LENA HORNE with ROBERT FARNON AND HIS ORCHESTRA and featuring PHIL WOODS saxophone: "Lena – A New Album" I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face, Someone To Watch Over Me, My Funny Valentine, Someday My Prince Will Come, I’ve Got The World On A String, Softly As I Leave You, I Have Dreamed, A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing, I’ve Got To Have You, My Ship Vocalion CDLK 4342, 43:03 mins. Last February Mike Dutton asked me to pen some notes for this reissue of an album which – I must confess – I hadn’t listened to carefully for several years. To say it was a magical experience is something of an understatement. Around that time, in the mid-1970s, we were in the happy situation of receiving a steady supply of new Farnon albums, each one containing some priceless gems. To coin a familiar phrase, it was like being let loose in a sweet shop; there were so many treats all around that you didn’t always realise how wonderful some of them really were. I am facing the same situation today when I make selections for the Guild Light Music CDs. I often include individual tracks from Bob’s early Decca LPs (now out of copyright) and in many cases they stand out from the rest. In their original settings, among twelve or so of similar works all receiving his masterly touch, the orchestrations still sounded wonderful – but not as wonderful as they seem today when placed in the spotlight on their own. After several years of negligence I have now returned to the Lena Horne project, and it has been a true revelation. At times I struggled to find the words to express my overwhelming feelings of admiration for the way in which Bob treated each number – the only exception being A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing which Lena’s husband Lennie Hayton arranged. When three unique talents met at London’s Olympic Studios in April 1976, the result was bound to be something rather special. Lena Horne had already been at the top of her profession for almost forty years, beginning with her international fame in great musicals such as "Stormy Weather " and "Cabin In The Sky" (both in 1943), leading to her many concert appearances at the finest venues. She felt equally at home at the plushest nightspots in London, Paris, Monte Carlo, Stockholm, Chicago and New York, and the talented little girl who grew up in Brooklyn never short-changed her legions of doting admirers. By the time she was 16 she appeared at the famous Cotton Club, and this tended to set the tone for her life in show business. Lena was in her element entertaining the diners in nightclubs, yet to the millions who adored her around the world it was her films and recordings that were so magical. Her taste in choosing her material was undoubtedly helped by her marriage to Lennie Hayton, from 1940 to 1953 one of the leading musical directors at M-G-M. The third ingredient in the magical mix of unique talents was Phil Woods, a bebop-influenced alto-saxophonist whose impressive credits included working with Benny Goodman, Quincy Jones, Gene Krupa and Thelonious Monk – to pick just four at random. He honed his craft during four years at the Julliard in New York where he majored in clarinet. Critics and readers of Downbeat praised him with awards, and he received two Grammys around the time that he went into the studios with Lena Horne and Robert Farnon. The bonus of an album such as this is that it allows those involved to express the music in a way that may be completely different from the version that has already become familiar. Divorced from "My Fair Lady", I’ve Grown Accustomed to his Face takes on an almost doleful feel, bringing out the full meanings in Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics which cleverly convey the realisation that familiarity has moved on to a new, higher plane. Composers must get frustrated when their carefully crafted verses get omitted by singers, but happily Lena Horne does not disappoint in Someone to Watch Over Me. This track marks the first appearance of Phil Woods, far removed from his bebop roots, but his saxophone provides the perfect foil to Lena’s complete grasp of the meanings in the lyrics. My Funny Valentine reveals the Robert Farnon strings in all their glory, with an almost religious feel encompassing the singer who clearly worships her lover. The earlier comment about familiar versions of well known tunes certainly applies to Someday My Prince Will Come. For a while after the release of Walt Disney’s 1937 masterpiece "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", Adriana Caselotti’s high soprano frightened off anyone else but by 1976 a new generation had emerged largely untouched by the original, and receptive to a new interpretation. Robert Farnon always knew when simplicity was best, and Lena begins with the intimate sound of Gordon Beck on piano, with the strings gently ushering in Phil Woods as the chorus ends. This is late night music par excellence. The simple theme is maintained in I’ve Got the World on a String with Phil Woods and Gordon Beck supported by Chris Laurence on bass, before the strings eventually shimmer in and alert us to the fact that the lady is about to sing – preceded by a suitable fanfare from the brass. Softly As I Leave You gets the tender treatment it deserves, with the strings providing a heart-rending backdrop before the piano provides just the right touch of perception.I Have Dreamed recreates the jazzy sound of saxophone, keyboard and bass, but the rich orchestral colours are never too distant. Lena’s husband Lennie Hayton provides the lovely string setting for A Flower is a Lovesome Thing, then I’ve Got to Have You is the one track that acknowledges that popular songwriters were still around in the 1970s, although styles had changed quite dramatically. Personally I feel that this is the one number that was out of place in this collection. Kurt Weill composed My Ship for the 1941 show "Lady in the Dark" and it now seems incredible that some bands at the time treated it as an up-tempo number (which you can find on a future Guild CD!), especially when you hear the magnificent setting created for Lena Horne and Phil Woods. Farnon always filled his orchestras with the top session players: his regular Concertmaster, and first violinist, was Raymond Cohen (for whom Farnon composed his "Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra") and the usual choice of harpist was David Snell, today a leading composer and conductor for films. Each and every performer involved in this album was at their peak when this recording was created in 1976, and the sheer quality shines through in every track. I urge every reader to add it to their collection while they can. If you need an extra incentive, in the booklet there is a colour photo of Bob with Lena relaxing during a break in the sessions. David Ades

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Last spring (2006) David Ades was approached by the British company Jasmine Records to discuss the possibility of a 2CD collection of Robert Farnon recordings. Rather than repeat the repertoire which has already appeared on other labels, the early discussions centred on recordings that were new to CD. However, at the same time Jasmine naturally wanted to include some of Robert Farnon’s best known works, so that the collection would have a general appeal – especially in North America where Jasmine is a strong seller. Jasmine is gradually building up an impressive catalogue of light music releases, with recent issues featuring Mantovani, Gordon Jenkins and Hugo Winterhalter.

David suggested that the inclusion of some of Robert Farnon’s soundtracks from the 1940s would certainly appeal to his admirers, especially as they have never before been available on commercial recordings. It was also agreed that many of his Decca 78s accompanying popular singers deserved to be restored to the catalogue, and gradually the concept for this new release began to take shape.

David recommended that Alan Bunting should handle the digital sound restoration, and work on the project began in earnest last autumn. Rather than mix the vocals and instrumentals, it was decided that the first CD would concentrate on Bob’s famous numbers, with four longer extracts from film soundtracks. The second CD concentrates on the Decca singles he conducted – many of them featuring his own brilliant arrangements. The result is a collection that provides a snapshot of his formative years in Britain, with plenty of tracks being reissued for the first time in over half a century – thereby making the release of great interest to existing Farnon fans, as well as those who will be discovering his genius for the first time.

CD 1 Orchestral and Film Music

1 Portrait Of A Flirt (Robert Farnon)
2 Gateway To The West (Robert Farnon)
3 Westminster Waltz (Robert Farnon)
4 All Sports March (Robert Farnon)
5 "JUST WILLIAM’S LUCK" (1947) film soundtrack excerpts (Robert Farnon)
Orchestra Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
6 Peanut Polka (Robert Farnon)
7 How Beautiful Is Night (Robert Farnon)
8 Melody Fair (Robert Farnon)
"SPRING IN PARK LANE" (1948) film soundtrack excerpts
Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
9 Opening titles music: Early One Morning (traditional)
10 The Moment I Saw You (Manning Sherwin, Harold Purcell); closing titles music
11 Proud Canvas (Robert Farnon)
12 Manhattan Playboy (Robert Farnon)
13 "WILLIAM COMES TO TOWN" (1948) film soundtrack excerpts (Robert Farnon)
14 State Occasion (Robert Farnon)
15 Pictures In The Fire (Robert Farnon)
16 Jumping Bean (Robert Farnon)
17 A Star Is Born (Robert Farnon)
"MAYTIME IN MAYFAIR" (1949) film soundtrack excerpts
Conducted by ROBERT FARNON
18 Opening titles music: Maytime In Mayfair (Harry Parr-Davies)
19 Journey Into Melody (Robert Farnon)
20 Maytime In Mayfair ballet (Robert Farnon)
21 Dream Dance; closing titles music (Robert Farnon)

CD 2 Robert Farnon and his Orchestra accompanying singers on UK

1 The Fleet’s In (Victor Schertzinger, Johnny Mercer) THE JOHNSTON SINGERS
2 You’d Be Hard To Replace (from "The Barkleys of Broadway") (George Gershwin, Harry Warren)
3 Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep) (Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston)
4 You Keep Coming Back Like A Song (from "Blue Skies") (Irving Berlin)
5 Hallelujah (Vincent Youmans, Leo Robin, Clifford Grey)
6 Maybe You’ll Be There (Rube Bloom, Sammy Gallop)
7 Cherry Stones (John Jerome)
8 Every Time I Meet You (from "The Beautiful Blonde from Bashville Bend") (Josef Myrow, Mack Gordon)
9 I Am Loved (from "Out of this World") (Cole Porter)
10 The Stars Will Remember (Don Pelosi, LeoTowers)
11 Goodnight You Little Rascal You (Noel)
12 Great Day (Vincent Youmans, Billy Rose, Edward Eliscu)
13 Penthouse Serenade (When We’re Alone) (Will Jason, Val Burton)
14 When You Make Love To Me (Jascha Heifetz, Marjorie Goetschius)
15 My Resistance Is Low (Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Adamson)
16 Once Upon A Winter Time (Johnny Brandon, Ray Martin)
17 If You Ever Need A Friend (Jimmy Harper, Larry Miller)
18 Kiss The Boys Goodbye (Victor Schertzinger, Frank Loesser)
19 The Way That The Wind Blows (Whitney, Kramer)
20 In Between The Showers (You’ll Find A Little Sunshine) (McGhee, Walsh, Silberman)DENNY DENNIS
21 I’ll Make Up For Everything (Ross Parker)
22 Lovely Lady Let The Roses See You Today (Hardy)
23 When You’re In Love (O’Connor, Fields, John)
24 A La Claire Fontaine (Traditional, arr. Robert Farnon)
25 "Cinderella" – Walt Disney Film Selection (Mack David, Jerry Livingston, Al Hoffman)

Jasmine JASCD 661

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A North American Review of John Wilson and the BBC Concert Orchestra’s superb performance of important Farnon works

FARNON "Captain Horatio Hornblower RN": Suite; Symphony No. 2 in B; The Frontiersmen: Overture; Goodwood Galop; Alcan Highway; Three Impressions: High Street, In a Calm, Manhattan Playboy; Seventh Heaven; Playtime; Symphony No. 1 in D - Scherzo. John Wilson conducting BBC Concert Orchestra • DUTTON Epoch CDLX 7173 (76:43)

Among devotees of light music, Robert Farnon (1917—2005), born and trained in Canada, is practically a deity - and with good reason. No other Englishman since the era of Eric Coates has left such a deep mark, with his utterly distinctive and widely influential idiom, on the whole field of light music. In addition to his conspicuous role in this area, however, in jazz and popular music Farnon was an arranger whose talents were sought out by many famous stars of the day - Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, George Shearing, J. J. Johnson, Singers Unlimited, even Eileen Farrell. Beyond this, Farnon also made occasional forays into film music, as the first item on this long-awaited dazzler of a disc triumphantly illustrates - the concert suite drawn from his most famous score for the Gregory Peck 1950s costume drama "Captain Horatio Hornblower RN".

This is the third and by far the most impressive recording of this splendiferous music. Its towering main theme is the quintessence of swashbuckling adventure, and the exquisite "Lady Barbara" love theme is one of Farnon’s most enrapturing inspirations. Perhaps some of the action sequences sometimes sound a little too forced or generic, but Farnon’s absolutely brilliant command of orchestral colours sweeps away all reservations.

Like Montague Phillips of an earlier generation, Farnon, although he was already lead trumpeter in a radio orchestra led by Percy Faith, began his precocious career while still in his early twenties as a composer of large-scale concert music with two symphonies premiered to considerable acclaim under conductors Sir Ernest MacMillan and Eugene Ormandy. In point of fact, Farnon never totally turned his back on the "classical" world; among his later more extended works are a gorgeous Rhapsody for violin and orchestra, Prelude and Dance for harmonica and orchestra, Tripartita for saxophone and orchestra, and a piano concertante piece entitled Cascades to the Sea.

This premiere recording of the Second Symphony, subtitled "Ottawa," together with the Scherzo movement from the First (both products of the early 1940s, before he emigrated to England as conductor of a war time army orchestra), will delight all of those who have waited decades to hear these prime examples of the Farnon style in gestation.

At nearly half-an-hour in length, the Second Symphony is quite ambitious, and its three movements (Larghetto con maesta; Allegro moderato; Largo ma non troppo) show that Farnon was not content to abide by traditional rules of tempo and mood, of which there is considerable freedom and contrast here, even within individual movements. Though perhaps a little weak in the strategies of formal development, the proceedings are dominated by Farnon’s innate melodic gift as well as his instinctive feeling for rich orchestral textures. Already his characteristic modes of soaring expansiveness and celebratory affirmation are clearly evident. In fact, the composer would now and then return to these then-withdrawn scores to mine them for ideas for later works, such as the opening of the finale, which became the spellbinding Ottawa Heights of his "Canadian Impressions". The First Symphony Scherzo—meaningfully marked Moderato con licenza - sports a disarmingly memorable tune which could be a harbinger of light classics like Jumping Bean.

The remainder of this program offers a diversified cross section of the kind of orchestral miniatures for which Farnon discovered in the post-war years there was a strong demand in England. This was a field that made best use of his particular talents, and most were originally published by Chappell as utilitarian "production" music, but many eventually became popular outside of this specialized context. Both Alcan Highway and High Street were later incorporated into "Canadian Impressions", while Manhattan Playboy typifies the breezy metropolitan dash of Portrait of a Flirt, and Seventh Heaven the glamorous and rhapsodic ambiance of Journey into Melody and A Star Is Born. Incidentally, In a Calm is one of the most serene and luminous pieces of quiet music ever devised. In works like these, as well as The Frontiersmen, Goodwood Galop, and Playtime, Farnon can immediately evoke a specific mood or activity in just a few short pregnant measures filled with striking and often cleverly unpredictable melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic outlines that stay in the memory in part due to their masterly orchestral embodiments.

John Wilson, the enormously talented young conductor whose interests straddle both the popular and classical fields, conducts absolutely impeccable and idiomatic performances from an ensemble with more than a passing acquaintance with this kind of fare. And Dutton’s sonics leave nothing to be desired.

It is high time the artificial boundaries between pop and classic are breached, and it is this kind of release that moves the process forward. The music of Robert Famon is an excellent place to start. Quality is quality, no matter what the context.

Paul A. Snook

Reproduced from the American magazine "Fanfare" by kind permission of the reviewer.

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Vocalion CDLK4100 From The Highlands / From The Emerald Isle

These two LPs feature some beautiful arrangements of traditional airs. "From the Emerald Isle" was Robert Farnon’s first LP in stereo.

"From the Highlands": Blue Bells of Scotland/Wi’ a Hundred Pipers/Charlie is My Darling/My Ain Folk; The Campbells are Coming/A Highland Lad My Love Was Born/Annie Laurie; Bonnie Dundee/Barbara Allen; Blue Bonnets Over the Border/Skye Boat Song; Comin’ Thru the Rye/My Love is Like a Red Red Rose; Highland Laddie/Loch Lomond/Green Grow the Rushes; Robin Adair/Ye Banks and Braes; Keel Row/Whistle and I’ll Come to You/My Love She’s But a Lassie/Blue Bells of Scotland. "From the Emerald Isle": Killarney; St Patrick’s Day/The Gentle Maiden; Kerry Dance/How Are Things in Glocca Morra; The Girl I Left Behind Me/Cockles and Mussels; Londonderry Air; The Minstrel Boy; The Irish Washerwoman; I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen/The Rakes of Mallow; An Irish Lullaby/The Wearing of the Green; The Mountains of Mourne/Kathleen Mavourneen; Haste to the Wedding/Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms.

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Vocalion CDLK4102 Out Of My Dreams

A collection of stereo recordings from the 1970s, originally released in Britain on the small Rediffusion label.

Out of my Dreams, Send in the Clowns, Dream a Little Dream of Me, Michelle, Theme from 'Godfather 2', *Latin Dreamer, Romantic Hour, Street of Dreams, The Way we Were, *In a Dream World, You Stepped out of a Dream, The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, Liebestraum, Dream, All Alone, I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Dream Memory, Emmaline, I Had the Craziest Dream, Jo-Anne, My Little Friend, When I Grow too old to Dream, Daybreak, Alice Blue Gown. (*Robert Farnon compositions)

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Vocalion CDLK4104 Melody Fair / Canadian Impressions

Two superb LPs of Robert Farnon compositions.

Melody Fair, Jumping Bean, Joanne, A Star is Born, Journey Into Melody, How Beautiful is Night, Peanul Polka, Malaga, Portrait of a Flirt, In a Calm, Poodle Parade, Manhattan Playboy. "Canadian Impressions" – Gateway to the West, Main Street, A La Claire Fontaine, Pow Wow, Prairie Sunset, Alcan Highway, Ottawa Heights, Lake of the Woods, Mountain Grandeur, Canadian Caravan.

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Vocalion CDLK4108 Something To Remember You By / Together (US title: Sunny Side Up)

"Something to Remember You By": Louisiana Hay Ride, Something To Remember You By, Alone Together, Maria, If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You, Got a Bran' New Suit, I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan, Then I'll Be Tired Of You, Dancing In The Dark, I See Your Face Before Me, You And The Night And The Music, A Shine On Your Shoes. "Together": Sunny Side Up, Just a Memory, The Best Things In Life Are Free, Button Up Your Overcoat, I'm A Dreamer, The Black Bottom, Birth Of The Blues, Just Imagine, You're The Cream In My Coffee, Together, If I Had a Talking Picture Of You, The Varsity Drag.

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Vocalion CDLK4112 Two Cigarettes In The Dark / Pictures In The Fire

"Two Cigarettes In The Dark": Title tune, Cocktails For Two, The Touch Of Your Lips, Where Or When, By Candlelight, The Very Thought Of You, Isn’t It Romantic, I’m In The Mood For Love, The Way You Look Tonight, Moonlight Becomes You, A Door Will Open, Love Walked In, Come Dance With Me. "Pictures in the Fire": *Title tune, Love Is A Many-Splendoured Thing, *To A Young Lady, Hey There, Secret Love, *Lazy Day, Friendly Persuasion, *Sophistication Waltz, When I Fall In Love, *A Summer Love, The Story Of Tina, The Nearness Of You.(*Robert Farnon compositions)

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Vocalion CDLK4118 Presenting Robert Farnon / Flirtation Walk

"Presenting Robert Farnon": Yes! We Have No Bananas, Always, Blue Skies, In The Blue Of The Evening, When I Grow Too Old To Dream, Don’t Blame Me, To A Wild Rose, Dawn To Dusk, Laura. "Flirtation Walk": Would You Like To Take A Walk, Reflections In The Water, It’s Always You, Two Little Girls In Blue, Sweet And Lovely, So Do I, Flirtation Walk, By A Waterfall, Can I Forget You, It’s Easy To Remember, Flirtation Waltz, Down By The River, My Foolish Heart, I Love A Lassie.

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Vocalion CDLK4137 Victor Schertzinger Suite / Hoagy Carmichael Suite / Music Of Vincent Youmans

"Victor Schertzinger Suite": The Fleet’s In, Dream Lover, Sand In My Shoes, Marcheta, One Night Of Love, Kiss The Boys Goodbye – bonus tracks: Love Passes By, Tangerine. "Hoagy Carmichael Suite": My Resistance Is Low, Stardust, Little Old Lady, Georgia On My Mind, One Morning In May, Lazy Bones. "Music Of Vincent Youmans": Hallelujah, Tea For Two, Sometimes I’m Happy, Without A Song, Great Day, Orchids In The Moonlight, More Than You Know, Time On My Hands – bonus track: The Carioca.

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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.