WALLY STOTT/ANGELA MORLEY.

 

 

When one thinks of Wally Stott I think you straight away remember the GOON show, as it was Stott who was musical director for many of these madcap pieces of comedy genius that featured the likes of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Born Walter

 

Wally Stott on March 10th,1924. Stott later in life (1972) underwent sex reassignment surgery and returned to composing as Angela Morley. Stott often attributed his entry into music composition and arranging to the influences of the light music composer conductor Robert Farnon and it was within the area of light music or easy listening as we refer to it nowadays that Stott first made a name for himself. Writing popular pieces of music that were loved by the music buying public in England during the 1950’s.

 

He was also involved in writing music for radio broadcasts and provided the now familiar theme and incidental music for Hancock’s Half Hour, it was also during this period that Stott began to work as the musical director for the third series of THE GOON SHOW, which began to run from 1952 and finished in 1960. He also composed the 12, note theme for Lew Grades ATV channel that introduced each of the company’s programs from 1969 through to 1981 when the company stopped production. He began a long association with Phillips records in 1953, and would arrange the backing tracks and direct the orchestra for various artists that recorded on the label.

 

He also released albums as an artist in his own right one of the most popular being LONDON PRIDE which was released in 1958. In 1958, he provided the musical accompaniment and was the MD for Shirley Bassey and was featured on Bassey’s 1959 hit single, AS I LOVE YOU which reached the top of the British hit parade in the January of that year.

 

 

He also worked with Dusty Springfield. Frankie Vaughn, Roy Castle and Harry Secombe as well as collaborating with Scott Walker on the singers first four albums. In 1962 and 1963 Stott arranged the UK’s entries for the Eurovision song contest. RING A DING GIRL and SAY WONDERFUL THINGS which were both performed by Ronnie Carroll. In 1962, Stott acted as arranger for the debut album of Italian tenor Sergio Franchi, entitled ROMANTIC ITALIAN SONGS, which was released on the RCA RED SEAL label and later arranged and conducted the music for Franchi’s second album also on RCA entitled WOMEN IN MY LIFE. In 1974 as Angela Morley the composer was nominated twice for an Academy Award in the category of best music and original song score/adaptation, this was for THE LITTLE PRINCE and THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE, on which she collaborated with Douglas Gamley, Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Lowe for THE LITTLE PRINCE and Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman on THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE. She was the first transgender person to be nominated for an Academy Award.

 


In later years Morley received Emmy nominations for composing music for television series such as Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Hotel and Dallas. Morley also worked on many American TV shows, these included CAGNEY AND LACEY, WONDER WOMAN, BLUE SKIES and McClain’s LAW. She won two Emmy Awards for her work in music arrangement, these were in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction, in 1988 and 1990, both for television specials starring actress Julie Andrews. She also composed sections of the score for WATERSHIP DOWN in 1978.

 

 

After this She began to work with composer John Williams, but mainly in an un-credited role providing arrangements for the composer to conduct with the famed BOSTON POPS ORCHESTRA and regularly conducted the BBC radio orchestra and the BBC Big Band. She died in Scottsdale Arizona on January 14th, 2009 aged 84.

 

JOHN VEALE, UNSUNG HERO OF THE SILVER SCREEN.

Born John Douglas Louis Veale in Bromley Kent on June 15th,1922, composer John Veale, is again one of the driving and original forces within British concert hall and film music that is at times sadly overlooked. Veale attended the Dragon School in Oxford from 1930 through to 1936, and then later went to Repton school which was in Derbyshire from 1936 up until 1940. After this Veale attended The Corpus Christi College in Oxford until 1942 where he studied History. Even when he was a young child Veale took a keen interest in music, which was something of a surprise as none of his family as in his parents or siblings were musically inclined, although his Father did like to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan. Veale found himself particularly attracted to the sound of the wind instruments and whilst attending the Dragon School and at the age of twelve was given a clarinet for his Birthday. He taught himself to play the instrument and when he moved onto Repton School took lessons and began to experiment in composing. He then began to play in the school orchestra and was a member of a jazz band and tried to emulate his hero at the time Benny Goodman. It was the arrival of his new music teacher in 1939, John Gardener who opened the young composers mind to other composers and widened his appreciation of the classical music world, in the form of Sibelius and Shostakovich that really fired up Veale’s interest in composition. It was Gardener who also introduced Veale to the work of William Walton via a performance of Walton’s first symphony. Veale also became interested in the music of Bartok, Bax, Ravel, Vaughn Williams, Rawsthorne and Barber. All of which made a lasting impression upon him and shaped the way in which he fashioned his own music in the following years. During the second world war, Veale spent his war service in the Education Corps, and during this time he continued to study music unofficially with Egon Wellesz and had lessons from Sir Thomas Armstrong in harmony and counterpoint. It was during this period that the composer had his first works performed and completed his first symphony.

early3 After the composer was demobbed, he returned to Oxford where he continued his studies with Wellesz and further studied music. He began to write incidental music for the theatre, and it was a piece of music from one such production LOVES LABOURS LOST (1947) that began Veale’s involvement in writing for films, the composer sent a copy of his score for the production to Muir Mathieson, who after seeing it asked Veale to write music for The Crown Film Unit, it was via this assignment that Veale met conductor John Hollingsworth, who was assistant to Sir Malcolm Sargent. Veale then became friends and moved in musical circles with many of the most respected composers of that period, Elizabeth Lutyens, William Walton, Humphrey Searle, Constant Lambert, Alan Rawsthorne plus poets and writers such as Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis.

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It was around 1954 that Veale returned to writing music for film, John Hollingsworth attended a performance of the composer’s clarinet concerto and had heard that Muir Mathieson was looking for a composer to write the score for THE PURPLE PLAIN which was a movie that starred American actor Gregory Peck. After hearing Veale’s clarinet concerto Hollingsworth spoke with Mathieson, who agreed that Veale would be right for the film. The score was a great success for the composer and this led to other film scoring assignments that included, WAR IN THE AIR which was a documentary for television and the feature films, PORTRAIT OF ALISON-aka POSTMARK FOR DANGER (1955) and THE SPANISH GARDENER (1956) which starred the then British heart throb Dirk Bogarde. Veale’s score for this was grandiose and dramatic and had to it a hint of the style employed by Miklos Rosza in his early British movies.

 

After this the composer worked on several B movies, CLASH BY NIGHT, THE HOUSE IN MARSH ROAD, HIGH TIDE AT NOON and NO ROAD BACK which was an early movie for Sean Connery and featured Alfie Bass.

 

 

As the 1960, s began Veale and composers like him who wrote romantic and richly thematic music seemed to fall out of favour, the music fans at that time opting for the pop music revolution or the more Avant Garde and modern sounding music. The decades of the 60, s and the 70, s were not kind to the composer. But interest in his music soon returned during the 1980, s and the 1990, s. With Chandos records recording a few his works. John Veale may not have written the scores to that many movies, but the few he did write were impressive and filled with rich thematic material. He battled prostate cancer for many years but finally had to leave Oxford and return to Bromley where he resided in a care home, he passed away on November 16th, 2006.

 

Michele Lacerenza.

Born in Taranto, Puglia, Italy on January 7th 1922. Michele Lacerenza was to become one of the most important musicians to be connected with the Italian cinema and in- particular the Italian western. Like Alessandroni, s whistle and guitar playing, Franco De Gemini’s excellent harmonica performances and Edda Dell Orso’s unique aural vocalising, Lacarenza was to make his mark on the western genre and also other movie scores with his inspired and unblemished trumpet playing.

Lacerenza came from a family background that was musical; his Father Giacomo Lacerenza was a well known conductor. Lacerenza came to the forefront of Italian film music when he was asked by composer Ennio Morricone to perform trumpet on “A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS”. The films director Sergio Leone had originally insisted on having Italy’s most prominent trumpet player at that time Nini Rosso to perform on the soundtrack, but Morricone wanted to use Lacerenza because he remembered his flawless performances whilst they were at the music conservatory and has stated since that he wrote the piece with Lacerenza’s trumpet in mind.

After playing the films central theme for Leone the great film-maker was said to be reduced to tears because Lacerenza’s performance was so full of emotion. Morricone described him as “A sublime trumpet player” After the success of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, Lacerenza continued his collaboration with Morricone on scores such as A PISTOL FOR RINGO , FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Lacerenza became much in demand and began to perform on many other film soundtracks, it was also at this time that he had a hit record with a cover version of THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (La Casa Del Sole) a song that had been a worldwide hit for British rock band The Animals.

 

Lacerenza’s career went from strength to strength and as well as performing on film scores and collaborating with composers such as Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota and Armando Trovaioli he also began to compose music for the cinema and although his output may not have been immense it was certainly important and original. The Maestro also taught music at the Foggia conservatory of music and the Santa Cecilia Academy.  He died in Rome on November 17th 1989.

STANLEY MYERS.

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British composer Stanley Myers was born in Edgbaston England on October 6th, 1930, he studied at Oxford University, and by the mid 1950’s had already established himself as a songwriter and a musical director in theatres for musicals. His first foray into film scoring came in 1958 when he worked on the English motion picture MURDER REPORTED on which he collaborated with Reg Owen. Myers would not return to film music until 1964 when he scored DIARY OF A YOUNG MAN it was also in that year that the composer wrote the music to six episodes of the popular BBC series DR WHO, these episodes were, PRISONERS OF CONCIERGERIE, A BARGAIN OF NECESSITY, THE TYRANT OF FRANCE, A CHANGE OF IDENTITY and GUESTS OF MADAME GUILLOTINE.

In 1967, he provided the score for the controversial movie ULYSSES which was based around the novel by James Joyce. Myers would also conduct many scores for other composers as well as his own and by the time the 1970, s arrived he had become one of Britain’s leading composers of film music and sought after by film directors and producers. It was in 1970 that he penned what was to be his most enduring and famous piece of music, CAVATINA, this was a piece originally written for the movie THE WALKING STICK, which starred David Hemming’s and then later more famously utilised in the Robert de Niro picture THE DEER HUNTER, it is a piece of music that is still to this day played all over the world at some point every day.

During the decades of both the 70’s and the 80’s Myers had a prolific output for movie scores but increasingly turned to writing for television. In 1980, he scored THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES a miniseries that starred Rock Hudson. The films he did work on all contained more than just serviceable scores, but had soundtracks that not only enhanced and underlined every scenario but also stood out as music that could be enjoyed away from the images that it was intended to support, THE RAGING MOON.

 

During the 1980’s he collaborated with composer Hans Zimmer on numerous projects SUCCESS IS THE BEST REVENGE, PAPERHOUSE and MOONLIGHTING amongst them. As well as writing music for television Myers would often act as a musical supervisor or conductor during this period of his career. His last major film score was SARAFINA starring Whoopi Goldberg in 1992, but as the 1990’s progressed the composer was drawn towards productions for the small screen and his last six scores were for TV productions such as MIDDLEMARCH and HEART OF DARKNESS.

 

Stanley Myers passed away on November 9th,1993 after a battle with cancer.

GARY HUGHES.

 

 

Gary Hughes was a film music composer who was particularly active during the 1960, s and worked on a number of historical dramas for Hammer films. Born Gareth McClean Hughes on March 21st, 1922 in Nanaimo Canada, Hughes initially began his working career as a print setter but always had a passion for music. Whilst being employed in the printing industry he began to study music in his spare time, he eventually achieved his goal and became a musician becoming a trombone player and then progressed to doing arrangements and finally to becoming a composer. He re-located to England in 1955 with his wife Grace and settled in Richmond Surrey.

JOHN HOLLINGSWORTH, MUIR MATHESON and SIR WILLIAM WALTON.

He carried on doing arrangements and writing his own compositions and was asked to arrange some music for Sir William Walton, which threw him into the limelight and he began to work for several composers who were popular at that time. In 1960, he wrote the music for LINDA which was conducted by Muir Mathieson, soon after this he was recruited by John Hollingsworth who was the Musical director for Hammer films and worked on a handful of movies these included the period dramas, DEVIL SHIP PIRATES, THE VIKING QUEEN, PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER, A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD and the English civil war tale THE SCARLET BLADE, which starred Oliver Reed and Lionel Jefferies.

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He also collaborated with Muir Mathieson again in 1964 on the Cy Enfield directed HIDE AND SEEK. At the age of just 56, the composer passed away in Farnham Surrey, on April 25th 1978, this was after a series of strokes, the fourth of these proved to be fatal. It is a great shame that he passed away at such an early age, as I am certain he would have continued to be a sought-after composer of film scores, his music was particularly suited to the adventure movies of the 1960’s but he was a versatile and talented composer, arranger. There is not a great deal of his music available on any format, although GDI records did include a handful of cues from his Hammer assignments on their compilations of themes from Hammer films. These are mainly the opening themes for the movies.

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