03 Jan

André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra

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Falling In Love / The Flying Dutchman
Decca 5708288

This is the latest release from the phenomenon that is the Dutch violinist and conductor who has already sold over 40 million albums.

Read the entire article here...

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06 Jan

David Mellor hosts Light Music Masters on Classic FM

Written by Super User

On Saturday evenings at 9 o'clock from 7th January until Easter, David Mellor will host Light Music Masters on Classic FM.

This is a new series following positive reaction to the first series, broadcast last year.

More details can be found here:

http://www.classicfm.com/radio/shows-presenters/light-music-masters/upcoming-shows/

However, the website player says: "Sadly our broadcasting rights do not allow us to play to locations outside the UK."

Slightly more programme detail -- basically that for he first three episodes:

DATE: 7 JANUARY 2016

DAVID MELLOR’S LIGHT MUSIC MASTERS*

Last year, David Mellor presented a series of programmes which shine the spotlight on a much-maligned – but much-enjoyed – genre of music: Light Music.  Following feedback from Classic FM listeners, hundreds of whom got in touch to ask for more, David now begins a brand new series of his /Light Music Masters/.

Between now and Easter, David will be picking out plenty of undiscovered gems: tonight's choices include a few treats from the album /Puttnam Plays Puttnam/ – in which son pays homage to father – as well as some Neopolitan songs from the great Luciano Pavarotti.

We’ll also enjoy established favourites: for example, Richard Addinsell’s /Warsaw Concerto/ and Robert Farnon’s /Westminster Waltz/, which begins with the unmistakable sound of the bells of Big Ben.

DATE: 14 JANUARY 2016

2100*    DAVID MELLOR’S LIGHT MUSIC MASTERS*

Join David Mellor for the second instalment of 2017’s Light Music Masters. Throughout the series, he’ll be shining a spotlight on composers from the much-loved genre, including Eric Coates, Ronald Binge and Ron Goodwin. There’ll be tunes you’re sure to recognise, and some new discoveries along the way, so make sure you join him for a truly enjoyable hour of music.

Tonight’s masters include the man who David dubs the “genius of Light Music”, Leroy Anderson, with some of the American composer’s lesser known works /Serenata/ and /The Waltzing Cat/. We’ll also hear from another composer from across the pond, Leonard Bernstein, described by David as “almost too talented for his own good” with musicals such as /On The Town /and /West Side Story./ Rounding off the programme will be a Richard Hayman arrangement of Lionel Bart’s music for /Oliver/.

DATE: 21 JANUARY 2016

2100*    DAVID MELLOR’S LIGHT MUSIC MASTERS*

Join David Mellor as he crosses the Atlantic to shine the spotlight on a number of American Light Music specialists, in particular Henry Mancini, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin.

Amongst the highlights are a modern-day recording making use of a piano roll of Gershwin himself playing his /Rhapsody in Blue/ with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting, and the songs of Jerome Kern arranged for choir. We’ll also be treated to Henry Macnini’s iconic music for the /Pink Panther/.

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11 Dec

BBC Concert Orchestra - Bramwell Tovey 'Urban Runway'

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On 16th Dec 2016 at 2pm from BBC Maida Vale Studios Bramwell Tovey conducts the UK premiere of his Urban Runway and Kathryn Rudge performs songs by Ivor Novello and Eric Coates. You can listen live from 2pm on BBC Radio 3.

Bramwell Tovey’s Urban Runway is laced with both jazz and minimalist flavours. Housed in a cakewalk rhythm, the piece is a musical stroll through the big-city American streets of New York and Rodeo Drive. Co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2008, the piece receives its UK premiere by the BBC Concert Orchestra at this afternoon concert conducted by the Grammy award-winning composer himself.

Songs by Eric Coates and Ivor Novello are performed by BBC New Generation Artist and highly acclaimed mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, alongside John McEwan’s vibrant Solway Symphony, completing the programme at the BBC’s iconic Maida Vale Studios.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ehwwhn

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11 Dec

Blue Tango -- Very Best of Leroy Anderson Light Classics -- Iain Sutherland Concert Orchestra

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New Leroy Anderson CD
IAIN SUTHERLAND CONCERT ORCHESTRA.
ALTO ALC 1324

"Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was arguably the most successful 20th century American composer of light orchestral music, ...

Read entire article here...

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04 Dec

London Fantasia

Written by

(Clive Richardson)
Columbia Light Symphony Orchestra conducted by
Charles Williams featuring Clive Richardson, piano.

Analysed by Robert Walton

It was in 1990 that Carlin Music asked me to write a “Theatrical Overture” for their library. On the day of the session, imagine my surprise when one of my idols of music Clive Richardson casually strolled into CTS studios at Wembley. I had already met him at a Robert Farnon Appreciation Society recital but this you can understand was something else. His contribution to the session were two new compositions of his called Shopping Around and Mantovani Strings. While he was very generous in praising my work, I was totally immersed in that famous ‘Richardson’ sound. For many years it had been my intention to analyse his London Fantasia for JIM. So why not now?

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(Clive Richardson)
Columbia Light Symphony Orchestra conducted by
Charles Williams featuring Clive Richardson, piano.

Analysed by Robert Walton

It was in 1990 that Carlin Music asked me to write a “Theatrical Overture” for their library. On the day of the session, imagine my surprise when one of my idols of music Clive Richardson casually strolled into CTS studios at Wembley. I had already met him at a Robert Farnon Appreciation Society recital but this you can understand was something else. His contribution to the session were two new compositions of his called Shopping Around and Mantovani Strings. While he was very generous in praising my work, I was totally immersed in that famous ‘Richardson’ sound. For many years it had been my intention to analyse his London Fantasia for JIM. So why not now?

Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto was undoubtedly the first of its kind and proved to be the most popular of the genre, but I have always maintained the Richardson composition deserved far more recognition because of its highly descriptive musical narrative. It was originally called The Coventry Concerto but the more he worked on the score, Richardson felt London Fantasia was a more appropriate title. In essence it’s a nine minute microcosm of WW2.

An instant attention grabber, the opening section of timpani, brass and strings immediately creates a threatening and uneasy atmosphere, reminding one of the evils and pointlessness of war. But suddenly the music becomes becalmed by a radiant string tune perhaps looking back to those halcyon days of a once peaceful prewar period. Maybe we hoped there was still an outside chance of averting conflict.

But that was all swept away by the first sound of the ‘boots on the ground’ of young men marching off to unknown destinations to fight for King and country. Note a single sustained string note continues right through from the tranquil tune into this dramatic sector. Then a troop-carrying train is brought into the picture. And yet again that calming optimistic tune reappears to even greater effect. After a suggestion of Londoners at work and children at play, there’s a touch of Carriage And Pair from which emerges the bells of old London. Conductor Charles Williams would have related to that, as there was a lot of ‘London’ in his music.

And then something absolutely magical happens - the music slows right down to a virtual standstill, creating one of the most moving moments in music. The piano enters with two lots of nine gentle chords. Never have minor chords sounded so effective. The simplicity after all the drama is mesmerizing. It may not seem obvious but the piece has finally come to life baring its soul.

After a definite break, the strings lead in to Richardson’s glorious theme played by the solo piano supported by a cello, later joined by the rest of the orchestra. Notice his fondness for triplets in the tune like David Rose. Twice the oboe is at the forefront of building up the momentum as we head towards a cadenza or flourish, featuring the frantic fingers of Richardson, demonstrating his dazzling technique and particularly sensitive touch. His use of single notes is far more powerful than any complicated writing. Back briefly to the theme before some more piano pyrotechnics.

Then, as children in the far off Empire, the moment we all used to wait for was an air raid siren brilliantly imitated by the strings, warning that heavy bombers were approaching. The Battle of Britain had begun. Richardson throws everything he can orchestrally at this musical canvas with particular emphasis on the percussion. He didn’t forget the rescue services either rushing along with their bells to where they were needed. Eventually the all-clear sounds, and life returns to some sort of normality.

So what does Richardson do after that first raid? He calls upon the services of the instrument that has the range and capacity to provide a complete coverage of emotions, the violin. Great sadness descends across the nation, echoed from the darkest depths of the violin’s recesses. As it heads to the heights for the brighter top of its range, a major chord expresses a message of peace and hope for the future, now in tandem with the piano.

London Fantasia, Richardson’s magnum opus, gradually builds up to one of the most thrilling endings of any composition for piano and orchestra I know. If ever a piece told its own story then this is it. A tale of courage, endurance and above all humanity. No other composer has written a work of such power, originality and eloquence about such a momentous event. The general public thought so too in their millions.

Finally, with all the excitement and pleasure of meeting Clive Richardson, I almost forgot to mention another musician who happened to be playing on the Carlin session. My all-time favourite jazz drummer and long term member of the great Ted Heath Orchestra - Ronnie Verrell! My cup was overflowing that day!

“London Fantasia” available on Guild Light Music

“The Hall Of Fame” Volume 1 (GLCD 5120)

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04 Dec

Haydn Wood's "Merry Dale" recorded on CD

Written by Super User

Haydn Wood's march "Merry Dale" written for Slaithwaite Brass Band (Slaithwaite the village of his birth) has been recorded for the very first time on a CD called "Evolution".

Merry Dale was never published but was given by Haydn Wood directly to the band, who still own the original hand written manuscript parts.

Merry Dale has never been performed by any one other than Slaithwaite Band or outside the village.

Also on the Evolution CD is a recording of "A Brown Bird Singing" another piece composed by Haydn Wood performed as a cornet solo.

Music from the CD is being featured on Yorkshire Brass (Radio Leeds, York, Humberside + others) on Sunday 4th December and is available for a month on the BBC iPlayer.

The CD Evolution is available by post, price £11 inc p&p direct from Slaithwaite Band. See slaithwaiteband.org.UK for contact details.

 

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22 Nov

British Light Music at The British Home

Written by Super User

Poster for 26th Feb 2017

British Light Music at
The British Home

The Mark Fitz-Gerald Orchestra is holding a
fundraising concert in aid of The British Home.

Piano soloist Stephen Dickinson.

3.00 pm - Sunday 26th February 2017

Concert Hall, The British Home, Crown Lane, SW16 3JB

Tickets: £7.00 and Concessions £5.00 to include tea and coffee.
Tickets are limited please call the Home on 0208 670 8261 to
purchase your tickets or visit the website at www.britishhome.org.uk

The British Home is an independent charity that cares for people with disabilities and long
term medical conditions. Charity Number 206222

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14 Nov

The Goose Pimple Factor Or On The Bumpy Road To Mahler

Written by

According to Robert Walton

Goose bumps, goose flesh, goose pimples, chill bumps or the medical term cutis anserina, are the swelling on the skin at the base of body hairs which may occur when a person is cold, scared or in awe of something. Basically it’s a rush of adrenalin. To be stimulated or overwhelmed is a very individual thing, depending of course what turns you on. It might be a structure, a view, a painting, a book, a person, a voice, or in my case, music.

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According to Robert Walton

Goose bumps, goose flesh, goose pimples, chill bumps or the medical term cutis anserina, are the swelling on the skin at the base of body hairs which may occur when a person is cold, scared or in awe of something. Basically it’s a rush of adrenalin. To be stimulated or overwhelmed is a very individual thing, depending of course what turns you on. It might be a structure, a view, a painting, a book, a person, a voice, or in my case, music.

The first time I ever experienced a serious attack of goose “bumples”, was when I was laid up with a far worse problem, a digestive disorder sometimes called the dreaded lurgy. But I completely forgot the pain when from my bedside radio I happened to hear the signature tune of New Zealand’s version of the BBC’s “Down Your Way” called “South Pacific Flight”. It was Robert Farnon’s Canadian impression Gateway to the West, once described as the thinking man’s Tara’s Theme from “Gone With The Wind”. It’s difficult to explain why Gateway to the West had such an effect on me but I suspect somewhere in my being was a dormant chemical reaction waiting to happen. I became totally absorbed in the music. In this completely random event, I was instantly caught up in its spell, and as a tsunami of emotion swept over me, it changed my life forever. A profusion of pimples broke out accompanied by an uncontrollable stream of tears. Who knows what triggers such reactions? Maybe it’s in the genes. In the case of Gateway to the West, it was the entire package of melody, harmony and orchestration. I guess it simply struck a chord! Trouble was, it took ages before I discovered the title and name of its composer. Once known, it opened the floodgates to Farnon’s music from which I never quite recovered. Strangely enough I had unknowingly heard his Jumping Bean that at the time meant absolutely nothing.

Not long after that memorable moment, another unexpected incident presented itself. I was on my own at a cinema when a trailer for the 195O film “Teresa” came up showing Pier Angeli in a corn field. Just the sight of her was enough to produce a similar reaction to Gateway to the West. It was her stunning natural beauty that caught my eye and left a permanent black and white imprint on my psyche.

It was in another movie “An American in Paris”, that I first heard the Gershwin composition that inspired the title. Just the opening, a revelation, was enough to send me into paroxysms of delight as the tune clashed with the bass line in a way that went right through me like an electric shock. It was a kind of pain caused by the dissonance.

Most sensible singers make it a practice to do a thorough sound and familiarization check before performing on stage, especially one that’s new to them. Vera Lynn was no exception and lucky enough to have the expertise of her fastidious husband Harry Lewis who always made sure that everything was just perfect. I was her pianist on a tour in the mid-1960s when the three of us entered the Stoke-on-Trent venue to give it the once over. As we walked in, the public address system was playing what I can only describe as “music from heaven”. I immediately went into a kind of trance. Vera and Harry couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but I was in another world transfixed to the spot. After making inquiries, the engineer in the control room informed me it was the title track of George Shearing’s album “Touch me Softly” - a Shearing arrangement. Near the end of the piece, the ravishing strings go into overdrive in what I call “tone apart” harmony. Let me explain. On the piano, the right hand plays the chord of say G, while an octave below, the left hand plays the chord of F. Play them together and the dissonance it creates is absolutely sublime, especially if you move them up and down in tones.

By then I thought I’d heard it all, but I had to wait another thirty years before the next big musical discovery. It was as a member of the City of Bath Bach Choir I discovered Mahler. Not just any old Mahler mind you, but his 2nd Symphony (“The Resurrection”). Back in the 1950s Mahler’s music was almost unheard of, but a jazz pianist friend of mine, Crombie Murdoch, was even then extolling the virtues of it. At the first rehearsal I sensed this was going to be one of the biggest weepies of my life. That was entirely confirmed when we performed the work with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth, Bournemouth and the Royal Albert Hall. It might have been only the last ten minutes of the symphony but what an unforgettable ten minutes! These were some of music’s most moving moments with shades of Malotte’s Lord’s Prayer, itself probably inspired by Mahler. As it gradually builds, I became so overwhelmed with emotion I found it impossible to sing. The only way to participate was to become totally detached. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do!

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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.