22 Nov

Haydn Wood – Orchestral Works

Written by

Festival March – Snapshots of London: Suite – Cities of Romance – Egypta-An Egyptian Suite – Three Famous Cinema Stars – Royal Castles Suite – Manx Countryside Sketches
BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA / GAVIN SUTHERLAND
Produced in association with BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Concert Orchestra
Playing time: 77:02
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7357

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07 Nov

A Song for Christmas

Written by

Mantovani and his Orchestra
Eloquence 4840268

Your reviewer was surprised and delighted to find this release listed by the enterprising Australian classical label. It contains the two best albums of Christmas music ever recorded by a non-American light orchestra.

Read the review here...

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03 Nov

North by Northwest

Written by

(Bernard Herrmann)
Main Title analysed by Robert Walton

One of the most memorable tension-ridden moments in cinema history has got to be the nail-biting sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when Cary Grant was chased by a crop-dusting aeroplane on prairie wasteland. There was no music during this segment and apart from sudden spurts of sound from the aeroplane, silence reigned. If you’ve never seen the film I urge you to...

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19 Oct

Renaud Capuçon : Cinema

Written by

Renaud Capuçon (violin) ● Brussels Philharmonic,
Stėphane Denève
Erato 190295633936 (76:17)

Having already established that nowadays new recordings of ’our kind of music’ are almost as rare as the proverbial hens’ teeth, it makes this album all the more welcome.

Read the review here...

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26 Sep

Ciao, Ciao Bambina (Modugno)

Written by

Percy Faith arrangement analysed
by Robert Walton

Back in 1963 somewhere in the Bay of Biscay, I was the pianist on the Greek liner Lakonia with a quartet consisting of Norman Coker (leader and drummer), David Williams (double bass) and Mike Elliott (tenor saxophone). He was constantly extolling the virtues of the great jazz tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins (which he pronounced “Coil-marn Harkins”).

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13 Sep

The MGM Sound & Hollywood Melodies

Written by

The Conrad Salinger Orchestra
Georgie Stoll conducts the MGM Studio Orchestra
Sepia 1333 (73:32)

Congratulations to Sepia’s Richard Tay for giving us a rarity these days: a release very much “our kind of music’’, which – up to its sad demise almost five years ago – would have been one of many similar releases reviewed in the Robert Farnon Society’s printed Journal Into Melody.

Read the review here...

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02 Sep

Bernstein - Broadway to Hollywood

Written by

Candide – Overture On The Waterfront – Symphonic Suite Fancy Free – complete ballet
West Side Story – Symphonic Dances On The Town –Two Dance Episodes.
Hanover Philharmonie – conductor Iain Sutherland.

SOMM ARIADNE 5002

Possessed of a prodigious talent, Leonard Bernstein arguably became one of the most significant – and indeed famous – American musical figures of the mid/late twentieth century...

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01 Sep

Joly Braga Santos

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Joly Braga Santos - Orchestral MusicOrchestral Music Naxos 8.573903 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Alvaro Cassuto. Symphonic Overtures 1 & 2; Pastoral; Romance; Symphonic Prelude; Intermezzo; Viver ou Morrer Prelude; Piano Concerto. Imagine a delicious cross between...

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01 Sep

British Light Music at the British Home

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On Sunday 24th February 2019 the Mark FitzGerald Orchestra is holding its annual fundraising concert in aid of the British Home.

Venue:
Concert Hall,
The British Home,
Crown Lane
London SW16 3JB

Time: 3.00pm

Tickets: £7.00 [Concessions £5.00] to include tea and coffee.

Booking: 020-8670 8261 or www.britishhome.org.uk Seating is limited- early booking is advised.

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23 Aug

On Green Dolphin Street

Written by

(Bronislau Kaper)
Analysed by Robert Walton

It’s hard to believe that a film tune as original as On Green Dolphin Street would remain virtually unknown for over ten years.

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21 Aug

Bennett: Orchestral Works, Vol.2

Written by

Howard Mcgill (saxophone)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra ● John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5212 (69:25)

Read the review here...

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20 Aug

My Waltz for You

Written by

(Sidney Torch)
Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

It may not have occurred to you, but Sidney Torch and Nelson Riddle have something in common.

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28 Jul

American composer/conductor Patrick Williams passes away

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As he was internationally known (mostly for TV Themes and big band jazz arrangements), members of RFS might like to know that American composer/conductor Patrick Williams has passed away.

We refer to the Variety article here.

Written by

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19 Jul

Dardanella

Written by

(Felix Barnard and Johnny S Black (music)
Ben Selvin and his Novelty Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

Over the years I have regularly mentioned one of the most significant moments of popular instrumental history in the 20th century, that of David Rose’s million selling Holiday for Strings of 1944. Its influence on light music is still being felt right up to the present day...

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14 Jul

Hit and Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven

Written by

Barry Seven Book cover idea

In a few months time, our book "Hit and Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven" will be published. Thoroughly and painstakingly researched over a number of years, it will feature contributions from several ex-members of the band and from friends and relatives of John Barry.

Comprising of around 350 pages, it will also be packed with an array of rare photos of the band, and the singers they often supported, as well as some unique images of memorabilia and documentation from that era; some never previously published, many more seldom seen.

Even if you are not necessarily a devotee of The John Barry Seven per se, the book offers a fascinating historical insight into the British music scene of the period and, more importantly, provides an essential read for anybody remotely interested in discovering more about John Barry's formative career.

It will be of great assistance to the authors if you would indicate an interest in purchasing a copy of the book *now*, without obligation. We will then be able to notify you as soon as the book is available with details of cost and how to order and pay.

Just send us an email message and we will be in touch in due course. Visit our dedicated web page here!

Obviously your personal details will be kept secure and not shared with anybody else.

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26 Jun

Fanfares

Written by

Onyx Brass with guest players ● Cond. by John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5221 (59.03)

This is a somewhat left-field release but recommendable nevertheless...

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23 Jun

Dancer at the Fair

Written by

(John Fortis)
Charles Shadwell and his Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

As well as developing and refining light orchestral music, Robert Farnon brought the genre to a whole new level. However we mustn’t forget it was actually David Rose who pioneered a totally original form of light music that even now in the 21st century remains unchanged and relevant. (It’s a similar situation to the standardization of the big band style in the 1950s that is still part of our culture)...

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18 Jun

Some Further Notes on Robert Farnon's "Seventh Heaven"

Written by

by William Zucker

I have read Bob Walton's article on this piece, and am induced to provide further notes and impressions on it, as I have long considered it one of Robert Farnon's best selections, judging from my own vantage point of serious music, as I feel that it exhibits a strong feeling of direction and purpose, most particularly in the latter portion of the piece...

Read Mr. Zucker's article here...

Mr Walton's article "Sevent Heaven" can be found here...

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11 Jun

Seventh Heaven

Written by

(Robert Farnon)
Analysed by Robert Walton

The 1940s and 1950s were unquestionably the Golden Era of Light Music. The 1940s was especially an exciting time for the genre because the greatest mood music orchestra of all time was conceived by Chappells of London. This was in response to an unprecedented demand for specialized production music for use on radio, television, films and particularly for cinema newsreels.....The Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra reigned supreme.

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10 Jun

Stephen Hough's Dream Album

Written by

Hyperion CDA68176 (80:03)

Cheshire-born Stephen Hough is high in the crowded international pantheon of outstanding concert pianists. His latest album is a real winner: - no fewer than 27 tracks of personal favourites, including his own transcriptions and variations on well-known classics...

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31 May

Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra May Concert 2018

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Another twelve months have sped by, and it was time for the 2018 May Bank Holiday concert performed by the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra...

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21 May

Laramie

Written by

(Cyril Mockridge)
Al Caiola’s Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

Of all movie music there’s nothing so instantly recognizable as a western theme. This is because many of the best stories of the Wild West captured the ultimate desire and desperation of the human spirit to journey into the unknown in search of a better life. This was the dream of millions of Americans.

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20 May

Report on the spring gathering of the London Light Music Meetings Group on Sunday 6th May 2018

Written by

It was a sunny and unseasonably warm day at the Lancaster Hall Hotel, as Light Music enthusiasts arrived for another feast of melodic music - now almost unobtainable on the BBC!

After opening - appropriately - with George Melachrino's Spring Morning, Tony Clayden welcomed the multitude, and read out a number of apologies for absence for those who were either unwell, or whose commitments during this Bank Holiday weekend rendered attendance impossible.

Read the report here...

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13 May

Piccadilly Playboy

Written by

(George Elliott)
Analysed by Robert Walton

In the 1970s when British commercial radio became legal, George Elliott was Head of Productions at LBC (the London Broadcasting Company off Fleet Street). We first met in that capacity when I was a voice over artist. He was also a commentator but I had no idea he was a composer as well. Clearly a man of many talents.

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28 Apr

Rainbow’s End

Written by

(Leon Pober)
Lou Busch’s version analysed by Robert Walton

The hit parade has never exactly been littered with light orchestral pieces, but from time to time one appeared amongst a sea of vocal numbers. The most original and imitated in the 20th century was David Rose’s Holiday for Strings, his first disc to sell a million. Mantovani’s Charmaine, Leroy Anderson’s Syncopated Clock and Frank Chacksfield’s Limelight were three others to make the charts. Sometimes though, the B sides of million sellers deserved to be heard too...

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20 Apr

Percy Grainger - Wind Band Classics 2

Written by

Naxos 8.573680  Royal Norwegian Navy Band conducted by Bjarte Engeset.

Brief review here...

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18 Apr

Classic Movie Thrillers

Written by

This latest ‘thriller’ from The Halle – "Classic Movie Thrillers" -part of the Nottingham Classics concert series - was faultless as was the informative compeering from a very knowledgeable Petroc Trelawny who presents BBC Radio 3’s ‘Breakfast’.

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06 Apr

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

Written by

(Burke; Van Heusen)
Nelson Riddle’s arrangement analysed by Robert Walton

A Debussyian pug-nosed dream starts straight in with a short simmering shimmering vision of a country-dance. Then the strings play a magnificent symphonic-like surge in the whole-tone scale that completely overwhelms me.

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06 Apr

Light Music Matters

Written by

A new 12-part David Mellor-hosted series begins on Saturday 7th April. It is broadcast at 9 p.m. every Saturday evening.

Here's a link to the story:

http://www.classicfm.com/radio/shows-presenters/light-music-masters/

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26 Mar

With a Song in My Heart

Written by

(Rodgers, Hart)
Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

As a child I didn’t really take much notice of André Kostelanetz apart from the name. It was years later I discovered his orchestra at a New Zealand friend’s holiday cottage near Auckland.

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18 Mar

Look For A Star

Written by

(Tony Hatch)
Analysed by Robert Walton

I first heard Look For A Star in 1964 when I was a disc jockey (Bob Lee) on Radio Caroline...

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17 Mar

Journey to Mozart

Written by

Daniel Hope (violin) : Zurich Chamber Orchestra
DG 4798376 (69:21)

No apologies for recommending another Mozart release!

This one is an imaginative album from the personable Durban born (1973) English-Irish violinist who is also musical director of the first-rate orchestra, and recently signed a new contract taking him to 2022.

Read the review here...

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01 Mar

Benny Anderssohn ● Piano

Written by

Deutsche Grammophon 479 8143

 

I am quite an ABBA fan but had no idea of how fine a pianist Benny Anderssohn is. This is a beautiful 21-track album of songs he wrote mainly with his lyricist Bjőrn Ulvaeus but also solo.

Read the review here...

 

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17 Feb

The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Music of George Martin

Written by

The Berlin Music Ensemble conducted by Craig Leon
Atlas Réalisations ARCD008 (63.00)

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16 Feb

Mozart - Piano Concertos 25 & 27 - Review

Written by

MOZART Piano Concertos 25 & 27
Piotr Anderszewski, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Warner Classic 9029572422

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16 Feb

Serenade and Divertimentos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 - Review

Written by

LEO WEINER
Chandos CHAN 10959  
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Neeme Jarvi.

Serenade and Divertimentos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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16 Feb

Symphony No. 3; Sinfonietta; Serenade and Divertimento - review

Written by

DAG WIREN
Chandos CHSA 5194  
Iceland National Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Rumon Gamba.

Symphony No. 3; Sinfonietta; Serenade and Divertimento.

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12 Feb

Once Upon A Dream

Written by

(Bruce Campbell)
Analysed by Robert Walton

I can’t believe I have only analysed one Campbell composition. That was Cloudland for the 186th edition of JIM. Disgraceful! So it’s high time I rectified the situation and wrote another one. There’s no doubt Robert Farnon’s music had a huge influence on Campbell’s creations but at the same time over the years Campbell developed an instantly recognizable style. Like Farnon, he inherited the elements of good taste, mainstream modernity and above all quality.

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(Roemheld; Parish)
Analysed by Robert Walton

There are three songs I know with the English female name Ruby, popular from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th inspired by the gemstone. The name seems to be having a revival in Ireland at the moment.

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15 Jan

Radio 2 axes The Organist Entertains and Listen to the Band after 50 years

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Radio 2 has axed its long-running shows playing organ and brass band music and given new slots to Jo Whiley and Cerys Matthews in a generational shift at Britain’s most listened-to station. The Organist Entertains, which has been on the network for 50 years, is being "rested" with veteran presenter Nigel Ogden retiring. Theatre organist Ogden, 63, has introduced recordings and live broadcasts of pipe and electronic organs, since 1980.

Nigel says: "I'd like to thank my ever loyal audience for their support and messages during the 38 years I've hosted The Organist Entertains. I've loved hearing from them and send them my very best wishes for the future. I’d also like to thank Radio 2 for giving me the opportunity to play the music I love each week - it has been a huge privilege."

Radio 2 has also axed Listen to the Band, its weekly showcase for brass band and military music, presented by 78 year-old conductor Frank Renton. The programme has existed in various forms on the BBC since the Second World War.

The yearly Young Brass Award will remain as a Friday Night Is Music Night special in April; whilst brass and organ music will be included in Friday Night is Music Nightweekly programmes throughout the year. Brass will continue to be heavily featured on a weekly basis in Clare Teal’s Sunday night show, which celebrates big band music.

Frank says: "My 23 years presenting Listen To The Band have been hugely enjoyable, especially playing so much of the music that I love. It has also been an absolute pleasure being part of the Radio 2 family, and I want to thank all those who have listened or contributed to the programme over the years. Of course the next thing on the agenda is the continued celebration of the talent of young British brass players when Ken Bruce and I present the final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award in April."

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10 Jan

Grieg: Piano Concert ● ‘Peer Gynt’

Written by

Lise Davidsen, Ann-Helen Moen, Victoria Nava (sopranos), Johannes Weisser (baritone), Håkon Høgerno (Hardanger fiddle). Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Choirs, cond. Edward Gardner Chandos CHSA 5190 (83’12)

This is the real deal.

Read the review here...

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10 Jan

Percy Grainger -- Complete Music for Wind Band 1

Written by

Royal Norwegian Navy Band
conducted by Bjarte Engeset.
Naxos 8.573679

Read the review here...

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17 Dec

Cab Rank (van der Linden)

Written by

Symphonia Orchestra conducted by Ludo Philipp

For some reason the music of Dolf van der Linden has largely passed me by, probably for the simple fact there wasn’t a lot of it about in my early years in New Zealand. I had to wait to come to England to discover it. Scottish comedian James Finlayson in Laurel and Hardy films unknowingly gave van der Linden a free plug every time his expression of surprise proclaimed “Dolf!”

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05 Dec

Cocktails for Two

Written by

(Johnston, Coslow)
Robert Farnon’s arrangement analysed by Robert Walton

The period of the early 1950s when Decca recorded a series of LPs by Robert Farnon’s Orchestra playing some of the top standards of the “Great American Songbook” is now considered more than ever in the 21st century a genuine Golden Era of arranging.

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30 Nov

André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra Amore

Written by

The charismatic Dutchman and his beloved orchestra founded 30 years ago are nowadays the nearest we get to new recordings of “our kind of music”...

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25 Nov

Bramwell Tovey new Principal Conductor BBC Concert Orchestra

Written by

The BBC Concert Orchestra has just appointed Bramwell Tovey as its new Principal Conductor.

This is very encouraging news as he has an established reputation for his performances of Gilbert & Sullivan.

His Friday Night Is Music Night debut next week (already "in the can") includes G & S songs plus selections from the works of Franz Lehar and Richard Heuberger, sung by the excellent Ailish Tynan and Simon Betteris.

The show is entitled "Winter Wonderland" so also takes in Rimsky Korsakov's "The Snow Maiden", Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker", Waldteufel's "Skaters Waltz" and Maurice Jarre's "Doctor Zhivago". Should be a delightful programme, in the old FNIMN style, and presented by Ken Bruce.

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21 Nov

In Dulce Jubilo - London Brass

Written by

Warner Classics 9029577021 (57.42)

Reviewed by Peter Burt

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21 Nov

Christmas With The King's Singers

Written by

Warner Classics 9029576809 (58:13)

Reviewed by Peter Burt

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15 Nov

Tony Clayden receives Good Music Certificate from Evergreen Magazine

Written by

Evergreen Magazine has just awarded its Good Music Certificate to the Co-Ordinator of the London Light Music Meetings Group, Tony Clayden.

The first joint recipients of this honour were the late David Ades and Alan Bunting, who did so much to keep Light Music alive.

Sadly, both men died relatively soon afterwards, and Alan’s family were left with a huge collection of recorded material, including CDs and on vinyl.

Alan had painstakingly digitally remastered much of the latter over a number of years for reissue on several different labels, including the highly–acclaimed Guild series.

Not only did Londoner Tony ‘gallop to the rescue’ by purchasing and retrieving them all from Alan’s home in Scotland, but he had already established the LLMMG – which had come into being after the Robert Farnon Society, led for many years by David Ades – ceased operations at the end of 2013.

The new group, which holds meetings twice-yearly in Central London, has recently held its eighth event. With its links to a number of other music websites and organisations, including the Light Music Society, it continues to promote the genre and helps to avoid the potential disappearance of probably thousands of once–familiar tunes.

A semi-retired recording and sound engineer, Tony is one of a small band of dedicated enthusiasts who recognise the value and worth of Light Music and he has amassed many musical contacts and friends during a long, interesting and varied career.

Tony, we thank you for filling a huge musical void and wish you well, as you continue to make historic and tuneful melodies available to the general public.

Angeline Wilcox, Editor
EVERGREEN MAGAZINE
WINTER EDITION
NOVEMBER 2017

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08 Nov

Silver Voice: Opera Arias Played by Flute and Orchestra

Written by

By Peter Burt
Katherine Bryan; Orchestra of Opera North / Bramwell Tovey
Chandos 5211 (65:07)

Katherine Bryan was educated at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester and became principal flute of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2003, a position to which she was appointed at the age of 21.

Read the review here...

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06 Nov

Cornish Rhapsody

Written by

(Hubert Bath)
Analysed by Robert Walton

In the 1940s there was an outpouring of potted pieces for piano and orchestra written specifically for British films. These include The Dream of Olwen (Charles Williams) from “While I Live”, The Legend of the Glass Mountain (Nino Rota) from “The Glass Mountain” and just for a change the real Rachmaninov for “Brief Encounter” borrowed from the Second Piano Concerto. It was Steve Race who cleverly coined the phrase “the Denham Concertos” after the film studio that often featured such works on their soundtracks.

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23 Oct

Report on the Autumn Event of the London Light Music Meetings Group - October 8th 2017

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The Autumn Event of the London Light Music Meetings Group - October 8th 2017
The Autumn Event of the London Light Music Meetings Group - October 8th 2017

Tony Clayden welcomed us once again to the Lancaster Hall Hotel and opened the programme with Robert Farnon's Country Boy featuring vocalist Sheila Southern, with Bob conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This was particularly appropriate, as Sheila was with us in the audience.

Read the article here...

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12 Oct

Flowing Stream

Written by

(Joyce Cochrane)
Analysed by Robert Walton

For me the name Joyce Cochrane has always been synonymous with just one composition, her beautiful Honey Child immortalized in Robert Farnon’s arrangement for the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. So it was a nice surprise to come upon one that almost got away. Flowing Stream is included in the Golden Age of Light Music series in “A First A-Z of Light Music”. (Guild GLCD 5169).

Read the article here...

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12 Oct

Classic FM celebrates 60 Years of the Light Music Society - on 12th October

Written by

 

Classic FM is celebrating 60 Years of the Light Music Society, of which Robert Farnon was such a committed member

Thursday 12th October on Classic FM at 8.00pm Catherine Bott will present a celebration of the Light Music Society's work and the music that it preserves.

Tonight, Catherine Bott champions this important body by featuring two hours of music by composers who have had connections with the Society and helped make it grow into the organisation it is today.

http://www.classicfm.com/…/full-works-conce…/upcoming-shows/…/full-works-conce…/upcoming-shows/

Ron Goodwin
633 Squadron – Main Theme

Eric Coates
Three Elizabeths SuiteA

rthur Bliss
Things to Come – March

Cecil Armstrong Gibbs
DuskErnest Tomlinson
Suite of English Folk Dances

Albert Ketelbey
Bells Across The MeadowHaydn Wood
London Landmarks

Billy Mayerl
Marigold

Edward Elgar
Chanson de Nuit Opus 15 No.1

Gustav Holst
A Moorside Suite

Percy Grainger
Handel in the Strand

Emile Waldteufel
Les Patineurs

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29 Sep

Light Music Matters - David Mellor talk

Written by

On Monday November 6th, the  broadcaster and vice-president of Putney Music – David Mellor – will deliver a talk entitled:

'LIGHT MUSIC MATTERS'

He will explain why the music of Eric Coates, Leroy Anderson and many others merits an audience today.

The venue is the Dryburgh Hall, Putney Leisure Centre – corner of Dryburgh Road and Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 1BL.

Admission is free to members of Putney Music, guests will be charged £8.00 on the night.

For further details, call 07900 491 470.

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21 Sep

Royal Air Force 100th Anniversary

Written by

Various Performers
Chandos 10973(2) x

For those who love band music of the military variety this is a fine buy, as there are two albums – each of around 60 minutes duration – for about the price of one.

Read the review here...

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20 Sep

Going for a Ride

Written by

(Torch)

Analysed by Robert Walton

In the early 1950s when most people were requesting the top pop hits of the day, I was unashamedly asking for light orchestral numbers on the “Listeners’ Request Session” at our local radio station, 1ZB Auckland. I always signed my name “Blue Eyes of Remuera”. Anyhow, the very first record I requested was Going for a Ride by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra.

Read the article here...

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11 Sep

The Story of The Light

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A series of two programmes entitled 'The Story of The Light' are to be aired on Mondays 18th and 25th September at 10pm on BBC Radio 2 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of 'The BBC Light Programme'. Former JIM correspondent Brian Reynolds will be participating in the second of these programmes talking about 'Music While You Work' and light music programmes in general with comparisons to today's radio.

BBC link to info about the programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/38/the-story-of-the-light

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05 Sep

Moonglow/Theme from “Picnic”

Written by

(George W. Duning)
Analysed by Robert Walton

One of the most romantic scenes in cinematic history has just got to be the moment William Holden sensuously dances with Kim Novak in the 1955 film “Picnic’. From a laid-back piano/guitar quartet playing Will Hudson’s 1934 standard Moonglow, emerges George Duning’s glorious melody of the theme song from “Picnic”. This is one of the most effective musical juxtapositions of all time. The haunting orchestration was by Arthur Morton.

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30 Aug

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Symphony no.5, The Hebrides

Written by

MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto, Symphony no.5, The Hebrides
Isabelle Faust ● Freiburger Barockorchester cond. Pablo Heras-Casado
Harmonia mundi HMM902325 (61:37)

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-47) was a terrifically talented Hamburg-born composer

Read the review here...

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25 Aug

The Bad and the Beautiful

Written by

(Raksin)
Analysed by Robert Walton

Robert Farnon was one of the first light orchestral composers to come up with a most original idea. He found that a complicated beginning of a piece (almost atonal) not only provided a sense of risk-taking like a high wire act, but kept the listener guessing as to where it would finally alight in a normal tonal context. His Manhattan Playboy has all the elements of such a format in which the opening bars of the actual tune are a sort of boppish free fall before landing in the safety net of the home chord. The effect of all this was mind-blowing...

Read the article here...

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17 Aug

40th Anniversary London Meeting and Banquet,1996

Written by

The printed programme for the 40th Anniversary London Meeting and Banquet in 1996.

Find it here...

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30 Nov

Polka Dot

Written by

(Eric Cook)
Analysed by Robert Walton

Whenever serious light music is discussed, the conversation inevitably turns to the finest orchestra in the genre, the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. And it’s not just the standard of playing - that goes without saying.

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04 Aug

E J Moeran - In the Mountain Country Rhapsodies Overture for a Masque

Written by

E J MOERAN
In the Mountain Country Rhapsodies Overture for a Masque
Benjamin Frith, Piano; Ulster Orchestra ● JoAnn Falletta
Naxos 8.573106 (57:06)

E J Moeran … who he? 

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22 Jul

Robert Farnon's 100th birthday and updated 2005 JAZZ.FM tribute programme

Written by

We are grateful to Pip Wedge (former RFS Canadian Rep and Journal Into Melody columnist) for the following information: Robert Farnon lovers might like to know that Glen Woodcock, who has been broadcasting big band programmes on JAZZ.FM in Toronto for forty years, is updating a tribute programme he did in 2005 when Robert Farnon died, for broadcast this Sunday (23rd July) to mark what would have been Bob's 100th birthday on Monday (24th).
 
The programme can be heard via the Internet on Sunday evening at www.jazz.fm, 5:00pm – 10:00 pm Toronto time.  Unfortunately that puts it from 10:00 pm to 03:00 am UK time, but maybe some people would like to stay up to hear an hour or so, while others might be able to record it. Sorry we couldn't let you know sooner, but Glen only just sent an email to give a heads-up.

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23 Jul

Robert Farnon’s 100th birthday

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CENTENARY CELEBRATION
Robert Farnon’s 100th birthday
By Robert Walton

July 24th 2017 is exactly 100 years since Toronto-born Robert Farnon first saw the light of day.

Read the article here...

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14 Jul

My Object All Sublime

Written by

(Gilbert; Sullivan)
Robert Farnon & His Orchestra
Analysed by Robert Walton

There can’t be many arrangements that have such a variety of musical nuts and bolts - Canadian Caravan, “James Bond”, “Maytime in Mayfair”, Count Basie, Fred Astaire and Gilbert and Sullivan...

Read the article here...

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28 Jun

Elgar and His Peers, The Art of the Military Band

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ELGAR AND HIS PEERS, The Art of the Military Band SOMM CD0170 London Symphonic Concert Band conducted by Tom Higgins and the Joyful Company of Singers directed by Peter Broadbent...

Reads the review here.

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20 Jun

Raymond Lefèvre - Holiday Symphonies & Tomorrow’s…Symphonies du Futur

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RAYMOND LEFEVRE & HIS ORCHESTRA
Holiday Symphonies & Tomorrow’s…Symphonies du Futur
Vocalion CDLK 4592 (77:15)

Raymond Lefèvre (1929-2008) was one of the triumvirate of French easy listening orchestra leaders/arrangers/composers – the others being Paul Mauriat and Franck Pourcel – who sold millions of albums around the world in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Read the review here...

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15 Jun

International tribute to Paul Mauriat (about new recordings from Paris)

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Grand Orchestra of Jean Jacques Justafre (France) had its second birth in America thanks to the efforts of USA producers Alexander Goldstein and Boris Lontsikh. The producers reached out to Grand Orchestra of Jean Jacques Justafre (GOJJJ) leader, one of the last conductors of the legendary Grand Orchestra de Paul Mauriat. GOJJJ is welcome in many countries primarily for its efforts to preserve the style, and most importantly, the sound of Paul Mauriat's orchestra.

The producers gave GOJJJ a very different challenge. They carefully selected music material and style for the new arrangements, so that on the one hand, it would be recognizable to a wide circle of music fans, and on the other, introduce a new big symphonic orchestra sound of the 21st century...

Read more details about brand new CD album:
http://paulmauriat.grandorchestras.ru

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11 Jun

Hubert Clifford The Cowes Suite and other works

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Vocalion CDLX 7338 BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp.

The Cowes Suite (Cowes Roads, Buccaneer, Carnival & Fireworks, Royal Visitor); Dargo (A Mountain Rhapsody); Irish Comedy Overture; Pageant of Youth; Left of the Line; Victorian Polka; Hunted (1952 film suite); Voyage at Dusk (Fantasy).

Read the review here...

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11 Jun

Cecil Armstrong Gibbs Orchestral Works

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Vocalion CDLX 7338 BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp.

Crossings (Suite for Orchestra); Enchanted Wood; A Vision of Night (Symphonic Poem); Dusk (Waltz from the Fancy Dress Suite); Suite in A for Violin and Orchestra; The Cat and the Wedding Cake; Four Orchestral Dances.

Read the review here...

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31 May

Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra Concert – May 29th 2017

Written by

By  Tony Clayden

An extensively re-furbished Lauderdale House, in North London’s Highgate Village, was the venue for the annual Spring Concert given by the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra. This was their sixteenth consecutive Bank Holiday event, which was well supported by many faithful ‘regulars’ – including several from the London Light Music Meetings Group – and in addition, a number of ‘first timers’...

Read the article here...

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19 May

Report on the Spring Event of the London Light Music Meetings Group - May 7th 2017

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About sixty people had made the journey to the Lancaster Hall Hotel in London to enjoy our bi-annual feast of light music.

Tony Clayden welcomed us to the meeting, ...

Read the article here...

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19 May

George Melachrino

Written by

By Robert Walton

There was a school of thought that believed popular musicians with foreign sounding names had a commercial advantage over common or garden Anglo Saxon ones. Catchy names like Mantovani or Kostelanetz certainly had a ring to them but just because they looked or sounded more distinguished than say the Chacksfields or the Farnons of this world weren’t necessarily a guarantee of classier music. After all, most English born music directors had quite ordinary names, ...

Read the article here...

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13 May

Elgar Complete Works for Wind Quintet

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ELGAR Complete Works for Wind Quintet, Chandos CHAN 241-33 Athena Ensemble. Don’t be put off by the title because this is one of the most charming and delightful double CDs you will ever encounter...

Edmund Whitehouse

Read the review here...

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08 May

Robert Farnon centenary

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24th July 2017 is the centenary of Robert Farnon's birth. Robert sadly died in 2005, but in his memory we are reproducing several tributes originally published in a Journal into Melody (JIM) special in May of that year.

http://robertfarnonsociety.org.uk/index.php/robert-farnon/centenary

Or through the Menu item "Robert Farnon" above to access the individual articles.

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06 May

Jacques Ibert

Written by

Chandos CHSA 5168

Swiss Romande Orchestra conducted by Neeme Jarvi...

Read the review here...

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02 May

Strauss in St Petersburg

Written by

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi
Chandos CHAN 10937 (82:49)

This is a double-anniversary disc, offering a collection of mostly the composer’s lesser known works to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the orchestra as well as the 80th birthday of its principal conductor, Neeme Järvi, who is head of a musical dynasty and no stranger to these reviews.

Read review here...

 

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30 Apr

Obituary - Gordon Langford (1930 – 2017)

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Born in Edgware, Middlesex, as Gordon Maris Colman, he graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where his piano teacher, Moran Demuth, suggested that he write under a pseudonym; he therefore adopted the professional name of Gordon Colman Langford.

He became a highly respected composer of light orchestral music and was famous within the Brass Band world for his compositions and arrangements for that genre. His experience as a trombonist must have enormously assisted him in this respect. He wrote a Trombone Concerto for Don Lusher, and a Sinfonietta for Brass Band, which became the signature tune for the BBC tv series Best of Brass. He acted as an adjudicator for a number of major brass band events.

Gordon Langford’s compositions were regularly featured to accompany BBC Television ‘Test Card’ transmissions, whilst he also arranged many of the songs performed by the Kings Singers. In 1971, he won an Ivor Novello award for his ‘March from the Colour Suite’. 

As a performer, he often appeared on BBC Radio broadcasts, sometimes with his own trio / quartet on Morning Music and Breakfast Special. He was the regular pianist with Lew Stone and his band, Eddie Strevens and his quartet and Ken Beaumont and his sextet. He played for Lou Whiteson and his Southern Serenaders and undertook most of the arrangements for that ensemble from the 60s onwards. In 1983, Gordon Langford directed his own sextet in the ‘revival’ of Music While You Work.

He was a long-standing member of the Light Music Society, attending many of their monthly London meetings during the 60s.

I had the good fortune to meet Gordon twice. The first time was sometime in the late 60s / early 70s, when at a private party held at a house in North London, he, along with a couple of friends, formed animpromptu trio and had all the guests enthralled with his piano playing. As a jazz performer, he was very much in the Dudley Moore mould, and was absolutely brilliant at ‘quoting’, i.e weaving fragments of totally different tunes into the piece upon which he was doing the jazz improvisations.

The second occasion was at a luncheon of the ‘Coda Club’, when Bob Farnon was honoured with an award for his services to music and a number of members of Robert Farnon Society were invited along to cheer-on the ‘Guv’nor’ . I found myself sitting next to Gordon and reminded him of that party all those years previously. He was affable, courteous, a real gentleman and very modest about his own achievements. It was a real pleasure to have re- made his acquaintance.

He had by then moved from London to East Devon, where he very much enjoyed being involved with the preserved Seaton Tramway. During the last few years, failing health precluded his hitherto  regular forays back to the capital. In 2011, Gordon Langford was nominated for a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM) by the Governing Body of the Academy.

© Tony Clayden
April 2017

 

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25 Apr

Always Busy

Written by

(Tony Tamburello)
Analysed by Robert Walton

When Tony Tamburello died in 1992 at the age of 72, a brief obituary in the New York Times described him as a jazz pianist and vocal coach of the famous. His pupils included Tony Bennett (whom he once managed), Judy Garland, Juliet Prowse, Jerry Vale and Tommy Leonetti. The story goes he had a van permanently parked in a New York street for the purpose of teaching. The only recorded evidence I have that he played piano, was on a 10” LP of selections from Oklahoma and South Pacific by the Tony Burrello Trio, spelt you’ll notice with two r’s. When questioned about the identity of the pianist he immediately denied it. But his real love was composing, especially of the lighter kind but like songwriters Vivian Ellis and Jack Stachey who often strayed into the world of light music he couldn’t orchestrate, so it was necessary to seek the services of an arranger.

Read the article here...

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24 Apr

Gordon Langford dies aged 86

Written by

Gordon Langford, who has died aged 86, was an English composer, arranger and performer. He is well known for his brass band compositions and arrangements. He was also a composer of orchestral music, winning an Ivor Novello award for best light music composition for his March from the Colour Suite in 1971.

Langford's career had a notable relationship with the BBC. Some of his compositions and arrangements were used as Test Card music in the 1960s and '70s, with such titles as Hebridean Hoedown, The Lark in the Clear Air and Royal Daffodil being remembered by Test Card aficionados. He also wrote and arranged music for Friday Night is Music Night, as well as numerous other BBC programmes.

A fuller obituary will appear on this website in due course.

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23 Apr

Heinz Herschmann passed away in 2014

Written by

It has only  just come to my attention that the composer and pianist  Heinz Herschmann sadly passed away, aged ninety, in September 2014.

Heinz had been a regular attendee at meetings of the Robert Farnon Society for many years, and signified his support for the London Light Music Meetings Group when the latter was formed earlier that year.

Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924, he fled from the Nazis just before WW2, arriving in England on the Kindertransport. I am preparing a full tribute to Heinz which will appear on the website in due course.

Tony Clayden

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22 Apr

Dance of the Blue Marionettes

Written by

(Leslie Clair)
Analysed by Robert Walton

After constantly analysing a great deal of light music in all its diverse forms, it’s always nice to return to the comfort zone of the legendary Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, rummaging through its archives for more marvels I may have missed.

Read the article here...

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11 Apr

Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi

Written by

RICCARDO CHAILLY / FILARMONICA DELLA SCALA
Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi

Decca 483 1148

The 64-year-old Milanese maestro – I once had the pleasure of seeing him conduct live – has been a Decca recording artist for almost 40 years and achieved over three million album sales, including much acclaimed box sets of Brahms and Beethoven symphonies*.

Read the review here...

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10 Apr

Differing Versions of the Same Set Light Music Selections - An Update

Written by

Just a little over two years ago, I wrote an article for the RFS site with the title "Differing Versions of the Same Set  Light Music Selections."

Over this time period, I have obtained information that would necessitate my adding additional material, as well as correcting some erroneous assumptions that I had made in the absence of such information.

Read the entire article here...

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07 Apr

A Sousa Celebration

Written by

Written by Peter Burt.

Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Kristjan Järvi
Chandos CHSA 5182 (68’26”)

If, like me, the name John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) conjures up thoughts of marches played by military or brass bands, this new release will be something of an ear-opener...

Read the review here...

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29 Mar

Concert review - The Best of John Barry: From Bond to Born Free

Written by

De Montfort Hall, Leicester – Friday 24th March 2017
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Presenter: Henry Kelly

It had been the best part of a year since I had booked my tickets for this event – one of two concerts in the ‘Philharmonia at the Movies’ series with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Dodd.

Read the review here...

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29 Mar

LLMG, May 7, 2017 - Meeting Upate

Written by

 llmmg1

Lancaster Gate underground station is closed until July while they replace the lifts.

Many of our attendees use the station to get to our meetings.

LLMMG MAY 2017 Meeting  (complete PDF file)

Our next Spring meeting will take place on Sunday 7th May 2017
and our special guest will be Sigmund Groven,
world famous virtuoso Norwegian harmonica player.

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09 Mar

A Night at the Movies

Written by

A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
Classic fM CFMD48

If you are looking for good tunes, they are here a-plenty, in what must be one of the best bargains of the year – a box-set of 50...

Read the review here...

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09 Mar

Laughter In The Rain / Love Will Keep Us Together

Written by

RAY CONNIFF
Laughter In The Rain / Love Will Keep Us Together
Vocalion CDLK 4602

Conniff (1916-2002) – another Vocalian lists debutant – his orchestra and chorus of 12 women and 13 men turned out immaculate albums like this 2-on-1 for years. It was back in 1956 that he began experimenting with voices as an integral part of the orchestra and his LPs developed the old swing era formula he had used as an arranger with Artie Shaw, Harry James and others.

Read the review here...

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09 Mar

Chinatown / Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet

Written by

PERCY FAITH
CHINATOWN / LOVE THEME FROM ROMEO AND JULIET
Vocalion CDLK 4599

It is good to welcome Percy Faith to the Vocalion catalogue – the home of the world’s best light orchestral recordings. Whilst, for me, neither of the albums on this 2-on-1 would rank in the top echelon of the Faith discography, they are both interesting.

Read the review here...

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09 Mar

Cascades to the Sea

Written by

CASCADES TO THE SEA
(Robert Farnon)
Analysed by Robert Walton

I first found the title Cascades to the Sea quite by chance while searching for information about Robert Farnon in K B Sandved’s superb 1954 encyclopedia “The World of Music”. It was then described as a tone poem. Also mentioned were Farnon’s first two symphonies, some études and several comedy symphonettes that at the time were all a complete mystery.

Read the article here...

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04 Mar

British Tone Poems Volume 1 Chandos CHAN 10939

Written by

BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Rumon Gamba. Spring (Frederic Austin); Blackdown - from the Surrey Hills (William Alwyn): The Witch of Atlas – after Shelley (Granville Bantock); A Gloucestershire Rhapsody (Ivor Gurney); A Berkshire Idyll (Balfour Gardiner); The Solent (Vaughan Williams).

Read review here...

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02 Mar

Jan Stoeckart - Obituary

Written by

By  Tony Clayden

Jan Stoeckart (November 1927 – January 2017) was a Dutch composer, conductor and radio producer, who often worked under various pseudonyms,

Read the obituary here...

http://robertfarnonsociety.org.uk/index.php/jim/jim-new-articles/2017/jan-stoeckart-obituary

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02 Mar

Concert of British Light Music - February 26th 2017

Written by

By  Tony Clayden

A cold, wet, and windy Sunday February 26th saw a second concert of British Light Music performed by the Mark Fitz-Gerald Orchestra. The venue was once again the British Home and Hospital in Streatham, South-West London. The event followed-on from the success of the first concert in 2016, and was held in aid of funds for the Home.

The programme, which was devised – as before – by Ian Finn, included a number of well-known Light Music compositions, together with some lesser-known works.

Read the article here...

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09 Feb

Ecstasy

Written by

(Mourant)
Analysed by Robert Walton

For many years I have been meaning to analyse Walter Mourant’s Ecstasy but somehow I never got around to it. I can’t believe I left it so long, because it’s one of the few openings that made such a lasting impression.

Read the entire article here...

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26 Jan

New section: sheet music

Written by

We have a new section: sheet music. Please submit any sheet music you think fit for the website.

 

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25 Jan

Bright Lights

Written by

(Victor Young)
by Robert Walton

When David Rose wrote Holiday for Strings he probably had no idea how much it would influence a whole generation of light orchestral composers...

Read the article here...

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29 Mar

LLMMG MAY 7, 2017 meeting update

Written by

We've updated our May flyer to indicate that Lancaster Gate underground station is closed until July while they replace the lifts.

Many of our attendees use the station to get to our meetings.

LLMMG MAY 2017 Meeting  (complete PDF file)

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About Geoff 123
Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.