Budleigh’s Favourite Musical Son Dies
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett died peacefully in New York on Christmas Eve aged 76. Richard was the President of the Budleigh Salterton Jazz Festival. He had great affection for Budleigh as he lived there from the outbreak of war until he was 24.
He appeared at the 2012 Jazz Festival on Friday April 12th accompanying Jazz singer Clare Martin on the piano. He was a brilliant and sensitive accompanist with a natural piano talent for swing. In April he told the Budleigh audience in the Public Hall that this location was where it all began for him. The hall was originally the Carlton Cinema and his Father would take him to see the Hollywood Musicals. This enthused him with his love of music and the “Great American Songbook”
He was a prolific composer in a broad band of music. He wrote an Opera...”The Mines of Sulphur” having studied under Pierre Boulez. He wrote many choral works. Sonatina for flute, a guitar Concerto for Julian Bream, three symphonies,many Concertos including a Concerto for Saxophone,and Reflections on Scottish Folk Song for Cello and Strings. He is probably best known for his film scores which include...Far from the Madding Crowd,Nicholas and Alexandra, Murder on the Orient Express and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
He was nominated for Oscars three times and won a Grammy. He also wrote music for Dr.Who. In later life he moved to New York and chose to act as accompanist to many famous Jazz singers...Dame Cleo Laine, Eartha Kitt, Marion Montgomery, Clare Martin and Anne Hampton Callaway.
His vast musical experience of the American Songbook showed in his faultless accompaniment. He was a warm, kind and gentle man and those who were privileged to meet him in Budleigh last April will testify to his overwhelming love of music and of Budleigh. He leaves an enormous gap in true craftsmanship and talent in British Music. Jazz Festival organiser Tony Dealler said..”We at Budleigh Salterton Jazz Festival mourn our President and will miss him greatly.
Arnold Kanarek.P.R.Budleigh Salterton Jazz Festival.