REPORT ON THE SECOND MEETING OF THE LONDON LIGHT MUSIC GROUP
OCTOBER 12th 2014
By Brian Reynolds
London Light Music Group October 12th 2014
The second meeting of the Group took place at the Lancaster Hall Hotel on October 12th 2014, and once again proceedings commenced with Tony Clayden welcoming everybody to what would prove to be an enjoyable afternoon. Tony conveyed the best wishes of David Ades (former Secretary of the Robert Farnon Society) and informed us that David was recovering well from his recent operation.
Our opening number was, appropriately, a Robert Farnon composition Grandstand, from one of the very latest GUILD CD releases.
Anthony Wills (former BBC Radio Producer) then gave a tribute to broadcaster Sheila Tracy, who has recently died. He played part of a broadcast in which Sheila interviewed bandleader Ivy Benson and followed this with A Ship Rolling Home featuring Rita Williams.
Anthony continued with a special feature on Cole Porter, October 2014 being the 50th anniversary of his death. Items included were I Concentrate On You (Lena Horne), I Love Paris, (Edmund Hockeridge), Anything Goes (Singers Unlimited). Mind if I make Love to you (Bing Crosby). This is a song from High Society, orchestrated by Nelson Riddle. Then followed You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To (Tony Perkins of Psycho fame,) and finally, I've Got You Under My Skin played by the Robert Farnon orchestra.
Tony then played some more from the latest releases, The Copenhagen March (Frederickson) and Cuban Love Song - usually associated with Edmundo Ros, but on this occasion played by Paul Weston and his orchestra. These are both from GUILD; we understand that the company has commissioned another eight CDs from compilers David Ades and Alan Bunting for 2015. We then heard Alpine Sleighride (by the contemporary composer Christopher Irvine), played by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland - Chairman of the Light Music Society. (We are hoping to welcome Gavin as our Guest Speaker at our October 2015 meeting –Editor)
The first part of the programme was then brought to a close with the Gigue from the Silverthorn Suite, composed and conducted by Ernest Tomlinson, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. This had been commemorated by a tribute concert, which was broadcast on the actual day by Classic FM, and from which the recording was taken.
In Part Two, it fell to me to introduce our special guest, former BBC Producer Brian Willey. I first met Brian in 1982 when he was producing a revival of Music While You Work, as part of a celebration of the BBC's Diamond Jubilee, Indeed, Brian had been extensively involved with that programme, when he was a Sound Engineer in the 1950s. However, his story commenced in the 1940s when he would often provide the sound effects for ITMA - and later, The Goon Show. As a producer, in the sixties, Brian was involved with such programmes as Sweet Corn, Younger Than Springtime, Roundabout and Breakfast Special - to name just a few!
As the composer of over fifty published pieces of music, Brian had first been inspired by the success of High Heels, written by fellow producer Leonard Trebilco (Trevor Duncan), and so decided to be a composer himself, writing both melody and lyrics to a wealth of songs. We listened to his first composition Right From The Start, played by the BBC Showband under Cyril Stapleton; Like Cute - signature tune of Younger Than Springtime; Something New featuring Johnny Pearson; and On the Scene from Les Reed.
Brian had a great respect for the skills of conductor Peter Knight, who was the ultimate 'multitasker' - being able write out a score for one piece, whilst rehearsing an orchestra in a totally different composition!! We then heard Brian's theme for the series Night-Time And You. Pianist/Conductor Wilf Todd became better known as Carlos Romanos in later years, although it might have been Carlo Romano had Brian Willey not advised him that an Italian-sounding name would not sound right for a conductor specialising in South-American rhythms ! We then listened to Carlos Romanos playing Morango followed by Eve Boswell singing Aren't We All Lover's Fools ? Next we heard the London Studio Players conducted by George French in what is probably one of Brian's best known compositions- Summer Love In Napoli. Although this is an instrumental version, lyrics have also been written to it, by the aforementioned Carlos Romanos!
As Brian had known Robert Farnon well, he thought it appropriate to include one of Bob’s early recordings, conducting the Canadian Band of the A.E.F, in a medley consisting of As Time Goes By, Shoo Shoo Baby and I'll Be Seeing You.
Another Brian composition followed - Passion Wagon - played by the outstanding husband and wife two-piano team - Christine and Sandy Blair.
To conclude Brian's ‘slot’, we listened to The Gibraltar Anthem from Dorothy Squires and I'm Coming Home. Actually, it wasn't quite the end as, after thanking our guest for an excellent presentation, we played out with Phil Tate and his Orchestra playing the last few minutes of Brian's final " Music While You Work",
Part Three opened with a presentation by Tony Clayden of the music of Percy Fletcher, The first item was Dancing On The Green played by Charles Williams and the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra and this was followed by Bal Masque from Parisienne Sketches, played by the Plaza Theatre Orchestra conducted by Frank Tours. Tony continued with the first movement from the Three English Dances by Roger Quilter (but orchestrated by Percy Fletcher), and he concluded with one of his own favourites - Fiddle Dance – played once again by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by Gavin Sutherland.
As many will be aware, David Corbett has written a large and very comprehensive book about the radio programme Those Were the Days and its conductor Harry Davidson. So David came on stage to talk about the show and play some excerpts. These were all taken from David’s archive of over 500 TWTD broadcasts !
We listened to Jan Hurst's famous Brighton Seastep and then we heard Rex Palmer introduce Last Night on the Back Porch. It was Harry Davidson's practice to include an 'Orchestral Interlude' in each of his programmes and the example chosen by David was Percy Fletcher’s overture Vanity Fair. Guest singers were usually featured on the show, so as an example, we listened to Ian Wallace singing Stop Your Tickling Jock. David concluded his feature with the Swannee Medley arranged by Leon Young.
Chris Money then introduced his Danceband Spot. His first selection was On the Air from Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Orpheans, followed by a rhythmic version of Eric Coates' Knightsbridge March, played by the Phil Green orchestra. After hearing Hors D'oeuvres, played by Ambrose and his orchestra, (later adopted by Sid Phillips as his signature tune), we were nearing the end of our afternoon's entertainment.
As we were rapidly nearing Christmas, Tony played out with O Come All Ye Faithful, from the new GUILD CD Christmas Lights.