Farnon, Robert (Joseph)
- David Ades
(b Toronto, ON, July 24, 1917; d Guernsey, April 22, 2005). Canadian arranger, composer and conductor. He began his career as a trumpet player in dance bands, and then for Percy Faith's CBC Orchestra. By 1942 he had composed two symphonies and in 1944 he came to Britain as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, alongside Glenn Miller and George Melachrino fronting the US and British bands. He took his army discharge in Britain, and Decca contracted him to work with their leading singers such as Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields; the BBC gave him a radio series with his own orchestra. He began composing for the cinema, and early successes out of some 40 scores included Spring in Park Lane, Maytime in Mayfair and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.. The arrival of LPs gave orchestra leaders such as Farnon the opportunity to develop their arranging and composing talents more fully, and his Decca albums from the 1950s have become highly prized by admirers, especially fellow musicians in the USA. Many have acknowledged his influence, including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones and Johnny Mandel. Farnon’s light orchestral cameos are among the finest to have been written since World War II, notably ...