terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2009

Robert Farnon - Sketches Of Sinatra & Bennett

  1. I Get A Kick Out Of You
  2. Wave
  3. Country Girl
  4. In The Wee Small Hours
  5. Just In Time
  6. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
  7. I've Got You Under My Skin
  8. I Wanna Be Around
  9. Young at Heart
  10. Come Fly With Me
  11. For Once In My Life
  12. Put Your Dreams Away
  13. Colditz March
  14. Laura
Sketches of Sinatra and Bennett

This collection brings together the work of three giants in the world of Popular Music. There can't be many people on this planet who do not know and admire the music of Sinatra and Bennett, but the name 'Robert Farnon' may provoke a few puzzled frowns. That is, until you recall that he was the man responsible for "Portrait of a Flirt", "Jumping Bean" and "Westminster Waltz" - three of the finest pieces of Light Music ever written. All of the music on this album is arranged and conducted by Robert Farnon, and he was also responsible for composing some of the pieces as well.

The affinity between Sinatra and Bennett is well documented. On numerous occasions they have praised each other's work, and Frank Sinatra has called Tony Bennett "The Greatest Singer in the World". Following Sinatra's death in May 1998, Bennett described him simply as "my brother".

Robert Farnon's tribute to these two legendary performers is all the more appropriate, because he has worked with them both. In June 1962 he arranged and conducted the only album Sinatra ever recorded outside of America - "Great Songs From Great Britain". Although receiving mixed reviews at the time, this album is now highly regarded, with Farnon's sensitive scores being singled out for special praise. It is a matter of regret that a projected sequel of up-tempo numbers never managed to reach the studios. Farnon has made many albums with Tony Bennett, and has appeared with him in numerous concerts and television shows on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first twelve tracks in this collection were recorded in west London at Pye's Studios on 16 and 17 December 1974, using many of the finest session players in the profession. Each number has been a big success for Sinatra or Bennett, and is destined to remain an'all time great' as long as there are people around who appreciate true musicianship of the highest quality. The remaining works (in which Robert Farnon is conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra) are 'live' recordings from a concert at London's Royal Festival Hall on 2 March 1974.

These two different sources of material offer a unique showcase of Farnon's talents, in which he is heard as a superb composer and writer for strings, as well as being able to create impressive big band swing, as confirmed by the oppening track "I Get A Kick Out Of You". In this Cole Porter classic, Farnon demonstrates how brass and strings can complement a swinging arrangement, each helping the other to propel the melody along to even greater heights. Of course, Farnon's choice of sessionmen certainly ensured that this recording would have an impressive pedigree: Roy Willox, Douggie Robinson, Keith Bird, Frank Reidy and John Whelan are on saxophones: Kenny Baker, Bert Ezzard, Stan Roderick and Tony Fisher feature on trumpets; John Burdon, A. McGavin and Jim Buck are on horns; Don Lusher, Bobby Lamb, Maurice Pratt and Jackie Armstrong on trombones; plus Ronnie Verrell (drums), Ronnie Price (piano), Lennie Bush (bass), Mike Kershaw (guitar), Alan Hakin (percussion), David Snell (harp) and a fine string section led by Raymond Cohen. The same elite players can be heard on most of the other first twelve numbers on this album.

On the other tracks, for the "My Fair Lady" and "Porgy and Bess" selections the London Philharmonic Orchestra was augmented by some section musicians including Don Lusher, Roy Willox, Danny Moss, Bob Efford, Peter Hughes, Frank Reidy, Tony Fisher and Kenny Baker.

One happy result of Robert Farnon's long association with Tony Bennett was that "Country Girl" has become a standard. Incredibly this sensitive number originally started life as an entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Farnon was asked to submit it in 1966, when it failed to get chosen in the British heats. Bennett's recording has ensured that it will be remembered long after the eventual Eurovision winner of that year - whatever it was!

The 1974 Royal Festival Hall concert gave Farnon a large orchestra with which to conjure up his own special blend of orchestral magic. His "Colditz March" has seldom sounded more impressive, immediately followed by a jazz-influenced arrangement of hit tunes from "My Fair Lady" which fully exploits the talents of the extra soloists brought in for the event. Note especially the fine trombone of Don Lusher in "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face", and Roy Willox's lyrical saxophone in "On The Street Where You Live". Robert Farnon's score of the David Raksin masterpiece "Laura" was originally penned in the 1940s, and the once stated that he longed to hear it performed by a large string section that would do it full justice. He had his wish at this concert.

Farnon was commissioned to do a new orchestral arrangement of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" in the 1960s, and this excerpt from the full work gives an idea of the kind of excitement he managed to create.

The universal popularity of Farnon's own pieces of Light Music, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, prompted his publishers to ask him to combine six of the best in a special medley. The result was "Farnon Fantasy" which completes this collection.

Robert Farnon was born in Toronto, Canada, on 24 July 1917. By his early twenties he had become a household name for his radio work, and had also composed two symphonies. In 1944 he came to Britain as Conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, working alongside George Melachrino and Glenn Miller who fronted the British and American bands. When World War 2 ended he decided to remain over here. His wartime work had not gone unnoticed by the likes of Geraldo, Ambrose and Ted Heath, who gladly naccepted his arrangements. Radio, television and record companies also beckoned, and he found himself working with Vera Lynn, Denny Dennis, Gracie Fields, Anne Shelton, Edmund Hockridge and other stars of the day. He also discovered that there was wide scope in England for his style of composing, and he wanted to work in films.

An early commission for the cinema was assisting Allan Gray on the score of the 1945 film "I Know Where I'm Going" starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey. This has now achieved cult status, and is regarded as one of the finest British films ever made. Farnon's biggest successes of the large screen have included "Spring in Park Lane" and "Maytime in Mayfair" - two post-war escapist movies starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding; "Captain Horatio Hornblower, R.N." starring Gregory Peck in one of the actor's favourite roles; "Where's Charley?", the musical version of the stage hit "Charley's Aunt" with Ray Bolger; "Shalako" which teamed Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot; and "The Road to Hong Kong", the very last 'Road' film of them all, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, plus glamorous 'newcomer' Joan Collins.

In all, Robert Farnon has worked on some 40 feature films, and has also written a large amount of background music which continues to be used in radio, television, films and documentaries all over the world. His most memorable television themes include "Panorama", "The Secret Army" and "Colditz", which is featured on this record.

In the recording studios, as well as some fine instrumental albums with his own orchestra, Farnon has also been in demand from many international artists, among them Lena Horne, George Shearing, Bing crosby, Sarah Vaughan, George Benson, Eddie Fisher, Joe Williams, Eileen Farrell, Pia Zadora, Jose Carreras and The Singers Unlimited.

A recent album with trombonist J. J. Johnson - "Tangence" - resulted in Farnon receiving a Grammy Award from the US National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for "Lament" - the best instrumental arrangement of 1995. He had previously bveen nominated for two 'Grammys', and in Britain his work has been honoured with four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the prestigious 1990 Award for 'Outstanding Services to British Music'.

Farnon's genius is recognised by many of his colleagues in the profession. Andre Previn recently wrote: "Very few things remain a constant in the music world; however, Robert Farnon was the world's greatest arranger many decades ago and he holds the same position today. The very best things never change." Fellow Canadian Oscar Peterson has been a life-long friend: "Farnon has been a continual inspiration to composers and arrangers, not to mention players such as myself." Gene Puerling (leader of The Hi-Los and Singers Unlimited): "The world of music wouldn't be quite the easy place to live in without Farnon."

Farnon's influence as an arranger has been strongly felt in the USA. Quincy Jones, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, Marian Evans, Marty Paich and Neal Hefti are among some of the top writers who aren't ashamed to admit occasionally having 'borrowed' some of his ideas.

His more serious works have included several tone poems dedicated to Canada, such as "A La Claire Fontaine", "Lake of the Woods" and "Canadian Rhapsody". In 1958 the BBC commissioned him to compose his "Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra", and for the Harmonica virtuoso Tommy Reilly Farnon wrote "Prelude and Dance for Harmonica and Orchestra", which was so hard to play that it forced a famous harmonica manufacturer to improve the design of its instrument. He has recently completed his first Piano Concerto, which is called "Cascades To The Sea".

Today, in his eighties, Robert Farnon continues to compose and arrange from the serenity of his Guernsey home, punctuated by occasional visits to London recording studios. In January 1998 he received long-overdue recognition from his homeland, when he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada - equivalent to a British knighthood.

Robert Farnon has made a significant contribution to the musical life of Britain and the world, and his collection of his music is a fine tribute to his achievements as one of the greatest living composer / conductor / arrangers.

David Ades

Robert Joseph Farnon (July 24, 1917 – April 22, 2005) was a Canadian-born composer, conductor, musical arranger and trumpet player

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he was commissioned as a captain in the Canadian Army and became the conductor/arranger of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force sent overseas during World War II, which was the Canadian equivalent of the American Band of the AEF led by Major Glenn Miller.

At the end of the war, Farnon decided to make England his home, and he later moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands with his wife and children.

He was considered by his peers the finest arranger in the world, and his talents influenced many composer-arrangers including Quincy Jones, all of whom acknowledge his contributions to their work. Conductor Andre Previn called him "the greatest writer for strings in the world."

Robert Farnon died at the age of eighty-seven at a hospice near his home of forty years in Guernsey. He was survived by five children.

Robert Farnon is probably best known for two famous pieces of light music, Jumping Bean and Portrait of a Flirt, both which were originally released as A and B sides on the same 78. Also famous are his Westminster Waltz and A Star is Born.

Farnon also wrote the music for more than forty motion pictures including Maytime in Mayfair (1949) and Captain Horatio Hornblower RN (1951) and for a number of television series and miniseries including The Prisoner, Secret Army and A Man Called Intrepid.

In 1962 Farnon arranged and conducted Frank Sinatra's only album recorded outside of the United States, Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain.

He won four Ivor Novello Awards including one for "Outstanding Services to British Music" in 1991 and in 1996 he won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Lament" performed by J. J. Johnson & his Robert Farnon Orchestra.

The last piece he composed was titled "The Gaels: An American Wind Symphony", as a commission to the Roxbury High School band in honor of the school's mascot, the gael. The piece made its world debut in May, 2006. It was performed by the Roxbury High School Honors Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Stanley Saunders, a close friend of Farnon.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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