and pianist, Clive Richardson, died on 11 November 1998 aged
89. During a long and successful career he composed many pieces
of light music which are still familiar by their melody, if
not their name.
He was born
in Paris of British parents on 23 June 1909; his father was
a member of a family of Scottish sugar traders, and his mother
was a daughter of Rear-Admiral Sir Sydney Eardley-Wilmot.
His aunt, May Eardley-Wilmot, was the lyricist of the famous
song Little Grey Home in the West, which was sung at
educated in England, initially as a doctor, then he turned
his attention fully to music. At the Royal Academy in London
he studied the organ, piano, violin, clarinet, trumpet, trombone
and timpani - as well as orchestration and conducting.
a student, in 1931 he played the piano in Bach's 5th Brandenburg
Concerto at the Queen's Hall, London, with Sir Henry Wood
conducting. He regarded this important concert as his first
major musical achievement.
professional career found him arranging popular tunes for
Walford Hyden's Cafe Collette Orchestra (including numerous
BBC broadcasts) and touring as a member of Harold Ramsay's
'Rhythm Symphony Orchestra'. He also worked as a musical director
in London's West End for several Andre Chariot reviews, including
Vivian Ellis's "Please" at the Savoy (1933) starring Beatrice
Lillie and Lupino Lane, and Herbert Farejohns' "Spread It
Abroad" (Saville Theatre, 1936) with Hermione Gingold and
1930s he also worked with the international singer Hildegarde,
and as her accompanist and musical director they spent several
years touring Britain and across Europe, culminating in a
triumphant engagement at New York's prestigious Rainbow Room.
1936 Richardson joined the Gaumont British Films Company as
arranger and assistant musical director to Louis Levy. For
the next three years he worked alongside many other famous
names in British films and light music, including Charles
Williams, Leighton Lucas, Jack Beaver, Bretton Byrd and Mischa
Spoliansky, although almost every film only credited Louis
Levy for the music, despite the fact that Levy did little
conducting and virtually no composing himself.
Williams, Clive Richardson composed most of Will Hay's Gainsborough
pictures, including "Oh Mr. Porter", and also scored "French
Without Tears" (1939), officially credited to Nicholas Brodszky.
had joined the Territorial Army in 1928, and during World
War Two he served in the Royal Artillery Regiment, but like
many other musicians who were drafted he continued to be involved
with music. In 1944 the BBC asked him to contribute arrangements
to Tommy Handley's "ITMA" programme, and his witty scores
of folk songs, nursery rhymes and traditional melodies, played
by Charles Shadwell and the BBC Variety Orchestra, became
a popular feature.
these were recorded on 78s in the early days of the KPM Recorded
Music Library: The Irish Washer Woman, Oranges and Lemons
(KPM 062), This Old Man Came Rolling Home &
Life on the Ocean Wave (KPM 063). In the late 1990s
some more of these were 're-discovered' by BBC producer Roy
Oakshott for the Radio-2 series "Legends of Light Music",
including Sing a Song of Sixpence and Girls and
Boys Come Out to Play.
the end of the war the publishers Lawrence Wright asked Richardson
to compose an eight-minute work similar to Richard Addinsell's
hugely successful "Warsaw Concerto", which had been featured
in the 1941 film "Dangerous Moonlight" starring Anton Walbrook,
Sally Gray and Cecil Parker. The work was originally conceived
as "The Coventry Concerto" being a tribute to the Midlands
city where Clive Richardson had been stationed. But as the
score developed, the composer realised that it was more suited
to our capital city, and it eventually appeared in 1944 as
a day in the life of a city being blitzed. The work opens
to a broad theme suggesting Londoners at work, and children
at play (Richardson inter-weaved snatches of nursery rhymes);
then the strings (with an eerily real interpretation of an
air raid siren that apparently upset some people at the time)
announce that heavy bombers are approaching. An raid ensues,
and bells accompany the arrival of the rescue services. Eventually
the all-clear sounds, and life returns to what passed as 'normal'
in wartime. The work was an immediate success, with two competing
commercial recordings by fellow EMI companies - Charles Williams
on Columbia and Sidney Torch for Parlophone; in each case
the composer played the piano solo. Decca also invited Mantovani
to record a slightly longer version, with pianist Monia Liter.
There were numerous broadcast performances for many years
thereafter, and this work reached a new audience through an
EMI Sidney Torch CD in 1992. Mantovanis version subsequently
appeared on a Vocalion CD in 1999.
works during this period included "Salute to Industry" (1945),
a choral work with lyrics by A.P. Herbert; and "White Cliffs"
(1946), a nautical overture.
very busy as a composer and arranger, Clive Richardson embarked
on a new career with his close friend, and fellow pianist,
Tony Lowry as 'Four Hands in Harmony'. Their inventive arrangements
and almost instinctive blend made them enormously popular,
and they were soon topping variety bills all over the country,
and they appeared on over 500 broadcasts.
Richardson is best remembered for his light orchestral compositions.
Most of these were commissioned by London music publishers,
who wanted his inventive creations for their recorded music
libraries, which supplied ready-made music for radio, television
and film companies throughout the world. Titles such as "Running
Off The Rails", "Beachcomber", "Shadow Waltz" (written under
his nom-de-plume 'Paul Dubois'), "The Girl on the Calendar"
, "Chiming Strings", "Saga of the Seven Seas", "Jamboree",
"Tom Marches On" (the ITMA march) and "Continental Galop"
quickly became familiar to radio audiences. Other slightly
lesser-known works included "Sea Menace", "Society Wedding",
"Airport", "Billowing Sails", "Rondoletto", "Chiming Strings",
"Getting Together", "Summerland", "Song of Alcazar", "Atlantic
Crossing", "Pulse Beats", "Mannequin Melody", "Orbit", "Ride
to Rio", "Shopping Around" and "Mantovani Strings". With Tony
Lowry, as 'Peter Crantock' he wrote "Cockney Capers" for the
orchestra leader Harry Davidson.
Television Children's Newsreel used Clive's exhilarating "Holiday
Spirit" as its theme, In the 1950s Radio Luxembourg's "Dan
Dare" serial (a rival to the BBC's "Dick Barton -Special Agent")
played Richardson's "Radio Location" (an early form of Radar)
in almost every episode.
catchy piece was "Melody On The Move" which also gave the
name to more than one radio series. In later years he confessed
that the inspiration for this had been the Dorabella movement
from Elgar's 'Enigma Variations'.
continued composing for the rest of his life, and his works
have gained new admirers through the renaissance of light
music on CDs which began in the 1990s, He was particularly
proud of the LRAM after his name, and in 1988 received the
Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers
and Authors, for lifetime services to the music business.