Dateline December 2004
? Robin King’s feature in our last issue, where he mentioned organist Lew Williams (who lives near Angela Morley) has produced some interesting correspondence. Lew has rightly taken your Editor to task over his description of the theatre organs played by Sidney Torch as ‘electronic’, and he has also provided some information about several of these famous instruments from the pre-war days. Lew writes: I know it's difficult to keep track of all the various bits of information from that era, and given the amount of hyperbole that was often put into publicity in those days, it's not hard to be confused. In the booklet notes to the "All Strings and Fancy Free" CD on Living Era, there is reference to the Gaumont State, Kilburn as "......the largest cinema organ in England." I believe that the Gaumont was, perhaps, at 4,000 seats, the largest cinema in the UK. However, the organ itself consisted of some 16 ranks (sets) of pipes. The Trocadero, Elephant & Castle, had the largest Wurlitzer organ in Europe (at 21 ranks), but the largest cinema organ in all of Europe was the Regal, Marble Arch, with a total of 36 ranks. As to the construction dates, etc., of the various cinemas, the Regal, Marble Arch opened in November 1928, Regal, Edmonton in 1934, and Gaumont, Kilburn in 1937. As none of the organs were altered or added to after opening, Marble Arch leads the pack as to sheer size. Sadly, it's been rotting away in a barn in Cornwall since being removed from the cinema in 1964, and will probably never play again. The Edmonton organ has been removed to the Memorial Hall at Barry, in Wales. The Kilburn instrument is the only remaining original cinema organ in the London area. Though Torch steadfastly refused to talk to anyone about his organ days during his later years, I do have a 3-part interview with him that was published in 1972 in the American journal "Theatre Organ," on the occasion of the re-release of a double LP or his organ tracks. Torch's orchestral pianist, William Davies, told me a few interesting bits about Torch: how he learned Greek after his retirement from conducting so he could read the classics in the original language, and how WD tricked ST into playing the organ during an orchestral rehearsal for a sound check, much to Torch's annoyance. Editor: excerpts from that rare Sidney Torch interview will appear in ‘Journal Into Melody’ next year.
? We are very pleased to report that the music of Ron Goodwin is not being forgotten. In November, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robin Stapleton performed three concerts in Weymouth, Swindon and Bournemouth under the title MY KIND OF MUSIC - A Celebration of the life and Music of Ron Goodwin. Unfortunately the news of these concerts did not reach us until early September, so we could not give details in our last magazine. However full information was posted in the "Latest News" section of our website, so we hope that many members will have seen it there. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to remind those of you who have access to the internet that late news items such as this can been seen on our website. Please look at our "Latest News" from time to time. We have been told that some members have made our website their ‘home page’ so that it serves as a regular reminder to them!
? Klaus Teubig used to work in the German branch of Francis, Day & Hunter. He has fond memories of the music of Les Reed, and he also offers the following cameo: the composer ‘Montague’ responsible for the early Matt Monro recording You’re The One Of My Hit Parade was actually a pseudonym for Sir Frederick Day, son of the founder of FDH. He wrote it in the 1920s for his wife Doris, then a Tiller Girl. When they married she became a true English ‘Doris Day’!
Debbie Wiseman will be sharing conducting honours with Owain Arwel Hughes at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Christ Concert on Wednesday 15 December at Fairfield Hall, Croydon – box office 020 8688 9291.
Tony Bennett’s only UK appearance this year will be at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday 6 December. By the time you read this, unfortunately it will be far too late to get any tickets!
Some vintage Anne Shelton recordings have been discovered by Philip Farlow. A new CD features a BBC/AEFP broadcast where she is guest vocalist with the Glenn Miller AEF Band, and there are some other rare tracks. Details from Anne’s niece – Kelly Richards, PO Box 160, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 4YF, England – or visit the website www.anne-shelton.co.uk The CD costs £12.04, including postage.
Since writing his review of the Frank Sinatra ‘Platinum Collection’ (see ‘Keeping Track’), your Editor has read in the Sinatra Music Society magazine that the uncredited writer of the excellent booklet notes is Ken Barnes.
The World Soundtrack Awards were announced at the 31st Flanders International Film Festival in Bijloke, Ghent, on 9th October. Gabriel Yared received two of the most prestigious awards: Soundtrack Composer of the Year for Cold Mountain and Best Original Soundtrack of the Year forCold Mountain also. The latter movie was awarded with a third prize: Best Original Song Written for Film with the song ‘You will be my Ain True Love written by Sting and performed by Alison Krauss. The Public Choice Award went to John Williams for the Soundtrack of Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, while the Discovery of the Year was given to Santaollala Gustavo for 21 Grams. Sir George Martin gave a Lifetime Achievement Award that recognised the talent of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, while the Prize for the Best Young Belgian Composer was taken by Steven Prengels for the soundtrack he wrote for Le Réveil Tam-Tam a silent short.
In case you are still searching for an amusing CD to fill a Christmas stocking, can we remind you about the new 2-CD collection of music and dialogue from the "Carry On" films – Silva Screen SILCD1168. Jeff Hall mentions it in his ‘Film Music Bulletin’, but he covers so much ground in his column that you may have missed it! The ASV CD ‘The Carry On Album’ WHL 2119 has been a big seller, and we are pleased to give advance notice that a sequel by the same team is due to come out soon – "What A Carry On!" with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland on Vocalion Digital CDSA6810. All these CDs are available from the RFS Record Service, although the Vocalion CD may be an early 2005 release.
In the summer of 2003 John Wilson spent 12 days at EMI’s Abbey Road studios recreating the songs of Bobby Darin for a film musical on his life. The late singer is portrayed on screen by Kevin Spacey, who incredibly did all the vocals himself. Your Editor can remember John saying how impressed he was with the actor’s dedication to this project, and the end results are simply amazing. With the film about to be released, Spacey was interviewed by the London newspaper Observer in October, and it was good to see him acknowledge John Wilson’s important contribution to the project. Kevin Spacey said: "The most rewarding 12 days I have ever spent were in the Abbey Road studio with a 48-piece orchestra laying down all the tracks before we started shooting with Phil Ramone, my music producer, and John Wilson, my musical director. These genius guys completely understood how to capture the sound and spirit of Bobby."
Major Archive Release from Boosey & Hawkes
Boosey Media have just embarked upon a major project to place all of their 78s on CDs. The first phase involves the BH1900 series from the 1930s, and we will give full details in a special feature in our next issue. The CDs will be available through the RFS Record Service.