Composer Ivor Slaney was born in West Bromwich in the Midlands of the United Kingdom on May 27th 1921, his father Ernst Slaney had a big influence upon his leanings towards embarking on a career in music. Ernst was the principal cellist in a number of orchestras including The Scottish national Orchestra, The Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra and also held positions in the south African broadcasting Corporations Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. Ivor became a member of the choir at St Stephens church in Bournemouth as a child and it was from here that his love of music began to develop. The young musician began to play the oboe and also took an interest in the saxophone. Slaney went into the British army and was a member of the band whilst in service which gave him a good basic knowledge of music, this knowledge was increased when he began to be given tuition at Kneller hall and later when he entered the Royal College of music was given music lessons by Leon Goossens. It was at this time that Slaney met Malcolm Arnold, and the pair of aspiring musicians would often be seen together busking on the streets of London mainly in the area of Kensington. Both Arnold and Slaney would join the London Philharmonic but Slaney would not stay in a position with the orchestra unlike Arnold who would become one of its principal players. After the second world war Slaney became an oboist in the Covent garden Opera house orchestra and at times would play in the Boyd Neel orchestra Slaney being able to change styles and genres of musical styles and on occasion performing jazz and acting as an accompanist for pianist George Shearing. As the 1950,s progressed and the 1960,s dawned Slaney became in demand as a conductor at times for the BBC on the popular programme MORNING MUSIC, he also would conduct the 101 strings on a number of their recordings of popular songs and tunes. It was also during this period that Slaney began to become involved with the writing of music for films, at first he was musical assistant to Herbert Wilcox and would conduct and also do arrangements and orchestrations for Anthony Collins who scored THE LADY WITH THE LAMP. In 1952 Slaney worked for Hammer films for the first time, this was for THE LADY IN THE FOG and it was probably his old friend Malcolm Arnold that suggested Slaney as a possible choice for this assignment as Arnold had worked on two productions for the company the previous year after their musical director Frank Spencer had parted company with them.
Slaney continued to score Hammer productions and decided to do something different on the movie SPACEWAYS when he employed a big band sound rather than the more conventional use of a symphony orchestra. He also worked on FACE THE MUSIC for Michael Carreras in which jazz giant Kenny Baker featured. With the advent of commercial television the composer became even more in demand writing pieces of music to accompany numerous advertisements, and also began to write music for the De Wolfe library which was utilised in radio shows and TV productions of the period, in fact Slaney’s music is still being used today and was featured in more recent productions such as THE SIMPSONS and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. The composer also worked on a number of Children’s film Foundation productions and was responsible for the music and songs for HERE COME THE DOUBLE DECKERS which was a very successful and popular TV series in 1970. Slaney also scored two non Hammer horror movies PREY and TERROR in 1978 for filmmaker Norman J Warren.
Ivor Slaney passed away in Milford on Sea on March 20th 1998, he contributed much to the world of film music and also made great contributions to the world of music in general.