'out loud' into the department, record players on counters, corridors leading to quite large separated rooms connected to record players under the control of the counter staff and of course record booths, some self operative and others operated from the counter. I always thought that the ultimate sophistication was the 'Record Browserie', one of which operated with a fair degree of success on the premises of radio and TV dealer Wisehill and Field in my home town of Andover, Hampshire. This was opened in the mid 1950's by none other than the then BBC Showband pianist Bill McGuffie who afterwards entertained patrons of the White Hart Hotel late into the evening with his unique jazz/cocktail style of the time. All kinds of self operative record playing was of course open to mis-use. In Record Browseries you had at your disposal all of the stock and if unobserved you could spend a good long time 'wearing out' your favourites and not being obliged to buy anything. I also know of stories connected with records being bought at smaller stores and, dying to hear one's latest purchase before the journey home they were taken into much larger stores where they could be played in self operated booths without anyone being any the wiser!”

Members of the RFS who live in the area of North-West England served by BBC Radio Cumbria will know that Harry King hosts a regular programme devoted mainly to music from the middle years of the 20th century. For his evening show on bank holiday Monday, 3 May, he invited three Robert Farnon Society members to join him. Alan Bunting explained the mysteries of digital sound restoration, with some fascinating examples of ‘before and after’; Brian Reynolds recalled the glory days of ‘Music While You Work’; and David Ades talked about Robert Farnon and other light music personalities. David’s contribution was recorded at the BBC studios in Taunton on 21 April, but it is hoped that it sounded like he was actually in the Cumbria studio with Harry. There was plenty of light music throughout the show, which could be heard live throughout the world on the internet on the BBC website. The programme was also available via the ‘Listen Again’ facility for seven days after the original broadcast. We hope that many members will have spotted the news in advance on our own website on the ‘Latest News’ page. If you have internet facilities, you should regularly visit www.rfsoc.org.uk to pick up any latest news items.

JOHN FOX : MY MUSICAL WORLD
Published by Eloquent Books (USA) Hardback 375 pages ISBN 978-1-60860-302-2
We know that this autobiography has been a labour of love for John Fox stretching back several years. The fact that it has now been published should be a measure of great satisfaction for him, since it represents a considerable achievement. John has documented the trials and tribulations – as well as the many highs – of being a musician during the 20th century. Not many people have managed to make a career out of music, and it is immeasurably more difficult today since the many broadcasting orchestras around the world have all but disappeared. Once upon a time professional musicians represented a significant number of the workforce, but not any more. As well as being a fascinating study of life as a musician, John has also allowed us into his personal life, and his ‘Wishes’ and ‘Hopes’ towards the end of his book indicate that he is being honest with his readers. Warmly recommended!

British RFS Members Hear One Of Robert Farnon’s Last Works
Members at our 2010 Spring meeting in London were the first outside North America to hear one of the last works composed by Robert Farnon.
In Journal Into Melody 165 (September 2005) Dr. Stanley Saunders, in his article “Robert Farnon – Genius and Humility: A Canadian Perspective”, gave the background details of how the work “American Wind Symphony – The Gaels” was commissioned by Professor Darryl Bott, Assistant Director Of Bands at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA on behalf of the award-winning Honors Wind Symphony at Roxbury High School, New Jersey..
Dr. Saunders explained: “In several discussions with me about instrumentation, musical clefs, notation and so on regarding this new multi-movement work, Robert was particularly enthusiastic about the use of the Celtic drums that play an important part in the ‘Finale’ of the Wind Symphony. The knowledge that Robert played percussion in the Toronto Symphony Junior Orchestra at the age of twelve, and that he was a drummer in his brother Brian’s band for three years, clearly demonstrated his passion and continued interest in percussion.”
The premiere of this work took place at Roxbury High School on 25 May 2006 with RFS member Dr. Stanley Saunders conducting the Wind Band. It is this performance that RFS members heard on 28 March. The programme notes for the occasion were printed in JIM 170 (December 2006) so need not be reprinted here. However Dr. Saunders has kindly sent us a Review of the premiere, from which you will note that Robert Farnon’s inspiration was the many Scots and Irish who immigrated to the USA, taking their musical heritage with them.

Review
The world premiere of the American Wind Symphony: The Gaels composed by the celebrated composer, Robert Farnon, was presented on the evening of Thursday, May 25, 2006 in the 1500 seat Roxbury High School Auditorium at Succasunna, New Jersey. The composition and the performance received a standing ovation that demanded the final section of the Symphony to be repeated. The Gala Celebration Concert was the culminating event of the weeklong highly successful Artist in Residence biennial programme that is an essential part of the Arts Festival.
American Wind Symphony: The Gaels is dedicated by the composer to Dr. Stanley Saunders, the 2006 Artist in Residence, who conducted the premiere performance. The work is scored for piccolo; Flutes 1 and 2; Oboes 1 and 2; Clarinets 1, 2, and 3; alto clarinet; bass clarinet; bassoons 1 and 2; alto saxophone I and 2; tenor saxophone 1 and 2; baritone saxophone; French horns 1, 2, 3, and 4; Trumpets 1, 2, and 3; trombones I, 2, and 3; euphoniums I, 2, and 3; tubas; string bass; and a percussion section that consists of piano, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, celeste, bells, chimes, wind chimes, tambour, triangle, tambourine, tam-tam, small and large cymbals, snare drum, bass drum, sand block, finger cymbals, and Scottish side drum.
The Roxbury High School Honors Wind Symphony, Roxbury High School, Succasunna, New Jersey, USA, Director, Mr. Todd Nichols, commissioned the work. Professor Darryl Bott, Former Director, who now teaches at Rutgers University, New Jersey, made the arrangements.
The Honors Wind Symphony consisting of fifty-seven chosen instrumentalists has earned an outstanding reputation over the last decade and is regarded as one of the foremost wind ensembles in the United States. The ensemble has been selected as the Grand Champion Winner at Festivals in many States including Virginia, Ohio, Washington, D.C.as well as International Festivals including Toronto, Ontario, Canada—the birthplace of the composer. In addition, the Ensemble has performed at the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, the Carnegie Hall in New York City and other prestigious performing venues.
The opening section of the composition, Introduction, started with a crescendo roll throughout the percussion section, which heralded a spirited and delineated fanfare-like section in the brass based on a phrase from Scotland the Brave. A lyrical, flowing melody followed in the low reed and brass instruments above which a florid woodwind counterpoint was woven that was complimented by percussion colourations. A ‘lento’ section that featured the keyboards and mallet instruments along with solo flute and bassoon, led to the second section, The Warriors. A quiet, solo timpani roll introduced this ‘Allegro’ section with pyramid-like entries in the muted brass in triple metre. This triple-metre passage increased in volume and intensity as other instruments made their entries. This portion of the work subsided both in tempo and in dynamics with a flute solo followed by a keyboard link that transformed the mood from one of tension to a feeling of peace that continued throughout section three, The Lament: Emerald Isle. This moving melody was presented in antiphonal four-bar phrases throughout the wind ensemble. The modulating sequences played by the clarinets and saxophones continued with a quickening of pace. This passage was followed by a sudden change of mood that illumed Farnon’s great skill and ingenuity in orchestration as the high woodwinds floated breezily along while the whole percussion section provided shimmering and scintillating contrapuntal embellishments. The whole ensemble then made a spirited entry with staccato utterances from the low brass and tam tam [gong] leading into section four, Battle Cry. This rousing ‘presto’ section clearly depicted the Warriors as they prepared for action. A soft roll in the percussion followed by a sustained tone in the French horns and low reeds led to section five, The Lassie. During this part of the composition, one could almost see and smell the heather of the Highlands as the solo piccolo quietly played the main theme in brisk fashion accompanied by the captivation rhythm of the Scottish side drum. The work increased in excitement and intensity as other sections of the wind ensemble joined in. Section six, Bluebells, was announced in an unusual 5/4 metre, while the contrasting The Lassie theme continued in the piccolo, flutes, oboe, and keyboards as a dancing filigree counterpoint. The main theme, Bluebells, continued but has now reverted to its more familiar quadruple metre. The Introduction music now reappeared in full dress and section seven, Scotland the Brave, was announced in ‘vivace’ fashion by the trumpet section against an invigorating triplet figure in the high woodwinds, mallet, and keyboard instruments. The dance-like figure made its final, furious appearance at a ‘presto’ tempo and the thrilling build up concluded in stirring fashion with solo timpani and full ensemble presenting a dramatic climax.
Robert Farnon’s seven-part composition, An American Wind Symphony: The Gaels is a perfect symphonic wind ensemble setting that reflects the history of The Gaels both at Roxbury High School and throughout the ages. The composition has programmatic aspects that are reflected in the Celtic melodies upon which the work is based, yet it still retained an overriding sense of formal splendour and majesty.
The performance received an exciting and passionate reading by both conductor and performers that not only brought to life the musical history of the past but also reflected the greatness and the versatility of the genius of the composer, Robert Farnon.
(The author of this review has not been disclosed to us).

Following the great success of his “MGM Prom” last year, John Wilson and his hand-picked orchestra of top musicians will performing again at London’s Royal Albert Hall on the afternoon of Sunday 22 August commencing at 4:00 pm. This time John turns the spotlight on the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein with selections from great shows such as “The Sound Of Music”, “Carousel”, “The King And I”, “Flower Drum Song” and “Oklahoma!” The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and will be recorded by BBC Two for a television broadcast on Saturday 28 August. The concert is expected to last around 90 minutes, and singers will include Kim Criswell, Anna Jane Casey, Julian Ovenden and Rod Gilfry with the Maida Vale Singers.

If you live in or around London you may want to be at the Cadogan Hall on Tuesday 22 June at 7.30pm. Three of our leading composer/conductors will be on the podium in front of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert which includes the premiere of Adrian Sutton’s Suite taken from the music for the play “War Horse”. Other highlights include Geoffrey Burgon’s “Brideshead Revisited”, Nigel Hess’ Suite “The Food of Love” and Christopher Gunning’s “Oboe Concerto”, with the solo performed by his daughter Verity. Nigel Hess, Christopher Gunning and Gavin Sutherland are the distinguished conductors, and the box office is 020 7730 4500.

On 5 February “Friday Night Is Music Night” was devoted to the music of Angela Morley. The BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by Keith Lockhart, who is the current principal conductor of the Boston ‘Pops’ Orchestra, which often commissioned special arrangements from Angela. Several from the orchestra’s library were included in the programme. Another special feature was extracts arranged by Angela for the musical “The Good Companions” by Andre Previn and Johnny Mercer. Among the works featured were: Tara theme from “Gone With The Wind”, A Canadian In Mayfair, My Funny Valentine, themes from “The Quiet Man”, Music Of The Night, Keehar’s theme from “Watership Down”, Main title and love theme from “Superman” (Angela assisted John Williams on several of his most famous film scores), Lover, Christmas Song, Oblivion, Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing, Laura, No One Is Alone and Waltz from “Slipper And The Rose”. Angela’s partner. Christine Parker, heard the broadcast via the internet and she told us: “You can imagine my pride in this latest grand homage covering so much of the gamut of her work, and of course I wept a bit; just the grandeur of the orchestra sound in Tara got me going, and I was happy they chose the Slipper and the Rose Waltz as a finale. When you think how her career went from Geraldo through Dusty Springfield, Noel Coward and Mel Torme all the way to Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, it's staggering, isn't it! They just couldn't resist quoting Harry Secombe's tasteless joke again unfortunately. Still, it was gratifying to hear the tremendous applause after certain items, like Oblivion. It was quite a coup getting Keith Lockhart to conduct: that way they could have access to the Boston Pops Library. I'm so glad the Beeb pulled out all the stops!” A short while after the concert, Keith Lockhart sent a personal message to Chris: “Bridget Apps, the BBC producer, was kind enough to forward me your email. I'm glad you enjoyed the tribute to Angela's music (except for the Harry Secombe line, which I was shocked that they used, honestly). I didn't have the privilege of knowing Angela well, but was the beneficiary of her beautiful creations, both of my own commissions with the Pops and through my associations with Mel and John Williams. It was an honour to bring all of those beautiful settings together on one programme.”

Although we are sure that many RFS members have read and enjoyed publications from Reader’s Digest over the ages, it is perhaps their light orchestral records that have delighted us the most. In their most productive period from the 1960s onwards, conductors and arrangers such as Robert Farnon, Angela Morley and many others using pseudonyms created some beautiful music, often recorded in London. Therefore the news earlier this year that Reader’s Digest was in serious financial difficulties will have saddened many of us. Did it mean the end of those lovely recordings, and the frequent letters telling us that we might have won £300,000 in their latest draw (even if we didn’t buy the products they were trying to sell us)? It seems that the huge hole in their pension fund was the main reason for the financial meltdown. It seems that someone has come to their rescue – at least the British operation; surely there must be some real value in all that Reader’s Digest has achieved during its long history.

Kevin Stapylton has reminded us that the Decca versions of Robert Farnon’s "Portrait of a Flirt" were different on the “Journey into Melody” 10 inch LP and the later 12 inch "Melody Fair". The latter version is the most widely known, and is the same as on the original Decca 78 by the Kingsway Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bob. The other version (on the 10” LP) would have drifted into obscurity were it not for Mike Dutton who has put the lesser-known take of this piece on to his bargain-price CD "Fingerbustin’”. Presumably it was an alternative take at the same session. If RFS members want to ensure that their Farnon collections are as complete as possible, they should know that the Dutton CD is an essential ‘must have’ - if only for that rare track!

A shock ran through the music business in February when it was suggested in the press that the famous Abbey Road studios might be sold by EMI, who are trying to reduce their considerable debts. The story was quickly denied, but the situation – as they say – is ‘fluid’. There was one report that the National Trust might launch an appeal to buy the famous studios. No doubt this story will surface again, and goodness knows what the position will be by the time this news appears in print. One headline ran: “Abbey Road for sale – zebra crossing not included”!

Terence Gilmore-Jones writes to say that the 2009 Centenary of his wife’s father, Mansel Thomas (1909-1986) went well, and in response to suggestions from friends and admirers special events are being extended into June this year. Ideally they would like to see some of his compositions appear on a CD, particularly the Six Welsh Dances, Breton Suite and Variations on a Nursery Rhyme – Polly Put The Kettle On. They are part of a popular group Mansel wrote for the BBC Welsh Orchestra when he was their Principal Conductor following the Second World War.

Members will recall reading about Nicola Farnon in previous magazines. In a recent message she updates us on her current activities: “I was regularly in touch with Robert Farnon - on the phone and in letters - until his death and he really was fantastically encouraging and brilliantly enthusiastic as ever - right up until the end. I'm still gigging and recording up and down the country and people can still get to see what I'm up to on my website - www.nicolafarnonmusic.com. I also have a new project that might interest some members.... It is entitled Nicola Farnon and The Divas of Song and basically covers the wonderful ladies of swing (Ella, Anita, Bessie Smith, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone and many more - and touches slightly on soul with Aretha Franklyn and Dusty Springfield) and spans from the 1930s to the 1960s and includes the hits they had, some anecdotes and wonderful arrangements for a six piece band (which of course includes me on double bass and vocals!). It has a website with more information at www.divasofsong.co.uk. I'm still ‘oop Narth’ in Sheffield(!) and the girls are now eleven and nine years old and blossoming into beauties.... of course I am biased! But I do get down south most holidays to visit mum in Wiltshire. At most gigs I get people coming up to ask if I'm related to the late great Bob Farnon and the more I hear and learn about him and listen to his wonderful music the more proud I feel that he is a relative (my dad's cousin to be precise - their fathers were brothers who left Ireland at the turn of the century for Canada and my dad's father came back to England) and that he must be somewhere in my genes!”

Thanks to Philip Farlow (who seems to know all the right people!) another ‘lost’ recording of a “Canada Show” broadcast is now safely tucked away in the RFS archives. Members heard an extract at the recent London meeting. The show actually dates from just after the end of the Second World War – it went out live from the Queensbury Club on the AEF Programme on Monday 9 July 1945. Captain Bob Farnon and the Canadian Band of the AEF were joined by the harpist Mario ‘Harp’ Lorenzi, with comperes Gerry Wilmot and Wilf Davidson: the announcer was Dick Misener and the featured vocalists Paul Carpenter, Joanne Dallas and Gerry Travers.. The programme included Trolley Song (Chorus), Idaho, Robin Hood (Paul Carpenter), Poet and Peasant (Mario Lorenzi), Cherokee, Too Much In Love (Joanne Dallas), Stairway To The Stars, The Men of Harlech (Mario Lorenzi), Loch Lomond (Mario Lorenzi), Poinciana (Gerry Travers and chorus).

We hope our UK members noticed the schedules for BBC Four on Easter Sunday. In one of the rare treats, for which this channel is now becoming recognised, was a tribute to American songwriter Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics to around 1,500 songs – many of them among the finest of the last century. Even if you didn’t watch just for Johnny himself, the never-ending film clips and interviews with the stars were sheer bliss for those of us of ‘a certain age’. The producers must have had a real headache securing the rights and no doubt paying substantial fees for all the vintage recordings used – but how it was all so worth while! This BBC co-production (Clint Eastwood was the main producer) included British material, and it was good to see snatches of interviews with Michael Parkinson and Humphrey Lyttleton. As a bonus the following programme was a repeat of a BBC show from 1974 in which Johnny was ‘In Concert’ with the Harry Roche Constellation.

On 16 April “Friday Night Is Music Night” had an Indian theme, and the BBC Concert Orchestra wanted to perform Robert Farnon’s Taj Mahal. Unfortunately it was not possible to locate the score; possibly it may have been one of those lost in the disastrous Chappell fire in 1964.

If you attended our London meeting in April 2009 you will have had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie Cullerne and Gilles Gouset. They are understandably excited about new CDs of Haydn Wood’s music, and we recently received the following report from them. “It is with great confidence that we announce the long awaited CD release of Haydn Wood's Violin Concerto (1928). Many of you will remember the thrill you had listening to Haydn Wood's Violin Concerto on BBC Radio 3 in 2008, with soloist Tasmin Little, and Gavin Sutherland conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra. At last, the concerto has been recorded by Dutton Epoch in October 2009, with soloist Lorraine McAslan, and an ever-so-devoted Gavin Sutherland and the BBC Concert Orchestra. The CD includes yet another thrill – Haydn Wood's long-forgotten Adagio for Violin and Orchestra (1905), the manuscript of which we found languishing at the BBC Music Library. If you love Haydn Wood's light music, you'll love his serious music. He always remained true to his own style – beautiful melody, consummate orchestral writing, with sophisticated and elegant harmonies floating easily one into the other. He was from his early twenties totally at home writing big forms; the Adagio dates from 1905, around the same time he wrote his symphony and his piano concerto. Lorraine McAslan's grand and sweet-toned virtuosity admirably suits the Violin Concerto, and her sensitivity captures the dreamy, caressing mood of the Adagio. The CD also includes Lionel Sainsbury's Violin Concerto (1989). You can read all details about the Dutton Epoch CD on the Dutton web page. And if you love Haydn Wood's songs, you still can purchase our CD ‘A Breezy Ballad’, 24 songs and ballads of Haydn Wood.”

Tony Bennett was featured in several UK newspaper articles in mid-April. The Daily Telegraph included a reference to his work with Robert Farnon: “The rock and pop revolution of the Sixties eclipsed the jazz music he loved and the kind of songs that had defined Bennett’s career, and Columbia Records pressurised him to record contemporary pop hits. The final straw was his 1970 album Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today! - a commercial and artistic catastrophe. It prompted a split with Columbia, and while Bennett experimented with his own label, Improv, and cut a pair of well-received albums with jazz pianist Bill Evans, the end of the Seventies found him without a record deal and facing career burn-out. A cocaine habit didn’t help. Bennett strenuously plays down this low period now, insisting that he came to England and found a new lease of life collaborating with composer and arranger Robert Farnon. ‘Columbia promoted the idea that my career went down and my records stopped selling,’ he claims. ‘I had the greatest time of my life in England for a couple of years, and Robert Farnon made some of the best music I’ve ever been around.’ 'Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook Vol. 1’ was released on Sony on Apr 19.”

Geoff Sheldon. Chairman of the Eric Coates Society tells us that they are now working on a follow-up concert in view of the success of last year’s “Eric Coates – The Man and his Music”. On October 16th a concert entitled “Eric Coates and Other Music” will feature Peter Dempsey and Guy Rowlands, The Nottinghamshire Police Band and the Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir. Geoff is especially looking forward to hearing the Police Band play Men of Trent, which Eric Coates composed for them. They still have the original manuscript supplied by Coates. The venue will again be the Central Methodist Chapel in Hucknall, some 500 yards from ‘Tenter Hill’, the house where Eric Coates spent his formative years and began his music lessons.

The Editor is always delighted when RFS members make suggestions for new features in our magazine. A recent note from Philip Farlow certainly rekindled happy memories for him of buying precious 78s 60 years ago. At the time David Ades was a schoolboy living in Leigh-on-Sea, and ‘his’ record shop was Hodges and Johnson, although you had to weave your way through the pianos to reach the small room at the back where the records were kept. If you wanted to hear them an elderly gentleman would put them on a record player, often managing to skate the pickup over the first few grooves! Were your experiences similar? Here’s what Philip suggests: “How about appealing in Jumping Bean for readers to write about their early days of record collecting; not so much what was bought but from the angle of where they actually bought records from. All the original type of record outlets like music shops, radio TV and electrical stores and other unlikely places that retailed records have now all but disappeared. These places were often full of original character, many going back to the twenties and before, employing a whole variety of respected (or otherwise) characters of largely varying vintages. The larger chains and music shops generally had a proper record department with permanent knowledgeable staff - whilst in smaller towns and particularly in radio, TV and electrical stores one often found records resigned to a corner, upstairs, downstairs or anywhere they could be shuffled to, with just a Saturday assistant dealing with all and sundry - perhaps not very well. Being even in my early days of technical inquisitiveness it never ceased to intrigue me the different number of ways there were to audition records. I recall converted radiograms playing 'out loud' into the department, record players on counters, corridors leading to quite large separated rooms connected to record players under the control of the counter staff and of course record booths, some self operative and others operated from the counter. I always thought that the ultimate sophistication was the 'Record Browserie', one of which operated with a fair degree of success on the premises of radio and TV dealer Wisehill and Field in my home town of Andover, Hampshire. This was opened in the mid 1950's by none other than the then BBC Showband pianist Bill McGuffie who afterwards entertained patrons of the White Hart Hotel late into the evening with his unique jazz/cocktail style of the time. All kinds of self operative record playing was of course open to mis-use. In Record Browseries you had at your disposal all of the stock and if unobserved you could spend a good long time 'wearing out' your favourites and not being obliged to buy anything. I also know of stories connected with records being bought at smaller stores and, dying to hear one's latest purchase before the journey home they were taken into much larger stores where they could be played in self operated booths without anyone being any the wiser!”

Members of the RFS who live in the area of North-West England served by BBC Radio Cumbria will know that Harry King hosts a regular programme devoted mainly to music from the middle years of the 20th century. For his evening show on bank holiday Monday, 3 May, he invited three Robert Farnon Society members to join him. Alan Bunting explained the mysteries of digital sound restoration, with some fascinating examples of ‘before and after’; Brian Reynolds recalled the glory days of ‘Music While You Work’; and David Ades talked about Robert Farnon and other light music personalities. David’s contribution was recorded at the BBC studios in Taunton on 21 April, but it is hoped that it sounded like he was actually in the Cumbria studio with Harry. There was plenty of light music throughout the show, which could be heard live throughout the world on the internet on the BBC website. The programme was also available via the ‘Listen Again’ facility for seven days after the original broadcast. We hope that many members will have spotted the news in advance on our own website on the ‘Latest News’ page. If you have internet facilities, you should regularly visit www.rfsoc.org.uk to pick up any latest news items.

JOHN FOX : MY MUSICAL WORLD
Published by Eloquent Books (USA) Hardback 375 pages ISBN 978-1-60860-302-2
We know that this autobiography has been a labour of love for John Fox stretching back several years. The fact that it has now been published should be a measure of great satisfaction for him, since it represents a considerable achievement. John has documented the trials and tribulations – as well as the many highs – of being a musician during the 20th century. Not many people have managed to make a career out of music, and it is immeasurably more difficult today since the many broadcasting orchestras around the world have all but disappeared. Once upon a time professional musicians represented a significant number of the workforce, but not any more. As well as being a fascinating study of life as a musician, John has also allowed us into his personal life, and his ‘Wishes’ and ‘Hopes’ towards the end of his book indicate that he is being honest with his readers. Warmly recommended!

British RFS Members Hear One Of Robert Farnon’s Last Works
Members at our 2010 Spring meeting in London were the first outside North America to hear one of the last works composed by Robert Farnon.
In Journal Into Melody 165 (September 2005) Dr. Stanley Saunders, in his article “Robert Farnon – Genius and Humility: A Canadian Perspective”, gave the background details of how the work “American Wind Symphony – The Gaels” was commissioned by Professor Darryl Bott, Assistant Director Of Bands at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA on behalf of the award-winning Honors Wind Symphony at Roxbury High School, New Jersey..
Dr. Saunders explained: “In several discussions with me about instrumentation, musical clefs, notation and so on regarding this new multi-movement work, Robert was particularly enthusiastic about the use of the Celtic drums that play an important part in the ‘Finale’ of the Wind Symphony. The knowledge that Robert played percussion in the Toronto Symphony Junior Orchestra at the age of twelve, and that he was a drummer in his brother Brian’s band for three years, clearly demonstrated his passion and continued interest in percussion.”
The premiere of this work took place at Roxbury High School on 25 May 2006 with RFS member Dr. Stanley Saunders conducting the Wind Band. It is this performance that RFS members heard on 28 March. The programme notes for the occasion were printed in JIM 170 (December 2006) so need not be reprinted here. However Dr. Saunders has kindly sent us a Review of the premiere, from which you will note that Robert Farnon’s inspiration was the many Scots and Irish who immigrated to the USA, taking their musical heritage with them.

Review
The world premiere of the American Wind Symphony: The Gaels composed by the celebrated composer, Robert Farnon, was presented on the evening of Thursday, May 25, 2006 in the 1500 seat Roxbury High School Auditorium at Succasunna, New Jersey. The composition and the performance received a standing ovation that demanded the final section of the Symphony to be repeated. The Gala Celebration Concert was the culminating event of the weeklong highly successful Artist in Residence biennial programme that is an essential part of the Arts Festival.
American Wind Symphony: The Gaels is dedicated by the composer to Dr. Stanley Saunders, the 2006 Artist in Residence, who conducted the premiere performance. The work is scored for piccolo; Flutes 1 and 2; Oboes 1 and 2; Clarinets 1, 2, and 3; alto clarinet; bass clarinet; bassoons 1 and 2; alto saxophone I and 2; tenor saxophone 1 and 2; baritone saxophone; French horns 1, 2, 3, and 4; Trumpets 1, 2, and 3; trombones I, 2, and 3; euphoniums I, 2, and 3; tubas; string bass; and a percussion section that consists of piano, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, celeste, bells, chimes, wind chimes, tambour, triangle, tambourine, tam-tam, small and large cymbals, snare drum, bass drum, sand block, finger cymbals, and Scottish side drum.
The Roxbury High School Honors Wind Symphony, Roxbury High School, Succasunna, New Jersey, USA, Director, Mr. Todd Nichols, commissioned the work. Professor Darryl Bott, Former Director, who now teaches at Rutgers University, New Jersey, made the arrangements.
The Honors Wind Symphony consisting of fifty-seven chosen instrumentalists has earned an outstanding reputation over the last decade and is regarded as one of the foremost wind ensembles in the United States. The ensemble has been selected as the Grand Champion Winner at Festivals in many States including Virginia, Ohio, Washington, D.C.as well as International Festivals including Toronto, Ontario, Canada—the birthplace of the composer. In addition, the Ensemble has performed at the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, the Carnegie Hall in New York City and other prestigious performing venues.
The opening section of the composition, Introduction, started with a crescendo roll throughout the percussion section, which heralded a spirited and delineated fanfare-like section in the brass based on a phrase from Scotland the Brave. A lyrical, flowing melody followed in the low reed and brass instruments above which a florid woodwind counterpoint was woven that was complimented by percussion colourations. A ‘lento’ section that featured the keyboards and mallet instruments along with solo flute and bassoon, led to the second section, The Warriors. A quiet, solo timpani roll introduced this ‘Allegro’ section with pyramid-like entries in the muted brass in triple metre. This triple-metre passage increased in volume and intensity as other instruments made their entries. This portion of the work subsided both in tempo and in dynamics with a flute solo followed by a keyboard link that transformed the mood from one of tension to a feeling of peace that continued throughout section three, The Lament: Emerald Isle. This moving melody was presented in antiphonal four-bar phrases throughout the wind ensemble. The modulating sequences played by the clarinets and saxophones continued with a quickening of pace. This passage was followed by a sudden change of mood that illumed Farnon’s great skill and ingenuity in orchestration as the high woodwinds floated breezily along while the whole percussion section provided shimmering and scintillating contrapuntal embellishments. The whole ensemble then made a spirited entry with staccato utterances from the low brass and tam tam [gong] leading into section four, Battle Cry. This rousing ‘presto’ section clearly depicted the Warriors as they prepared for action. A soft roll in the percussion followed by a sustained tone in the French horns and low reeds led to section five, The Lassie. During this part of the composition, one could almost see and smell the heather of the Highlands as the solo piccolo quietly played the main theme in brisk fashion accompanied by the captivation rhythm of the Scottish side drum. The work increased in excitement and intensity as other sections of the wind ensemble joined in. Section six, Bluebells, was announced in an unusual 5/4 metre, while the contrasting The Lassie theme continued in the piccolo, flutes, oboe, and keyboards as a dancing filigree counterpoint. The main theme, Bluebells, continued but has now reverted to its more familiar quadruple metre. The Introduction music now reappeared in full dress and section seven, Scotland the Brave, was announced in ‘vivace’ fashion by the trumpet section against an invigorating triplet figure in the high woodwinds, mallet, and keyboard instruments. The dance-like figure made its final, furious appearance at a ‘presto’ tempo and the thrilling build up concluded in stirring fashion with solo timpani and full ensemble presenting a dramatic climax.
Robert Farnon’s seven-part composition, An American Wind Symphony: The Gaels is a perfect symphonic wind ensemble setting that reflects the history of The Gaels both at Roxbury High School and throughout the ages. The composition has programmatic aspects that are reflected in the Celtic melodies upon which the work is based, yet it still retained an overriding sense of formal splendour and majesty.
The performance received an exciting and passionate reading by both conductor and performers that not only brought to life the musical history of the past but also reflected the greatness and the versatility of the genius of the composer, Robert Farnon.
(The author of this review has not been disclosed to us).

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‘Jumping Bean’ has heard a rumour that Light Music might feature as "Composer of the Week" on BBC Radio 3 next summer, possibly in June? Let’s hope the rumour is right! 

We are delighted to report that RFS member James Beyer is now feeling better following his recent health problems, and he is planning to be back on the podium for the Edinburgh Light Orchestra’s next concert on Saturday 6 November. As usual the venue is the Queen’s Hall in Clerk Street, and the box office opens on 13 September – telephone 0131 668 2019. We know that our members in the Edinburgh area look forward to these excellent concerts, and if anyone else is planning a visit to Scotland’s beautiful capital city later this year then you owe it to yourself to ensure that your stay includes Saturday 6 November! 

Philip Farlow has been sharing some more recollections with us, and his childhood experiences may well strike a familiar chord with some RFS members! Philip writes: How incredible that we have all lived throughout such a period of world changing music fashions. When the Robert Farnon [Appreciation] Society was founded in 1956 I was 11 (until November 1st). At first in 1951 my music was played on a wind-up gramophone but about 1954 it was fitted with an Emston pick-up and played into a Murphy A92 'Stationmaster' radio. By 1956 I was quite an experimenter and had devised methods of 'broadcasting' my records from another room via a long run of bell flex. About the same time I also had a small Dulci carbon microphone kit and via a volume control wired in a balance fashion used to announce my records to my (long suffering?) family. By the time I had left school in 1959, and via a Saturday job at Lovell's Dairy, Andover (Hampshire, England) a Dairy/Grocery & Provisions shop my sister managed, I had saved up enough pocket money to buy a BSR UA8 'Monarch' record changer. In some ways I was quite late into 45s EP's & LPs. My music continued to be played into the radio, but also at this time I was getting interested in tape recording and 'hi-fi' in its widest sense so shortly after I started down the road of separate amplifiers and speakers as well as starting tape recording in 1960. My very first machine was a Gramdeck. Those you could say were my formative years of amateur interests, later to be developed in all sorts of - and not least professional - fashion. Jumping Bean invites other members to share their experiences of early collecting and tape recording. 

It seems that John Wilson’s MGM triumph continues, this time with the backing of Classic FM. He's about to do tour later in the year and if you go to Classic FM's website, click on ‘events’ and the detail is there; click on ‘book tickets’ and there is a list of venues; it's also being "trailed" during the daily programmes. By the time this appears in print, this year’s John Wilson Prom devoted to Rodgers and Hammerstein will already have taken place, and we have learned that all tickets were sold within four hours. It was broadcast ‘live’ on BBC Radio 3, and recorded for television. Surely the BBC will not keep us waiting eleven months for the DVD this time? 

Forrest Patten reports that advertisers in America have been told to stop ignoring the over 50s. The main trade body which measures such things is saying that it is advertisers' continued focus on younger customers that's out of date, thanks to a massive and aging population of baby boomers as well as changes in consumers' lifestyle sparked by new technology. The next few decades may see a shift in how consumers spend, with younger Americans facing smaller salaries amid a tough economy and choosing to have smaller families. Meanwhile, the baby boomer generation will start to retire, with more money saved and the ability to spend more, the story goes. And while the TV market is aimed at viewers 49 and under, the average age of a prime-time broadcast viewer is almost 51. The big networks need to find a way to establish the relevance of older consumers if they want to continue to draw the manufacturers that support TV so heavily. In Britain it is becoming possible to guess which channel you are watching, simply by the kind of advertising carried. No one should fail to notice the difference between adverts on ITV2 and ITV3! 

Finally a report from RFS Canadian Representative, Pip Wedge:

On Thursday June 24th, over 250 devoted lovers of the music of Rob McConnell gathered at the Old Mill in Toronto to hear a Tribute to the music of this talented Canadian composer/arranger/musician, via a recreation of the Rob McConnell Tentet. Rob died in Toronto on May 1st 2010 (see Obituary in this issue). The original unit was founded in 1997, when the economics of getting gigs for Rob’s Boss Brass were becoming too daunting, and the smaller outfit was to be heard widely in Canada for more than ten years. Led by original Tentet trombonist Terry Promane, the reconstituted group included four other founder members – Alex Dean and Mike Murley (tenor Saxes), Steve McDade (trumpet) and Dave Restivo (piano). Because of conflicting engagements, Guido Basso (trumpet & flugelhorn), Terry Clarke (drums), Steve Wallace (bass) and P.J. Perry (alto sax) were unavailable, but other former Tentet alumni who stepped in most ably were Brian O’Kane, Barry Elmes, Pat Collins and John Johnson respectively, with Alastair Kay handling Rob’s own trombone book. It was an evening of joyous music and warm nostalgia. And at the end, after leader Terry Promane had wondered out loud whether this would be the last time these charts would be performed before a live audience, most of us were pretty damp-eyed as we heard the Tentet do what had become their standard closer: For All We Know (We May Never Meet Again). Rob McConnell was a creative, one of a kind Canadian musician. His legacy should live forever.

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Heinz Herschmann is now in his 87th year, and showing no sign of slowing down. In addition to his ‘day job’ running Apollo Sound, Heinz is also a very keen chess player with an international reputation. Visit any of the main chess sites on the internet, and you will discover how high he now is on the World and British Chess Grading Lists! We congratulate him on his many achievements playing this testing game. Heinz is hoping to meet up again with his many friends at our forthcoming London meeting.

And further congratulations are due to our member Philip Lane, the busy composer, arranger and record producer who has been involved with so many excellent recordings of Light Music. In a ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral on 19th November, Philip was made an Honorary DMus (Doctor of Music) by the University of Gloucester ‘for services to music and Cheltenham’.

Sarah Mohr-Pietsch announced towards the end of September that there would be a Light Music slot on her BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Show every Thursday. The first piece she chose was Arthur Benjamin's Jamaican Rumba.

During the summer David Ades has been working for the Imperial War Museum on providing a musical soundtrack for silent war films. The first production to be completed covers the Battle of Ypres during the First World War. Alongside some wartime footage there are scenes from a documentary made in 1922. Authentic acoustic recordings from that period would have been hard to locate, and could quickly become tedious for a production approaching two hours long. To make the music soundtrack more acceptable for today’s ears it was decided that material appropriate for general war scenes should be used. Some people object to background music, and they obviously have the option of watching the film (being released on DVD) with the volume turned off. Others can hear the music, plus sound effects, and among the composers chosen by David are Trevor Duncan, Charles Williams, Dolf van der Linden, Peter Yorke, Robert Farnon, John Ansell, Roger Roger, Clive Richardson, Hubert Clifford, Len Stevens, Bruce Campbell, Cecil Milner, Ronald Hanmer, Ronald Binge and Allan Gray.

We do not usually report the passing of members in our magazine, but we make an exception this time with one of our American friends, Richard Jessen. Readers will be familiar with his articles for JIM in recent years, and particularly his admiration for the singer Vikki Carr. Sadly Richard lost a battle with cancer and died in October at the tragically young age of 56.

John Wilson has a busy conducting schedule ahead of him. He is going on tour in the UK with his MGM Celebration, which was such a hit at the 2009 Proms. You can join the audience at the following venues (telephone booking numbers are shown): 26 November, Manchester (0161 907 9000); 27 November, Gateshead (0191 443 4661); 28 November, Glasgow (0141 353 8000); 29 November, Birmingham (0121 780 3333); 1 December, Cardiff (02920 878500); 3 December, Bournemouth (0844 576 3000); and 5 December, Nottingham (0115 989 5555). If you live in or near Liverpool, there are two events with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic you may not want to miss: on 31 December John conducts a New Year’s Eve Concert Celebrating Frank Sinatra; and on 15 January he conducts "Puttin’ On The Ritz" – A Celebration of Fred Astaire and his Leading Ladies.

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Our very special member Rosemary Squires, MBE, received another unexpected honour recently. The packed audience at the at the prestigious Concorde Club Eastleigh on Wednesday 4 March was delighted when the proprietor, Cole Matheson, jumped on stage during the second half of her gala celebration of ‘Sixty Years of Song’ to award an equally surprised Rosemary Squires with ‘The Freedom of the Concorde’! Congratulating Rosemary on her "diamond jubilee of making music" Cole thanked her for "her singing, her smile, and for her ‘royal presence’ so often lighting up the stage which has given so much pleasure worldwide over so many years". Cole explained that in addition to having her photograph displayed in a place of honour in the Club, the award entitled Rosemary to drive her sheep through the Moldy Fig bar, to sleep overnight in the car park, to paddle in the brook and to have her first drink on the house whenever she calls!" For once lost for words, Rosemary said "This is an emotional moment - I suppose I’ve got to go out and buy a flock a sheep now!" For this gala evening Rosemary called on world famous musicians from her past, Brian Dee piano, Colin Green guitar, Bobby Worth drums, Jim Richardson bass, Alan Barnes saxes/clarinet, and Ronnie Hughes trumpet; the concert closed appropriately with a lively ‘I’ve got Rhythm’, which they certainly had! The perfect ending to what was acclaimed by members of the audience as "a memorable occasion".

Joan Osborne-Walker recently sent us a cutting from the Daily Telegraph headed "Why joyful music is good for the heart". It seems that scientists have discovered that stressful or disturbing music has the effect of narrowing the arteries, and may be harmful to the heart. On the other hand a cheerful favourite tune has a beneficial effect on blood vessels, widening them and protecting against heart disease. After listening to joyful music, volunteers’ arteries opened 26 per cent wider on average than they did when no music was played. So if you want to keep fit, healthy and happy – put on your favourite CD … of light music, of course!

Rod Rizzo also sent us a cutting – this time from the New York Daily News. It mentions that 29 years after the death of Andre Kostelanetz his personal chronicle of his long and distinguished career has been donated to the Library of Congress. It comprises 73 cartons of personal papers, recordings, photographs, transcriptions and correspondence. It had all been stored in a warehouse because his brother, Boris, felt emotionally unable to deal with it after his death. When Boris died, their nephew Bob Frank arranged for the donation. Included are transcriptions of the live radio programmes Kostelanetz hosted on CBS radio from 1932 to 1946. They are widely considered to have played a major role in making classical music accessible to pop music fans.

Gene Lees recently completed his new biography on the career of Artie Shaw. We will let you know as soon as we are advised of its publication.

The Australian composer Grant Foster has been very busy just recently. In a special message toJournal Into Melody he told us that he had been in Dubai on 13 March for discussions regarding the performance of "The Pearl of Dubai". He then left for Nice, France where his Piano Sonata was premiered on 21 March by Mira Yevtich along with his Ballad for Two Pianos also performed by Mira and a very fine Russian pianist. Grant is currently working on an Opera which he describes as an exciting work, one that he feels could be well received.

"You’re-Never-Too-Old-To-Learn" department: Dave Bernard in Cambridge (USA) recently told us that the Alec Wilder composition In The Blue Of The Evening is predominantly known as Footnote To A Summer Love and it was thus titled when Wilder himself recorded it with his Octet on Vox in 1947. It appears on the Robert Farnon Decca LP "Presenting Robert Farnon", and there is another Wilder piece on the other side of the album which also has two titles:  on the UK release (LK 4067) it is "Dawn to Dusk" but on the same LP issued in the USA (London LL 812) it is called "Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra". Alec Wilder seems to have been greatly admired by musicians. Even Frank Sinatra is reported to have used his own money to conduct and record some of his music back in his Tommy Dorsey days.

Paul Clatworthy has drawn our attention to a recent CD issued by El Records featuring the LP "Sounds In The Night" by Russ Garcia (ACMEM 160 CD). To fill the rest of the CD they have included the "Mother Magoo Suite" by Dennis Farnon (featuring Marni Nixon on some tracks) which was on one side of an RCA LP in the 1950s. The booklet notes for the new CD by Christopher Evans are particularly interesting. He tells us that Dennis Farnon "made a good living through composing and arranging for the movies (including Captain Hornblower RN and Spring In Park Lane) and as a jazz bandleader, Farnon also aspired to be a classical composer and even had the first of his two symphonies composed before the war premiered by the great conductor Eugene Ormandy etc…" Does anyone know who Christopher Evans is? He needs to be told a thing or two about Dennis and Robert!

David S. Brookes is running an Eric Coates ‘Come and Play Day’ at Polesworth Abbey on Saturday 3 October 2009 and he and his team are looking for instrumentalists who would be interested in taking part. For more information contact David S Brookes 54 Kiln Way, Polesworth, Tamworth B78 1JE. Tel. 01827 704410; Email:

BBC-2 screened a 90-minute documentary devoted to Tony Bennett on a Saturday evening last February. It was produced and compered by Clint Eastwood, and showed that Tony can still hold an audience in the palm of his hand. The one ‘wrong note’ was the omission of any reference to his work with Robert Farnon. We know that such shows suffer at the hands of editors when they are being put together after filming, but considering that Bob and Tony were responsible for some landmark LPs – as well as memorable concerts at Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, as well as a Thames TV series – how could all that be ignored? Show business ‘documentaries’ like this can be entertaining, but it seems they should never be relied upon as an accurate representation of the subject’s real achievements.

Ann Adams and The Ladies’ Palm Court Orchestra will be playing again in a London Park this summer, but the venue has changed to St James’s Park from 2:00 to 4:15pm on Sunday 26 July. Her regular fans are bound to turn out in force … just pray for a warm, sunny day!

Richard Cochrane is a jazz player, based in The Netherlands, but his reason for contacting us recently is that he is the nephew of the composer Joyce Cochrane. Richard had noted that several of her pieces have been reissued on Guild CDs, and David Ades explained to him that it is very difficult to discover much about her career. He has promised to pass on what he knows, although he admits that he regrets not having asked her more about her work during a period towards the end of her life when she was living with him. However Richard believes that a mistake has been made in crediting "Call Of The Casbah" (on "Going Places" Guild GLCD 5151) to Joyce Cochrane. The label of the original disc (HMV 45-POP 404) states simply ‘Cochrane’, but this work is not listed on any of the papers in Richard’s possession. He wonders if it may be written by Peggy Cochrane, since he has found a reference to her working on the TV series "Destination Downing Street" (where the music was used) although Peggy is not listed specifically as the composer. It seems highly likely that Richard is right; this is another example of the annoying habit of record companies often only crediting composers by their surnames (there are even examples where no composers are mentioned at all). It also illustrates that even the best educated guesses are not always correct!

On Easter Monday Colin Berry introduced a 2 hour programme of Light Music – "A Little Light Music" - on BBC Three Counties Radio. We included details in the ‘Latest News’ section of our website, so we hope that many RFS members around the world will have heard Colin via the BBC Website. Colin presented a similar programme last Christmas, and the success of the Easter show prompted a further two hours of Light Music on the May Day Bank Holiday. Let’s hope that this becomes a regular feature for Colin.

Leslie Julian Jones is known to light music enthusiasts as the composer of Postman’s Knock, but he created a body of music which has been unfairly neglected. Former BBC Producer Anthony Wills is working hard to make his music better known, and he recently provided us with an update on the restoration of Jones’ ‘lost’ musical "Queen For Sunday". Anthony reports: After many setbacks and delays we are finally ready to go into the studio and record a demo of Leslie Julian Jones’ Lost Musical for circulation to music publishers, musical theatre academies and operatic societies. The vocal score (running to 220 pages!) is finished and has been checked and re-checked. We are particularly thrilled to have secured the services of Richard Suart to play the role of Hi-Tee. Richard has just finished touring with Opera North in their productions of George Gershwin’s "Of Thee I Sing" and "Let ‘Em Eat Cake". He has a wealth of experience in Gilbert & Sullivan and other character roles. His latest CD, which he has recorded with soprano Catherine Bott and the New London Orchestra & Chorus under Ronald Corp, features the songs of neglected British composer Lionel Monckton (of "The Arcadians" fame) and is available on Hyperion Records. The 16-piece chorus is being drawn from the ranks of Capital Voices — Annie Skates’ first-class vocal ensemble, whose skills have been featured in such diverse settings as the Royal Variety Performance, The X Factor and Britain‘s Got Talent on TV, Radio 2 concerts with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jerry Herman, recordings with Michael Ball and Elaine Paige, and Christmas concerts for Raymond Gubbay in the Royal Albert Hall. Other roles are being taken by Matt and Annie Lower and members of the English Concert Singers, who have just celebrated their 20th anniversary with a gala concert of works by Brahms and Vaughan Williams in the newly restored Birmingham Town Hall. The pianist is Alexander Wells who is the official accompanist to the London Chorus and the Highgate Choral Society. The Musical Director is the former Principal Conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra and City of Glasgow Philharmonic lain Sutherland, who has conducted West End shows as well as a series of classic Broadway shows recorded for BBC Radio 2. Recording will take place in Resident Studios London NW2 later this month (April 2009). The engineer is Mark Tucker who has worked in studios such as Lansdowne and CTS and is now freelance. Mark’s experience encompasses film soundtracks, jazz, West End cast and pop recordings. Even though the recording is with piano accompaniment rather than orchestra the costs are working out at approximately £32,000 so we have had to seek donations from sponsors.

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In 1967-1968 more than 300 of Britain’s biggest names in the entertainment world were interviewed by Bernard Braden for a proposed television series that never came to fruition. At the time Braden (one of our Society’s original Vice-Presidents) was a leading popular television presenter, and we have not (yet) been able to discover why the project was dropped. The good news is that the British Film Institute has been able to acquire this valuable resource, which is being made available for educational use – subject to the necessary rights clearances being obtained. Robert Farnon was one of the people interviewed, and thanks to David Farnon we now have a copy (unedited, and in pristine colour) in the RFS Archives. 

On 11 May BBC-2 screened a concert from the Royal Albert Hall featuring the comedian Bill Bailey with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Anne Dudley – "Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra". The event actually took place last October, and somewhat surprisingly it has been announced that a DVD will be released on 23 November later this year. This will feature the entire concert, not just the excerpts screened by the BBC, although TV viewers did see (and hear) the BBC Concert Orchestra playing David Rose’s Holiday For Strings and John Malcolm’s Non Stop. Unfortunately the music was punctuated by Bailey’s ‘witticisms’, but some people may have been sufficiently attracted to want to explore further. Thanks to Roger Mellor for this report. 

Thanks to the enthusiasm of his daughter Michele, there are many releases on CD and DVD featuring Matt Monro, and a recent package from Odeon Entertainment called "The Ultimate Performer" includes an extract from Tony Bennett’s Thames TV show on 18 October 1972 from London’s Talk Of The Town featuring Robert Farnon and his Orchestra. This was a series featuring many top singers with Tony Bennett (all featuring the Robert Farnon Orchestra) and as far as we know this is the first time that anything from this source has appeared on DVD (if you know differently, please tell us!)

 Spotted for sale on the Amazon website in July - copies of the following deleted Robert Farnon CDs: Living Era "Portrait of Farnon" on offer at over £110; Vocalion "Two Cigarettes In The Dark" £100; "Out Of My Dreams" £145.73; "Hoagy Carmichael/Victor Schertzinger Suites" a staggering £214.50! 

On 24 June the London Daily Telegraph featured an interview with RFS member John Wilson. In the newspaper it was headed: "Conductor who saw the light". On the Telegraph’s website the same article appeared as: "John Wilson’s plight for ‘light music’". The sub-heading was more explicit: "John Wilson is on a crusade to bring light music and classic film scores back to our concert halls". It seems that the interviewer Ivan Hewett was slightly confused in suggesting that "Workers’ Playtime" was once a home of light music on the radio (no doubt he meant "Music While You Work") but at least the article will have alerted some readers to the fact that light music is still alive and kicking, and all the indications are that it is gradually making a comeback. In a resumé of John’s impressive career to date, Hewett reported: At 16 he founded the Newcastle Symphony Orchestra; at 18 he went to the Royal College, where, as he puts it, "I could form a different orchestra every week." By the age of 22 he was out in the world arranging music for Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’, and scouring libraries and archives for music for his newly formed John Wilson Orchestra. "I was determined to get that wonderful Fifties sound you hear on those great MGM musicals, so I booked the best players. It’s the same now. You wouldn’t believe how many section principals and orchestral leaders I’ve got in the string section!" he says proudly. "And we did top-quality repertoire – Gershwin, Cole Porter, all in fabulous arrangements." By 2002, the orchestra had its first Queen Elizabeth Hall concert, and in 2004 Wilson conducted his first MGM Live concert. Talking about this brings a crusading gleam to his eye. "I realised that an awful lot of this music had disappeared. It turned out that MGM threw out all the scores for their great musicals like ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’. They were used as landfill for a car park. So I had to track down the short scores and parts. It’s been a 10-year project." Getting the style right involved studying a man who, for Wilson, is a neglected master of 20th-century music. "Conrad Salinger was a house orchestrator for MGM, and he was really in the Ravel class. André Previn reckons he’s the greatest who ever lived. I’ve learned lots of tricks from him." Would he describe himself as a perfectionist? "Oh, it’s got to be right. I once spent a whole Sunday morning on just four bars from ‘The Wizard of Oz’." We’ve been talking about American film composers, but it’s only when I ask Wilson about future plans that the truth finally comes out. "People think I’m a film music nerd, but my real passion is English music. What I’d really like to do is conduct all the Vaughan Williams symphonies." What makes English music special for him? "Oh, I can’t explain it. It’s that wistfulness and longing and melancholy. Elgar’s symphonies I think are in the Beethoven class. I have fights with people in the pub about that." The idea of Wilson getting in a fight is wonderfully improbable; but then so is his charmed life-story, which is the stuff of a good musical itself. 

The Summer edition of The Light Music Society Newsletter includes Ernest Tomlinson’s last Chairman’s Letter at the helm. He explains that health considerations have forced him to come to terms with the fact that the time is right to hand over to a younger person. This year the LMS Annual Concert and AGM has moved from Ernest’s home at Lancaster Farm, and is taking place in Cheltenham with Gavin Sutherland waving the baton. The date is Sunday 30th August, and a new Chairman will be elected. As we go to press nominations are being received, and we will announce the name of the new chairman in our December issue. Ernest has been a splendid ambassador for light music. His involvement with the Light Music Society goes back to the mid-1950s when it was supported by the BBC; Ernest became Chairman in 1966. Soon afterwards the BBC’s interest in light music faded, and for many years the LMS became a dormant non-membership organisation. The Library of Light Orchestral Music was established in the 1980s when Ernest became aware of the large amounts of manuscripts that were being destroyed. The LMS was re-launched, and it became fully operational once again in 1996 when the Newsletters were reintroduced. Ernest’s successor will have a hard act to follow, but ET promises to remain active in the background to give advice when needed! 

Several members have written to tell us that it is now possible to view a rare film containing music by Robert Farnon on the internet. The title is "This Is London" and it was made to encourage foreign visitors to London during the 1950s. Rex Harrison narrated, and Robert Farnon contributed the score. It is all new music – not a rehash of existing compositions. Courtesy of Alan Willmott we have screen this film at our London meetings many years ago, but if you have internet access we strongly recommend that you spend an enjoyable 20 minutes or so viewing it. You need to input:www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=78588 While on the site take time to look at some other shorts from the same period – you’ll recognise a lot of the music!

 On Sunday 8 November Debbie Wiseman will be conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall in a Concert of music, poetry and song in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. The programme includes Debbie’s own scores for My Uncle Silas, Wilde and Tom & Viv, plus works by Bach, Borodin, Britten, Tchaikovsky and Holst. Telephone bookings: 020 7730 4500. Online bookings: www.cadoganhall.com

 2009 is the centenary of the birth of Mansel Thomas (1909-1986), one of the foremost Welsh composers of the last century. He was a well-known conductor, and became Head of Music at the BBC in Wales. His vocal and instrumental music is performed worldwide by choirs and artists, including Bryn Terfel and the BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales, and is featured regularly on radio and television. Awarded the OBE, he composed Rhapsody For A Prince for the Investiture of The Prince of Wales in 1969, and this is one of his many works currently available in print. For more information please contact the Mansel Thomas Trust at: Ty Cerbyd, Station Road, Ponthir, Newport, Wales, NP18 1GQ – website: www.manselthomas.org.uk 

Another notable centenary this year is De Wolfe Music, which was founded in 1909 by Meyer De Wolfe at premises in 20 Noel Street, Great Marlborough Street, London, W1. In a special centenary publication called "Nitrate/Bit-Rate" the company makes the proud boast that it has the longest running, and most important film and television music library resource in the world. Originally the music was provided in the form of sheet music, but as each new advance in sound recording has come along it has been fully embraced. Some readers of this magazine will have De Wolfe 78s, LPs and CDs; but even these are now being consigned to history, with computer technology now the norm. Happily the business is still controlled by the family: James de Wolfe is Chairman, and his son Warren de Wolfe is Managing Director. The Robert Farnon Society has enjoyed a very friendly relationship with De Wolfe for over fifty years, and we are delighted to send our very best wishes to them in celebrating this milestone. For a fuller report on this enterprising music publisher (which also owns the famous Angel Recording Studios) please refer to the article in Journal Into Melody issue 140, September 1999.

 Malcolm Powell is well-known to RFS members through our London meetings and his splendid photos which have regularly appeared in our magazines for more years than we care to admit! But he is also a familiar voice to listeners of Meridian FM where he presents a regular programme "Looking For Yesterday". Why not join him by visiting www.meridianfm.com 

A Canadian note from Pip Wedge

BOSS BRASS BOWS OUT

Seven months after Rob McConnell’s famed Boss Brass had made a welcome return to the Toronto music scene with three sold-out concerts at Toronto’s Old Mill in December 2008, Rob and the group made what was announced as positively the band’s final appearance on Canada Day, July 1st, with a lunchtime performance at the Toronto Jazz Festival’s Mainstage in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.

Apart from Rob himself, the only Boss Brass veterans who appeared on the final gig were Don Thompson (vibes, piano), Steve Wallace (bass) and Bob McDougall (trombone). Yet so strong is the pool of musicians available to draw on in Toronto, that Rob’s distinctive award –winning charts sounded every bit as crisp and exciting as when we first heard them, from the Strike Up the Band opener to the All The Things You Are closer, with Rob’s unique version of Oh Canada appropriately bringing the set to a close - and ensuring a standing ovation!

Bob made some comments about having a bonfire of all his charts, but no-one took him seriously. There are many universities around the city – and the country – that would be delighted to house them.

In JIM 169 in September 2006, reporting on Rob’s appearance with his Tentet at this same Toronto festival, I noted that Rob had been having health problems, and expressed the hope that his choice for their final number, For All We Know (We May Never Meet Again) was in no way prophetic. What a difference three years have made, thank goodness!

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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.