Dateline June 2009
Our very special member Rosemary Squires, MBE, received another unexpected honour recently. The packed audience at the at the prestigious Concorde Club Eastleigh on Wednesday 4 March was delighted when the proprietor, Cole Matheson, jumped on stage during the second half of her gala celebration of ‘Sixty Years of Song’ to award an equally surprised Rosemary Squires with ‘The Freedom of the Concorde’! Congratulating Rosemary on her "diamond jubilee of making music" Cole thanked her for "her singing, her smile, and for her ‘royal presence’ so often lighting up the stage which has given so much pleasure worldwide over so many years". Cole explained that in addition to having her photograph displayed in a place of honour in the Club, the award entitled Rosemary to drive her sheep through the Moldy Fig bar, to sleep overnight in the car park, to paddle in the brook and to have her first drink on the house whenever she calls!" For once lost for words, Rosemary said "This is an emotional moment - I suppose I’ve got to go out and buy a flock a sheep now!" For this gala evening Rosemary called on world famous musicians from her past, Brian Dee piano, Colin Green guitar, Bobby Worth drums, Jim Richardson bass, Alan Barnes saxes/clarinet, and Ronnie Hughes trumpet; the concert closed appropriately with a lively ‘I’ve got Rhythm’, which they certainly had! The perfect ending to what was acclaimed by members of the audience as "a memorable occasion".
Joan Osborne-Walker recently sent us a cutting from the Daily Telegraph headed "Why joyful music is good for the heart". It seems that scientists have discovered that stressful or disturbing music has the effect of narrowing the arteries, and may be harmful to the heart. On the other hand a cheerful favourite tune has a beneficial effect on blood vessels, widening them and protecting against heart disease. After listening to joyful music, volunteers’ arteries opened 26 per cent wider on average than they did when no music was played. So if you want to keep fit, healthy and happy – put on your favourite CD … of light music, of course!
Rod Rizzo also sent us a cutting – this time from the New York Daily News. It mentions that 29 years after the death of Andre Kostelanetz his personal chronicle of his long and distinguished career has been donated to the Library of Congress. It comprises 73 cartons of personal papers, recordings, photographs, transcriptions and correspondence. It had all been stored in a warehouse because his brother, Boris, felt emotionally unable to deal with it after his death. When Boris died, their nephew Bob Frank arranged for the donation. Included are transcriptions of the live radio programmes Kostelanetz hosted on CBS radio from 1932 to 1946. They are widely considered to have played a major role in making classical music accessible to pop music fans.
Gene Lees recently completed his new biography on the career of Artie Shaw. We will let you know as soon as we are advised of its publication.
The Australian composer Grant Foster has been very busy just recently. In a special message toJournal Into Melody he told us that he had been in Dubai on 13 March for discussions regarding the performance of "The Pearl of Dubai". He then left for Nice, France where his Piano Sonata was premiered on 21 March by Mira Yevtich along with his Ballad for Two Pianos also performed by Mira and a very fine Russian pianist. Grant is currently working on an Opera which he describes as an exciting work, one that he feels could be well received.
"You’re-Never-Too-Old-To-Learn" department: Dave Bernard in Cambridge (USA) recently told us that the Alec Wilder composition In The Blue Of The Evening is predominantly known as Footnote To A Summer Love and it was thus titled when Wilder himself recorded it with his Octet on Vox in 1947. It appears on the Robert Farnon Decca LP "Presenting Robert Farnon", and there is another Wilder piece on the other side of the album which also has two titles: on the UK release (LK 4067) it is "Dawn to Dusk" but on the same LP issued in the USA (London LL 812) it is called "Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra". Alec Wilder seems to have been greatly admired by musicians. Even Frank Sinatra is reported to have used his own money to conduct and record some of his music back in his Tommy Dorsey days.
Paul Clatworthy has drawn our attention to a recent CD issued by El Records featuring the LP "Sounds In The Night" by Russ Garcia (ACMEM 160 CD). To fill the rest of the CD they have included the "Mother Magoo Suite" by Dennis Farnon (featuring Marni Nixon on some tracks) which was on one side of an RCA LP in the 1950s. The booklet notes for the new CD by Christopher Evans are particularly interesting. He tells us that Dennis Farnon "made a good living through composing and arranging for the movies (including Captain Hornblower RN and Spring In Park Lane) and as a jazz bandleader, Farnon also aspired to be a classical composer and even had the first of his two symphonies composed before the war premiered by the great conductor Eugene Ormandy etc…" Does anyone know who Christopher Evans is? He needs to be told a thing or two about Dennis and Robert!
David S. Brookes is running an Eric Coates ‘Come and Play Day’ at Polesworth Abbey on Saturday 3 October 2009 and he and his team are looking for instrumentalists who would be interested in taking part. For more information contact David S Brookes 54 Kiln Way, Polesworth, Tamworth B78 1JE. Tel. 01827 704410; Email:
BBC-2 screened a 90-minute documentary devoted to Tony Bennett on a Saturday evening last February. It was produced and compered by Clint Eastwood, and showed that Tony can still hold an audience in the palm of his hand. The one ‘wrong note’ was the omission of any reference to his work with Robert Farnon. We know that such shows suffer at the hands of editors when they are being put together after filming, but considering that Bob and Tony were responsible for some landmark LPs – as well as memorable concerts at Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, as well as a Thames TV series – how could all that be ignored? Show business ‘documentaries’ like this can be entertaining, but it seems they should never be relied upon as an accurate representation of the subject’s real achievements.
Ann Adams and The Ladies’ Palm Court Orchestra will be playing again in a London Park this summer, but the venue has changed to St James’s Park from 2:00 to 4:15pm on Sunday 26 July. Her regular fans are bound to turn out in force … just pray for a warm, sunny day!
Richard Cochrane is a jazz player, based in The Netherlands, but his reason for contacting us recently is that he is the nephew of the composer Joyce Cochrane. Richard had noted that several of her pieces have been reissued on Guild CDs, and David Ades explained to him that it is very difficult to discover much about her career. He has promised to pass on what he knows, although he admits that he regrets not having asked her more about her work during a period towards the end of her life when she was living with him. However Richard believes that a mistake has been made in crediting "Call Of The Casbah" (on "Going Places" Guild GLCD 5151) to Joyce Cochrane. The label of the original disc (HMV 45-POP 404) states simply ‘Cochrane’, but this work is not listed on any of the papers in Richard’s possession. He wonders if it may be written by Peggy Cochrane, since he has found a reference to her working on the TV series "Destination Downing Street" (where the music was used) although Peggy is not listed specifically as the composer. It seems highly likely that Richard is right; this is another example of the annoying habit of record companies often only crediting composers by their surnames (there are even examples where no composers are mentioned at all). It also illustrates that even the best educated guesses are not always correct!
On Easter Monday Colin Berry introduced a 2 hour programme of Light Music – "A Little Light Music" - on BBC Three Counties Radio. We included details in the ‘Latest News’ section of our website, so we hope that many RFS members around the world will have heard Colin via the BBC Website. Colin presented a similar programme last Christmas, and the success of the Easter show prompted a further two hours of Light Music on the May Day Bank Holiday. Let’s hope that this becomes a regular feature for Colin.
Leslie Julian Jones is known to light music enthusiasts as the composer of Postman’s Knock, but he created a body of music which has been unfairly neglected. Former BBC Producer Anthony Wills is working hard to make his music better known, and he recently provided us with an update on the restoration of Jones’ ‘lost’ musical "Queen For Sunday". Anthony reports: After many setbacks and delays we are finally ready to go into the studio and record a demo of Leslie Julian Jones’ Lost Musical for circulation to music publishers, musical theatre academies and operatic societies. The vocal score (running to 220 pages!) is finished and has been checked and re-checked. We are particularly thrilled to have secured the services of Richard Suart to play the role of Hi-Tee. Richard has just finished touring with Opera North in their productions of George Gershwin’s "Of Thee I Sing" and "Let ‘Em Eat Cake". He has a wealth of experience in Gilbert & Sullivan and other character roles. His latest CD, which he has recorded with soprano Catherine Bott and the New London Orchestra & Chorus under Ronald Corp, features the songs of neglected British composer Lionel Monckton (of "The Arcadians" fame) and is available on Hyperion Records. The 16-piece chorus is being drawn from the ranks of Capital Voices — Annie Skates’ first-class vocal ensemble, whose skills have been featured in such diverse settings as the Royal Variety Performance, The X Factor and Britain‘s Got Talent on TV, Radio 2 concerts with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jerry Herman, recordings with Michael Ball and Elaine Paige, and Christmas concerts for Raymond Gubbay in the Royal Albert Hall. Other roles are being taken by Matt and Annie Lower and members of the English Concert Singers, who have just celebrated their 20th anniversary with a gala concert of works by Brahms and Vaughan Williams in the newly restored Birmingham Town Hall. The pianist is Alexander Wells who is the official accompanist to the London Chorus and the Highgate Choral Society. The Musical Director is the former Principal Conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra and City of Glasgow Philharmonic lain Sutherland, who has conducted West End shows as well as a series of classic Broadway shows recorded for BBC Radio 2. Recording will take place in Resident Studios London NW2 later this month (April 2009). The engineer is Mark Tucker who has worked in studios such as Lansdowne and CTS and is now freelance. Mark’s experience encompasses film soundtracks, jazz, West End cast and pop recordings. Even though the recording is with piano accompaniment rather than orchestra the costs are working out at approximately £32,000 so we have had to seek donations from sponsors.