Richard Addinsell

Biography

Born: January 13, 1904 Died: November 14, 1977
A prolific composer of theater and film music, Richard Addinsell is now remembered as a one-hit wonder, the composer of the lush, faux-Rachmaninov one-movement Warsaw Concerto for piano and orchestra. Addinsell studied law at Oxford and, briefly (1925-1926), music at the Royal College of Music in London. He wrote his first theater score for Clemence Dane's Come of Age or Adam's Opera in 1928; Addinsell continued collaborating with Dane until her death in 1965. After a break in 1929 for study in Berlin and Vienna, Addinsell returned to London and the theater. Eva La Gallienne asked him to score her production of Alice in Wonderland (another Dane project) in 1933. After that, Addinsell continued to write off and on for the stage, but he focused more on film music, scoring such classics as Goodbye Mr. Chips, A Tale of Two Cities, Blithe Spirit, Fire Over England, and Dark Journey, as well as a number of patriotic English documentaries during World War II. Addinsell's most enduring contribution to the repertory, the Warsaw Concerto, was embedded in his score for Dangerous Moonlight (released in the United States as Suicide Squadron). From 1942 Addinsell took occasional time out from his movie work to collaborate with Joyce Grenfell on songs for such London West End revues as Tuppence Colored and Penny Plain, and later for Grenfell's one-woman shows.
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