26 May

Filmharmonic ’77 remembered

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Saturday, November 5th 1977 - Royal Albert Hall, London
By GARETH BRAMLEY

Slightly later than usual, the 8th Festival of Film & TV Music - compered again by Sir Richard Attenborough - featured John Addison, Dominic Frontiere and Robert Sharples. 1977 was Jubilee Year and the concert also celebrated the golden jubilee of Paramount Pictures (1928-1977) with a fine selection of themes and scores. The studio’s head of music, Dominic Frontiere, flew over from Hollywood especially for this event. He was maybe an unknown in the UK at the time but his TV output in the States had been prolific.

The Mike Sammes Singers also added their distinctive backing vocals to the evening’s concert, a major part of which featured the music from the films of Joseph E. Levine. It was all specially orchestrated by Johnny Gregory who - since the actual scores were not available - had to listen to hours and hours of music, and make copious notes before producing the scores for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who played the music for the 8th consecutive year. The orchestra was again augmented by Roland Harker on guitar; Don Innes on piano; Bobby Orr on drums; and Russ Stableford on fender bass.

Following the fanfare ‘Music From the Movies’ arranged by John Gregory and conducted by Don Innes, Bob Sharples raised the baton for ‘The Music of Independent Television – Classical Themes’ - some examples of where classical music had been adapted for use as a TV Theme.

This was split into three distinct regions as follows:

Southampton, Belfast and Birmingham
Moldavian Dance – Liana (c.1950) (Schalaster) from ‘Music in Camera’ (Southern TV)
Violin Sonata Op.5 – Giga (1700) (Corelli) from Food of Love’ (Ulster TV)
Sinfonietta (1926) (Janacek) (‘Crown Court’) (ATV)

London and Manchester
Karelia Suite – 3rd Movement – Alla Marcia (1893) (Sibelius) (‘This Week’) (Thames TV)
English Dances – No.5 (1950) (Arnold) (‘What the Papers Say’) (Granada TV)

Norwich and Leeds

Bassoon Concerto in E Minor P137 – 3rd Movement – Allegro (c.1725) (Vivaldi)
(‘Survival’) (Anglia TV)
Coronation March – Crown Imperial (1937) (Walton) (‘Justice’) (Yorkshire TV)

The concert continued with ‘Thanks For The Memory – 50 Years of Paramount Film Music’ all of which was conducted by Dominic Frontiere. ‘The Early Days’ sequence began with ‘A Precious Little Thing Called Love’ (Coots) from ‘The Shopwork Angel’ (1928); followed by ‘Louise’ (Whiting) from the 1929 film ‘Innocents of Paris’; and ‘Falling In Love Again’ (Hollander) from ‘The Blue Angel’ (1930).

The next section was ‘The Classic Dramas’ consisting of Miklos Rozsa’s ‘The Lost Weekend’ (1945); Franz Waxman’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950); Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Psycho’ (1960); and finally Victor Young’s music from ‘Samson & Delilah’ (1949).

‘Paramount Americana’ featured Neal Hefti’s theme from ‘The Odd Couple’ (1968); two Elmer Bernstein themes – ‘Hud’ from 1963 and ‘True Grit’ from 1969 – and ended with Victor Young’s theme from the Western ‘Shane’ (1953).

The main section in the first part of the concert – ‘The Great Songs’ was a celebration of some of the studio’s songs, which had won awards for best song. The running order was as follows:

Thanks For the Memory – The Big Broadcast of 1938 (Rainger)
Moon River – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) (Mancini)
Swinging on a Star – Going My Way (1944) (Van Heusen)
All the Way – The Joker Is Wild (1957) (Van Heusen)
Sweet Leilani – Waikiki Wedding (1937) (Owens)
Buttons and Bows – The Paleface (1948) (Livingston-Evans)
Mona Lisa – Captain Carey, USA (1950) (Livingston-Evans)
That’s Amore – The Caddy ((1953) (Warren)
Call Me Irresponsible – Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963) (Van Heusen)
In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening – Here Comes the Groom (1951) (Carmichael)
White Christmas – Holiday Inn (1942) (Berlin)

The final selections – under the title ‘Directed by De Mille’ were ‘The Ten Commandments’ – the Elmer Bernstein theme from 1956; and Victor Young’s ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ from 1952.

As if the above wasn’t enough, the highlight of the concert was still to come in part two with John Addison conducting ‘The Name Above the Title’ – a tribute to Joseph E. Levine – featuring twenty of the films he presented. All the selections were specially arranged and orchestrated by John Gregory, as detailed previously, with the exception of Addison’s own ‘A Bridge Too Far’ and all vocals were by The Mike Sammes Singers. The ‘Main Theme’ and ‘A Dutch Rhapsody’ (both from the film) had been released by United Artists (on single and LP) when the film opened in June ’77. The label had previously released ‘Girl With Green Eyes’ / ‘Love Theme from ‘Tom Jones’ in May 1965.

Again certain tunes were arranged into sections – and followed the ‘Overture’, which was Percy Faith’s ‘Academy Award Night’ from ‘The Oscar’ (1966). It was called ‘Franco-Italian Suite’ and began with Henry Mancini’s ‘Love Theme from ‘Sunflower’’ (1970). Nino Rota’s theme from Fellini’s ‘8 and a Half’ (1963) followed. Then it was George Delerue’s ‘The Fashion House’ from ‘Promise at Dawn’ (1970); Armando Trovajoli’s ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ (1964); Francis Lai’s ‘La Bonna Annee’ (‘Happy New Year’) (1974); and finally another of Nina Rota’s themes for another Fellini picture ‘Boccaccio ’70 (1962).

‘Selections from the USA’ was the next sequence starting with ‘Scarborough Fair’ and ‘The Sound of Silence’ from ‘The Graduate’ (1967) composed by pop duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Roy Budd’s ‘How Wonderful Life Is’ from the 1970 film ‘Soldier Blue’ was next, followed by Andre Previn’s ‘A Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ (1962); ‘Springtime For Hitler’ from John Morris’ score to ‘The Producers’ (1968); Georges Delerue’s ‘Day of the Dolphin’ (1973); Elmer Bernstein’s theme from ‘The Capetbaggers’ (1964); Neal Hefti’s ‘Girl Talk’ from ‘Harlow’ (1965); and finally Alfred Newman’s theme from the 1966 film ‘Nevada Smith’.

‘Made In England’ was the final section including two themes by British composer John Barry – the first ‘Isandhlwana’ from the 1964 film ‘Zulu’. This was followed by the Barrie-Cahn composition ‘A Touch of Class’ from 1973; Johnny Dankworth’s ‘Darling’ from 1965; the 2nd John Barry composition ‘The Lion In Winter’ (1968). The final theme was that which John Addision wrote (and specially arranged for the concert) for the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’ which, as mentioned previously, had opened in June.

Mike Sammes (1928-2001) learnt cello and played in his school orchestra. He worked briefly for Chappell & Co, the London music publisher, and after National Service in the RAF in the late 40s he worked on a variety of jobs until fellow musician Bill Shepherd convinced him to form a group called The Coronets. They recorded some cover versions of hit records for Columbia and some back up vocals for The Big Ben Banjo Band. After bringing together a group of singers in 1955 it wasn’t long before they were accompanying many British singers and doing other work for radio including jingles.

The Mike Sammes Singers were formed and they recorded at least seven albums between 1962 and 1988 in addition to recording on many of the Disneyland Records made for children. Sammes had backed a whole host of artists over the years – Ronnie Hilton; Tommy Steele; Anthony Newley; Helen Shapiro; Engelbert Humperdinck; Tom Jones and Ken Dodd; Barbra Streisand; Kenneth McKellar; Bette Davis; Mrs. Mills; Dionne Warwick; Danny La Rue; Rex Harrsion and Gilbert O’ Sullivan. They also worked with Morecambe & Wise and on the hit record ‘Whispering Grass’ by Don Estelle & Windsor Davies, which reached No.1 in the UK singles charts in June 1975; and previously Michael Holliday’s ‘Starry Eyed’, which also reached No.1 in January 1960. Another notable single was a version of ‘A Man and a Woman’ released in July 1967 for HMV. The singers also recorded numerous singles and albums for Music For Pleasure – one of the most popular being an album of Wombling Songs in 1975.

After his death record entrepreneur Johnny Trunk released a CD of music from Sammes’ own reel-to-reel tapes entitled ‘Music For Biscuits’ - which contained many of his advertising jingles including ‘Tuc Biscuits’.

John Gregory (b.1924) studied violin and composition and during his childhood deputised for various members of his father’s band – whilst at the same time composing and arranging for his father. He learnt solo violin under Afredo Campoli. Gregory has arranged and conducted for many artists including Anthony Newley; Cleo Lane; Matt Monro; Connie Francis; Nana Mouskouri and Peters and Lee. He was the principal conductor for the BBC Radio Orchestra during 1973-74 and has worked widely in the world of TV, films and jingles.

Under the name Chaquito, he released a very successful Latin-American album (‘TV Thrillers’) reaching No.45 in the UK album charts in March 1972. A single from this - ‘Hawaii Five-0’ / ‘Ironside’ - was issued in July 1972. This was followed by another TV Themes album - ‘The Detectives’ - in 1976 with his own orchestra which spawned a single ‘Cannon’ / ‘Streets of San Francisco’. ‘Spies and Dolls’ – by The Chaquito Big Band was released in 1972. The two 1972 albums have been reissued on CD by Vocalion. In addition to Chaquito (Big Band) he conducted The Cascading Strings - another alias was Nino Rico. He also recorded for Standard Music Library in the early 70s.

In 1976 Gregory won the Ivor Novello Award as composer of the best instrumental work for ‘Introduction & Air to a Stained Glass Window’ featured on his album ‘A Man For All Seasons’. His self-composed ‘Jaguar’ from this album was issued on the flip side of a single of his version of Charles Aznavour’s ‘’She’ on United Artists in March 1975.

Robert ‘Bob’ Sharples (1913-1987) started playing piano at the age of seven and moved on to organ at age eleven. He studied orchestration, composition and conducting with Sir Hamilton Harty until he came to London to try his luck with jazz. After establishing himself playing piano in nightclubs, Sharples used his knowledge of orchestration in the writing of arrangements for top dance bands such as Ambrose; Jack Harris; Roy Fox and Carroll Gibbons. In 1934 he joined the Freddy Platt band at the Carlton Ballroom, Rochdale along with Geoff Love, playing piano whilst Love played trombone. In 1963 Sharples conducted the London Festival Orchestra for a Phase 4 recording of the ‘1812 Overture’.

After demobbing from the Army in 1945 he resumed his musical career. In the 60s his record of the ‘1812 Overture’ and the ‘Nutcracker Suite’ was in the US charts for nearly three months following which he became the only Englishman to be commissioned by Duke Ellington to write for his orchestra. ‘Uncle Bob’ Sharples (as he became known to Hughie Green) was musical director for ‘Opportunity Knocks’ on TV and composed the themes for ‘Public Eye’ (1966-69); ‘Special Branch’ (1969); ‘Napoleon and Love’ (TV mini-series – 1974); ’Harriet’s Back in Town’ (1972); ‘The Explorers’ (1972); ‘Man Alive Report’ (1965); ‘If Britain Had Fallen’ (1972).

Another programme was ‘The Americans’ – a 10 part series for the BBC - which he had just completed prior to the concert. He also wrote the music for the silent film ‘Futtock’s End (1970); worked on ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ (1958); ‘Dave Allen at Large’ (1971); ‘The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes’ (1971-73); and ‘Minder’ (1979-80). Standout films with music composed by Sharples were: ‘Where There’s a Will’ (1955); ‘Home and Away’ (1956); Battle of the V-1’ (1958); and ‘A Prize of Arms’ (1962). Under the name Robert Earley (a musicians’ joke – he always arrived late for sessions!) he wrote the theme for the TV series ‘Man at the Top’ (1970).

Dominic Frontiere (b. 1931) was playing musical instruments at age seven before concentrating on the accordion and at age 12 played a solo at Carnegie Hall. After working with a big band in the late 40s/early 50s he moved to Los Angeles where he enrolled at the UCLA. He then became musical director at 20th Century Fox, scoring several films under the tutelage of Alfred and Lionel Newman, whilst recording jazz music. Frontiere met director and producer Leslie Stevens (scoring ‘The Outer Limits’ for TV) and later worked on Quinn Martin productions such as ‘The Invaders’; ‘The Fugitive’ and ’12 o’ Clock High’.

This led to scoring the films‘ Hang ‘Em High’ (1968) and ‘On Any Sunday’ (1971). Frontiere then became head of the music department at Paramount Pictures in the early 70s – hence his appearance at this concert - even composing a jingle for the studio’s TV department. At the same time he orchestrated popular music albums for artists like Gladys Knight and Chicago.

One of Frontiere’s most memorable themes appeared on both the UK and USA on a United Artists single in June 1968: ‘Hang ‘Em High’ backed with the love theme ‘Rachel’. In the 70s he had a major success with his music from ‘Washington: Behind Closed Doors’, which was released on album by ABC. A single was issued in the States; and here in the UK in Feb ’78. Another notable single release was ‘One Foot In Hell’ / ‘From The Terrace (Love Theme)’ released on Philips as early as 1962 - though these were not his compositions. United Artists also released the title theme from ‘Popi’ in 1969; and in January 1977 Buddah issued a single from the 1976 soundtrack album ‘Pipe Dreams’ (which he arranged) by Gladys Knight & The Pips.

Frontiere worked on numerous TV series providing scores and themes: ‘The New Breed’ and ‘Rawhide’ (1961); ‘Stoney Burke’ (1962-63); ‘The Outer Limits’ (1963); ‘Branded’ (1965); ‘The Fugitive’ (1964-66); ‘F.B.I.’ (1965-67); ‘Iron Horse’ (1966-67); ‘The Flying Nun’ (1967); ‘The Rat Patrol’ (1966-67);‘The Invaders’ (1967-68); ‘Search Control’ (1972-3); ‘Chopper One’ (1974); ‘Vegas’ (1978-81); and ‘Matt Houston’ (1982-84).

Some of his film scoring highlights were; ‘One Foot In Hell’ (1960); ‘Billie’ (1965); ‘Hang ‘Em High’ (1968); ‘Popi’ (1969); ‘Freebie & The Bean (1974); ‘Brannigan’ (1975); ‘Pipe Dreams’ (1976); ‘The Stunt Man’ (1980); ‘The Aviator’ (1985); ‘Colour of Night’ (1994); and his last film score ‘Behind the Badge (2002) - in addition to numerous TV movies.

Frontiere won the Golden Globe award for ‘The Stuntman’ in 1981 and was nominated in 1995 for ‘The Color of Night’. He also won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1971 for his TV work for ‘Swing Out Sweet Land’.

The evening’s final conductor, John Addison (1920-1998), entered the Royal College of Music aged 16 where he studied composition with Gordon Jacob; oboe with Leon Goossens; and clarinet with Frederick Thurston. After the war had ended he returned to London to teach composition at the RCM. His film scores, for which he is best known include: ‘A Taste of Honey’ (1961); ‘Smashing Time’ and ‘The Honey Pot’ (1967); ‘Sleuth’ (1972); ‘Swashbuckler’ (1976) and the TV mini series ‘Centennial’ (1978). When Alfred Hitchcock ended his association with Bernard Herrmann he turned to Addison to score ‘Torn Curtain’ in 1966.

Addison also wrote for the theatre – John Osborne’s plays ‘The Entertainer’ (1957) and ‘Luther’ (1961). He collaborated with John Cranko on a revue, ‘Cranks’ in 1956. His classical works included a trumpet concerto; a trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon - ‘Carte Blanche’; a ballet for Sadler’s Wells; a septet for wind and harp; a concert ante for oboe, clarinet, horn and orchestra; and a partite for strings. Other notable TV themes were: ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Detective’ (both 1964); ‘The Eddie Capra Mysteries’ (1978-9);

Addison won the ASCAP Film & Television Music Award six times between 1988 and 1995 for his work on ‘Murder She Wrote’(1984). He won an Oscar and Grammy in 1964 for ‘Tom Jones’ and received a further nomination in 1973 for ‘Sleuth’. He also won the BAFTA in 1978 for ‘A Bridge Too Far’; a previous nomination in 1969 for ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’; and was awarded a Primetime Emmy award in 1985 for ‘Murder She Wrote’.

Sadly, a recording of the evening’s performance is not available though LWT did screen highlights of an hour at 23.15pm on 17th December under the heading ‘Saturday Special’. It would be 1979 before another audio recording would be made featuring music from the Filmharmonic concerts!

For 1978 there would be a new orchestra – well NEW to Filmharmonic and a new compere! The main composer would be Marvin Hamlisch – flavour of the year at the time - who sadly died last year.

This feature first appeared in ‘Journal Into Melody’ August 2013.

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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.