Dateline October 2006
Eric Coates’ Calling all Workers was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 9th September as part of the Last Night of the Proms.
Tony Bennett celebrated his 80th birthday with the release of a new album in August called "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" on which he duets with some of today’s biggest names, such as Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and instrumental musical guests such as trumpeter Chris Botti. To coincide with the release of Bennett’s new album a star-studded one hour music special was televised on NBC in America, directed by Rob Marshall, the director of the recent hit film musical Chicago. In addition, a feature length documentary about Bennett’s life is in preparation with the intention to release in 2007 and is being executive produced by Clint Eastwood.
The power of orchestral music has been demonstrated when the producers of the recent thriller "The Da Vinci Code" were told to tone down the sound mix for Hans Zimmer’s score because British film censors felt that the tension and volume of the music would be too intense for children. They threatened to give the higher "15" classification if they failed to comply.
Matthew Curtis tells us that he has just finished recording a CD of his songs to be released by Campion Records later this year to complement the 3 discs of his orchestral music already issued by Campion. The 30 songs, in four cycles, are performed by the critically acclaimed British soprano Marie Vassiliou accompanied at the piano by Gavin Sutherland, and are all settings of poems by Anne Harris (1926-1990), a life-long friend of Matthew’s mother Jean.
Naxos is releasing a CD with Richard Hayman and his Orchestra called "Irish Rhapsody". It featuresMacnamara’s Band, Irish Tune from Country Derry, Irish Suite arranged by Leroy Anderson, and many others.
Also from Naxos are two Broadway Cast recordings of Jule Styne’s "High Button Shoes" and "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" from 1947 and 1949 respectively, starring Carol Channing and Yvonne Adair.
British television composer Nicholas Hooper has been appointed to write the score for the next Harry Potter film. He will compose the score for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" which is due to be released in July 2007. He will follow in the footsteps of Hollywood composer John Williams, who wrote the scores for the first three Harry Potter films, and Scotsman Patrick Doyle, who composed the most recent film.
Following the success of "Filmharmonic 1", a second CD has been released by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra featuring 16 tracks, including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Midnight Cowboy,Dead Poets Society, Oliver Twist, and a suite from The Truth about Love composed and conducted by Debbie Wiseman.
Due for release on 21th August by Gambit Records is a 24 track compliation CD featuring David Rose and his Orchestra called "Music of the Stripper". Tracks include What is This Thing Called Love, Mood Indigo, St Louis Blues, Harlem Nocturne, Walk on the Wild Side, and of course, The Stripper.
A new 2 CD set available exclusively through the UK mail-order company Nostalgia Direct is called "Moonlight Serenade – The Very Best of Geoff Love and Manuel and the Music of the Mountains" and features a total of 48 tracks.
Admirer’s of Ray Conniff may be interested to learn that the Ray Conniff International Fan Club Convention is to be held in Hamburg, Germany, from May 17 to May 20, 2007. Thursday, May 17 is a public holiday so nothing is planned for that night except a get together for dinner. The convention will officially begin with a reception on Friday evening. Further details will be available on-line on Manfred’s Ray Conniff web site. You can also email Manfred at
A new DVD box set of the cult TV series "The Champions" will contain all episodes from the series and many interesting special features, including interviews, audio commentaries and documentaries. At the time of going to press, it is understood the extras also include nearly 30 minutes of incidental music composed by Edwin Astley, Robert Farnon and Albert Elms arranged as a suite, and a different main title sequence featuring the unused theme by Robert Farnon.