“ Upon reading this article, although I basically agree with much that was stated, nevertheless I have to demur in a few instances.
There is no question whatever in regard to Robert Farnon's miniatures, as Bob refers to them - they have introduced me to the work of this composer, and I have diligently followed much of what he turned out both as a composer and as a recording artist featuring his very individual arrangements of popular standards and musical comedy favorites.
However, I have not found this to be the case with his more extended works, several examples of which I have listened to, such as "Cascades by the Sea" which Bob has commented on recently. I was not particularly taken with it - I did not feel a strong sense of structure or purpose, and I could say the same about the extended works that I heard many years ago at a BBC presentation at Lincoln Center - I stated in a recent comment that I found nothing in any of these extended works to write home about.
But when it comes to the shorter selections, there is no question of the composer's genius, and his having earned the right to stand alongside some of the other equally great in this genre.
I would say the same regarding his arrangements of popular favorites and musical comedy selections. They were superlative in their own way - some were really and truly exceptional - but I would never go out on a limb to say that he was the greatest in this field as I could name many others who turned out selections and arrangements that were equally great.
The comparison of his miniatures to the 48 Preludes and Fugues of J.S. Bach caused me to raise an eyebrow. We are comparing the music of two totally different genres here, and I could never accept the analogy that Bob is attempting to create. Moreover, J.S. Bach was quite successful in the many extended works that one could point out amongst his choral works - Mass, passions, cantata, along with the concertos and orchestral suites, as well as the keyboard suites and unaccompanied suites and partitas. Robert Farnon has not produced any extended work in my humble opinion that I would consider viable although his miniature pieces - it is clear he was essentially a miniaturist - will indisputably hold the boards for a long time to come. But to drag J.S. Bach or Mozart or any of the classical greats in to make a comparison in my opinion is simply mixing two genres that belong separate in discussion. I have full respect for the work of Robert Farnon within the range of his strongest work.
Nevertheless, despite these factors that I felt compelled to bring up, I am still in basic agreement with the overall point of this article. ”