Richard Rodney Bennett

Biography

Born: March 29, 1936; Broadstairs, Kent, England   Died: December 24, 2012; New York, NY  
A remarkably prolific composer and versatile pianist, Richard Rodney Bennett divided his attention among three primary musical interests: film music in an often Romantic style, concert music owing much to serialism, and jazz and cabaret music. Bennett began following all of these avenues by the 1950s, but he never allowed the paths to intersect. Each pursuit maintained its own integrity and in no way could he be considered a crossover artist. He Read more was writing music even as he was learning to read, and produced three string quartets by the time he was 18. Bennett enrolled in the Royal Academy of Music in 1953, studying composition with Howard Ferguson and Lennox Berkeley. He graduated in 1956, then spent 1957 - 1959 as a scholarship student in Paris with Pierre Boulez. Here, Bennett was thoroughly indoctrinated in Boulez's technique of total serialism and the German avant-garde, but his only surviving work from this period is Cycle II for Paul Jacobs. Bennett almost immediately took a highly personal approach to serialism, focusing on the melodic possibilities of a tone row and readily exploring its harmonic potential. A turning point came in 1981 with his ballet Noctuary, which fused the tonality of the Scott Joplin piece on which it was based with Bennett's usual atonal serialism. After this, Bennett's techniques became much freer; while still atonal, his highly expressive music shook off the strictest controls of serialism and often indulged in quotation of earlier composers. Bennett's catalog includes four string quartets, three symphonies, concertos for almost all the principal instruments (including harpsichord), and a great deal of chamber music. He frequently wrote for woodwinds throughout his career, but began to focus more intently on them in the late '80s upon befriending many wind players in his capacity as a piano accompanist. Since 1956, Bennett had also been writing film scores in a much more conservative style. He became a favorite composer of Joseph Losey, among other directors, and among his some 50 cinematic efforts are scores for such popular movies as Far from the Madding Crowd, Nicholas and Alexandra, Murder on the Orient Express, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was also in the 1950s that Bennett became interested in jazz, particularly as a pianist. He kept this fascination largely to himself until the 1990s, when he began touring the world with a solo cabaret act, singing and playing jazz pieces and torch songs. Read less
Ancora - Maw: Life Studies;  Bennett / Marriner, Willcocks
Release Date: 05/30/2006   Label: Nmc  
Catalog: 85   Number of Discs: 1
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New Music For Brass Band / Tovey, Foden's Richardson Band
Release Date: 10/28/2008   Label: Nmc  
Catalog: 142   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 84 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Julian Bream - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546242 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Mateo Pérez de Albeniz,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears,  George Malcolm,  John Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  Sir Colin Davis,  André Previn,  David Atherton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Julian Bream Consort,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Nocturnal / Stefano Grondona
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33954 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Sir William Walton,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Toru Takemitsu
    Performer:  Stefano Grondona
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  • 3.
    Times Go By Turns / New York Polyphony
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2037 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  John Plummer,  Thomas Tallis,  Richard Rodney Bennett  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Dunstan Williams,  Steven Caldicott Wilson,  Christopher Dylan Herbert,  Craig Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Polyphony
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  • 4.
    Apparitions / Richardson, University Of Western Ontario Wind Ensemble
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1336 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jim Territo,  Jason Noble,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Yo Goto  ... 
    Performer:  Shawn Spicer
    Conductor:  Colleen Richardson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University Of Western Ontario Wind Ensemble
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  • 5.
    Richard Rodney Bennett: Letters To Lindbergh / Bell, Moore, West
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 325 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodney Bennett
    Performer:  Philip Moore,  Andrew West
    Conductor:  Christopher Bell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Youth Choir of Scotland Girls Choir
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  • 6.
    Sea Change: The Choral Music Of Richard Rodney Bennett
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 521 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodney Bennett
    Performer:  Charles Fullbrook,  Sue Dorey
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers Choir
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  • 7.
    Insomnia - A Nocturnal Voyage In Song / William Berger, Iain Burnside
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34116 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  William Berger,  Iain Burnside
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  • 8.
    My Dancing Day - Choral Music by Richard Rodney Bennett / Brough, BBC Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 293 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodney Bennett,  George Gershwin,  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Cole Porter
    Performer:  Edward Goater,  Olivia Robinson
    Conductor:  Paul Brough
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
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  • 9.
    100 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27315 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean,  Gerald Moore,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Thurston Connection - English Music For Clarinet And Piano / Cox, Buckle
    Label: British Music Society   Catalog: 440 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Roger Fiske,  Iain Hamilton,  Hugh Wood  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Buckle,  Nicholas Cox
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  • 11.
    This Is The Day / Rutter, Cambridge Singers
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 136 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Sir William Walton,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Lucas,  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  Aurora Orchestra
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  • 12.
    English Anthem Collection From Oxford / Harper, Magdalen College Choir
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 4001 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Thomas Morley,  John Farmer,  Richard Farrant  ... 
    Conductor:  John Harper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdalen College Choir Oxford
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  • 13.
    Holbrooke: Aucassin & Nicolette, Saxophone Concerto; Bennett: Country Dances
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7277 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Holbrooke,  Richard Rodney Bennett
    Performer:  Amy Dickson
    Conductor:  George Vass
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Wolcum Yule / Andrew Lawrence-king, Anonymous 4
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2927325 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Peter Maxwell Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Horner,  Johanna Rose,  Susan Hellauer,  Marsha Genensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anonymous 4
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  • 15.
    My True Love Hath My Heart / Connolly, Martineau
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10691 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Herbert Howells,  John Ireland,  Ivor Gurney  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Connolly,  Malcolm Martineau
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  • 16.
    On Christmas Night / Nethsingha, Choir of St. John's
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5096 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Traditional,  James Burton,  William Mathias  ... 
    Performer:  John Challenger,  Julius Foo,  Julian Gregory,  Freddie James  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Nethsingha
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 17.
    Parry: Songs Of Farewell / Nigel Short, Tenebrae
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 267 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Herbert Howells,  John Tavener  ... 
    Conductor:  Nigel Short
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tenebrae
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  • 18.
    Icon - Melos Ensemble
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18414 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Lamar Crowson,  Cecil Aronowitz,  Manoug Parikian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London Members,  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 19.
    Out Of The Cool / Susan Milan, Andrew Ball
    Label: Metier   Catalog: 28510 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Heath,  Arthur Butterworth,  Cecilia McDowall,  Robert Saxton  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Milan,  Andrew Ball
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  • 20.
    Peter Pears - An Anniversary Tribute
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001437802 Release Date: 06/22/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  John Ireland,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Frank Bridge,  Alan Bush  ... 
    Performer:  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Pears,  Joan Dickson,  Viola Tunnard  ... 
    Conductor:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Sir Colin Davis,  Benjamin Britten,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zorian Quartet,  London Sinfonietta,  Goldsborough Orchestra  ... 
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  • 21.
    Britten: Ceremony Of Carols / Kelly, Choir Of New College Oxford
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 3490 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Joubert,  Peter Wishart,  Andrew Carter,  Herbert Kennedy Andrews  ... 
    Performer:  Frances Kelly
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 22.
    Retrospectacular - Bach, Beethoven, Reicha, Villa-lobos, Etc / Dorian Wind Quintet
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 513 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Perle,  Lee Hoiby,  Bruce Adolphe,  Billy Childs  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dorian Wind Quintet
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  • 23.
    Skempton: Pigs Could Fly, Alice Is One;  Britten, Tavener, Bliss, Rutter, Etc / Corp, Wells, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572113 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Nicholas Maw,  Philip Godfrey,  Ronald Corp  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Wells
    Conductor:  Ronald Corp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Children's Choir
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  • 24.
    New Music For Brass Band / Tovey, Foden's Richardson Band
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 142 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodney Bennett,  George Benjamin,  Kenneth Hesketh,  Judith Bingham  ... 
    Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Foden's Richardson Band
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  • 25.
    The Chrismas Night - Rutter, Holst, Warlock, Etc / Griffiths, Pearce, Coro
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 601 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Boris Ord,  John Rutter,  Richard Rodney Bennett  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Pearce
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Coro
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