by Philip L Scowcroft
My interest in music, not just light music but across the board, dates from around 1948 when I was about 15. Before then I had had (ineffective) piano lessons, had sung in my school choir and had cultivated interests in particular musical areas; for example I saw my first G & S ("The Mikado") in 1942, followed by "The Gondoliers" in 1945.
But in 1948 and for years after the BBC's airwaves were choc-a-bloc with light music and I absorbed plenty of it, finding it a stepping-stone to an appreciation of more "serious" music. "Morning Music", which featured many different orchestras, among them Louis Voss' Kursaal Orchestra and several BBC staff orchestras, livened my breakfast preparatory to setting off by tramcar to school on the other side of Sheffield. Other fondly remembered programmes came on Sunday evenings, "Grand Hotel" and a regular concert by the BBC Theatre Orchestra.
The winter of 1948-49 brought riches indeed. I sampled the fare of the BBC's Light Music Festival of a week astride the opening of April and a fortnight's worth of concerts at Torquay Pavilion by the town's Municipal Orchestra whilst in that Devon resort during the Easter holiday, thereby catching some of the latter days of the Torquay Orchestra; it disbanded in 1952 as did so many of its kind about that time. Its programme included a Sunday evening Celebrity Concert and, every Tuesday afternoon a concert by a two-thirds size "light music section". Repertoire during that well-remembered fortnight mixed light music with popular classics as was then quite common. It even happened in the concerts of the Sheffield Philharmonic Society at the City Hall with growing frequency from December 1948 up to perhaps the early sixties - a 1953 concert was entitled "Masterpieces of British Light Music", part conducted by Eric Coates in his own music and conducted by George Weldon also including Di Ballo by Sullivan, some Edward German dances, two Percy Grainger miniatures and Haydn Wood's Variations on a Once Popular Humorous Song. Few "serious" concert organisations would risk that kind of programme now!
In the fifties I still caught light music on the radio like the Festival Hall light music festivals (the 1949 LMF mentioned above was purely a studio event). During the 1960s my preferred holiday destination was Scarborough, whose Spa Orchestra was very much alive (as it is still in 2013, now over 100 years old) with, then, Max Jaffa, assisted by Jack Byfield, at the helm.
Light music was by then in decline on the BBC, but I found light music outlets, joining Stuart Upton's Vintage Light Music Society, the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, which concentrated both on G & S and Sullivan's "other" music, and the British Music Society, many of my writings for which have had a light music flavour. Many of the latter arose directly from my discovery, about six years after joining the Dorothy L Sayers Society in 1980, that its Chairman, Barbara Reynolds, was the daughter of theatre composer/conductor Alfred Reynolds. Barbara had luckily kept much of her father's music and memorabilia about his life. She made these available to me so I could write about him and persuade musicians to revive his work in concerts including those I organise here in Doncaster. After a visit to hear one of these revivals, Barbara said to me, "You have done wonders for my father's music. Why not do the same for his light music contemporaries?"
I eagerly took up a congenial, if laborious, task and articles, mainly for the BMS, were churned out, on individual composers and - as I did not know much about most of them! - groups of them linked in "Garlands". As I write this, in August 2013, there are 1,273 Garlands (and counting), a few of them for the BMS Newsletter, but mostly for the Musicweb site. The Garlands led in turn to a commission from Thames Publishing to write British Light Music: A Personal Gallery of 20th Century Composers, published eventually in 1997 and sold out within a year or so. The discovery of literally thousands of light music composers since has made a second edition (as against a reprint) impracticable, but in 2013 a reprint, with (a very few) updates and corrections, has appeared from Dance Books of Binsted, Hampshire.
The book led to further contacts. Actually in 1997 I joined both the Robert Farnon Society and - at least partly in gratitude to Ernest Tomlinson's fine Foreword to the book - the Light Music Society. I have enjoyed attending gatherings of both Societies and writing for their respective publications: 420 articles and reviews for the LMS, 138 for JIM. Soon after joining these Societies I was invited to write fifteen articles on light music "greats" for The New Grove (2001 edition) something of which I am particularly proud, plus others for its German counterpart, MGG.
I am also glad to have written articles on many almost forgotten light music figures. Alfred Reynolds was followed by Horace Dann, Helen Perkin, Wilhelm Meyer Lutz, Sidney Jones, Désirée MacEwen and Raie da Costa to name a few. My own lunchtime concerts at Doncaster Museum (1286 to September 2013 with dozens more scheduled already) have flown the flag for music, often light music, among them there have been three by LMS Chairman Gavin Sutherland and one by the distinguished pianist Benjamin Frith, who a few years ago I asked to give a recital of "Masterpieces of Briitsh Light Music for Piano" and he came up with John Field, Malcolm Arnold, Arthur Bliss, Reginald King and Eric Coates. The Coates was a piano version of The Three Bears. Shortly before the recital was given Frith met John Wilson at a concert and told him he was doing that; John said, "The Three Bears is orchestral music, not piano music, you can't do that". Soon afterwards I myself saw John and said that, piano music or not, The Three Bears had gone so well it could have been written for piano. John, unperturbed, replied, "Ben Frith is such a fine pianist that he would make anything sound right!"
I could go on but this is already a self indulgence. I will only say that I am grateful to a host of light music composers, executants and enthusiasts for the pleasure they have given me. If my own enthusiasm has assisted, however little, in the present revival of light music, I am well content.
This article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Journal Into Melody
I Still Recall Spending A Magical Twenty Minutes Chatting With Robert Farnon
Says BRIAN JOHNSTONE
I have been so used to the drop of Journal Into Melody on the mat, that its demise is sad, but can it be perpetuated by the internet?
Although the first orchestras I heard were George Melachrino and Sidney Torch, I eventually went to the Classical Camp. A later starter on the violin at 14½, Karajan, Klemperer became my bill of fare as a teenager with the Philharmonia. As a R.A.M. student the whole pageant of classical music flashed before me.
But I had not forgotten the Light Music I listened to so carefully on the BBC from when I was about eight: Ivor Novello, going on to Frederic Curzon and Ernest Tomlinson.
When I became a freelance in 1960 in London, my first date was with Eartha Kitt at the Café de Paris, Mozart Requiem at Putney Church, and leading the Stock Exchange Orchestra in rehearsal on the floor of the old Lonbdon Stock Exchange.
Two dates came in with Robert Farnon. I immediately loved his music and the man. However I joined the Bournemouth Symphony with Constantin Silvestri. He was so different and challenging, quite unlike Boult, Barbirolli, Wyn Morris, Norman del Mar, etc.
In the mid-1970s the Bournemouth Symphony played the opening concert at the Bournemouth International Centre with four visiting conductors including Robert Farnon. I was amazed no one seemed to be talking to him; perhaps didn’t know him. I sat down and had a wonderful 20 minutes one to one talk with Bob.
By that time I was in the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, which before its axing in 1999 did several Light Music concerts with Ronald Corp, and another with a Romanian Nicolae Moldoveanu, who had a wonderful feel for British Light Music; these concerts were very memorable.
I have read and re-read JIM for the last 20 years or more - so interesting and packed with information. In all my years of Classical playing I often warmed up before going on with Bob’s Goodwood Galop, before, say, a Beethoven Symphony!
Thank-you David. A sad farewell to JIM.
This article appeared in Journal Into Melody, December 2013.
Gareth Bramley is a Film Music expert, and this is the ninth and last in a series of articles exploring the Filmharmonic Concerts that were once a popular and regular feature of London’s music scene
FILMHARMONIC— THE FINAL YEARS
1978-1980 & 1985 Royal Albert Hall, London
By GARETH BRAMLEY
The 9th Festival of Film & Television Music took place on Saturday 28th October, with a new orchestra, The London Philharmonic, led by David Nolan. The programme was introduced by Sir John Mills and the conductors were Marvin Hamlisch; Lionel Newman; and John(ny) Patrick.
The overture ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ composed by Irving Berlin and arranged specially for the concert by John Gregory, conducted by Don Innes; was quickly followed by a feast of Television themes arranged and conducted by ATV’s Musical Director, Johnny Patrick, who had worked for ATV Birmingham (later Central) on much of their programming including ‘Golden Shot’; ‘New Faces’; ‘Tiswas’ and ‘Bullseye’. ‘Cops and Robbers’ was split into two ‘Dossiers’ profiling some of the greatest composers of television music at that time including Laurie Johnson; Mark Snow; Billy Goldenberg; John Cacavas; Mike Post; Lalo Schifrin; Mort Stevens and Henry Mancini.
Dossier 1: Dragnet / Sweeney / Cannon / Professionals / McCloud / New Avengers / Starsky & Hutch / Kojak
Dossier 2: Rockford Files / Streets of San Francisco / Hunter’s Walk / Petrocelli / Police Woman / Mystery Movie
Before the interval Lionel Newman (1916-1989) conducted ’50 Years of Film Music from 20th Century Fox’ including music by Harry Warren; Burt Bacharach and his brother Alfred. Lionel received 11 Oscar nominations, finally winning the award in 1970 for ‘Hello Dolly’. The selections, containing over twenty themes, featured the Ambrosian Singers:
Adventure – Tyrone Power / If I Had a Talking Picture of You / The Legendary Al Newman /Gentlemen Prefer... Those Inimitable Fox Blondes / Main Title
Part Two featured the music of Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012) who had then recently scored the James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. During his illustrious career he won a Grammy for ‘The Way We Were’ in 1975; Golden Globes for ‘Kotch’ in 1972; and again in 1974 for ‘The Way We Were’ - which also won 3 Oscars the same year - in addition to numerous other nominations. The selections for ‘Nobody Does It Better – The Past, Present and Future Music of Marvin Hamlisch’ were conducted by Alyn Ainsworth (1924-1990).
‘The Way We Were’ featured a suite from the film, whilst ‘Nobody Does It Better’ highlighted the hit song from the aforementioned Bond Film. ‘Not Only But Also’ included themes from Scott Joplin’s music from ‘The Sting’ adapted by Hamlisch. ‘Coming Shortly’ concentrated on two new films – ‘Same Time Next Year’ (1978) and ‘Ice Castles’ (1979); with the final selection ‘And the Big One for 1980’ being a suite from ‘A Chorus Line’ due for release in 1980.
Sadly this concert was never commercially recorded though a shortened version, filmed by LWT, went out at 11pm on 12th November 1978.
27th October 1979 was the Filmharmonic’s 10th anniversary - celebrating the film and television music of Pinewood Studios, compered by Christopher Reeve. The orchestra this time was The National Philharmonic led by Sidney Sax and guest conductors were Alyn Ainsworth; Stanley Black; Ed Welch and Barry Gray who had scored all of Gerry Anderson’s TV series. The concert had been tinged with sadness as conductor Nino Rota had died suddenly a few weeks before; and days after finalising his music from Pinewood, which he was to conduct.
Gray composed the fanfare for the evening – ‘The Magical Musical Mansion’ played by the Trumpeters of the Coldstream Guards conducted by John Patrick. Ed Welch (b. 1947) is perhaps best known for his themes to the Central TV series ‘Blockbusters’; ‘The Shillingbury Tales’; ‘One Foot In the Grave’; the 1978 film ’39 Steps’ and more recently the TV mini-series ‘Thomas & Friends’. Accompanied by pianist Christopher Headington he began the programme with John Addison’s Overture from ‘Reach For the Sky’ and then a medley of themes which he had arranged under the title ‘Boats and Trains, Cars and Planes’ featuring Nino Rota’s ‘Death On the Nile’; Jerry Goldsmith’s ‘First Great Train Robbery’; Larry Adler’s ‘Genevieve’; and William Walton’s ‘Battle In the Air’ from ‘The Battle of Britain’.
After ‘Classic Film, Classic Score’ - Arnold Bax’s theme from the 1947 film ‘Oliver Twist’ - Welch played a medley he had arranged - ‘Pinewood’s Golden Age’ - encompassing the themes from ‘So Long At The Fair’ (Benjamin Frankel); ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ by Malcolm Arnold; William Alwyn’s ‘The Card’; and Richard Addinsell’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.
His penultimate medley ‘Pinewood Music ‘79’ included ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ (Howard Blake); ‘Arabian Adventure’ (Ken Thorne); and Richard Hartley and Les Reed’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’. The finale (‘The Composer Conducts’) was his own theme from the aforementioned ‘The 39 Steps’.
Alyn Ainsworth took over the baton to conduct ‘Two Magical Musicals’ with music by brothers Richard and Robert Sherman –‘The Slipper & the Rose’ (‘Positioning & Positioning’) (arranged by Angela Morley) and the self-arranged ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (Truly Scrumptious’ / Me Ol’ Bamboo’ / ‘Hushabye Mountain’ / ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’).
Singer Billy Daniels (1915-1988) then sang four songs from the Pinewood Song Book:
‘This Is My Song’ from ‘The Countess From Hong Kong’ (Charles Chaplin); Rod McKuen’s ‘Jean’ from ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’; and Paul William’s ‘Bugsy Malone’. The final selection was the John Barry and Hal David song ‘We Have All the Time In the World’ from the film ‘Oh Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Ainsworth arranged all titles.
After the interval maestro Barry Gray (1908-1984) took to the podium to conduct a suite of his own music under the title ‘Pinewood In Space’:
‘Main Title’ / ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ from ‘Space 1999’
‘Main Title’ / ‘Sleeping Astronauts In Space’ from ‘Doppelganger’ (aka ‘Journey To the Far Side of the Sun’)
‘Main Title (TV Series )’ / Thunderbirds 6 / Thunderbirds March
The final conductor for the evening was Stanley Black (1913-2002) who had composed the music for over 200 films throughout his career. First was John William’s ‘Superman’ followed by Brian Easdale’s ‘The Red Shoes’; and ‘The Norman Jewison Connection’ with four of the producer / director’s film themes. The first was a medley arranged by Henry Mancini from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar (‘Superstar’ / ‘Everything’s Alright’ / King Herod’s Song’ / I Don’t Know How To Love Him’); Bill Conti’s main title theme from ‘F.I.S.T.’; Bach’s ‘Toccata In D Minor’ (with solo organist Leslie Pearson) from ‘Rollerball’ and Jerry Bock’s ‘Tradition’ / ‘The Wedding Dance’ from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ arranged by Black himself.
The final selections were from one of Pinewood’s biggest franchises: ‘007 – The Man’s Most Famous Resident’ featured Black’s own arrangements for ‘The James Bond Theme’ from ‘Dr.No’ (Monty Norman); ‘Thunderball’ (John Barry); Lionel Bart’s ‘From Russia With Love’; and another John Barry composition, ‘Goldfinger’.
The capacity crowd of 5000 earned the CTBF a record profit of £30,000; but, frustratingly, this concert - perhaps one for the best so far - was not filmed by LWT because of a strike at the time. However, a studio album (The Rank Concert Orchestra Play Pre-Recorded Musical Highlights from Filmharmonic ‘79’) was produced by Ed Welch and released on United Artists in advance of the concert. It was recorded at CTS, London under the careful guidance of John Richards and contained the themes italicised above.
Filmharmonic’s Concert on 18th October 1980, celebrated the films of United Artists and the first 25 years of Independent Television, and was introduced by Donald Sinden and Elaine Stritch. This time The National Philharmonic Orchestra (again led by Sidney Sax) was conducted by John Addison; Richard Leonard; Geoff Love; and John Williams. Three of these were making welcome returns to Filmharmonic.
Johnny Patrick, who had conducted in 1978, introduced compeer Elaine Stritch by conducting ‘Take 10 Terrific Girls’ from ‘The Night They Raided Minksy’s’. Richard Leonard conducted Part 1 of ’50 Years of Outstanding Movie Music’ featuring themes by Victor Young; Lennon & McCartney; Charles Chaplin; Charles Williams; Manos Hadjidakis and others. The first sequence ‘Around the World In 80 Days’ included four themes from the film arranged by Stanley Black and ‘Great Songs – United Artists Style’ four themes arranged for Filmharmonic ’80 by Barry Gray. These were: ‘That Old Feeling’ from ‘Vogues of 1938’; ‘Makin’ Whoopie’ from ‘Whoopie’; ‘Never On Sunday’; and ‘September Song’ from ‘Knickerbocker Holiday’.
Leonard played Charles Williams’ theme from ‘The Apartment’ on piano followed by Black’s superb arrangement of ‘Stagecoach’. His own arrangement of ‘Ticket To Ride’ from ‘Help!; and ‘A Hard day’s Night’ followed. ‘Smile! – The Music of Sir Charles Chaplin’ featured a medley from his films specially arranged by Michel Villard with Sidney Sax on violin.
The silver anniversary of Independent Television was introduced by Donald Sinden and conducted by Geoff Love (who had appeared at the 1973 concert) with 25 of the best themes from TV; split into four medleys arranged by Cecil Boulton. ‘Early Days – 50s and 60s’ included ‘Sunday Night At the London Palladium’; ‘The Avengers’; ‘Opportunity Knocks’; ‘’This Is Your Life’; ‘Danger Man’; and ‘World Of Sport’ The second selection ‘The Soap Operas – Three ITV Long Runners’ featured ‘Crossroads’; ‘Emmerdale Farm’; and ‘Coronation Street’.
‘Period Pieces’ included ‘Enemy At the Door’; ‘Lillie’; ‘South Riding’; ‘Kidnapped’; ‘Edward & Mrs. Simpson’; and ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’; and the final selection – ‘Music of the 70s – ITV Style’ featured: ‘Bless This House’; ‘Seven Faces Of Woman’ from ‘She’; ‘Tales Of the Unexpected’; ‘The Muppets; ‘Within These Walls’; ‘Worzel Gummidge’; ‘Bouquet Of Barbed Wire’; ‘Department S’; Adventures of Black Beauty’ ending with ‘Into the 80s’ (the theme from ‘Hollywood’). Composers included Laurie Johnson; Robert Sharples; Edwin Astley; Tony Hatch; Eric Spear; Ron Grainer; Alexander Faris; Geoff Love; Denis King; Denis Farnon; and Carl Davis.
John Patrick commenced Part 2 with the ‘March’ and ‘Love Theme’ Richard Rodney Bennett’s ‘Yanks’, before John Addison – who had played at the 1977 Concert – resumed with Part 2 of ’50 Years of outstanding Movie Music’. This featured his own themes from ‘The Honey Pot’; ‘The Girl With the Green Eyes’; three themes from ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’; ‘Tom Jones’; and Ernest Gold’s ‘Exodus’ – arranged by Stanley Black with piano solo by Richard Leonard – and Franz Waxman’s ‘Rebecca’.
The final composer - John Williams - who had appeared in 1976, played the following self-composed themes:
‘Close Encounters Of the Third Kind’ / ‘Jaws 2’ / ‘Love Theme from Superman’ / ‘Dracula’ / ‘Swing, Swing, Swing’ from ‘1941’ / ‘Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back’ / ‘Yoda’s Theme – The Imperial March’.
The concert sported a finale by John Patrick.
Highlights of the concert, filmed by LWT, were shown on 26th October 1980 at 11.30pm. Whilst no commercial recording was issued, the CTBF did release a (mail order only) album containing some of the TV Themes previously issued - ’25 Years of ITV – Great Theme Music From Popular ITV Series - Filmharmonic ’80’ included ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’; ‘Bouquet Of Barbed Wire’; ‘I’ve Danced with a Man’ from ‘Edward & Mrs. Simpson’; ‘Black Beauty’; ‘She’ from ‘Seven Faces Of Woman’; ‘Danger Man’; ‘Lillie’; ‘Tales of the Unexpected’; ‘Coronation Street’; ‘Song of Freedom’ from ‘Enemy At the Door’; ‘Department S’; and ‘Within These Walls’
Whilst a 1981 concert was advertised and scheduled to include Carl Davis; repeat appearances by David Rose and Jerry Goldsmith, this did not materialise due the changing financial climate and the high cost of the orchestra.
However, in 1985, Filmharmonic was back for a one-off event to coincide with British Film Year, celebrating Elstree Studios and Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment. This concert had come about from an earlier remark from John Williams who said he would make himself available if Filmharmonic should ever return; combined with enthusiasm from a change of management at the Royal Albert Hall. Sir Richard Attenborough was again on board as compeer with the London Symphony Orchestra (leader Michael Davis).
John Gregory, who had orchestrated and arranged music for the 1977 concert, joined Williams; and John Scott (b.1930) made his first appearance to conduct the premiere of a suite from his awesome score for ‘Greystoke’. Stanley Black, The Stephen Hill singers and Gemma Craven completed the line-up.
Gregory’s ‘Fanfare For Filmharmonic’ opened the show followed by his own arrangement of Eric Coates’ ‘Dambusters’ played by the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. Attenborough introduced John Gregory, who conducted a self-arranged suite with The Stephen Hill Singers: ‘Laughter and Music and Stars That Shine’ – a series of British musicals from the 30s - including music from ‘Hearts Desire’; ‘Glamorous Night’; ‘Maid of the Mountains’; ‘Blossom Time’; and ‘Mr. Cinders’.
‘Firsts!’ included ‘Blackmail’ and ‘Tasty Heart’, followed by ‘Brighton Rock’ – all arranged by Gregory; and finally ‘Rail and Yellowbrick Road’ - two recent selections: Johnny Douglas’ charming themes from ‘The Railway Children’ (‘Perks Must Be About It’ and ‘Finale’); and David Shire’s ‘Ragtime March’ from ‘Return To Oz’.
John Scott took over the baton beginning with two themes for ‘This Year, Next Year’: Maurice Jarre’s ‘Adela’s Theme’ from ‘A Passage To India’; and ‘Paso Doble’; ‘Main Theme’; and ‘Election March’ from ‘Monsignor Quixote’ with guitarist Colin Downs.
The second medley was a selection of David Puttnam films arranged by Scott (‘The Puttnam Collection’): ‘Local Hero’; ‘ That’ll Be the Day’; ‘Midnight Express’; ‘Cal’; ‘The Killing Fields’; and ‘Chariots of Fire’.
‘Premiere Performance – Greystoke’ was a suite of seven themes, which Scott had specially arranged for the concert from the 1984 film ‘Greystoke – The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes’, and this concluded part one.
Despite Scott’s massive and influential contribution to film, television and library music since the mid sixties, he has, unbelievably, yet to win a major award. In the early sixties he played flute and saxophone for composers such as John Barry and Henry Mancini; and arranged and conducted many artists on the EMI roster.
Stanley Black took over the conducting duties for the 2nd part commencing with three of Bob Farnon’s themes for ‘Captain Horatio Hornblower RN’; followed by his arrangement of themes from Cliff Richard films (‘Cliff!’) – ‘Wonderful Life’; ‘Summer Holiday’; the title theme and his own ‘Mood Mambo’ from ‘The Young Ones.
Sadly, Television was poorly represented but Black did play Shostalovich’s theme used for Thames TV’s ‘Reilly, Aces Of Spies, which he arranged with Harry Rabinowitz. The final selection was Trevor Jones’ music from ‘The Dark Crystal’ (‘Jen and Kira’; ‘The Funerals’; ‘The Dark Crystal’). The latter featured synthesizers by Brian Gascoigne and David Lawson.
To conclude part one Gemma Craven sang three songs arranged by Pete Moore. These were: Paul McCartney’s ‘Silly Love Songs’ from ‘Give My Regards To Broad Street’; ‘Never Say Never Again’ from the James Bond film of the same name (Michael Legrand), with Black playing solo piano; and Jacques Morali’s ‘Can’t Stop the Music’.
John Williams opened part two with ‘Raiders March’ and ‘Marion’s Theme’ from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’; followed by the first part of ‘The Star Wars Trilogy’ – ‘Parade of the Ewoks’; ‘Luke and Leia’; and ‘Battle In the Forest’ from ‘Return of the Jedi’.
Pianist Margaret Fingerhut played piano on the ensuing selections - Legrand’s theme from ‘The Go-Between’; Michael. J. Lewis’ ‘Baxter’ (specially arranged by Williams); and ‘The Mansell Concerto’ from ‘The Woman’s Angle’.
‘The Trilogy II – Unexpected Themes’ used more of Williams’ music from the Star Wars series: ‘The Asteroid Field’ from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and the popular ‘Cantina Band’ from the first film ‘Star Wars’. ‘The Trilogy III’ ended the concert with the ‘End Title Music’ from ‘Star Wars’ – a score that the LSO had played on in 1976.
Due to the sheer cost involved the concert wasn’t filmed and no commercial recording was issued; though Capitol Radio, London did record it for broadcast at a later date.
Specialist musicians augmenting the orchestra for the above concerts were: Russ Stableford (fender bass) (78-80); Douglas Tate (harmonica) (78); Judd Proctor (guitar / guitar, banjo, mandolin) (78/80); Gerry Freeman (drums) (78); Derek Healey (trumpet) (78); Johnny Dean (drums) (79/80); and Les Thatcher (guitar, banjo) (79). For the final concert: Dick Abell (guitar); Bobby Orr (drums); Leslie Pearson (organ); and Dave Richmond on fender bass. Don Innes played piano on all four concerts.
This article first appeared in the December 2013 issue of Journal Into Melody.
Editor: I should like to thank Gareth Bramley for his comprehensive reports on the Filmharmonic concerts in this, and previous, issues of JIM. He has undertaken many hours of detailed research, thus ensuring that these important events in London’s musical life will not be forgotten.
EMI MATRIX CARDS
DETAILING EARLY PRODUCTION MUSIC RECORDINGS Alan Heinecke investigates ….
During the 1990s, the late record researcher Eddie Shaw spent many hours pouring over the National Sound Archive collection of microfilm reels containing images of EMI Special Recording Department matrix cards. Peter Copeland suggested these microfilm reels were made in the mid 1960s and contained images of EMI Special Recording Department matrix cards still in existence at that time. (Historic Record # 19, p 6).
These matrix cards showed the following recording dates for early CHAPPELL 78rpm discs:
C 105 to C 108 Saturday 11 April 1942
C 290 to C 296 Monday 23 December 1946
C 297 to C 304 Friday 7 March 1947
C 305 to C 312 Friday 21 March 1947
C 313 to C 316 Wednesday 21 May 1947
C 317 to C 320 Friday 27 June 1947
C 321 to C 324 Monday 30 June 1947
C 325 to C 328 Friday 22 August 1947
C 390 and C 391 Monday 1 January 1951
Of interest, is that four other CHAPPELL music tracks were recorded by EMI on 1 January 1951, namely, Comedian in Mayfair (EMI matrix CTP 16785, and renamed Canadian in Mayfair), Captain of the Guard (EMI matrix CTP 16788), Mantilla (EMI matrix CTP 16789) and Strings on Wings (EMI matrix CTP 16790). These four tracks were issued on CHAPPELL discs C 392 and C 393 from matrices made by Levy’s Sound Studios, and not from the matrices made by EMI.
A couple of the matrix cards dating from 1942 were rubber stamped "PASSED BY CENSOR", and showed little information about the particular recording.
Eddie noted CHAPPELL disc C 325 (matrix CTP 14983) was originally intended to be coupled with matrix CTP 14986, but this coupling was cancelled on 14 October 1947. This resulted in the single sided CHAPPELL disc C 325 being issued. The matrix card for CTP 14986 could not be located by Eddie.
The EMI matrix cards also indicated the first batch of tracks for the EMI Library of Background Music were recorded on 12 March 1947 (EP 1 to EP 4).
The first group of tracks for Francis, Day and Hunter’s MOOD MUSIC library were recorded on 29 October 1946.
If someone could publish some recording details from Levy’s Sound Studios (Historic Record # 31, p 17-20), precise dating of more of the early Production Music library discs could be undertaken.
This feature first appeared in the December 2013 issue of Journal Into Melody.
ALICE AND LIGHT MUSIC: A Summary
by Philip L Scowcroft
Lewis Carroll (1832-98) was, as Charles Luttridge Dodgson, a mathematician but remains celebrated for his Alice books, reckoned by many as children's literature though there is also a deeper message to be found in them.
Doubtless this "deeper message" was exploited in a series of "scenes and arias" from the Alice stories by David Walter del Tredici (1937-), sometime Professor of Music at Harvard, in a "tonal 12 note" idiom and very accessible. By my count there are eleven of these, many for amplified soprano and orchestra, but others for smaller ensembles; several are substantial, Vintage Alice (on the Mad Hatter's Tea Party) being timed at 28 minutes. In 1986 they were drawn on (in Canada) for a ballet.
Other American composers derived inspiration from Alice: Joseph Deems Taylor (1885-1966), composed an orchestral suite Through the Looking Glass; Edgar Stallman-Kelley (1857-1944) had his pantomime pictures Alice in Wonderland performed by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra in 1922; and Homer Simmons published for two pianos in 1940 a passacaglia The Duchess and a minuet The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle.
But two of the greatest of all British composers were asked to set Carroll. Sir Arthur Sullivan was the first with Carroll himself making the contact, proposing a staged setting of "Alice in Wonderland" including "two or three of the songs". Sullivan was not keen and was doubtful if such a project would get off the ground; one source suggests that Sullivan attempted to set some of the lyrics but was defeated by the unusual metre. More than twenty years later in January 1899, A J Jaeger ("Nimrod") of Novello's suggested to Elgar a mock-heroic cantata on The Jabberwock (from Through the Looking Glass). Elgar dismissed this as "unsaleable", though later he did briefly start to sketch Jabberwocky for voice and orchestra.
However, composers on both sides of the Atlantic managed to progress further than Sullivan and Elgar and a selection of their (and del Tredici's) pieces would make an attractive concert even if confined to orchestral and instrumental works. For example, Ronald Hamner's fantasy for brass band Alice in Wonderland appeared in 1974, Joseph Horovitz's Alice ballet (actually entitled Wonderful Scenes from Alice ) included a Waltz of the Flowers and Gardens and Lobster Quadrille. Alfred Reynolds (1884-1969) provided delicious incidental music of which more later. Music educationist, arranger and composer for young people Geoffry Russell-Smith penned two pieces for a trio of clarinets, Alice and the Mad Hatter. Philip Gates wrote an alto saxophone solo, March Hare, Nigel Ogden composed a White Rabbit Scherzo for organ, Stan Tracey a suite Alice in Jazz, Paul Paviour a suite for piano, Alice in Pianoland. Peter Cork's suite, Alice Through the Looking Glass and What She Found There has been recorded fairly recently, all twelve movements of it. Albert Ketèlbey composed a four movement piano suite, Alice in 1906 (before the days of In a Monastery Garden).
E Markham Lee, known for his piano pieces for children, published twelve movements (two sets of six) for piano duet, four hands one piano. And most recently (so far), Alice's Adventures Through Sound and Space for wind band was premiered in November 2012 by Sheffield University Wind Band; the music was by Sheffield undergraduate Tierney Kirby, a saxophonist in the Band. Most, perhaps all, of these orchestral and instrumental titles were on the lighter side of the musical spectrum.
We have seen that Carroll was anxious to have a staged (musical) version of "Alice" and it is time to examine some of those which have existed. First and in many ways the most successful, came during Carroll's lifetime. One H Savile Clark adapted "Alice in Wonderland" as a "dream play for children" and Walter Slaughter (1860-1908), a conductor for the London stage and a prolific, tuneful and accessible composer, was approached to do the music. It was first put on at the Prince of Wales Theatre for 57 matinées, starting December 1886, as a Christmas feature but was so popular that it lasted until March 1887. The Clark/Slaughter "Alice" was to have eighteen London revivals, at the Globe (1888-9), Opera Comique (1898-9), Vaudeville (38 performances 1900-01) and other London theatres for mainly Christmas seasons up to as late as 1934. The music was published and Slaughter's reputation burgeoned as he was invited to compose for several other children's musicals.
There was an attempt at the New Theatre (1903) to repeat its success with the "fairy play" "Alice Through the Looking Glass". The music, by Walter Tilbury, was less successful, though its football jokes and "impressions", interpolated to spice Carroll, fell flat. Yet it survived for sixty performances that winter and the score was published. More durable was "Florian Pascal's" "(Joseph Williams')" children's fairy operetta "In Wonderland" (1908) and several times revived including once in Doncaster by a young choir in 1946.
Staged "Alices" with music continued to appear. "Alice Up to Date", music by Philip Braham, appeared at the Pavilion Theatre in 1913. Incidental music for a play version was composed in 1933 by one H Cyphus. "Alice in Wonderland" (1932) and "Through the Looking Glass" (1943), both adapted by Clemence Dane, had music by Richard Addinsell, a composer well known to readers of JIM (some of Addinsell's songs, like Beautiful Soup, A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky and Father William were published). Graham Garton (1929- )wrote a musical "Alice". In 2001-02 the RSC put on Adrian Mitchell's new version of both "Alice" classics with incidental music by Stephen Warbeck and Terry Davies. Even more recently (2004) Carl Davis provided a score for a stage musical version of "Alice in Wonderland". But we must return to the earlier (1947) Christmas show at Stratford, again a combination of both "Alices", and to its delicious music by Alfred Reynolds with charming titles such as Ballet of Rabbits, Crawl of the Caterpillars, Dance of the Cards, Ballet of the Talking Flowers, Jabberwocky (with a part for swanee whistle), Parade of the King's Hobby Horses and March of the Drums. Two suites were extracted from this music; several of their movements were recorded some years ago by Marco Polo, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia being conducted by Gavin Sutherland. Away from "Alice", a stage version of Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" (1991) had songs by Mike Batt, but it did not achieve success.
However, I have still not done with musical stage adaptations. An operetta for amateurs, "Alice in Dreamland" was performed by Armthorpe [Doncaster] Evening Institute (March 1935) but the composer for this is unrecorded. A rock "Alice in Wonderland" appeared at the Intimate Theatre, Palmer's Green in 1976 (one wonders what Carroll would have made of that). The Collegiate Theatre's "Alice" (1980) had music by theatre conductor David Lowe. Wilfred Joseph's set "Through the Looking Glass" as a children's opera in twelve short scenes with a prologue and epilogue (1978). In the 1980s Stephen Scotchmer's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was another children's adaptation; still another was David Aylott, "Alice, A Musical for Schools" (1994). "Alice", with "updated" music by Anthony Phillips, was produced at the Leeds Playhouse in 1984. James Leisy's "Alice A Musical Play" (based on both Alices and timed at 90 minutes), was published in 1981. The Korean composer Unsuk Chin was working on an Alice opera in August 2005; as a "trailer" five songs, entitled Snags and Snarls, received a first European performance at a BBC Prom in that month and impressed with their conciseness and sensitive, jewel-like orchestral accompaniment. I have alluded to the major "Alice" ballet version (1953, revived both on stage and TV) and its music by Joseph Horovitz; a fresh "Alice" ballet (1995) drew on Tchaikovsky's music. More recently "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (2011) had music by Joby Talbot, much praised.
Songs setting lyrics by Carroll but primarily for the concert hall rather than the stage, have come from various composers. Maybe the earliest were by Liza Lehmann (1862-1918), Nine (actually ten) Nonsense Songs for SATB or, in some cases, vocal solo or duet. Harold Fraser-Simson (1878-1944), known for "The Maid of the Mountains" and settings of AA Milne, also published eight songs from "Alice in Wonderland". Victor Hely-Hutchinson, who worked for the BBC, and composed A Carol Symphony and nursery rhyme settings, also set Father William, Humpty Dumpty, Jabberwocky, To the Looking Glass World, Tweedledum and Tweedledee and Beautiful Soup. The latter was also set as a two part song for children by the American Thomas Benjamin and as one of a number of songs by Roger Fiske in 1952.
In more recent years there have been The Mad Hatter's Song from "Birds and Beasts" by author Percy Young (d. 2003), The Crocodile and Father William (1984), combining Alice and Peter Pan, by Michael Berkeley for unaccompanied women's voices in six parts, Jabberwocky by Carol Barratt as the first of Four Strange Wild Songs, Tweedledee's Song by Mavis de Mierre, Songs for Alice (1978) by Don Harper, Five Alice Songs by Jeffrey Joseph for mezzo and instrumental ensemble, Some Hallucinations (unison voices) by Patrick Williams, The Lobster Quadrille for women's voices by Colin Hand, Seven Songs (1989) for women's voices by Maurice Bailey, and Father William (in 2 parts) by Sol Berkovitz, an American. Derek Bourgeois (1941- ) with his extravaganza Jabberwocky (baritone, mixed voice chorus and orchestra) achieved in 1967 what Elgar had failed to finish. Finally among these recent examples, Philip Lane (1950- ) has told me he was commissioned in 1998 to set "Rhymes of Lewis Carroll" for Guildford High School to mark the centenary of Carroll's death, for SSA choir and piano. For once they do not set words from "Alice".
Alice has naturally figured on both large and small screens. The first talkie of "Alice in Wonderland" included music credited to Hollywood mogul Dimitri Tiomkin, though the twelve published items included ten songs, some credited to Nathaniel Finston, and the instrumental pieces, Lobster Quadrille and Morris Dance. Similarly, the 1951 Disney cartoon version had its music credited to Oliver Wallace but other Carroll songs published by Disney were credited to Don Raye and Gene de Paul, Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jenny Livingston and at least five songs by Sammy Fain. John Barry of James Bond fame, wrote a score for a British film, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1972) and published a song book therefrom. Music for "Putting on the Ritz" included a song Alice in Wonderland by Irving Berlin. Most recently, "Alice in Wonderland" (2010) had music by Danny Elfman.
We are left with television, radio and audio books, for which latter Martin Cook wrote music. I have little information on the music used for the many radio Alice adaptations (a radio "Hunting of the Snark" had incidental music from Max Saunders) and none on who composed for the first televised Alices in 1936-7 and later in 1946, though the latter may have utilised Addinsell's music previously mentioned. A 69 minute radio version of "Alice in Wonderland" (1960) had music by Antony Hopkins, broadcaster and sometime director of Intimate Opera. Adaptations of Alice in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s included one in 1966 which had music from sitar player Ravi Shankar. For a recent TV version (2000, Channel 4) later issued on DVD, a score was written by the Yorkshire born composer Richard Hartley, born in 1944.
There have been a number of "spoof" Alices; as just one example I offer the parody ballet "Alice in Lumberland", whose music was by the theatre composer Norman O'Neill (1875-1934). Generally, though, we can say with confidence that the richness and whimsy of Carroll are matched by the variety and sheer enjoyment of the music written for dramatised versions or otherwise inspired by them. I suspect that what we have recalled here is just the tip of a significant iceberg. And more will surely come to delight us in future years.
1953 AND ALL THAT
Sixty years ago the British nation was gripped by Coronation fever: we had had the 1948 Olympics, the 1951 Festival of Britain and, early the following year, a new Queen had come to the throne. Now, on 2nd June 1953, she was to be crowned in Westminster Abbey; the event was to be televised and would be seen all over the world. The British record industry was in fine form; 78s still held sway but 45s and LPs were appearing in increasing numbers and would gradually take over.
Unless Vivaldi, Benvenuto FineIIi and Helga Mott were your particular favourites there was little to get excited about amongst the January LP releases but, at other speeds, it was a different story. On
Columbia we had Coronation Scot and The Horse Guards, Whitehall from the
Queens Hall Light Orchestra, the 78 having been with us since May 1948. Blue Tango. Belle Of The Ball, The Waltzing Cat and Marching Strings filled a pair of 45s by RayMartin and, on Parlophone, half a dozen titles from Sidney Torch included Valse Grise, Mexican Fiesta and Claude Yvoire’s Cresta Run.
78s at the start of the year included Leroy Anderson’s own recordings of A Trumpeter’s Lullaby, Jazz Pizzicato and Jazz Legato; Ray Martin’s Tickled Pink and Henpecking and the QHLO under Bob Farnonwith Champagne March and Tony Lowry’s superb Seascape. George Melachrino brought usReginald King’s Song Of Paradise and Ron Goodwin popped up on Polygon with Heyken’s Serenade and The Wedding Of The Rose.
In February there was a pot-pouzri of Leroy Anderson titles on a Brunswick LP. while a certain Robert Famon appeared on Decca with The Fleet’s In, Sand In My Shoes, Lazybones and nine or ten other items; David Rose, meanwhile, offered Portrait Of A Flirt on an MGM 45. Leroy Anderson came up with two more of his own pieces on a Brunswick 78 and Charles Williams, on a 12-inch Columbia, showed the Coronation Year spirit with Long Live Elizabeth and The Yeomen Of England. On Decca Bob Farnon gave us two of his "Fleet’s In" titles on a 12-inch 78 and George Melachrino paraded the film hits on HMV. Nick Acquaviva made a rare appearance on with Holiday In Rio and Her Tears while Sidney Torch offered a pair of popular titles on a Parlophone ‘R’.
As winter gave way to spring, LPs had little to offer but there were some 45rpm issues by Ray Martin and his London Saga on a Columbia 78, while on Parlophone Sidney Torch brought us The Last Rhapsody and Ron Goodwin took off with his scintillating Jet Journey, and Ron was also on his original label Polygon, with Rainbow Run by Eddie Mers. April’s light music ‘hit’ was undoubtedly Acquaviva’s breathtaking recording of Curtain Time on an MGM 45; Ray Martin was still in the Columbia lists with Waltzing Bugle Boy and Lazy Cowboy on DB3258. The Melachrino Strings gave us a TV hit of the day with Little Red Monkey and Sidney Torch, was Meandering on Parlophone R3674.
With the Big Event approaching rapidly, Decca brought us, on LP, The Three Elizabeths and Four Centuries Suites by Eric Coates as part of a release of all-British music in specially-designed sleeves. Bob’s Lincolnshire Poacher was at large on one of their ten-inch LPs and Coates was again to the fore with his London and London Again suites on a Parlophone LP. Those two patriotic Charles Williams titles reappeared on a 45 and Parade Of The Clowns was the May MGM offering fron David Rose. The new Charles Williams titles were The British Grenadiers and Heart O’London while Ray Martin brought us Veradero and the catchy One Finger Serenade.
Tuesday, 2nd June dawned dismal, dull and damp - in fact it was one of the wettest days that anyone could remember. But everything went ahead as planned: Sidney Torch gave us Magic Circles and Cornflakes but the only really noteworthy light music accolade went to Frank Chacksfield for his famous recording of Ebb Tide. The major July issue was the HMV LP set of the Coronation service which still sounds impressive today; on Columbia Ray Martin countered with Begorrah and Serenade To Eileen and Sidney Torch ignored his own compositions in favour of a selection from Chu Chin Chow.
August was traditionally the month when EMI went on holiday: very brief release sheets mention two minor titles from Melachrino, and David Rose’s Waltz Of The Bubbles. But things were looking up the following month when Sidney Torch offered us A Canadian In Mayfair on Parlophone R 3732 and Ron Goodwin recorded two attractive titles: Shane and The Melba Waltz on R3736.
In October I began my National Service and would not have had time to note down any record releases, but looking back I see that Leroy Anderson had another LP of his own compositions on Brunswick, Bob had one - LK 4067 - on Decca and the Melachrino Strings had a ten-inch LP on HMV. Leroy Anderson presented us with his Serenata and Horse And Buggy on a Brunswick 78 and Camarata, on the same label, greeted us with Rendezvous and Fiddlesticks. The then-popular Swedish Rhapsody was Ray Martin’s contribution and Charles Williams introduced us to A Girl Called Linda.
The November fogs were much in evidence when Peter Yorke turned up, surprisingly, on the Brunswick label with an LP of standards while Ray Martin was on familiar territory with a clutch of his classics on the ‘Magic Notes’ label and Sidney Torch did a similar job on Parlophone. Wally Stott made a very rare appearance on MGM with My One And Only Love and Serenade For A Tin Horn; Charles Williams was on Parade with the Clowns on Columbia and, by way of a change, the youngsters were being catered for on HMV with Noddy, Muffin the Mule and dear old Uncle Mac. Tropicana and Blue Night were Sidney Torch’s titles and Philip Green, also on Parlophone, was having a Spanish Affair.
And so to December. Appropriately. Leroy Anderson gave us a Christmas Festival on a Brunswick 78; Axel Stordahl brought us a very attractive version of The Piccolino on Capitol and George Melachrino pleased this enthusiast immensely when he recorded Ken Warner’s Scrub Brother Scrub for HMV. Mind you, this had been recorded before - in 1947 on a Columbia DB.
But nobody told me …..
This feature appeared in the August 2013 issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’
On Sunday 13 September 1992 Moira, David and Fenella Ades invited fellow Robert Farnon Society members to their home in South Somerset to enjoy an informal afternoon of Light Music. The intention was to encourage members living in the West Country to come along, if distance prevented them from attending our usual London meetings. Seventeen members accepted the invitation, but only one was a ‘new face’! The rest were RFS ‘regulars’ who couldn’t resist the attraction of a musical afternoon, and one member even travelled 200 miles to attend. Unfortunately the weather was wet, so members were ‘trapped’ inside the house. The music was deliberately non-formal. Members said what they would like to hear, and the appropriate recordings were sought out and played. When someone suggested the Chappell music that used to feature in Dan Dare – Pilot Of The Future on Radio Luxembourg in the 1950s, we all became 40 years younger – at least, in our minds!
The success of the 1992 event prompted a repeat a year later, on Sunday 12 September 1993. This time the attendance went up to 26, and Jim Palm wrote a special report for JIM 114:
As in 1992 the weather, alas, was wet (very wet, in fact) but the atmosphere inside was warm and convivial. Philip Farlow and I arrived shortly after noon to find the house already filling up fast and, with drinks pressed into our hands, we were soon chatting with friends old and new.
We were soon being invited to help ourselves to a buffet lunch; a large table groaning with food was set up in the dining room and the ladies had clearly been working very hard. Our plates full, some chose to sit in the lounge with others out in the conservatory, and now the important business of the day began. On my right-hand side and all the way from Altrincham was David Mardon; the talk was of music (naturally) and over a potted plant just to my left, Tony Clayden and I were chatting about television themes of yesteryear and, on the subject of music used years ago by the London company Rediffusion, I surprised myself by remembering that, at one time, they used a march by one Stanley Bate. Does this ring a bell with anybody?
With the cheese and biscuits over (or trifle, as appropriate) David invited us, when we were ready, to pick up our chairs and proceed up to his eyrie at the top of the house. Still the rain lashed down but we quickly forgot such mundane matters as we set about delving into boxes of 78s, LPs and CDs. Wallets and chequebooks were soon lighter and slimmer as sundry purchases were made until, seated at last, the music began and a very ‘ad hoc’ programme was to include such items as Clive Richardson’s Running Off The Rails hotted—up by Florian Zabach; mouth-watering tastes of the ‘Memories of the Light Programme’ release; assorted tracks from KPM reissues of the I950s and the Big Band sound of Laurie Johnson. Paul Lewis, the composer profiled in JIM 113, regaled us with stories about musicians and the problems of writing for television. Amongst the many questions raised by those present, there was one about Polygon records. This is one of the nice things about these ‘at homes’: the ready exchange of information and ideas with everyone joining in and learning a lot into the bargain. The informal atmosphere made us all feel at ease; anyone with a special request could have it played and David was, I seem to remember, only stumped on one occasion. At about five o’clock came the call to tea, and soon people were saying their goodbyes.
After two very wet afternoons in previous Septembers, Moira, David and Fenella announced in JIM 116 that the 1994 Seavington Music Day would be two months earlier, on Sunday 17 July. It proved to be ‘third time lucky’, as Jim Palm reported in JIM 118: "A smashing day as always" was my comment in the Stone Gables visitors’ book. This time the sun shone on a lovely summer’s day when lunch in the garden was not only possible, but virtually a ‘must’. The welcome was as genuine and convivial as ever and the attendance fair took the breath away: nearly forty people were there in all and we even had to queue to reach the table which was groaning with food.
On this occasion we had a trio of talented composers in our midst: Paul Lewis, John Fox and Heinz Herschmann. As had now become usual, after lunch we all went upstairs for the music – somehow David’s floor managed to take the weight of us all!
At length we all made our way downstairs again for tea and cakes, and the balmy evening made many of us linger, chatting in the lovely garden until it really was time to go. Philip and I finally dragged ourselves away at 7:40 and headed back to Salisbury ….
In 1995 it was back to Seavington again, with fingers crossed that Sunday 23 July 1995 would also have the lovely weather we had enjoyed the previous year. We were lucky! The garden, patio and conservatory were all packed with members, and on this occasion we welcomed two friends who had actually come all the way from Australia – Kym and Julie Bonython. Kym was something of a legend back home: Australian jazz lovers owed him a great debt of gratitude for all the fine Americans he persuaded to play in the concerts he promoted over many years. During the afternoon he treated us to recordings by Phil Moore – just one of the many musicians he knew.
The usual routine followed … music, then eventually tea, then finally goodbyes.
Everyone hoped there would be another summer meeting in 1996, and it was duly arranged for Sunday 7 July 1996. Perhaps the date was unfortunate (it was Men’s Finals Day at Wimbledon) and the weather forecast was indifferent. But as it turned out the sun shone in Seavington, although Wimbledon was disrupted by rain.
Was this the best Seavington Summer Meeting of them all? Possibly, because the famous guests included Trevor Duncan, John Fox, Joy Devon (Mrs. John Fox), Freddie Dachtler (of The Polka Dots), Heinz Herschmann, Eric Parkin and Paul Lewis. All of them spoke about their work, and members enjoyed many recordings during the afternoon.
The following year, in July 1997, the RFS celebrated Robert Farnon’s 80th Birthday with a lavish meeting and banquet at the Bonnington Hotel. This broke the pattern of Sunday Summer Meetings in Seavington, but in hindsight it was probably fitting that the last of the five, in 1996, was probably the best of them all!
This feature appeared in the August 2013 issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’
Brian Willey recounts the history of the BBC Dance Orchestra from
its 1928 birth to its 1952 demise
It would seem that the BBC, right from its infancy at Savoy Hill, set out to promote dance music by hitting the airwaves in February 1926 with broadcasts by the London Radio Dance Band, a nine-piece unit led by violinist, Sidney Firman. The band made about a dozen records for the Columbia label and did sterling work as the mainstay of radio dance music for two years until a new combination, the BBC Dance Orchestra, was formed and took over its duties. The new sounds were first heard on March 12th 1928 and, according to a Melody Maker report: ‘Despite a limited opportunity for rehearsal, gave a satisfactory performance’.
In its first manifestation it evolved from a dance orchestra directed by Jack Payne that had entertained for some four years in the Hotel Cecil in London’s Strand. (The hotel was demolished in 1930 to make way for Shell-Mex House)
Jack Payne had first broadcast from there in late 1925 and it was he to whom the BBC turned when it decided to feature its own dance orchestra.
Once established, the new unit became highly popular and Jack Payne became a household name throughout the land. He also secured a recording contract with Columbia Records and it is interesting to note that the record labels stated ‘Jack Payne and His BBC Dance Orchestra’. The BBC was initially cautious about the establishment of such an orchestra and had decided the musicians would not be on its own payroll but assembled and employed by Jack Payne, to be hired when required for broadcasts. But that billing was appropriate only for the commercial records and not for the radio – but it was a ruling that would change!
The Melody Maker noted that in July 1928 ‘Ray Noble, the brilliant British orchestrator, who has been with the Lawrence Wright Music Co., has left to take up an engagement with the BBC.’ - thus ensuring the orchestra would have first-class scores in its library.
All went relatively smoothly until April 1930 when Jack Payne decided to take the orchestra into variety at the London Palladium and the Holborn Empire followed by a Royal Command Performance, at which time he was billed as Jack Payne and his BBC Band. Naturally this was much to the annoyance of the Director-General, Sir John Reith – but Payne, having asserted himself, the BBC finally caved in and allowed the Radio Times billings to read ‘Jack Payne and his BBC Dance Orchestra’.
By late 1931 Jack had grown tired of BBC studio restrictions and, without any prior reference, audaciously announced his resignation on the air. Although this caused an outcry from many thousands of radio fans, it cannot have caused too much aggravation with the hierarchy, for according to Jack’s autobiography, ‘Signature Tune’ he recounts that Reith was present in the studio to bid farewell to him at the final transmission. With the broadcast ended, Reith then addressed the assembled members of the press, saying how proud he was of what Payne had done for the Corporation and, if at any time he wanted to return to the BBC he would personally see that he had his job back.
I find it most hard to believe, but fortunately the statement was never put to the test, for Jack knew exactly where he was going. He had become enormously popular via his radio appearances and now, having taken the orchestra with him, it was to be personal appearances on stage during extensive country-wide and European tours and also starring in a film ‘Say it with Music’.
It was January 1932 when Henry Hall received the BBC invitation to form a new orchestra. It is not known exactly how he got selected for the job, for at the time he was in the employ of the LMS Railway Hotel chain in control of 32 bands. Prior to that appointment he had been directing the Gleneagles Hotel Band in Manchester’s Midland Hotel, and not surprisingly he readily accepted the offer and the New BBC Dance Orchestra made its debut in March 1932 from the newly-built, but as yet unfinished, Broadcasting House.
This time the orchestra was a fully-fledged staff house-band and remained under Henry Hall’s direction for five years, broadcasting daily from 5.15 to 6 o’clock, while also frequently recording for the Columbia label.
Back in the days when ‘78 rpm’ records still ruled the turntables, the orchestra’s 1932 recording of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic contained such a plethora of wonderful bass frequencies that, in 1942 it was re-issued under a new catalogue number and a special pressing made and sited in practically every studio control room throughout the BBC for use as a loudspeaker test!
There were two significant events to affect Henry’s life during the mid-1930s that are worth noting. In March 1934 ‘Henry Hall’s Guest Night’ made its first appearance as a regular Saturday night feature, a format which would later became a popular programme in its own right and run for 21 years.
The other event was considerably more short-lived, for in May 1936 Henry Hall was given leave of absence from his BBC duties to become the director of the dance orchestra aboard Cunard’s new liner Queen Mary on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and, until he returned, pianist Bert Read took over his BBC job.
By 1937 dozens of hotel dance bands were regularly broadcasting and the BBC Dance Orchestra seemed suddenly superfluous, so Henry decided to resign. The orchestra made its final Columbia recording in the July of that year and on September 25 1937 gave its last radio performance before being disbanded and immediately reformed to become Henry Hall’s own orchestra, which he then successfully took on tour for the next two years.
For the BBC it meant a two-year gap before a new Dance Orchestra was established, this time under the baton of Billy Ternent who arrived right at the start of the Second World War with a ready-made unit from the Jack Hylton Organisation.
It was soon dispatched to Bristol which had been selected as Variety Department’s first refuge from the London blitz and when Bristol began receiving undue attention from the Luftwaffe the department made a further move to Bangor, North Wales.
Known simply as ‘The Dance Orchestra’ its main use during those years was to accompany the many variety shows that had become firm favourites with the radio audience of the time, and Billy Ternent with his strong Geordie accent had become popular as a stooge for the many comedians that lightened the wartime airwaves.
In 1944 ill-health forced Billy to resign and the next conductor to inherit the BBC baton was Stanley Black who directed the orchestra until 1952 – calculating that during those eight years he conducted some 3,000 shows.
Stanley had introduced two vocalists to the orchestra’s personnel – Diana Coupland and Monty Norman – both of whom went on to achieve further fame in other directions. Monty became a composer for the musical theatre and famously created the James Bond Theme. Diana became an actress, probably best remembered as the TV-wife of Sid James in the 1971 sitcom ‘Bless this House’.
Stanley Black’s departure heralded the final curtain for the then veteran dance orchestra which was almost immediately replaced by a 17-piece big band. Named The BBC Show Band, under the direction of Cyril Stapleton – who coincidentally had been a violinist with Henry Hall exactly twenty years earlier – it contained the cream of the music profession and performed brilliantly for five years until guitars, amplifiers and rock ’n’ roll rang the death knell for the big bands’ supremacy – but that is another story!
This feature appeared in the August 2013 issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’
LISTEN TO THE BANNED! By Martin Moritz
Can censorship be ever justified? Can the famous quote, wrongly attributed to Voltaire, that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it’ still be appropriate today? Free speech is regarded as sacrosanct and, for the most part, it should be, but so often it is abused. Under its protective cover, one believes that one can say what one likes. But surely racial incitement can never be justified as neither can an advocacy for violence. They both run contra to the laws of public decency and welfare.
Censorship arises as a result of cultural or political tensions and is, invariably, used as a means by which the powerful can impose their views on those who lack power. Over the centuries, music has been viewed with suspicion because it has a strong and egalitarian communication and can suggest new and different ideas as well as illicit and unfettered notions that those in control fear. The BBC took advantage of its position and power in dictating what was suitable music, and, more relevantly unsuitable, for us to hear.
The Corporation is still sometimes referred to as ‘Auntie’ and it offered an explanation as to the origin of this nickname: " A phrase of obscure origin: presumably journalistic, possibly from cartoons. Increasingly used in the 1950s to contrast BBC’s prudish, cosy, puritanical ‘refained’ image with that of the much brasher ITV". The Corporation was clearly aware of its perception involving a policy which would remain entrenched well into a time when one would have expected and hoped that they would be more enlightened. Auntie, they were declaring, knew best!
From the outset, the BBC enforced a policy regarding music that regulated what must not be broadcast. In the 1930s, the Dance Music Policy Committee was set up whose remit was to act as cultural guardian monitoring what or was not fit to be aired. For example, there is the following directive, issued in 1942, from Sir Arthur Bliss, Director of Music, to the Committee:
"The BBC’s policy is to encourage a more virile and robust output of dance music to accord more closely with the present spirit of the country. To this end any form of anaemic or debilitated vocal performances by male singers will be excluded. Performances by women singers will be controlled to the extent that an insincere and over-sentimental style will not be allowed. No numbers will be accepted for broadcasting which are slushy in sentiment or contain innuendo or other matter considered to be offensive." This was reinforced, some months later, by an equally pompous note:
"We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating and not all in keeping with what we feel to be the need of the public in this country in the fourth year of the war."
And this opinionated piece from a Committee member which shows an utter dislike of dance music and reads like a religious rant:
"No one is more alive than I to the need to buttress the forces of virtue against the unprincipled elements of the jungle"
The BBC could not have been more misguided in regard to those ‘slushy’ songs. They were just what listeners wanted to hear, especially to build wartime, public morale.
Arthur Bliss, unsurprisingly, also decreed that "no number will be accepted for broadcasting which is based on a tune from standard classical works usually found in the concert hall or opera house programmes". Accordingly, Song of India; I’m Always Chasing Rainbows; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; (why, however, did another song from the Borodin-laden ‘Kismet’, And This Is My Beloved, escape the axe?) The Story of a Starry Night; Brahms’ Lullaby and other classics-based songs were forbidden. It seems curious then that Kay Starr’s Comes Along a Love (an adaptation of Rossini’s overture to ‘Semiramade’) and Midnight Sleighride, recorded by the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, an arrangement that made no bones about it originating in Prokofiev’s ‘Lieutenant Kije’ suite, slipped through the net. It appears that the Committee’s forensic experts did not realise what they were.
Needless to say, songs with a religious nature were anathema to the Committee. Answer Me, a ballad with a deliberately religious content, had been recorded by David Whitfield and Frankie Laine in 1953. It was immediately banned by the Head of Religious Broadcasting who regarded it as "a sentimental mockery of Christian prayer", adding almost apologetically that "it is conceivable that a disappointed lover might sincerely utter such a prayer, if he was totally ignorant of the real nature of prayer". However, a song with such high expectations could not be allowed to die and some small but crucial changes were made to the lyric, notably with its opening line becoming ‘Answer Me, My Love’ instead of ‘Answer Me, Lord Above’. Laine and Whitfield recorded this revised version and the coda to this episode was that, for the first and only time in British chart history, both recordings would share the top spot together.
From 1953 again, Crying in the Chapel, recorded by Lee Lawrence was deemed "nauseating and theologically unexceptional". Strong criticism and yet, twelve years later, Elvis Presley’s recording was permitted, without any apparent explanation. The verdict on St Theresa of the Roses was that it was unsuitable "because the lyric is contrary to both Roman Catholic doctrine and to Protestant sentiment". However, double-standards were evident with It Is No Secret, written by Stuart Hamblen in 1951, an earnest, hymn-like ballad. "A sincere, if misguided presentation of a very personal aspect of the Christian gospel" was the opinion of the anonymous Head of Religious Broadcasting. He suggested, though, it could be featured in request programmes when the responsibility would not lie directly with the BBC. Shifting the blame is hardly a Christian sentiment.
George Formby fell foul of the authorities on two occasions. With My Little Ukelele in My Hand and With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock had deliberate sexual innuendo in the lyrics. Did George honestly believe he would get both songs aired? As must have Stan Freberg with the very suggestive John and Marsha. Ella Fitzgerald found her recording of Bewitched banned because it included an explicit verse that was never in included the more familiar bowdlerised version. Presumably when the infamous Je t’aime was released, the Committee took an absence of leave to go into therapy!
Some exclusions are bizarre and often risible. One of the big hits of 1942 was Deep in the Heart of Texas which has a four-note clapping motif just before its chorus. The BBC, in Orwellian mode, would not allow the song to be heard during working hours because factory workers would pause and clap their hands thereby neglecting their labours, albeit for a couple of seconds!
Believe it not but Henry Hall’s 1934 recording of his composition Radio Times was banned on the grounds of advertising whilst the reason for withdrawing Greensleeves by The Beverley Sisters was that it ‘has a special place as an endearing melody of peculiar significance’ and would be debased by dance bands whose treatments would be inappropriate. The Sisters had retaliated with We Have to Be So Careful, which good-naturedly and humorously ridiculed the Committee but, with the BBC not wanting to even admit that such a department existed, it remained unheard. Who were they trying to fool?
In retrospect, it all seems unnecessary and totally misguided compounded by the fact that the BBC felt, arrogantly, being what it was, it was their duty to decide on behalf of British listeners what was fitting and proper.
This article appeared in the August 2013 issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’
Saturday, November 5th 1977 - Royal Albert Hall, London
By GARETH BRAMLEY
Slightly later than usual, the 8th Festival of Film & TV Music - compered again by Sir Richard Attenborough - featured John Addison, Dominic Frontiere and Robert Sharples. 1977 was Jubilee Year and the concert also celebrated the golden jubilee of Paramount Pictures (1928-1977) with a fine selection of themes and scores. The studio’s head of music, Dominic Frontiere, flew over from Hollywood especially for this event. He was maybe an unknown in the UK at the time but his TV output in the States had been prolific.
The Mike Sammes Singers also added their distinctive backing vocals to the evening’s concert, a major part of which featured the music from the films of Joseph E. Levine. It was all specially orchestrated by Johnny Gregory who - since the actual scores were not available - had to listen to hours and hours of music, and make copious notes before producing the scores for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who played the music for the 8th consecutive year. The orchestra was again augmented by Roland Harker on guitar; Don Innes on piano; Bobby Orr on drums; and Russ Stableford on fender bass.
Following the fanfare ‘Music From the Movies’ arranged by John Gregory and conducted by Don Innes, Bob Sharples raised the baton for ‘The Music of Independent Television – Classical Themes’ - some examples of where classical music had been adapted for use as a TV Theme.
This was split into three distinct regions as follows:
Southampton, Belfast and Birmingham
Moldavian Dance – Liana (c.1950) (Schalaster) from ‘Music in Camera’ (Southern TV)
Violin Sonata Op.5 – Giga (1700) (Corelli) from Food of Love’ (Ulster TV)
Sinfonietta (1926) (Janacek) (‘Crown Court’) (ATV)
London and Manchester
Karelia Suite – 3rd Movement – Alla Marcia (1893) (Sibelius) (‘This Week’) (Thames TV)
English Dances – No.5 (1950) (Arnold) (‘What the Papers Say’) (Granada TV)
Norwich and Leeds
Bassoon Concerto in E Minor P137 – 3rd Movement – Allegro (c.1725) (Vivaldi)
(‘Survival’) (Anglia TV)
Coronation March – Crown Imperial (1937) (Walton) (‘Justice’) (Yorkshire TV)
The concert continued with ‘Thanks For The Memory – 50 Years of Paramount Film Music’ all of which was conducted by Dominic Frontiere. ‘The Early Days’ sequence began with ‘A Precious Little Thing Called Love’ (Coots) from ‘The Shopwork Angel’ (1928); followed by ‘Louise’ (Whiting) from the 1929 film ‘Innocents of Paris’; and ‘Falling In Love Again’ (Hollander) from ‘The Blue Angel’ (1930).
The next section was ‘The Classic Dramas’ consisting of Miklos Rozsa’s ‘The Lost Weekend’ (1945); Franz Waxman’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950); Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Psycho’ (1960); and finally Victor Young’s music from ‘Samson & Delilah’ (1949).
‘Paramount Americana’ featured Neal Hefti’s theme from ‘The Odd Couple’ (1968); two Elmer Bernstein themes – ‘Hud’ from 1963 and ‘True Grit’ from 1969 – and ended with Victor Young’s theme from the Western ‘Shane’ (1953).
The main section in the first part of the concert – ‘The Great Songs’ was a celebration of some of the studio’s songs, which had won awards for best song. The running order was as follows:
Thanks For the Memory – The Big Broadcast of 1938 (Rainger)
Moon River – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) (Mancini)
Swinging on a Star – Going My Way (1944) (Van Heusen)
All the Way – The Joker Is Wild (1957) (Van Heusen)
Sweet Leilani – Waikiki Wedding (1937) (Owens)
Buttons and Bows – The Paleface (1948) (Livingston-Evans)
Mona Lisa – Captain Carey, USA (1950) (Livingston-Evans)
That’s Amore – The Caddy ((1953) (Warren)
Call Me Irresponsible – Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963) (Van Heusen)
In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening – Here Comes the Groom (1951) (Carmichael)
White Christmas – Holiday Inn (1942) (Berlin)
The final selections – under the title ‘Directed by De Mille’ were ‘The Ten Commandments’ – the Elmer Bernstein theme from 1956; and Victor Young’s ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ from 1952.
As if the above wasn’t enough, the highlight of the concert was still to come in part two with John Addison conducting ‘The Name Above the Title’ – a tribute to Joseph E. Levine – featuring twenty of the films he presented. All the selections were specially arranged and orchestrated by John Gregory, as detailed previously, with the exception of Addison’s own ‘A Bridge Too Far’ and all vocals were by The Mike Sammes Singers. The ‘Main Theme’ and ‘A Dutch Rhapsody’ (both from the film) had been released by United Artists (on single and LP) when the film opened in June ’77. The label had previously released ‘Girl With Green Eyes’ / ‘Love Theme from ‘Tom Jones’ in May 1965.
Again certain tunes were arranged into sections – and followed the ‘Overture’, which was Percy Faith’s ‘Academy Award Night’ from ‘The Oscar’ (1966). It was called ‘Franco-Italian Suite’ and began with Henry Mancini’s ‘Love Theme from ‘Sunflower’’ (1970). Nino Rota’s theme from Fellini’s ‘8 and a Half’ (1963) followed. Then it was George Delerue’s ‘The Fashion House’ from ‘Promise at Dawn’ (1970); Armando Trovajoli’s ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ (1964); Francis Lai’s ‘La Bonna Annee’ (‘Happy New Year’) (1974); and finally another of Nina Rota’s themes for another Fellini picture ‘Boccaccio ’70 (1962).
‘Selections from the USA’ was the next sequence starting with ‘Scarborough Fair’ and ‘The Sound of Silence’ from ‘The Graduate’ (1967) composed by pop duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Roy Budd’s ‘How Wonderful Life Is’ from the 1970 film ‘Soldier Blue’ was next, followed by Andre Previn’s ‘A Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ (1962); ‘Springtime For Hitler’ from John Morris’ score to ‘The Producers’ (1968); Georges Delerue’s ‘Day of the Dolphin’ (1973); Elmer Bernstein’s theme from ‘The Capetbaggers’ (1964); Neal Hefti’s ‘Girl Talk’ from ‘Harlow’ (1965); and finally Alfred Newman’s theme from the 1966 film ‘Nevada Smith’.
‘Made In England’ was the final section including two themes by British composer John Barry – the first ‘Isandhlwana’ from the 1964 film ‘Zulu’. This was followed by the Barrie-Cahn composition ‘A Touch of Class’ from 1973; Johnny Dankworth’s ‘Darling’ from 1965; the 2nd John Barry composition ‘The Lion In Winter’ (1968). The final theme was that which John Addision wrote (and specially arranged for the concert) for the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’ which, as mentioned previously, had opened in June.
Mike Sammes (1928-2001) learnt cello and played in his school orchestra. He worked briefly for Chappell & Co, the London music publisher, and after National Service in the RAF in the late 40s he worked on a variety of jobs until fellow musician Bill Shepherd convinced him to form a group called The Coronets. They recorded some cover versions of hit records for Columbia and some back up vocals for The Big Ben Banjo Band. After bringing together a group of singers in 1955 it wasn’t long before they were accompanying many British singers and doing other work for radio including jingles.
The Mike Sammes Singers were formed and they recorded at least seven albums between 1962 and 1988 in addition to recording on many of the Disneyland Records made for children. Sammes had backed a whole host of artists over the years – Ronnie Hilton; Tommy Steele; Anthony Newley; Helen Shapiro; Engelbert Humperdinck; Tom Jones and Ken Dodd; Barbra Streisand; Kenneth McKellar; Bette Davis; Mrs. Mills; Dionne Warwick; Danny La Rue; Rex Harrsion and Gilbert O’ Sullivan. They also worked with Morecambe & Wise and on the hit record ‘Whispering Grass’ by Don Estelle & Windsor Davies, which reached No.1 in the UK singles charts in June 1975; and previously Michael Holliday’s ‘Starry Eyed’, which also reached No.1 in January 1960. Another notable single was a version of ‘A Man and a Woman’ released in July 1967 for HMV. The singers also recorded numerous singles and albums for Music For Pleasure – one of the most popular being an album of Wombling Songs in 1975.
After his death record entrepreneur Johnny Trunk released a CD of music from Sammes’ own reel-to-reel tapes entitled ‘Music For Biscuits’ - which contained many of his advertising jingles including ‘Tuc Biscuits’.
John Gregory (b.1924) studied violin and composition and during his childhood deputised for various members of his father’s band – whilst at the same time composing and arranging for his father. He learnt solo violin under Afredo Campoli. Gregory has arranged and conducted for many artists including Anthony Newley; Cleo Lane; Matt Monro; Connie Francis; Nana Mouskouri and Peters and Lee. He was the principal conductor for the BBC Radio Orchestra during 1973-74 and has worked widely in the world of TV, films and jingles.
Under the name Chaquito, he released a very successful Latin-American album (‘TV Thrillers’) reaching No.45 in the UK album charts in March 1972. A single from this - ‘Hawaii Five-0’ / ‘Ironside’ - was issued in July 1972. This was followed by another TV Themes album - ‘The Detectives’ - in 1976 with his own orchestra which spawned a single ‘Cannon’ / ‘Streets of San Francisco’. ‘Spies and Dolls’ – by The Chaquito Big Band was released in 1972. The two 1972 albums have been reissued on CD by Vocalion. In addition to Chaquito (Big Band) he conducted The Cascading Strings - another alias was Nino Rico. He also recorded for Standard Music Library in the early 70s.
In 1976 Gregory won the Ivor Novello Award as composer of the best instrumental work for ‘Introduction & Air to a Stained Glass Window’ featured on his album ‘A Man For All Seasons’. His self-composed ‘Jaguar’ from this album was issued on the flip side of a single of his version of Charles Aznavour’s ‘’She’ on United Artists in March 1975.
Robert ‘Bob’ Sharples (1913-1987) started playing piano at the age of seven and moved on to organ at age eleven. He studied orchestration, composition and conducting with Sir Hamilton Harty until he came to London to try his luck with jazz. After establishing himself playing piano in nightclubs, Sharples used his knowledge of orchestration in the writing of arrangements for top dance bands such as Ambrose; Jack Harris; Roy Fox and Carroll Gibbons. In 1934 he joined the Freddy Platt band at the Carlton Ballroom, Rochdale along with Geoff Love, playing piano whilst Love played trombone. In 1963 Sharples conducted the London Festival Orchestra for a Phase 4 recording of the ‘1812 Overture’.
After demobbing from the Army in 1945 he resumed his musical career. In the 60s his record of the ‘1812 Overture’ and the ‘Nutcracker Suite’ was in the US charts for nearly three months following which he became the only Englishman to be commissioned by Duke Ellington to write for his orchestra. ‘Uncle Bob’ Sharples (as he became known to Hughie Green) was musical director for ‘Opportunity Knocks’ on TV and composed the themes for ‘Public Eye’ (1966-69); ‘Special Branch’ (1969); ‘Napoleon and Love’ (TV mini-series – 1974); ’Harriet’s Back in Town’ (1972); ‘The Explorers’ (1972); ‘Man Alive Report’ (1965); ‘If Britain Had Fallen’ (1972).
Another programme was ‘The Americans’ – a 10 part series for the BBC - which he had just completed prior to the concert. He also wrote the music for the silent film ‘Futtock’s End (1970); worked on ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ (1958); ‘Dave Allen at Large’ (1971); ‘The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes’ (1971-73); and ‘Minder’ (1979-80). Standout films with music composed by Sharples were: ‘Where There’s a Will’ (1955); ‘Home and Away’ (1956); Battle of the V-1’ (1958); and ‘A Prize of Arms’ (1962). Under the name Robert Earley (a musicians’ joke – he always arrived late for sessions!) he wrote the theme for the TV series ‘Man at the Top’ (1970).
Dominic Frontiere (b. 1931) was playing musical instruments at age seven before concentrating on the accordion and at age 12 played a solo at Carnegie Hall. After working with a big band in the late 40s/early 50s he moved to Los Angeles where he enrolled at the UCLA. He then became musical director at 20th Century Fox, scoring several films under the tutelage of Alfred and Lionel Newman, whilst recording jazz music. Frontiere met director and producer Leslie Stevens (scoring ‘The Outer Limits’ for TV) and later worked on Quinn Martin productions such as ‘The Invaders’; ‘The Fugitive’ and ’12 o’ Clock High’.
This led to scoring the films‘ Hang ‘Em High’ (1968) and ‘On Any Sunday’ (1971). Frontiere then became head of the music department at Paramount Pictures in the early 70s – hence his appearance at this concert - even composing a jingle for the studio’s TV department. At the same time he orchestrated popular music albums for artists like Gladys Knight and Chicago.
One of Frontiere’s most memorable themes appeared on both the UK and USA on a United Artists single in June 1968: ‘Hang ‘Em High’ backed with the love theme ‘Rachel’. In the 70s he had a major success with his music from ‘Washington: Behind Closed Doors’, which was released on album by ABC. A single was issued in the States; and here in the UK in Feb ’78. Another notable single release was ‘One Foot In Hell’ / ‘From The Terrace (Love Theme)’ released on Philips as early as 1962 - though these were not his compositions. United Artists also released the title theme from ‘Popi’ in 1969; and in January 1977 Buddah issued a single from the 1976 soundtrack album ‘Pipe Dreams’ (which he arranged) by Gladys Knight & The Pips.
Frontiere worked on numerous TV series providing scores and themes: ‘The New Breed’ and ‘Rawhide’ (1961); ‘Stoney Burke’ (1962-63); ‘The Outer Limits’ (1963); ‘Branded’ (1965); ‘The Fugitive’ (1964-66); ‘F.B.I.’ (1965-67); ‘Iron Horse’ (1966-67); ‘The Flying Nun’ (1967); ‘The Rat Patrol’ (1966-67);‘The Invaders’ (1967-68); ‘Search Control’ (1972-3); ‘Chopper One’ (1974); ‘Vegas’ (1978-81); and ‘Matt Houston’ (1982-84).
Some of his film scoring highlights were; ‘One Foot In Hell’ (1960); ‘Billie’ (1965); ‘Hang ‘Em High’ (1968); ‘Popi’ (1969); ‘Freebie & The Bean (1974); ‘Brannigan’ (1975); ‘Pipe Dreams’ (1976); ‘The Stunt Man’ (1980); ‘The Aviator’ (1985); ‘Colour of Night’ (1994); and his last film score ‘Behind the Badge (2002) - in addition to numerous TV movies.
Frontiere won the Golden Globe award for ‘The Stuntman’ in 1981 and was nominated in 1995 for ‘The Color of Night’. He also won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1971 for his TV work for ‘Swing Out Sweet Land’.
The evening’s final conductor, John Addison (1920-1998), entered the Royal College of Music aged 16 where he studied composition with Gordon Jacob; oboe with Leon Goossens; and clarinet with Frederick Thurston. After the war had ended he returned to London to teach composition at the RCM. His film scores, for which he is best known include: ‘A Taste of Honey’ (1961); ‘Smashing Time’ and ‘The Honey Pot’ (1967); ‘Sleuth’ (1972); ‘Swashbuckler’ (1976) and the TV mini series ‘Centennial’ (1978). When Alfred Hitchcock ended his association with Bernard Herrmann he turned to Addison to score ‘Torn Curtain’ in 1966.
Addison also wrote for the theatre – John Osborne’s plays ‘The Entertainer’ (1957) and ‘Luther’ (1961). He collaborated with John Cranko on a revue, ‘Cranks’ in 1956. His classical works included a trumpet concerto; a trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon - ‘Carte Blanche’; a ballet for Sadler’s Wells; a septet for wind and harp; a concert ante for oboe, clarinet, horn and orchestra; and a partite for strings. Other notable TV themes were: ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Detective’ (both 1964); ‘The Eddie Capra Mysteries’ (1978-9);
Addison won the ASCAP Film & Television Music Award six times between 1988 and 1995 for his work on ‘Murder She Wrote’(1984). He won an Oscar and Grammy in 1964 for ‘Tom Jones’ and received a further nomination in 1973 for ‘Sleuth’. He also won the BAFTA in 1978 for ‘A Bridge Too Far’; a previous nomination in 1969 for ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’; and was awarded a Primetime Emmy award in 1985 for ‘Murder She Wrote’.
Sadly, a recording of the evening’s performance is not available though LWT did screen highlights of an hour at 23.15pm on 17th December under the heading ‘Saturday Special’. It would be 1979 before another audio recording would be made featuring music from the Filmharmonic concerts!
For 1978 there would be a new orchestra – well NEW to Filmharmonic and a new compere! The main composer would be Marvin Hamlisch – flavour of the year at the time - who sadly died last year.
This feature first appeared in ‘Journal Into Melody’ August 2013.