Robert Farnon

The Canadian composer Robert Farnon was born in Toronto, Ontario on 24 July 1917. He became a household name in Canada before he was twenty, because of the many radio programmes he made. He arrived in the UK during the World War II as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and settled there.

Robert Farnon was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998. There was more serious music too: he died in Guernsey on 23 April 2005, aged eighty-seven, three weeks before his third symphony was due to be premièred in Edinburgh by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and he had been working on a bassoon concerto.

At the time of Farnon's death, Basil Ramsey commented:

'Bob Farnon was much better known for his light music, of course: pieces like Westminster Waltz, Portrait of a Flirt and Jumping Bean. Which raises the question 'why, his three symphonies notwithstanding, should his passing be remarked on in a magazine devoted to "classical" music?' My answer would be that the distinction is in any case fairly tenuous: how, for example, should we categorise Elgar's Chanson de Matin or Sibelius's Valse Triste? As well as being tuneful, at its best, Farnon's light music is very carefully crafted indeed. He was simply a great master of his chosen metier.'


A selection of articles about Robert Farnon

Record box. Ignited memories - British light music, reviewed by Patric Standford