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Evergreen

22 EVERGREEN Autumn When

22 EVERGREEN Autumn When it began in 1953 on the BBC Light Programme, later to become Radio 2, Friday Night is Music Night or FNIMN concentrated on light melodic music and occasionally the Radio Times would tell you what to expect, as they once did with a splendid cartoon illustrating the rarely heard London Transport Suite by Sidney Torch. Nowadays the playlist is kept secret which, sadly, has forced many listeners to abandon the show because they don’t like waiting in the hope that something they like might turn up. For those who have stayed loyal, however, the opening music is “High Adventure”, one of many theme tunes composed by Charles Williams (see Evergreen, Spring 2003), including Jennings at School, Dick Barton, Sports Personality of the Year and Television Newsreel. Our Radio and Television Memories CD, Volume 2, (CRD3), has 38 familiar tunes by Charles Williams, real name Isaac Cozerbreit! Now the longest running live orchestral music programme on radio, Friday Night is Music Night has had many presenters down the decades including Kenneth Alwyn, Richard Baker, Robin Boyle, Brian Kay, Russell Davies, Ken Bruce, Aled Jones, Jimmy Kingsbury, Alan Titchmarsh, Paul Gambaccini, Clare Teal and many more. After the introductory music, the host alludes to what is coming, usually a mixture of classical, light, theatre, musicals, operetta and opera. Perhaps not surprisingly in an age of instant everything, much of the music is familiar which is a pity because there is a great deal more good light music out there waiting to be discovered.

2017 EVERGREEN 23 Few radio or television programmes achieve 1,000 performances, but Friday Night is Music Night managed it without any trouble and is still going strong 45 years later! Back in 1953 the programme was set up to showcase the newly formed BBC Concert Orchestra, at the time one of many BBC music ensembles but the only one now left devoted to this particular genre, although regional orchestras The Aeolian Hall in London was used by the BBC for recordings after St. George’s Hall was bombed in 1943. also played lighter music, leaving the BBC Symphony Orchestra to concentrate solely on more serious works. Sadly, all the regional orchestras were disbanded in 1979 which caused a furore, followed by the BBC Radio Orchestra and the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra, better-known as the NDO (see Evergreen, Summer 2012). The BBC Northern Orchestra metamorphosed into the BBC Philharmonic while the BBC Big Band is allowed to tour as a semi-independent outfit. Back in 1953 Sidney Torch was given the brief of lightening up Friday evenings. Fresh from conducting the Queen’s Hall Light

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