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REPORT ON INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE LONDON LIGHT MUSIC GROUP
MAY 11th 2014

The meeting was introduced by Tony Clayden who welcomed a quite substantial number of people to the first of our musical afternoons at Lancaster Hall Hotel which began with a recorded good-will message from David Ades (former Secretary of the Robert Farnon Society). Our opening number was Robert Farnon's Springtime, and as we are also associated with the Light Music Society, it was appropriate that we should follow it with a composition by the latter’s Chairman, Ernest Tomlinson MBE, Jack In A Box composed by his 'alter-ego' Alan Perry.

Former BBC producer Anthony Wills then presented a tribute to Doris Day, who has recently celebrated her 90th (or is it 92nd?) birthday. He played Sentimental Journey, Secret Love and There Was A Man Who Loved A Woman, and provided a 'potted history' of this talented and much-loved artiste.

Chris Money was due to present 'World War One Remembered' but as he was feeling unwell, Tony Clayden stepped in. We heard Ivor Novello's Till the Boys Come Home (better known as Keep The Home Fires Burning) in a 1916 recording. This was followed by Haydn Wood's Roses of Picardy from the Peter Yorke Orchestra and featuring the saxophone of Freddy Gardner.

We then listened to Ronnie Munro and his orchestra with Waldteufel's waltz Dolores and the delightful Carriage and Pair by Benjamin Frankel played by Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra. This was followed by Waltz in Swingtime from the Johnny Green orchestra and a composition by yours truly, performed on my Clavinova, called Spring's Awakening from a forthcoming CD, about which more later.

During the interval, everybody had tea or coffee (except me, who was conscripted to play the piano.) I was able to respond to such requests as Canadian Capers but was completely stumped by several requests for Somewhere Else - at least I think that's what they meant by 'Can you play Somewhere Else?'

The second section of our programme featured our special guest Brian Culverhouse. (former EMI producer) in conversation with Malcolm Walker (former editor of GRAMOPHONE magazine). Brian talked about his work producing some of the first LPs of British light music and he also spoke affectionately about his association with the conductor George Weldon .The pieces played were:

  • Salut d'amour by Elgar - conducted by Lawrance Collingwood

  • Waltz Song (For Tonight) by Edward German, sung by Cynthia Glover

  • Dance in the Twilight by Eric Coates and conducted by George Weldon

  • An excerpt from 'Where the Rainbow Ends' - (Rosamund) - by Roger Quilter

  • Montmartre by Haydn Wood, conducted by Reginald Kilbey

  • Excerpt from 'Clancy And The Overflow' written and sung by Peter Dawson and conducted by Charles Mackerras

  • Little Serenade by Ernest Tomlinson

  • When the Sergeant Major's On Parade -sung by Frederick Harvey

  • A La Claire Fontaine by Robert Farnon, conducted by Sir Vivian Dunn

  • Finally, Oxford Street by Eric Coates -London Symphony Orchestra conducted Sir Charles Mackerras

After our second interval, during which I again provided some piano music, it was my turn to go on stage and present my 'Radio Recollections' spot featuring actual off-air performances, this time by Ralph Elman and his Bohemian Players. I opened with Wedding Dance -rather appropriate as Tony Clayden was marrying Lyn Ford a few days later! I followed it with Concetta by Harry Dexter, (founder of the Light Music Society in 1956), and George Melachrino's Winter Sunshine. Then, as part of our new 'Military Band Spot' I played the title track of the Invicta Concert Band's forthcoming CD, Team Spirit . This is a compilation of twenty-five compositions by myself and includes a few items on my Clavinova. My final contribution was a medley called Blues for Band played by the Band of the Coldstream Guards. This is a brilliant arrangement of tunes with the word 'blue' in the title put together by Trevor Sharpe, the band's Director of Music in the 'sixties'.

André Leon then came to the table to present 'Sounds of the Century' - opening with a march from Harry Fryer and his orchestra and continuing with The Bandstand, Hyde Park played by the Regent Concert Orchestra. This was followed by Fred Astaire singing Isn't this a Lovely Day to be caught in the Rain and Robert Farnon's Manhattan Playboy, played by John Wilson conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra. We then listened to a recording of Vivian Ellis talking about how he came to write Alpine Pastures. After D'Lovely performed by Robbie Williams we heard Trevor Duncan's High Heels complete with an introduction from David Ades.

André then presented Tony with a framed 78rpm record of High Heels, (autographed by the composer), in recognition of Tony's efforts in continuing to hold the Light Music Meetings formerly organised by the Robert Farnon Society.

David Mardon then introduced some examples of mood music - Eastern Episode by George Melachrino and Mood Sinister by Clive Richardson. After the Queen's Hall Light orchestra played Peter Yorke's Sapphires and Sables and Trevor Duncan's String Razamatazz from the David Francis Orchestra, Tony brought the meeting to a conclusion with Ride through the Night.

During the afternoon, CDs were available to purchase, and thanks are due to Terry Guntrip for looking after this aspect of the event.

Full details of our next meeting, to be held on Sunday October 12th, are available on our home page.

Our guest speaker will be Brian Willey, former BBC Radio Two producer, and we look forward to seeing old friends and new at what promises to be another great afternoon of Light Music.

Brian Reynolds

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