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Sir Richard Rodney Bennett obituary

Composer and pianist whose work included film scores, opera and jazz cabaret

The composer Richard Rodney Bennett, who has died in New York aged 76, pursued multiple musical lives with extraordinary success. He was one of the more distinguished soundtrack composers of his era, having contributed to some 50 films and winning Oscar nominations for his work on Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

But it scarcely seemed credible that this knack for writing for a mainstream audience in a melodic, romantic style co-existed with his mastery of serialism and 12-tone techniques. From 1957 to 1959, Bennett was a scholarship student with Pierre Boulez in Paris and soaked up the latter's total serialism techniques as well as his infatuation with the German avant garde. He also attended the summer schools at Darmstadt, the mecca for diehard atonalists.

His tremendous facility as a pianist would prompt the

See full article on The Guardian - Film News