Dateline March 2006
■ Mrs. Judith Walsh, the daughter of Robert Farnon and his former wife Joanne, wrote recently to tell us about her son Thomas who seems to be following in the family’s musical tradition. Tom was 14 last June, and during the summer holidays he was busking on Colchester High Street every Friday afternoon playing jazz trumpet. On one of those occasions, Thomas was playing outside the George Hotel, and he was heard by a jazz double bassist who happened to be a committee member of the Association of British Jazz Musicians (ABJM). The man was Eddie Johnson, who was visiting from Southend to enjoy an anniversary dinner with his wife. While in their hotel room, Eddie happened to hear Thomas playing on the street below. He went down to have a good listen, and contacted Bill Ashton (director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra) to recommend Thomas. So now Thomas is in his element, playing at NYJO rehearsals every Saturday morning, along with his trumpet and flugelhorn. He has joined the Musicians’ Union, using the name Tom Farnon-Walsh in honour of his famous grandfather and their shared love of the trumpet!
■ RFS member Brian Luck presented a Tribute to Robert Farnon at Hornchurch Library last November.
■ James Beyer continues to spoil the good people of Scotland’s capital city with excellent concerts performed by his Edinburgh Light Orchestra. Last November he included a tribute to Robert Farnonwith Derby Day, The Westminster Waltz and Portrait Of A Flirt. The concert programmes for these events are always a mine of information about the music and the composers. The next concert will be on 27 May, and details are available from James Beyer, 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT.
■ RFS member Mike Carey hosts a popular weekly radio show on BBC Radio Derby, at 4.00pm every Sunday afternoon. "Memorable Melodies" can now be heard throughout the world via the nternet: www.bbc.co.uk/derby. The show includes light music, big bands, great vocalists and soundtracks from Hollywood, Broadway and West End musicals. Mike would be delighted to hear from fellow RFS members and play their requests (if possible!). He was one of several RFS members featured in last year’s BBC Four documentary "Music for Everybody".
■ RFS member Alan Willmott has recently produced a new film for his Windjammer Films company. Entitled "Along The Curved And Narrow", it tells the story of the progress of the privately operated steam hauled narrow-gauge passenger carrying railways around the British Isles. Eight of the eleven railways featured are situated in Wales, and can trace their origins to mining areas and quarries. Alan tells us that a DVD release is possible later in the year, and we will naturally let you have details if this happens.
■ Towards the end of last year Ray Purslow was concerned to learn that a rumour was circulating saying that his Record Store in Birmingham was closing down. Ray assures us that this is not true - in fact he has recently signed a new three-year lease. Ray is now one of the few retailers still offering expert advice and a first-class service to regular clients.
■ Our Canadian representative Pip Wedge usually covers local concerts in his regular column, but we would like to add our own congratulations to Charles Job and his Palm Court Orchestra following a splendid concert last September/October. The guest conductor was another Canadian RFS memberMarc Fortier, who waved the baton for some of his own compositions, as well as works by the likes of Haydn Wood, Clive Richardson, Eric Coates and Leroy Anderson. Robert Farnon was represented with A La Claire Fontaine. As a local paper reviewer reported: ‘Marc Fortier certainly kept the orchestra on their toes all evening, in the process evincing some of the finest playing I’ve yet heard from them – lush and full-bodied, with every instrument making its presence felt and ensemble as tight as one could wish.’
■ The winter issue of Classic Record Collector mentioned the Leslie Jones recordings of Robert Farnon’s music in a long article. An accompanying photo showed Leslie and his son holding a copy of the Farnon LP. [Thanks to Nigel Burlinson for this information].
■ In April Taragon Records will be issuing a 2 on 1 CD containing the two extremely rare albums originally made for the Japanese market KOGA MELODIES and RYOICHI HATTORI MELODIES. The original LPs were never issued in America although KOGA MELODIES had a limited release in Europe from CBS Holland. At the same time Taragon will issue the only other Faith album not already available on CD - FOOTBALL SONGS (also known as TOUCHDOWN!) Alan Bunting has been a driving force behind these reissues.
■ Around the time that you receive this issue, a new Dutton Vocalion CD will be released featuring the music of Anthony Collins. Among many rarities on this must-have CD are Festival Royal Overture, Symphony for Strings, Louis XV Silhouettes and film scores such as Victoria the Great, Odette and The Lady with a Lamp. Naturally Collins’ most famous piece Vanity Fair is also on the list. The sessions took place at Watford last September, with John Wilson conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra (Vocalion CDLX7162). Other releases in the same batch feature a cycle of music byRichard Arnell (CDLX7161) and the Lochrian Ensemble performing the romantic String Quartets of Edgar Bainton and Hubert Clifford (CDLX7164). Details of a further selection of Easy Listening CDs for release this March were not available as we went to press, but no doubt we will have a lot of good news for you in June!
■ Gary Williams was in the Abbey Road studios from 6-9th February recording his latest CD "In the Lounge with Gary Williams".
Alan Bunting has reported that he is investigating a claim that some of his restorations of Percy Faith recordings, currently available on Living Era's DELICADO 2CD set, and in which he holds the copyright, may have appeared on another label without his or Living Era's permission.
Glenn Adams likes the music of Albert Sandler, and wonders if many of his recordings have been reissued on CDs. He is aware of two, as he explains: "I have two and you may be interested in them for other members of the society. They are both excellent, one is "Albert Sandler with The Palm Court Orchestra and his Trio" It's on the Music and Memories label No MMD 1058 PO Box 99, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3YD. The other one I have is "Albert Sandler & His Orchestra at the Park Lane Hotel, London" with Jack Byfield, piano and Reginald Kilbey, Cello. This one is on the Pearl 'Flapper' label from Pavilion Records Ltd, Sparrows Green, Wadhurst, East Sussex,England. It is excellent and has some lovely old recordings, one of my favourites being "With you" a fox-trot with a vocal solo by a lady called Marjorie Stedeford who had a really lovely voice."
The long running legal disagreement between EMI and Naxos in the USA has been settled, according to a report in the March issue of ‘The Gramophone’. The result is that a large number of Naxos CDs will no longer be available in the USA. The losers are going to be music lovers, and it is a warning to us all about what will happen if the present 50-year copyright on sound recordings in the UK is extended.