26 May

Dateline June 2006

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John Parry writes: Regarding the new Haydn Wood coll-ection on Guild Light Music - all these years we have had the problem of getting people to pronounce his first name correctly. I have another interesting factor for those who do not know the West Riding of Yorkshire. I spent two years in Bradford apprenticed in the wool trade. Slaithwaite, where Haydn Wood was born, is just outside this city and is pronounced by the locals "Slowitt", as in Jowitt,  which was a car manufactured in Bradford in the fifties, sixties and maybe later. So I suspect Haydn had quite a job when moving to London, although the Isle of Man was probably easier! 

Tony Bradley has sent us the following message: I have recently created a website dedicated to the memory and career of Denny Dennis. It is my hope that the website will allow a wider and possibly new audience to learn more about his talent. One of my main aims is to realise a CD reissue of some of Denny's later post-war material. This phase of Denny's career led to some of his very finest recordings, especially the dozen recordings that were made with the Robert Farnon Orchestra. Very little of this material has been reissued over the years. I have contacted several record companies with my proposal, but with no success to date. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas, suggestions, or contacts that might help. Any advice will be gratefully received. I can be contacted through the website, which is located at: www.dennydennis.co.uk One of the highlights of the Robert Farnon Society’s recent London Meeting was the live musical entertainment in the evening provided by Ann Adams and the Ladies’ Palm Court Quartet. As readers will know, Ann is always looking to increase the repertoire of the various ensembles she directs, and she wonders if members can help her with the following queries. There was a piece of music in the film "Miss Pilgrim’s Progress" known as The Cycling Theme which may have been composed by Philip Martell (credited with the film’s score) or possibly Ronald Hanmer – if a piece of library music was used. Ann would love to hear this piece, and learn who the real composer was; she also wonders if any member could provide her with a recording of Fairground Polka by Franz Salmhofer. There is some urgency involved here, which is why Ann’s request has not been included in our "Ask JIM" feature. If you can help, please contact Ann by telephone on 020 8440 1050. 

Shortly before we went to press, Bob Vivian kindly sent us a draft of the programme he was planning to conduct for a concert featuring the Birmingham Schools’ Concert Orchestra at the Adrian Boult Hall on Saturday 13 May. It was a tribute to Ron Goodwin who was a patron of the orchestra from 1992 until his untimely death in 2003 at the age of 77. Among Ron’s great film themes Bob chose Where Eagles Dare, Frenzy, Monte Carlo or Bust, 633 Squadron, Miss Marple’s Theme, The Trap and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Ron’s close colleague, Ron Shillingford, provided much help in organizing the concert. 

We have previously mentioned Angel Radio which broadcasts in Hampshire, UK. John Watson writes to tell us about two regular programmes he presents which he feels would be of interest to RFS members: "Angel Radio Tea Dance" featuring half and hour of dance music on the 1940s and 1950s – Tuesdays 4:00pm; and "Nice & Easy" playing half an hour of the best in Light Music – Thursdays 7:30pm with a repeat Sundays 10:30am. For details visit the website: www.angelradio.co.uk

James Beyer made some very kind comments about our Society in the March edition of hisEdinburgh Light Orchestra Newsletter. James wrote: Congratulations to the Robert Farnon Society on reaching its half-century. Following the half-yearly meeting on Sunday 2 April when light music aficionados will revel in an afternoon of musical entertainment, members of the Society will complete their day at London’s Bonnington Hotel with a Celebration Dinner in the evening. The Society has become the foremost organisation for light music enthusiasts and boasts a worldwide membership that is the envy of other appreciation groups in the field of light music. Take a look at the Society’s magazine alone – ‘Journal Into Melody’ – and you will see what I mean. Not only is it one of the most professionally produced periodicals currently available, it is packed full of information and interesting articles for devotees of light music. ….Happy 50th Anniversary RFS – here’s to the future! The Edinburgh Light Orchestra’s concert on Saturday 27 May featured, for the first time, two compositions by Angela Morley: the delightfully romantic Reverie for Violin and Strings and, in a more dramatic yet equally melodic vein, The Liaison. The late Trevor Duncan was also remembered with his March from ‘A Little Suite’

A recent letter we received from Horace Bennett recalls the time when he first started attending our London Meetings and enthusiastically bought up 78s, whatever their condition. He continues: "When we got them home I played them as soon as possible. The quality of the music was what mattered, with the quality of the reproduction coming in a distant also-ran. In this way we made our first delighted acquaintance with such gems as Mr. Punch, Swing Hoe and Rush Hour. A few days ago we made a similar first acquaintance with Royal Walkabout (Carlin 179), prompted to order it by Robert Walton’s essay on Tête à Tête in the current JIM. It is indeed, to us, a notable and most welcome discovery. (Incidentally is he the Robert Walton whose Theatrical Overture is another delightful discovery on the same CD? Editor: Yes!) But Royal Walkabout is, we are told, a ‘reworking’ of Tête à Tête. It whets the appetite for the original work. How do the two versions differ? Mr. Walton refers to the ‘trotting’ tempo of Frankel’s Carriage and Pair which seems to suggest that the earlier piece was somewhat quicker. What other changes were made? Curiosity is aroused. According to the footnote Tête à Tête has not been made available on CD because the original recording contains some imperfections which presumably cannot be Cedared out. Referring back to my experience as a buyer-up of discarded shellacs, I would aver that we can be a hardy lot, not easily deterred by ‘some imperfections’ when the alternative may be to lose altogether irreplaceable gems. The wartime recordings of Bob’s Canadian Band of the AEF are not of the standard one would expect of recordings made today, but they are bought, played and greatly appreciated despite that. I would suggest that when (as in the case of Tête à Tête) only an imperfect recording of a significant work exists, it would be preferable to reissue it on CD with a caveat, rather than let it fall into oblivion". Editor: Horace certainly makes a strong case in favour of reissuing Tête à Tête. Maybe his enthusiasm will be rewarded one day! 

Alan Hamer reminds us that the Miklos Rozsa centenary will occur on 18 April 2007. Alan would be delighted to hear from any RFS members who would like to learn more about this great composer, who is remembered through The Miklos Rozsa Society. You can contact Alan at: 37 Brunswick Park Gardens, London, N11 1EJ, England. 

Andre Leon went back to his native South Africa early in May to visit his family in Durban and also to meet up with friends at Classic FM in Johannesburg. He told us: "It will be an opportunity to relate to everyone also the continuing dedication to Light Music which The Robert Farnon Society promotes from the UK worldwide. As ‘London Correspondent’ I will have the opportunity to tell SA listeners about the very successful and happy occasion when the RFS celebrated their 50th Anniversary. It was a great evening!" 

Just released by Dutton Epoch – British Light Music Premieres Volume 3. Ernest Tomlinson – Rhythmic Overture Highway to the Sun; Victor Hely-Hutchinson – Overture to a Pantomime; Clifton Parker – Elizabethan Express film music; Phillip Lord – Three Court Dances, Celtic Suite; Anthony Hedges – West Oxford Walks; Carlo Martelli – Overture Celebration Day; James Langley – Ballet Suite Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland and Paul Murphy. CDLX 7170. 

Please remember! Articles, features, letters, small advertisements and news items for this magazine should now be sent direct to our Editor David Ades

This is so funny that it will boggle your mind. And you will keep trying it at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot. But you can't!!!

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction!!!
We told you so... And there is nothing you can do about it!

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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.