Marcus Dods was a highly regarded conductor in the concert hall, on the operatic and theatrical stages, and in motion pictures from the 1940s through the 1980s. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1918, he attended Cambridge University and later graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. He joined Britain's largest movie studio, the Rank Organisation, in the early '40s and served as an assistant to conductor Muir Mathieson on movies such as In WhichRead more We Serve and Brief Encounter. He was an arranger and conductor at Rank from 1947 through 1951. After leaving Rank, Dods joined the Sadler's Wells Opera in London in 1952, serving as conductor and chorus master with the Sadler's Wells Opera with the company until 1956. During the late '50s, he also became established as a conductor on the theatrical stage, in live performance, and also in a series of important studio cast recordings of such musicals as Oliver (1960), Blitz! (1962), Pickwick (1963), and Maggie May (1964), several of which remain in print four decades later. In 1974, he also made one classic recording of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and ballet music, A Gilbert & Sullivan Spectacular. In the field of contemporary music, Dods also made a significant contribution with his 1965 recording of Malcolm Williamson's one-act children's opera The Happy Prince on the Argo label, for which he conducted the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He also returned to film music during the 1960s, most significantly in association with composer Richard Rodney Bennett, starting in 1965. Dods conducted Bennett's hauntingly beautiful, Oscar-nominated score for Far From the Madding Crowd and the composer's dazzlingly clever, more action-oriented music for the espionage thriller Billion Dollar Brain (both 1967); his later Bennett score recordings included Lady Caoline Lamb (which was released on Angel Records' classical line) and Murder on the Orient Express. From 1966 until 1969, Dods held the post of principal conductor with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and from 1972 until his death in 1984, Dods was the musical director of the London Concert Orchestra. The key parts of Dods' theatrical and classical catalog have reappeared on CD in the decades since, as has his recording of Far From the Madding Crowd; and in 2002, his recording of Bennett's score for Billion Dollar Brain -- featuring Bennett and composer Thea Musgrave on two of the three pianos on the title track -- reappeared in a handsomely packaged, apparently bootlegged CD edition from some anonymous source. Read less
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