British Light Music Vol.9: Farnon - The Westminster Waltz, Colditz March, etc. | Naxos - British Light Music 8574323

British Light Music Vol.9: Farnon - The Westminster Waltz, Colditz March, etc.


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Label: Naxos - British Light Music

Cat No: 8574323

Barcode: 0747313432370

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 8th July 2022



Frank Sinatra dubbed Robert Farnon ‘The Guv’nor’ in 1962 when the two men first came together in London to work on an album. This summed up Farnon’s reputation as being synonymous with the highest standards of craftsmanship across the widest spectrum of music-making, earning him four Ivor Novello awards and the Order of Canada. His fame was established with BBC wartime radio broadcasts and the ubiquitous Portrait of a Flirt. Further success came with TV themes such as the stirring Colditz March and the impressionistic beauty of such gems as À la claire fontaine. The performances on this acclaimed recording are given with ‘warmth, polish and a remarkable naturalness of idiomatic feeling’ (The Penguin Guide).

This superb recording of Robert Farnon’s magnificent scores first appeared in 1992 (8223401). The Penguin Guide wrote that ‘Farnon’s quirky rhythmic numbers, Portrait of a Flirt, Peanut Polka and Jumping Bean, have much in common with Leroy Anderson in their instant memorability; their counterpart is a series of gentler orchestral watercolours, usually featuring a wistful flute solo amid gentle washes of violins… Then there is the film music, of which the Colditz March is rightly famous, and the very British genre pieces, written in the 1950s. All this is played by this excellent Slovak orchestra with warmth, polish and a remarkable naturalness of idiomatic feeling. The recording is splendid, vivid, with the orchestra set back convincingly in a concert-hall acoustic.’

British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content singles out Manhattan Playboy for special comment: ‘The musical portrait opens with an upward sweep from the strings. It is a work that is predicated around syncopation without ever becoming “jazz” or “ragtime”. The principal melody is a gorgeous confection for strings that dominates the entire piece. The progress of the music has many comments from woodwind, xylophone and brass. The entire piece is characterised by a rhythmic subtlety that is a feature of so much of Robert Farnon’s music.’

Adrian Leaper and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra have been standard-bearers for high quality recordings on the Naxos label for decades, and this re-release joins Eric Coates’s London Suite (8555178) in which ‘The orchestra brings just the right amount of fun and flair to these familiar works by one of Britain’s light music heroes. The London Suite is just the tip of an enjoyable iceberg’ for BBC Music Magazine; as well as Frederic Curzon’s Robin Hood Suite (8555172), of which the Penguin Guide wrote that ‘The performances throughout are played with the finessed and light touch we expect from this fine Slovak series, so ably and sympathetically conducted by Adrian Leaper. The recording is admirable.’

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