It was Bank Holiday Sunday and about 47 light music devotees came from far and wide for their bi-annual light music 'fix' !

As usual, Tony Clayden opened proceedings by welcoming supporters to the Lancaster Hall Hotel and, by way of a tribute to recently deceased André Previn, played Like Young, featuring André as both composer and piano soloist, accompanied by the David Rose orchestra.

Anthony Wills then presented a very fullsome tribute to another recently departed musician, Michel Legrand - composer, pianist and conductor. We listened first to April In Paris (from the album 'The Best of Michel Legrand'). This was Legrand's first ever album but was a massive hit.

Anthony followed this with the Oscar-winning song Windmills Of Your Mind sung by Noel Harrison - Andy Williams having turned it down! Next came I Will Wait For You from 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' and, from the original soundtrack of 'Summer of 42' the beautiful composition The Summer Knows.

From the 'Happy Radio Days' CD came David Rose's famous Holiday For Strings but, on this occasion conducted by Michel Legrand, using London session musicians, one of whom (the accordionist) was Dave Arch, nowadays best known as the musical director of 'Strictly Come Dancing'!

Anthony told us that Michel Legrand was born in 1932, and that he was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger - as indeed was our special guest Helen Crayford! Anthony concluded his presentation with Papa Can You Hear Me ? from the original soundtrack of the film 'Yentl', sung by Barbra Streisand.

Tony then played Seville from the Haydn Wood suite 'Cities of Romance'. This is featured on the eagerly-awaited and now – finally – released Dutton CD of Wood's orchestral works, which was actually recorded at Watford back in August 2017. It attracted quite a lot of interest from a number of purchasers during the ensuing interval.

Tony Foster then came to the table to present some Robert Farnon favourites. He played:
Portrait of a Flirt
Sophistication Waltz (A favourite of Tony's mother who used to dance to it)
Trumpet Talk
(featuring Kenny Baker and Stan Roderick)

All of these featured the Robert Farnon orchestra, as did Tony's final item Canadian Caravan from Farnon's 'Canadian impressions' LP.

Tony Clayden then played us some 'going to tea' music, Imogene by Les Reed, [another fine composer, pianist and arranger recently sadly lost to us] at which point we took our first interval.

Opening part two, Tony played us J.S. Bach's Air On A G String (as immortalised in the 'Hamlet' TV ad.) performed by the Jacques Loussier Trio. Loussier is yet another fine musician who has recently passed away, and became world-famous for his jazz improvisations of Bach and other classical composers.

It was then the turn of Brian Willey, a distinguished former BBC producer (and one of our most loyal supporters) to make a presentation. He gave us an interesting insight into the story of the HMV dog 'Nipper' - who really was a real dog! Brian based his talk upon an article he wrote for the 'Best of British' magazine on this topic, which has now been reproduced on our website.

After Brian's discourse, Tony played us 'Masquerade' from the album 'Reverie' featuring the music of Thomas Farnon (one of Bob's grandsons). Tom was recently the subject of an interview with Dan Adams of the Light Music Society, which appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of the latter's magazine, and this is also now available on our website.

For our next presenter we turned to Brian Luck, a saxophone and clarinet player who has performed in many bands over the years. He called his feature "Why I like Light Music". He began with the Soldiers' Chorus from Gounod's 'Faust' and continued with a rare 'off-air' recording (from 1942) of Fred Hartley and his Music playing their signature tune Life Is Nothing Without Music - composed by the aforementioned Hartley. The vocalist was Jack Cooper. Brian continued with Glenn Miller's AEF band playing their signature tune Moonlight Serenade. He then turned to the British equivalent - the British band of the AEF under George Melachrino playing the maestro's First Rhapsody.

To conclude his presentation, Brian Luck played Bob Farnon's Westminster Waltz.

Tony then played The Theme from 'The Apartment' by Charles Williams, featuring Roderick Elms (pianist, organist and composer) with the BBC Concert Orchestra - and Roderick just happens to be our special guest when we next meet in October!

Our final presenter was Steven Wills who opened with the Les Reed Strings playing March from the Little Suite by Trevor Duncan (familiar to many as the theme tune from "Doctor Finlay's Casebook"). Les Reed was featured once again in the 'Country Sound' jingle. Steven concluded his presentation with 'Dutch Rhapsody' by [we think – ed.] Haydn Wood, played by the Promenade Orchestra conducted by Albert Newland.

After a very full second part we took a mere ten minute interval.

Part Three was given over to our special guest, Helen Crayford - a distinguished classical pianist who has made quite a name for herself in the lighter field with her 'Rags to Riches' concerts, which she has given all over the country, as well as in Europe. On a stage, bedecked with a palm tree and Tiffany lamp, she gave an enthusiastic performance of mostly early 20th century popular music, her bubbly personality serving her well as she interacted with her audience. She played the following items:

Traumerie (Robert Schumann arr. Zez Confrey)
Creole Eyes(1864)
(Louis Gottschack)
Maple Leaf Rag
(Scott Joplin)
Bafeno Waltz
(Scott Joplin)
Troublesome Ivories
(Eubie Blake)
Rialto Ripples
(George Gershwin)
Frogmore Rag
(Jelly Roll Morton)
Katy Red
(Eubie Blake)
Kitten On The Keys
(Zez Confrey)
The Man I Love
(George Gershwin)
I Got Rhythm
(George Gershwin)
(Billy Mayerl)
Railroad Rhythm
(Billy Mayerl)
London Suite
(Limehouse/Piccadilly)(Fats Waller)
Love Walked In
(Gershwin arr. Percy Grainger)
The Old Tomcat On The Keys
(Bob Yourke)

and just as we thought Helen had finished, she produced a hidden trumpet accompanying herself in Ain't Misbehaving (Fats Waller).

She concluded with Canadian Capers (Zez Confrey) and Wedding Of The Painted Doll (Nacio Herb Brown)

Tony then thanked Helen for her performance, which was most enthusiastically received.

He also thanked those who had attended and invited us to assemble again on 6th October, when our special guest [as mentioned above] will be pianist, organist and composer Roderick Elms.

Brian Reynolds

Footnote: We have subsequently received many more very complimentary comments about Helen Crayford’s appearance at the meeting – ed.

The next LLMMG meeting will take place at the Lancaster Hall Hotel on Sunday October 6th 2019 – All are welcome, please tell your friends !

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