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Cat. No. CHAN 9867 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9867 - The Film Music of Richard Rodney Bennett
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Available From: 23 November 2000
Richard Rodney Bennett was encouraged in his musical interests by his mother (a former student of Holst’s) who taught him piano from the age of five. Already composing in his teens, he won a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1953 where he studied under Lennox Berkeley and Howard Ferguson. While in the midst of his studies he was spotted by film producer John Hollingsworth who invited him to try his hand at film soundtracks; initially he worked on small-scale scores for industrial documentary films.

In the field of film music he tackled a wide variety of subjects and styles, including comedies such as Peter Sellers’ Only Two Can Play and The Wrong Arm of the Law, Satan Never Sleeps, Hammer’s The Nanny and The Witches and Michael Caine’s Billion Dollar Brain. Having worked with John Schlesinger in 1965 on Billy Liar, he returned to score the director’s Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), the score of which was nominated for Best Original Score in the Academy Awards of 1967.

The score of Lady Caroline Lamb was adapted into the suite Lady Caroline Lamb (Elegy for Viola and Orchestra). Bennett’s spectacular Orient Express theme from the film Murder on the Orient Express is possibly the star of the film. ‘Nicole’s Theme’ is from the ambitious television adaptation of Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night (1985). The nostalgically mellow Enchanted April (1991) was a Merchant Ivory film and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) saw Bennett’s music rubbing shoulders with pop music. Although touring as a solo performer and accompanist, Bennett still finds time to involve himself in selective film and television projects, and in 1998 he was knighted for his services to music.
Reviews

‘Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic perform brilliantly, as do the Chandos engineers. I want more.’
American Record Guide on CHAN 9774 (Auric)

‘A cracking addition to the budding Chandos Movies label, and essential listening for film- and British-music fans alike.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9749 (Rawsthorne)

‘From the gusto of the playing it seems clear that the BBC Philharmonic enjoyed making this disc: understandably so.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9774 (Auric)

‘If the true art of composing for the cinema is to be seen and heard, then Richard Rodney Bennett is a master of the medium’.
International Record Review

 

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