Dennis Farnon

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Dennis Farnon
Born(1923-08-13)August 13, 1923
Toronto, Ontario
DiedMay 21, 2019(2019-05-21) (aged 95)
Aalst, Buren, The Netherlands
Occupation Canadian-born composer, conductor and musical arranger.

Dennis Farnon (13 August 1923 - 21 May 2019) was a Canadian musical arranger, composer and orchestra conductor. [1]

Dennis Farnon was born in 1923 in Toronto, Canada as John Denis Farnon to Robert and Elsie Farnon (née Menzies). He grew up in a musical family, and learned to play the trumpet at age 12. Through his older brother Robert, he enlisted into the Canadian Army Band, also travelling to Europe to entertain the Allied troops during the last years of the war. In his mid-20’s, he moved to Chicago where he played in jazz clubs and pursued studies in conducting, arranging, and orchestration, strongly influenced by the works of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Béla Bartók and Sergey Prokofiev.

Robert Joseph FarnonCM was a Canadian-born composer, conductor, musical arranger and trumpet player. As well as being a composer of original works, he was commissioned by film and television producers for theme and incidental music. In later life he composed a number of more serious orchestral works, including three symphonies, and was recognised with four Ivor Novello awards and the Order of Canada.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Maurice Ravel French composer

Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.

Several years later, he accepted an invitation to Hollywood as musical director for singer Johnny Holiday, and he stayed, continuing to compose, conduct and arrange. In 1956, he was tapped by RCA Records to head their West Coast A & R and signed on as producer, arranger and recording artist. [2] During that time, the Dennis Farnon Orchestra recorded numerous albums, including Magoo in Hi-Fi, over 10 episodes of Mr Magoo [3] cartoon shorts, Chet Atkins in Hollywood, Velvet Carpet – The George Shearing's Quintet, The Enchanted Woods, Songs From The Motion Picture Gigi with singers Gogi Grant and Tony Martin (American singer), and Caution! Men Swinging.

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.

Chet Atkins American guitarist and record producer

Chester Burton Atkins, known as "Mr. Guitar" and "The Country Gentleman", was an American musician, occasional vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, who along with Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, among others, created the country music style that came to be known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country music's appeal to adult pop music fans. He was primarily known as a guitarist. He also played the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and ukulele.

George Shearing Anglo-American jazz pianist

Sir George Albert Shearing, OBE was a British jazz pianist who for many years led a popular jazz group that recorded for Discovery Records, MGM Records and Capitol Records. The composer of over 300 titles, including the jazz standards "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Conception", and had multiple albums on the Billboard charts during the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. He died of heart failure in New York City, at the age of 91.

In 1957, he was one of the five founding members (along with Paul Weston, Lloyd Dunn, Jesse Kaye, and Sonny Burke) of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (now known as The Recording Academy) [4] [5] - the organisation which bestows the annual Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals

The Recording Academy is an American learned academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals. It is famous for its Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.

In the early 1960s he moved to London, where he learnt about library music and signed up with a number of publishing companies such as Boosey and Hawkes, KPM (now EMI) and Chappell Music. Over the course of the next 20 years, he went on to compose and publish a large volume of library music licensed for film, television, radio and other media. The styles ranged from jazz, funk, drama and romantic to his personal favourite, comedy music, which more recently has appeared in The Ren and Stimpy Show and SpongeBob SquarePants . His movie credits include the score for the 1966 Tony Curtis film Arrivederci, Baby! . For television, he composed music for some episodes of the British children’s series Follyfoot (1971) and wrote the theme for the London Weekend Television production Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976).

Boosey & Hawkes is a British music publisher purported to be the largest specialist classical music publisher in the world. Until 2003, it was also a major manufacturer of brass, string and woodwind musical instruments.

EMI British music recording and publishing company

EMI Group Limited was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the big four record companies ; its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.

Warner Chappell Music, Inc., is an American music publishing company and a division of the Warner Music Group.

As with his brothers Brian and Robert, Dennis Farnon specialised in light music and orchestral arrangements of well-known standards, sometimes writing under the pseudonyms of Paul Gerard and John Dennis.

Light music British musical style of "light" orchestral music

Light music is a less-serious form of Western classical music, which originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. Its heyday was in the mid‑20th century. The style is through-composed, usually shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider context and audience than more sophisticated forms such as the concerto, the symphony and the opera.

In music, a standard is a musical composition of established popularity, considered part of the "standard repertoire" of one or several genres. Even though the standard repertoire of a given genre consists of a dynamic and partly subjective set of songs, these can be identified by having been performed or recorded by a variety of musical acts, often with different arrangements. In addition, standards are extensively quoted by other works and commonly serve as the basis for musical improvisation. Standards may "cross over" from one genre's repertoire to another's; for example, many jazz standards have entered the pop repertoire, and many blues standards have entered the rock repertoire.

Farnon resided for a short time in Cascais, Portugal, where he worked with various Portuguese composers-singers including Fernando Tordo, Carlos do Carmo and Sérgio Borges. In 1979 he moved again and settled in the Netherlands. He continued writing, producing solo and chamber pieces with the classical guitarist Yves Storms and composing various short piano pieces. In the mid-1990s he was invited to the Hilversum recording studios to work with the celebrated Dutch Metropole Orchestra on a digitally recorded version of the Mother Magoo Suite .

The films Reversal of Fortune (1990), Fever Pitch (2005) and numerous popular television series such as Spiderman, Doctor Who , Sons and Daughters , Prisoner (TV series) and Flying Doctors also carry credits for his work.

He continued to write short piano compositions right up until his death, always favouring lighthearted comical tunes to make people laugh, with titles such as The Camel with the Wooden Leg, Two Doves on a Chimneypot, Grass Valley and Friend, Ms. Penguin and Twinkletoes and Me.

He died in Aalst, Buren on May 21, 2019 at the age of 95.

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References

  1. "Dennis Farnon, Last Survivor of the Recording Academy's Five Founders, Dies at 95". Billboard. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  2. "Dennis Farnon in Pop Dept. as A&R Exec". Billboard. 4 February 1956. p. 15.
  3. "Victor Sets 'Magopo' Wax". Billboard. 21 July 1956. p. 24.
  4. "Billboard". Billboard . 10 June 1957. p. 18. ISSN   0006-2510.
  5. "NMPA Forums Yield New Copyright Liaison Bodies". Billboard. Vol. 89 no. 47. 26 November 1977. p. 27.