Filmharmonic – The Final Years 1978-1985
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.