on Sunday 8th May 2016

(click picture to enlarge)

Sunday May 8th was a beautiful, sunny and unseasonably warm day, probably far too nice for sitting indoors, listening to Light Music, but that is what around fifty of us chose to do!

Appropriately, we commenced with a piece called Flying Start by David Lindup, from a new Vocalion CD featuring titles from the famous KPM mood music library, and followed it with Great Panorama by the late Ernest Tomlinson, who for many years was the 'prime mover' of the Light Music Society. Several members of the latter were in the audience – well, we couldn’t leave them outside on the pavement, could we?

Anthony Wills was our first presenter, and he chose to talk about 'Flare Records', which was established by Bernard Taylor in 1995, to 're-discover and preserve the music of the past, through re-issuing older, precious recordings which otherwise might languish in the vaults'. He played a number of examples from the Flare catalogue, which contains mostly 'show' material, commencing with the overture to Me and Juliet by Rodgers and Hammerstein. This was followed by Begin The Beguine sung by Tony Martin then Paradise in a Dennis Farnon arrangement featuring Gogi Grant. After this we heard 'It’s Terribly Horribly Frightfully Nice' sung by Jane Powell and Michael Redgrave. This was followed by To My Wife by Harold Rose, sung by by Walter Slezak and Because You're Mine performed by Doretta Morrow and Mario Lanza. Anthony concluded his selection with Gershwin's Our Love Is Here To Stay, featuring the Glen Osser orchestra with vocalist Fernando Lamas.

Tony Clayden then continued the programme with the well-known military march With Sword and Lance by Hermann Starke, but given a wonderful up-tempo big band treatment by Ted Heath and his music. This was a track from another recently released Vocalion CD featuring the Heath ensemble, in recordings originally made by the BBC transcription service for syndication to other broadcasters around the world.

The next piece was from the new 'Guild' CD, 'Animal Antics' – the Ron Goodwin orchestra's recording of Lobster Quadrille by Joseph Horowitz.

This was followed by Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart, played by Enoch Light and the Light Brigade, from another new Guild CD, '100 Great American Orchestras'- Volume Four. Enoch Light became well known, when stereo recordings were introduced in the early '60s, for his slightly quirky orchestrations featuring exaggerated 'ping-pong' effects, and this was a good example of this technique!

We then heard a novelty piece by the famous organist and composer Harold Smart entitled Peek-A-Boo, from the Guild CD 'Runaway Rocking Horse'.

To conclude the first part of our programme, Tony then played the theme from the John Dunn show on Radio 2, entitled 'Imogene', composed and performed by Les Reed and his orchestra – much to the delight of former BBC executive producer Brian Willey who was sitting in the audience, and Anthony Wills, who was the regular producer of the show! This track was taken from a newly-released CD 'Have Themes, Will Travel', which has been compiled by Steven Wills on behalf of the Chichester Hospitals Broadcasting Association – a registered charity which finances the operation of Chichester Hospital Radio.

During our 20 minute break we had the opportunity to peruse the CDs which were on sale, several of which were newly supplied by Guild Records. To the surprise of many, our special guest Shelley van Loen was manning a beautifully presented selection of 'Shelley Chocolates' - yes, she is a chocolatier as well as a musician.

We commenced part two with The Firefly by Donald Phillips, played by the world-famous Norwegian harmonica player Sigmund Groven, who was present. We have invited Sigmund to make a presentation (hopefully with some live music) at next spring's meeting.

It was then the turn of Chris Money to come to the microphone and speak about the career of the famous film conductor/composer Louis Levy. He then played us Levy’s Cole Porter Suite.

Tony then gave us his tribute to Moira Ades who passed away in December. Moira had been a friendly face at nearly all the Robert Farnon Society meetings, admirably supporting the late David Ades for many years. Tony then played one of her favourite pieces, sung by Tony Bennett with the Robert Farnon Orchestra - Beautiful Things which Tony seemed to think made a natural segue into my own presentation!

I opened my 'Radio Recollections' spot with an excerpt from a 1962 '‘Morning Music' broadcast from the BBC Northern Ireland Light Orchestra – Tarantella from 'A Day in Naples' by George W. Byng. I followed this with a lovely tune by Cedric King Palmer, Shimmering Silk, played by Jack Coles and his Orchestre Moderne from a 1956 broadcast. Next, a composition by guitarist Sydney del Monte entitled Bows and Bells, played by Hugh James and his orchestra. To conclude my presentation, I played a paso doble entitled Sicilia by Apollonio in an invigorating performance by Bernard Monshin and his Rio Tango Band. This particular item was 'cleaned up' for me by the late Alan Bunting, to whom Tony then gave a tribute.

He referred to Alan’s tremendous contribution to the world of light music recordings, and his passing has left a huge void.

After a career working as a sound engineer for the BBC in Cardiff, and subsequently sound engineering manager for BBC Scotland in Glasgow, Alan established his own company to specialise in restoring vintage recordings for several recording labels, and the list of his work in this field is enormous. Together with the late David Ades, he was responsible for 135 CDs in the Guild 'Golden Age of Light Music' series, containing over three thousand tracks – a tremendous and unique achievement.

Alan was particularly interested in, and extremely knowledgeable about, the work of Percy Faith and we heard Mucho Gusto from the Percy Faith orchestra. Another major project of Alan's was to remaster all of the recordings actually conducted by Eric Coates, and from this collection Tony played At the Dance from the 'Summer Days' suite – from a 1926 '78' which sounded as if it was recorded recently!

We were now approaching the end of the second part of the meeting and Tony concluded with an Ernest Tomlinson composition entitled Sheerline, and then Bubbles in the Wine from a forthcoming Guild CD, 'American light Orchestras – Volume Four'. Tony confirmed that it was Guild's intention that the light music series should continue; a further military band compilation was under consideration, as was the possibility of at least two albums of 'off-air' recordings from my own collection. At this point we took a short second break.

After the break, Tony welcomed Shelley van Loen and the Palm Court Strings to the stage and they gave a magnificent performance of light music favourites interspersed with a few less familiar works, such as The Grand Hotel Waltz which had been specially written for the ensemble. The programme was as follows:

Nights of Gladness (Charles Ancliffe)

Cigarette Girl (Ludwig Siede)

Quanto si Bella (G.Bonincontro)

Salut D'Amour (Edward Elgar)

Belorado (Fredrick G.Charrosin)

In the Shade of the Palms (Reginald King)

Fairy on the Clock (Sherman Myers)

The Vanished Army (Kenneth Alford)

Tango of the Night (Hose Payan and Fred Hartley)

Miss Pilgrim's Progress (Philip Martell)

Tango Yvonne by (Bernard Monshin)

Echoes of the Puszta (A.Ferraris)

The Grand Hotel Waltz (Allen Walley)

Pamplona (Adolphe Gauwin)

The Song of Jealousy (Vittorio Masheroni)

Rumanian Gipsy Fantasia (Jo knumann)

Tropical Moonlight (Reginald King)

Here's To The Next Time (Henry Hall)

Tony thanked Shelley and her musicians for a wonderful performance and informed us that the next meeting will be on October 9th, when our special guest will be BBC Concert Orchestra producer – and ace accordionist – Neil Varley. The meeting closed at 6.25pm.

Brian Reynolds

The next LLMMG meeting will take place at the Lancaster Hall Hotel on Sunday October 9th 2016 – All are welcome, please tell your friends !

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