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Adam Bakker writes:

Dear All,

Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 17 Sep 2016, Kingston Hospital Radio is doing a feature on the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra from 3:15 to 5pm.

They get people from all over the world listening to this programme.

You can tune in too with the link below:

http://tunein.com/radio/Kingston-Hospital-Radio-s248346/

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  llmmg1

llmmg2

Our next Spring meeting will take place on Sunday 7th May 2017
and our special guest will be Sigmund Groven,
world famous virtuoso Norwegian harmonica player.

 

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Alan Bunting, who passed away in January 2016, amassed a huge collection of CDs, LPs, ‘45’ and ‘78’ rpm records, all of which have now been purchased from Alan’s family by Tony Clayden.

Amongst several thousand items are a great number of light-orchestral recordings by Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, David Rose, David Carroll and many others. Some are in mint, unused condition, whilst many others had been pre-owned and were obtained by Alan from all over the world.

Also included is a very large collection of record catalogues, many dating-back to well before WW2, and a selection of music reference books.

These will all require a great deal of sorting-out, but eventually it is hoped to produce a definitive list.

In the meantime Tony invites preliminary enquiries from serious enthusiasts who are potentially interested in this material. He may be contacted as follows:-

by email - Send Tony an email
by telephone - 020-8449 5559 (from outside the UK +44 20 8449 5559)
by post - 49 Alexandra Road, Well End, BOREHAMWOOD, Hertfordshire, WD6 5PB, England.

 

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John Suchet –

THE LAST WALTZ – The Strauss Family and Vienna

Hardback  277pp   ISBN:978-1-78396-116-0

Published by Elliott and Thompson,  London,
in association with CLASSIC FM RADIO.

Price  £25.00

Having written six books about Ludwig van Beethoven, upon whom he is an acknowledged expert, John Suchet has now turned his attention to the Strauss family –  ‘dynasty’ as he describes it – and the Vienna of the nineteenth century.

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John Suchet –

THE LAST WALTZ – The Strauss Family and Vienna

Hardback  277pp   ISBN:978-1-78396-116-0

Published by Elliott and Thompson,  London,
in association with CLASSIC FM RADIO.

Price  £25.00

Having written six books about Ludwig van Beethoven, upon whom he is an acknowledged expert, John Suchet has now turned his attention to the Strauss family –  ‘dynasty’ as he describes it – and the Vienna of the nineteenth century.

It’s somewhat strange that the history of such a prolific group, (whose music is so well-loved and  has maintained such universal enduring popularity), should be  relatively unknown.

But a really fascinating story it is, and  Suchet  chronicles  it in an eminently appealing way. He has quite  obviously  ’burned a lot of midnight oil’  researching his subject.
 
We learn about  the two ‘Johanns’, father and son, together with Josef and Eduard, who at times were anything but a ‘happy family’, riven by tensions, feuds and jealousy, against the backdrop of a country undergoing an enormous upheaval as it hurtled, seemingly ‘kicking and  screaming’,  towards the twentieth century.

Throughout this personal and political chaos   the Strausses continued to write the waltzes to which the Viennese – anxious to forget their troubles – danced and drank champagne !

The book is beautifully presented, and lavishly illustrated.  Although not inexpensive, it is definitely a worthwhile addition to every serious music enthusiast’s library  and would make a wonderful gift.

Tony Clayden
©  June 2016

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by Roger Quilter.

For many years I have wondered why it is that whilst Roger Quilter possessed considerable talents as an orchestrator, this well-known work is almost always performed in an orchestral arrangement by Percy Eastman Fletcher.

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by Roger Quilter.

For many years I have wondered why it is that whilst Roger Quilter possessed considerable talents as an orchestrator, this well-known work is almost always performed in an orchestral arrangement by Percy Eastman Fletcher.

The mystery was finally solved recently when I happened to be in contact with Dr Valerie Langfield, who is a music teacher and tutor based near Manchester. Dr Langfield has taken a great interest in the life and work of Quilter, and is the author of a very comprehensive and highly-acclaimed biography of the composer.

The definitive answer is that the Dances were originally conceived and written for full orchestra. Percy Fletcher was then commissioned to re-score the work for much-reduced forces, because it was considered likely to maximise its potential for sales and hirings in that form.

(It appears that Fletcher often undertook arranging work of this kind. I have come across another example - viz. his orchestral arrangements of some pieces by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, which I believe were made after their composer’s death).

The original full-orchestral score was never printed, and because it only exists in manuscript form it is seldom, if ever, performed.

Roger Quilter himself made and published further arrangements for solo piano and piano duet; the latter was given by Dr Langfield and fellow-pianist David Owen Norris at a Quilter festival some years ago.

Tony Clayden
© April 2016

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Alan Bunting was born on 1st August 1939, in Blackminster, Worcestershire. What was destined to become a lifelong interest in music began at a very early age, and after leaving school he worked for a time in a record shop.

His military service was spent in the Royal Air Force, where he trained as a ground crew communications technician, and upon discharge he joined the BBC, initially working in Cardiff, South

Wales. By 1969, he had moved to Scotland, where he eventually became an Audio Manager for the Corporation in Glasgow.

After around thirty years’ service, he was offered an early-retirement package, and this enabled him to set-up ABCD Enterprises, to specialise in digital restoration and re-mastering of audio recordings.

The following years would see him undertake work for many record companies, particularly those which were involved in the re-issue of vintage and back-catalogue product. These include such labels as Living Era, Naxos, Must Close Saturday, Retrospective, HEP, Memory Lane, Jasmine, Cherry Red, Sackville, Spotlite and Mastermix, encompassing a wide range of musical genres.

In 2004, together with the late David Ades, Alan was instrumental in the establishment of the Golden Age of Light Music series of CDs for the Swiss-based company Guild Recordings. Although it was initially envisaged that he would be mainly involved in carrying-out the digital restorations, Alan soon brought his considerable knowledge of Light Music to bear upon the repertoire side of the series as well. As time went by, the project virtually became a ‘joint venture’ between the two men.

It is doubtful if the phenomenal success of this series could have been foreseen at the time of its inception, but to date a total of 135 discs has been published, containing well in excess of three-thousand tracks – a unique and magnificent achievement.

After the sad death of David Ades in 2015, Alan assumed overall management of the series, and it was agreed that I would assist him, writing the booklet notes and contributing to the choice of repertoire. We soon established a good working rapport, and as a result of this new collaboration, a total of seven further CDs was produced. We were in regular – frequently daily – contact, discussing new ideas and planning for future releases.

Alan owned a huge collection of recordings, largely in LP format, and was constantly on the lookout for more material. He was particularly interested in the career and music of the Canadian conductor and arranger Percy Faith, of whom he had an encyclopaedic knowledge, and was responsible for creating the much-acclaimed Percy Faith Discography, containing copious information about Faith’s enormous recorded canon.

Alan also made significant contributions to the discography of fellow-Canadian composer, arranger and conductor Robert Farnon, and was an enthusiastic member (at a distance) of the Robert Farnon Society. When the latter ceased operations in 2013, a number of former members helped me to set-up the London Light Music Meetings Group to continue the twice-yearly events, and Alan was very encouraging about the new venture, taking a great interest in its progress.

Over the years, Alan developed consummate skills in the art (and science) of audio restoration. He used a number of proprietary hardware and software systems, including the well-known CEDAR. He was always striving to improve his techniques and would often spend hours to eliminate noise, clicks, pops and blemishes from an individual track.

He came to be regarded as one of the very few top UK specialists in this field and was held in high esteem by his many friends and colleagues in the industry. When his wife Janet sadly passed away about six years ago, he threw himself back into the work he loved so much, regularly working through the night to meet deadlines.

Alan suddenly became ill just before Christmas 2015, and as his condition worsened, he was admitted to hospital at the beginning of January 2016. Although the cause of his severe infection was never fully established, he was discharged about two weeks later, even though he was still quite

unwell. Although in increasingly severe pain, he immediately resumed work, and was able to finalise the fourth-and-final volume of ‘100 Great American Light Orchestras ’ for Guild; this was one of the last tasks he undertook before he collapsed once again and was re-admitted to hospital. Sadly, his condition continued to deteriorate and he passed away on March 16th.

Because of the great geographical distance between us, Alan and I never actually met, but through emails, and particularly telephone calls, we struck-up a good friendship over several years, and discovered that we had a number of common interests in addition to our shared love of music.

We are very fortunate that Alan has left us a wonderful legacy in the form of all his audio restorations. The world of recorded music is greatly impoverished by his passing, and I’m sure that I speak for very many when I say that he will be greatly missed.

Our sincere condolences are extended to his sons David and Gareth, his daughter Jane and his grandchildren.

Tony Clayden © April 2016

Footnote: Volume 4 of ‘Great American Light Orchestras’ is scheduled to be issued later in 2016, and arrangements are in hand to continue the Guild ‘Golden Age Of Light Music’.

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David and Moira Ades

Moira Ades  1936 – 2015

Moira hailed from Forest Gate, London, the first of two children born to Andrew and Ellen Stevenson. During World War Two, the children and their mother evacuated to Dorset,  where Moira grew to love the countryside. At the end of  hostilities, the family was reunited  and they moved to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Moira attended the local Junior and High Schools and the age of nine, she first met her future husband, David Ades.

Throughout her life, Moira was seriously afflicted with chronic asthma, and her education was badly disrupted as a result of this condition. Upon leaving school, and after several different jobs, she ultimately became a book-keeper for her father, continuing in this role until her marriage to David in 1967. Around this time, David gained a promotion within Midland Bank, which necessitated a re-location to Northamptonshire, and it was there in 1968 that their only child – a daughter, Fenella – was born.

Moira believed that some of the most beautiful things in life came from nature. She loved sunsets, flowers, trees and animals. She also had an artistic eye, and inherited a love of antiques from her
father, building up her collection as-and-when funds permitted. Along with David, she enjoyed good food and  wine, and particularly in later years, travelling.

The family moved several times ‘with the job’ and eventually settled in Nottingham. In 1989, David was able to secure a very generous retirement package, and they decided to live in the South-West, which Moira remembered fondly from her childhood. Their beautiful new home and garden in Seavington St. Michael,  Somerset, occasionally played host to members of the Robert Farnon Society for ‘extra’ meetings  during  the summer.

Moira soon became involved with local voluntary work, including helping to raise funds for a new Village Hall.  She was always very supportive of David, both in his professional life and in his ‘second career’ after  retirement, when he ran the RFS and also acted as consultant for many CD projects, including of course his stewardship of the ‘Golden Age Of Light Music’ series for Guild Records.

For many years, Moira accompanied David to the London Meetings of the Society, where she could usually be found  helping out ‘on the door’. She was always very welcoming,  especially to those attending for the first time, and her wonderful smile and cheerful disposition will be remembered with much  affection by many.    

Although in declining  health herself, Moira continued to be a tower of strength for David as his own illness progressed through to its unfortunate final stages.  After his passing, she spent a great deal of time with her daughter’s family, and was looking forward to moving into a specially constructed annexe attached to their house.

As previously reported, Moira was admitted to hospital in mid-December 2015 for a surgical procedure. Whilst this initially appeared to be successful, she then developed post-operative complications which her medical team were unable to resolve, and she sadly passed away on December 27th.

A  loving and caring wife, mother and grandmother, Moira also became a good friend to many of us in the Robert Farnon Society; her passing, especially so soon after David’s, has left a huge void and she will be greatly missed. Once again, our sincere condolences are extended to Fenella and her husband  Barry – and her two grandsons James and William.

©Tony Clayden
    April 2015

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It is with the deepest regret and profound sadness that we have to report the death of Alan Bunting on Wednesday March 16th 2016, after a short illness.

Alan was one of only a handful of premier experts in the field of digital recording restoration in the UK, and over the years carried out a great deal of such work, especially for many record companies active in the field of reissues.

Together with the late David Ades, Alan was instrumental in the establishment of the Golden Age Of Light Music series of CDs for the Swiss Company Guild Records, contributing to both the technical and repertoire aspects of what would become a phenomenally successful project.

After David’s death in 2015, Alan assumed responsibility for the overall management of the series and several more CDs were produced.  At the time of his death, further titles were under discussion although only one, Great American Light Orchestras Vol. 4, has been fully completed, and will be released in mid-2016.

A fuller tribute to Alan will follow in due course, but in the meantime sincerest condolences are extended to his son, daughter and grandchildren.

Tony Clayden
March 2016

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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.