Programme Notes for "Music in the Air"

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 23:06 John Wesley
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There were no printed programmes for our recent concert Music In the Air in aid of the Hampshire Air Ambulance. However if you would like to review the notes from our excellent compère, John Wesley, read on:

Music in the Air - WSO Saturday 19th May 2012

Part I

Aces High from Film score 'Battle of Britain' - Ron Goodwin

"This is the BBC Home Service -here is the news. In the House of Commons this afternoon, the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, said 'What General Weygand called 'The Battle of France' is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin."

This march is commonly called The Luftwaffe March, however it was written in true 6/8 German style by an Englishman, Ron Goodwin for the movie The Battle of Britain which was made long after hostilities were concluded in 1969.

Battle of Britain is a 1969 film directed by Guy Hamilton, and produced by Harry Saltzman and S. Benjamin Fisz. The film broadly relates the events of the Battle of Britain. The script by James Kennaway and Wilfred Greatorex was based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster.
The film endeavored to be an accurate account of the Battle of Britain, when in the summer and autumn of 1940 the British RAF inflicted a strategic defeat on the Luftwaffe and so ensured the cancellation of Operation 'Sealion' Hitler's plan to invade Britain. The huge strategic victory of the outnumbered British pilots would be summed up by Winston Churchill in the immortal words: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
The film is notable for its spectacular flying sequences, echoing those seen in Angels One Five (1952) but on a far grander scale than had been seen on film before. These made the film's production very expensive.

The cast (over 108 credited) included Harry Andrews, Michael Bates, Isla Blair, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, Trevor Howard, Curd Jürgens, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Patrick Wymark, Susannah York.

The film has two musical scores. The first was written by Sir William Walton, and conducted by Malcolm Arnold. However, the music department at United Artists objected that the score was too short. As a result, a further score was commissioned from Ron Goodwin. Producer S. Benjamin Fisz and actor Sir Laurence Olivier protested this decision, and Olivier threatened to take his name from the credits. In the end, one segment of the Walton score, titled The Battle in the Air, which framed the climactic air battles of 15 September 1940, was retained in the final cut. The Walton score was played with no sound effects of aircraft motors or gunfire, giving this sequence a transcendent, lyrical quality.

Those Magnificent Men in the Flying Machines -Film score of same name - Ron Goodwin

"Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes" is a 1965 British comedy film starring Stuart Whitman and directed and co-written by Ken Annakin. Based on a screenplay titled Flying Crazy, the story is set in 1910, when Lord Rawnsley, an English press magnate, offers £10,000 to the winner of the Daily Post air race from London to Paris, to prove that Britain is "number one in the air".

Director Ken Annakin had been interested in aviation from his early years when Sir Alan Cobham gave him a flight in a biplane. With co-writer Jack Davies, Annakin had been working on an adventure film about transatlantic flights when the producer's bankruptcy aborted the production. Fresh from his role as director of the British exterior segments in The Longest Day (1962), Annakin suggested an event from early aviation to Darryl F. Zanuck, his producer on The Longest Day.

Patricia (Sarah Miles) is the daughter of Lord Rawnsley (Robert Morley), a newspaper magnate. Richard Mays (James Fox), is an Army officer who flies an Antoinette monoplane and seeks to win Patricia's hand. Mays conceives the idea of an air race from London to Paris to advance the cause of aviation (and his career), and persuades Lord Rawnsley to sponsor the race. An international cast plays the array of contestants, most of whom live up to national stereotypes, including the by-the-book, monocle-wearing Prussian officer (Gert Fröbe) flying an Eardley-Billing biplane, impetuous Count Emilio Ponticelli (Alberto Sordi), an amorous Frenchman Pierre Dubois (Jean-Pierre Cassel) in a Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, the rugged American cowboy Orvil Newton (Stuart Whitman) flying a Bristol Boxkite (impersonating a Curtiss), who falls for Patricia, causing a love triangle between them and Mays. Yujiro Ishihara is the late-arriving Japanese Naval officer Yamamoto, whose perfect Etonian accent makes him more British than the British. Rawnsley sums up: "The trouble with these international affairs is they attract a lot of foreigners."

Sir Percy Ware-Armitage (Terry-Thomas) is the unscrupulous rogue flying an Avro Triplane who "never leaves anything to chance". With his bullied servant Courtney (Eric Sykes), he sabotages other aircraft or drugs their pilots, and cheats by shipping his aeroplane across the channel by boat. The race sets out with 14 competitors but one by one they drop out or (like Ware-Armitage) crash, until only a few land in Paris. Orvil Newton loses his chance to win when he pauses to rescue Emilio Ponticelli from his burning aircraft. Richard Mays wins for Britain, but insists on a tie with Orvill Newton and sharing the prize with the now-bankrupt Newton. Orvil and Patricia finally are seen kissing, then being interrupted by a strange noise. Those at the flying field look up to see a flypast by six English Electric Lightnings overhead. The story resumes in a fogbound London airport as a cancellation of flights to Paris is announced. Other cast members included Maurice Denham, Fred Emney, James Fox, Tony Hancock, Benny Hill, Gordon Jackson, John Le Mesurier, Jeremy Lloyd, Zena Marshall, Millicent Martin, Sarah Miles, Robert Morley, Dame Flora Robson, Red Skelton, Eric Sykes, Terry-Thomas, Sam Wanamaker.

Zanuck paid for an epic faithful to the era, deciding the name Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines after Elmo Williams, managing director of 20th Century Fox in Europe, told him his wife had written an opening for a song that Annakin complained would "seal the fate of the movie":

Those magnificent men in their flying machines,
They go up diddley up-up, they go down diddley down-down!

However, after being put to music by Ron Goodwin, the Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines song went on to a life of its own, released in singles and on the soundtrack record.

Annakin was born in 1914, just as the era of aviation depicted in this movie was ending, and though the movie is a farce, the behaviour of the various aviators depicts the tensions between the European countries prior to the First World War. This sense of civility between European nationalities is remembered as the Entente cordiale.

Scarborough Fair - as featured in 'The Graduate'

The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama motion picture directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College, a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States.. The screenplay was by Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as a hotel clerk, and Calder Willingham. The film tells the story of Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a recent university graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and then proceeds to fall in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

"Scarborough Fair" is a traditional ballad of Great Britain. It is the tale of a young man, who tells the listener to ask his former lover to perform for him a series of impossible tasks, such as making him a shirt without a seam and then washing it in a dry well, adding that if she completes these tasks he will take her back. Often the song is sung as a duet, with the woman then giving her lover a series of equally impossible tasks, promising to give him his seamless shirt once he has finished.

Paul Simon learned the song in London in 1965 from Martin Carthy, who had picked up the tune from the songbook by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. Art Garfunkel then set it in counterpoint with "Canticle", a reworking of Simon's 1963 song "The Side of a Hill" with new, anti-war lyrics. It was the lead track of the 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, and was released as a single after being featured on the soundtrack to The Graduate in 1968. The copyright credited only Simon and Garfunkel as the authors, causing ill-feeling on the part of Carthy, who felt the "traditional" source should have been credited. This rift remained until Simon invited Carthy to duet the song with him at a London concert in 2000. Simon performed this song with The Muppets when he guest starred on The Muppet Show.

The Magnificent Seven - Elmer Bernstein

The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American western film directed by John Sturges. It is a western-style remake based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. The film stars Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz who play a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding Mexican bandits. The film's musical score was composed by Elmer Bernstein.

Elmer Bernstein (April 4, 1922 - August 18, 2004) was an American composer and conductor best known for his many film scores. In a career which spanned fifty years, he composed music for hundreds of film and television productions. His most popular works include the scores to The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ghostbusters.

Bernstein won an Oscar for his score to Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and was nominated for fourteen Oscars in total. He also won two Golden Globes and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Bernstein was born in New York City, the son of Selma (née Feinstein) and Edward Bernstein. He was not related to the celebrated composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, but the two men were friends, and even shared a certain physical similarity. Within the world of professional music, they were distinguished from each other by the use of the nicknames Bernstein West (Elmer) and Bernstein East (Leonard).

Bernstein wrote the theme songs or other music for more than 200 films and TV shows, including The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Ten Commandments (1956), The Man with the Golden Arm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Robot Monster, and the fanfare used in the National Geographic television special. His theme for The Magnificent Seven is also familiar to television viewers, as it was used in commercials for Marlboro cigarettes. Bernstein also provided the score to many of the short films of Ray and Charles Eames. Along with many in Hollywood, Bernstein faced censure during the McCarthy era of the 1950s. He was "gray-listed" (not banned, but kept off major projects) due to sympathy with left-wing causes, and had to work on low-budget science fiction films such as Robot Monster and Cat-Women of the Moon.

Send in the Clowns - from 'A Little Night Music' - Stephen Sondheim

"Send in the Clowns" is a song by Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night. It is a ballad from Act II in which the character Desirée reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life. Among other things, she looks back on an affair years earlier with the lawyer Fredrik. Meeting him after so long, she finds that he is now in an unconsummated marriage with a much younger woman. Desirée proposes marriage to rescue him from this situation, but he declines, citing his dedication to his bride. Reacting to his rejection, Desirée sings this song. The song is later reprised as a coda after Fredrik's young wife runs away with his son, and Fredrik is finally free to accept Desirée's offer.

Sondheim wrote the song specifically for the actress Glynis Johns, who created the role of Desirée on Broadway. The song is structured with four verses and a bridge, and uses a complex triple meter. It became Sondheim's most popular song after Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1973 and Judy Collins's version charted in 1975 and 1977. Subsequently, Sarah Vaughan, Judi Dench, Grace Jones, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Zarah Leander, Tiger Lillies, Ray Conniff and many other famous artists have recorded the song, and it became a jazz standard.

Why did Edgar choose it for today's concert? The clue is in the fourth line of the first verse:

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

The "clowns" in the title do not refer to circus clowns. Instead, they symbolize fools, as Sondheim explained in a 1990 interview:

I get a lot of letters over the years asking what the title means and what the song's about; I never thought it would be in any way esoteric. I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song, because she's an actress, but it's not supposed to be a 'circus'.... It's a theater reference meaning 'if the show isn't going well, let's send in the clowns'; in other words, 'let's do the jokes.' I always want to know, when I'm writing a song, what the end is going to be, so 'Send in the Clowns' didn't settle in until I got the notion, 'Don't bother, they're here' which means that 'We are the fools.'

In a 2008 interview, Sondheim further clarified:

As I think of it now, the song could have been called 'Send in the Fools.' I knew I was writing a song in which Desirée is saying, 'aren't we foolish' or 'aren't we fools'? Well, a synonym for fools is clowns, but 'Send in the Fools' doesn't have the same ring to it.

By far the best version - look it up on YouTube - is by our own Dame Judi Dench repried at the 1998 Royal Charity Gala Concert, "Hey, Mr. Producer!", raising funds for charity by honoring producer Cameron Mackintosh.

633 Squadron - Film score - Ron Goodwin

633 Squadron is a 1964 British film which depicts the exploits of a fictional Second World War British fighter-bomber squadron. It was based on a novel of the same name by Frederick E. Smith, published in 1956, which itself drew on several real Royal Air Force missions. The film was directed by Walter Grauman, produced by Cecil F. Ford for the second film of Mirisch Productions UK subsidiary Mirisch Films for United Artists. It stars Cliff Robertson, George Chakiris and Maria Perschy. 633 Squadron was the first aviation film to be shot in colour and Panavision wide screen. In the novel on which the film was based, Roy Grant was British. Robertson, a US actor, was cast because he was popular internationally at the time and because an American central character improved the production's access to finance and worldwide audiences. Additionally, Robertson was an experienced pilot, owned a Supermarine Spitfire and was personally interested in making the film as an accurate portrayal of wartime flying. Although he was refused permission to fly for the purposes of the film, his scenes stand out as a realistic depiction of operational flying. When Robertson expressed reservations about the script, director Walter Mirisch engaged US scriptwriter Howard Koch, resident in London, to rewrite the film to placate him. Walter Grauman, the director, collected flying period aircraft, creating the "Mirisch Air Force" or M.A.F. as it was dubbed. Grauman's wartime experience as a B-25 Mitchell bomber pilot helped create an authentic aviation epic.

Part II

Dam Busters' March - Eric Coates from 'The Dam Busters'

The Dam Busters is a 1955 British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in 1943 the RAF's 617 Squadron attacked the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany with Barnes Wallis's "bouncing bomb". The film was based on the books The Dam Busters (1951) by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) by Guy Gibson.

Eric Coates, the composer, was born in 1886. From 1910 he played in the Queen's Hall Orchestra under Henry Wood, becoming principal violist in 1912, "... which post I held for seven years," he said, speaking in a 1948 BBC radio interview, "until, I regret to say, I was dismissed through sending deputies to take my place when I was conducting my works elsewhere. Henry Wood little knew what a great help he had been to me by dispensing with my services, for from that day I never touched my viola again and was able to devote all my time to my writing."

He had an early success with the overture The Merrymakers (1922), but more popular was the London Suite (1933). The last movement of this, "Knightsbridge", was used by the BBC to introduce their radio programme In Town Tonight. Amongst his early champions was Sir Edward Elgar.

Coates's music, with its simple and memorable melodies, proved particularly effective for theme music. As well as "Knightsbridge", the BBC also used Calling All Workers (1940) as the theme for the radio programme Music While You Work and By the Sleepy Lagoon (1930), which we played in our concert last year for the Lifeboats,  is still used to introduce the long-running radio programme Desert Island Discs. Coates' "Halcyon Days", the first movement of the suite The Three Elizabeths, was used as the theme to the popular 1967 BBC TV series The Forsyte Saga, although he received no credit. This piece was originally written in the early 1940s. It was later used as a celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It has had a recent resurgence in popularity, featuring on a number of CDs.

Coates also wrote a number of pieces which were used as television start-up music: the BBC Television March (for BBC-TV), was used daily from 1946 to the end of 1958 and occasionally from then until 1960, the Rediffusion March (written as Music Everywhere; for Associated-Rediffusion, from 1956 to 1957), Sound and Vision (for ATV in London from 1955 to 1968 and in the Midlands from 1956 to 1971), and the South Wales and the West Television March (for TWW from 1958 to 1968).

Coates is also well known for his contribution to the film score for The Dam Busters (1954); he composed the famous main title march. He was unwilling to write the entire score when asked by the film's producers, but warmed to the idea of writing a signature march around which the rest of the film's score was based - in fact, he submitted a piece that he had recently completed, so the famous Dam Busters March was not itself composed with the film in mind. The final film score was completed by Leighton Lucas.

On Golden Pond - Film score Dave Grusin

On Golden Pond is a 1981 American drama film directed by Mark Rydell. The screenplay by Ernest Thompson was adapted from his 1979 play of the same title. Henry Fonda won the Academy Award in what was his final film role. Co-star Katharine Hepburn also received an Oscar, as did Thompson for his script, and there were a further seven Oscar nominations for the film. The movie co-stars Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman and Doug McKeon.

An aging couple, Ethel and Norman Thayer, spends each summer at their cottage on a lake called Golden Pond. They are visited by daughter Chelsea, who is somewhat estranged from her curmudgeon of a father. Chelsea introduces them to her new fiance, Bill, and asks the Thayers to permit Bill's young son Billy to stay with them while she and Bill have some time to themselves.

The boy is annoyed by being left with elderly strangers with no friends nearby and nothing to do. He resents Norman's brusque manner at first, but eventually comes to enjoy their Golden Pond fishing adventures together. Chelsea returns, a little exasperated and envious of the fact that Norman seemingly has bonded with a stranger's child in a way he never quite did with her.

Despite their many common acquaintances and long careers in show business, Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn not only had never worked together, but had never met until working on the film. On the first day of shooting, Hepburn presented Henry Fonda with her longtime companion Spencer Tracy's "lucky" hat, which Fonda wore in the film. Hepburn, who was 74 at the time of filming, performed all her own stunts, including a dive into the pond. The scene in which Norman and grand-stepson Billy run their boat, the "Thayer IV", into the rocks was filmed repeatedly. The vintage 1951 mahogany Chris-Craft boat, used strictly for the crash scene, was so sturdy that it kept bouncing off the rocks without any damage. The crew had to modify the boat so it would break away in the wreck. The water level in Squam Lake was so low during the summer of production that Fonda and Doug McKeon could have stood during the scene in which they were supposedly clinging to the rocks for fear of drowning. The September water was barely knee deep, but it was cold enough that the pair had to wear wetsuits under their clothes. Hepburn, on the other hand, dove into the water without the aid of the wetsuit because she wanted the scene to keep its authenticity. Scenes in which Billy takes the boat out on his own were filmed on nearby Lake Winnipesaukee. While filming the scene where Fonda and Hepburn were watching the loons on the lake, the speedboat that zoomed by and disturbed them was so forceful it overturned their canoe in one take; Fonda was immediately taken out of the water and wrapped up in blankets as his health was fragile by that time. The speedboat was piloted by the screenwriter, Ernest Thompson.

Robert David "Dave" Grusin (born June 26, 1934) is an American composer, arranger and pianist. Grusin has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy award and 12 Grammys. He has had a prolific recording career as an artist, arranger, producer and executive producer.

Born in Littleton, Colorado, he studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1956. He produced his first single, "Subways are for Sleeping" in 1962 and composed the score to his first feature film, Divorce American Style five years later. Other scores followed including Winning in 1969, The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Midnight Man (1974) and Three Days of the Condor in 1975.

In the late 70s, he formed GRP records along with his partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. Grusin was also at the forefront of soundtrack albums. He was the composer for the legendary Mike Nichols Oscar-winning film, The Graduate. The film is noted for being one of the first films to integrate popular songs into a film score. Later scores included On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982) and The Goonies (1985).

Mozart Horn Concerto No 4 - soloist Neill Evans

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495 was completed in 1786.

The work is in three movements:

I. Allegro moderato

II. Romance (Andante)

III. Rondo (Allegro vivace) 6/8

The manuscript, written in red, green, blue, and black ink, was formerly considered as a jocular attempt to rattle the intended performer, Mozart's friend Joseph Leutgeb. However, recently it was suggested, that the multicolored score may be also a kind of "color code".

The last movement is a "quite obvious" example of the hunt topic, "in which the intervallic construction, featuring prominent tonic and dominant triads in the main melody, was to some degree dictated by the capability of the horn, and so was more closely allied with the original 'pure' characteristics of the 'chasse' as an open-air hunting call."

This concerto is one of Mozart's two horn concerti to have ripieno horns (horns included in the orchestra besides the soloist), though in contrast to K. 417, the solo horn in this one duplicates the first ripieno horn's part in the tutti passages.

Immortalized, if ever it needed it, by Messrs Flanders & Swann in their song "Ill Wind"from their revue At the Drop of Another Hat, they included what I think is the best ever rhyme which you will never find in any dictionary "I've lost that Horn, lost that Horn, found that Horn ...gorn !"

Charade & Moon River - Henry Mancini : from Charade & Breakfast at Tiffanys

Charade is a 1963 American film directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The movie also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin. It spans four genres: suspense thriller, romance, chick flick and comedy. Because Universal Pictures published the movie with an invalid copyright notice, the film entered the public domain in the United States immediately upon its release.

The film is notable for its screenplay, especially the repartee between Grant and Hepburn, for having been filmed on location in Paris, for Henry Mancini's score and theme song, and for the animated titles by Maurice Binder. Charade has received generally positive reviews from critics, and was additionally noted to contain influences of genres such as whodunit, screwball and spy thriller; it has also been referred to as "the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made."

Words by Johnny Mercer and Music by Henry Mancini from the 1963 film "Charade" starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn

"When we played our charade
We were like children posing
Playing at games, acting out names
Guessing the parts we played."

"Moon River" is a song composed by Johnny Mercer (lyrics) and Henry Mancini (music) in 1961, for whom it won that year's Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was originally sung in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's by Audrey Hepburn, although it has been covered by many other artists. The song also won the 1962 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

It became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and performed it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962. He sang the first eight bars at the beginning of his television show and also named his production company and venue in Branson, Missouri after it. Williams' version was disliked by Cadence Records president Archie Bleyer, who believed it had little or no appeal to teenagers. Andy Williams' version never charted, except as an LP track, which he recorded for Columbia in a hit album of 1962.

The success of the song was responsible for re-launching Mercer's career as a songwriter, which had stalled in the mid-1950s because rock and roll replaced jazz standards as the popular music of the time. An inlet near Savannah, Georgia, Johnny Mercer's hometown, was named Moon River in honor of him and this song. The popularity of the song is such that it has been used as a test sample in a study on people's memories of popular songs.

Comments about the song have noted that it is particularly reminiscent of Mercer's youth in the Southern United States.

Mercer and Mancini wrote the song for Audrey Hepburn to fit her vocal range. Initially, the lyrics started, "I'm Holly, like I want to be / like Holly on a tree back home ..."; however, they were later changed to fit the theme of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Although an instrumental version is played over the film's opening titles, the lyrics are first heard in a scene where Paul "Fred" Varjak (George Peppard) discovers Holly Golightly (Hepburn) singing them, accompanied by her guitar, on the fire escape outside their apartments.

There was an eruption of much behind-the-scenes consternation when a Paramount Pictures executive, Martin Rackin, suggested deleting the song from the film immediately after a very successful San Francisco preview. Hepburn's reaction was described by Mancini and others in degrees varying from her saying "over my dead body" to her using somewhat more colorful language to make the same point.

Edgar Holmes

This afternoon's concert is given by the Winchester Symphony Orchestra, as their annual charity concert and all the proceeds this year are being donated to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. The members of the orchestra, our guest conductor and our soloists have most generously given their services freely, and we are delighted to see again this year Councillor Barry Lipscomb, the retiring Mayor of Winchester, who is Chairman of the Trustees of the Hampshire & IoW Air Ambulance Trust.

Our Guest Conductor is Edgar 'Gary' Holmes, previously Music Master at Christchurch Grammar School; he directed the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra for 25 years from 1971, and since retiring in 1976, he has worked with international youth orchestras in Taipei, Taiwan and Bangkok and the Junior Royal Academy of Music Orchestra in London.

With the support & encouragement of Hampshire County Council, its music staff and members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra began to flourish under his leadership with a widening repertoire performed across the south from the Bournemouth Winter Gardens to Croydon's Fairfield Halls with concerts regularly given in Salisbury, Winchester & Guildford Cathedrals.

He took the Orchestras across Europe and further afield from Aberdeen to Anchorage, Cape Town to Canberra, Dallas to Durban Minneapolis to Melbourne, Wellington to Washington, , performing in concerts at such diverse venues as the United Nations in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls in London. Guest conductors have included Jonathan Willcocks, Ron Goodwin, Stephen Barlow, David Hill and Simon Rattle, and he enlisted the support of their Patron, The Duchess of Wellington.

Edgar has conducted the Winchester Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, and is gratefully called upon to lead our Repertoire sessions which extend the orchestra's range and capabilities to explore works which one day we might hope to present in concert.

Neill Evans

Neill grew up in Worcestershire in a musical family; his father was a professional opera singer. Neill started playing the French Horn at the age of fourteen, studying with Phillip Box and John Geddes in Birmingham, then later with Ifor James at the Royal Academy of Music. At the age of seventeen, Neill won a place on BBC Radio Two's 'Young Musicians' Platform' and broadcast a recital with the eminent accompanist Gerald Moore.

From a very early age, Neill developed a fascination with flying and it was this that became his chosen profession. After gaining a flying scholarship, Neill joined the Royal Air Force and trained as a pilot.

Neill left the RAF in 1989 and started his musical career in the UK tour of Leonard Bernstein's 'On the Town'. In 1990, Neill was asked to play principal horn for City of Birmingham Touring Opera's production of the 'Ring Saga', a condensed version of Wagner's Ring Cycle. This production with orchestration by Jonathon Dove, launched CBTO to great critical acclaim. "The playing of principal horn Neill Evans was pure joy" - The Sunday Times. "The eighteen piece orchestra performed superbly with Herculean playing by the principal horn" - The Sunday Telegraph.

Then followed ten years playing with the London Symphony Orchestra and freelance work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonnietta, and the London Chamber Orchestra.

Aviation never went away, and in 1998, Neill gained his Commercial Pilots License and when an opportunity arose to fly corporate jets, another career change took place.

Neill now divides his time between working as a flying instructor, flight examiner, working for National Air Traffic Services as an Air Traffic Project Specialist and spending time with his wife Maire and their two young children.

Ron Goodwin

Ron Goodwin was born in Devonport, Plymouth on 17 February 1925, the younger son of James Goodwin (d 1952), a Metropolitan Police constable engaged in security work at the naval dockyard, and his wife Bessie Violet, née Godsland (d 1966). Ron Goodwin learned to play the piano from the age of five. When he was nine the family returned to London, and at Willesden County Grammar School he took up the trumpet and joined the school band.

When War broke out, the family moved to Harrow, and Ron transferred to Pinner County Grammar School, where he formed his own band, The Woodchoppers. In 1943, after a brief spell as an insurance clerk, he joined the arranging department of music publisher Campbell, Connelly & Co. There he received invaluable help from arranger Harry G. Stafford, and he also took private conducting lessons from Siegfried de Chabot, a professor at the Guildhall School of Music. He subsequently worked as an arranger for Paramor-Gold Orchestral Services and played trumpet for Harry Gold and His Pieces of Eight. In 1945 he became head of the arranging department at Bron Associated Publishers, and very soon he was arranging for bands of the day including those of Ted Heath and Geraldo and the BBC Dance Orchestra.

From 1949 Ron Goodwin conducted for the Polygon company, arranging and conducting recordings of Petula Clark and Jimmy Young, including the latter's 1951 UK no 1 hit 'Too Young'. He then began an association with George Martin of Parlophone Records, which from 1953 saw him arranging and conducting more than 300 recordings for over fifty artists, including Peter Sellers in the series of three LPs that culminated in 1960 in 'Peter and Sophia' and its hit single 'Goodness, Gracious Me!'. He simultaneously made his own series of recordings and broadcasts as Ron Goodwin and his Concert Orchestra, and in addition began to compose scores for documentary films at Merton Park Studios.

In 1958 Ron Goodwin wrote his first feature film score for Whirlpool, with screenplay by Lawrence P. Bachmann. After Bachmann became executive producer at MGM British Studios in 1959, Ron composed and conducted the music for most of its productions, as well as working for other film studios. Especially successful was his music for Murder She Said (1961) and for other films featuring Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. However, he really made his name with the wider public with the film 633 Squadron, producing an ingenious main theme featuring six fast beats and three slow beats.

Music for Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)cemented Ron Goodwin's high public profile, as did that for Battle of Britain (1969), commissioned to replace music composed by Sir William Walton that the studio deemed unsuitable. Others of over sixty feature films to use his music included The Trap (1966), which featured Oliver Reed and had a theme that became widely familiar through television coverage of the London marathon. Ron also composed the scores for Where Eagles Dare (1969), Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972) and Force Ten from Navarone (1978) and comedies starring Morecambe and Wise, Charlie Drake and Norman Wisdom

Meanwhile Ron Goodwin's highly successful LP albums on the Studio Two label, models of good taste in their integration of elements of jazz and swing into the classical orchestral format, earned him a gold disc to mark the sale of a million albums. In 1970 he first appeared as guest conductor of leading orchestras, with a repertory combining current popular music and film themes and with his own linking anecdotes. These concerts proved hugely popular, leading to invitations to conduct across the world.

Ron appeared as guest conductor with many symphony orchestras at home and abroad including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Australian Pops Orchestra, Danish Radio Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra.Ron was guest conductor at the Royal Academy of Music's Festival of British and American Film Music in June 1996.

Ron recorded internationally and has gold and platinum discs awarded by EMI.

Ron Goodwin's more extended compositions included his Drake 400 Suite (1980) and Armada Suite (1988), both commissioned by his native Plymouth. His New Zealand Suite (1983) marked a long association with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, which earned him a platinum disc from EMI New Zealand to mark two million sales of the album 'Going Places'. Goodwin earned three Ivor Novello Awards, including a lifetime achievement award, and was a Fellow of the City of Leeds College of Music and a Freeman of the City of London.

Ron was a musical perfectionist who had a fine rapport with his fellow artists. He was recognized as a kind, caring man, with a wonderful sense of humour. He was a keen worker with young people, being much involved with the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, Worthing Youth Orchestra, City of Leeds College of Music and the City of Birmingham Schools' Concert Orchestra.

For many years he conducted a series of light-hearted Christmas shows with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, In December 2002 he completed his 32nd consecutive year of these Christmas concerts in packed venues across the South of England. Ron died peacefully at his home at Brimpton Common, Berkshire, on 8 January 2003, aged 77.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 11:44