Dateline June 2008
In February it was announced that the major British commercial broadcaster G-Cap was closing down a number of its digital radio channels including "The Jazz" and "Our Kind of Music" – the station for which RFS member Albert Killman had provided many recordings of quality popular music including, of course, Robert Farnon. It appears that the lunatics appear to have finally taken over the asylum as far as decent popular music on radio is concerned. Perhaps one day future generations will wake up to what they have lost and do something positive about it. At least the music is being preserved on CD, so it will be available if anyone has the good taste to rediscover.
We are sorry to report that Raymond Elgar Beaver, the son of composer Jack Beaver, died on 25 January 2008. Some years ago we had the pleasure of his company at one of our London meetings, when he spoke about his talented father whose music is still finding a new and appreciative audience through its reappearance on CDs.
Bev Mastin has alerted us to a music website which contains (in his words) ‘a phenomenal selection of Farnon et al’. Bev is right – you will be astonished at the number of often rare records that are offered for sale, and you will probably be surprised and delighted to discover how much some of your own treasured LPs and 45s are worth. The site is: www.gemm.com . As an example, when Jumping Bean looked recently he found a less than perfect copy of the Philips "Shalako" LP on sale at £154 [$303]!
If you can get to London, here’s an important date for your diary! Ann Adams and The Ladies Palm Court Orchestra will be playing in Kensington Gardens earlier this year – on Sunday 29 June from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. On our back page you can see pictures from last summer’s event, which was greatly enjoyed by all present, including many RFS members. If you want up-to-date information please contact our committee member Brian Reynolds.
We hope that RFS members wishing to complete their collection of Living Era CDs took heed of our warning in JIM 174, page 82. Many of these titles are now becoming hard to find, and prices are rising. It is not uncommon to find some dealers asking more than £30 for second-hand copies.
Jim Entwistle recently went into his local HMV store in the north of England and asked the assistant behind the counter for a Naxos catalogue. "What’s Naxos?" came the reply.
Last year Greg Francis formed The National Concert Orchestra of Great Britain. The orchestra is presently being registered with the ABO, and it performed its inaugural concert last December. The remit is to play ‘light popular music’, and for Greg this is probably the realisation of a lifetime’s dream – to create a new orchestra ‘specifically’ to play this music. The first of the Leroy Anderson Centennial Celebration Concerts is on Sunday 21st September 2008 at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. Greg would like this to be an annual event; he regards Leroy Anderson as a ‘master’ in the art of bringing popular light music to the fore, and he influenced many of the composers (including John Williams) who followed him. Greg says: "we can’t allow his music to go unheard and un-noticed, and it dismayed me to find that only one other orchestra (The Scottish Festival Orchestra) has planned any kind of tribute to him in this Centennial year."
Alan Wright recently published his final edition of "Nelson’s Notes", dedicated to that fine American arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle. In his last Editorial, headed "Time To Call It A Day" Alan explained that the pressures of producing regular newsletters (the last was his 51st) were starting to become too great, not helped (in Alan’s own words) "…due to those twin protagonists dodgy health and the march of time combining to take their toll." He felt that it was best to stop before standards went into serious decline. However the good news is that Nelson’s music will still be remembered through several websites dedicated to his memory. Alan is one of that elite group of people who has felt compelled to share his love of music with others by keeping alive the memory of those they admire. We wish him many happy years of enjoying Nelson’s music; since his collection numbers over 200 CDs he shouldn’t worry about being bored!
Warmest congratulations to our Australian member Philip Brady who, on 8 April, celebrated 50thyears working on Australian TV and Radio. In his long career Philip has been a newsreader, game show host and foil for the barbed comments of several comedians! He now co-hosts one of the country’s most popular radio shows, and is regarded as something of a broadcasting elder statesman – as well as a celebrity. British RFS members have had the pleasure of welcoming Philip to our London Meetings in the past, and we hope it will not be too long before we see him again. In the meantime we wish him many more years of successful broadcasting ‘down under’!