Tag Archives: george fenton




George Fenton has had a varied and illustrious career, scoring many big movies including GHANDI and CRY FREEDOM, plus he has also worked on numerous popular TV series and programmes. Fenton was the favoured choice of film maker Sir Richard Attenborough and worked with director Neil Jordan on movies such as COMPANY OF WOLVES. One of his early themes was for the quiz show Blockbusters, and it was small themes such as this that began to get the composer noticed. He also worked with Sir David Attenborough on various wildlife series mostly for the BBC as well as scoring Hollywood box office hits such as GROUNDHOG DAY and YOU GOT MAIL. For me personally it is his vibrant and energetic score for HIGH SPIRITS that always comes to mind when his name is mentioned, I think it is his music rather than the actual movie that evokes my memories of this. Over the past few years Fenton has shall we say not been as busy as he used to be, and only occasionally would we see his name on the credits of a movie. So I am pleased that in recent months we have seen two of his scores released, the most recent being RED JOAN, the music for this thriller which stars Judy Dench in the title role, is I think quite typical of Fenton’s style there are some beautifully crafted themes present within the work, and also a handful of darker and more apprehensive sounding pieces, but it is the lilting and subtle thematic material that holds the attraction and seems to entice and beckon to the listener. The PRELUDE opens the recording in which the composer serves up a brief but effective piano theme which is supported by underlying and very slight strings, as I say it is a fleeting opener for the score but one that sets the scene perfectly for what is to follow.



The theme which we hear in the opening cue is one that is expanded upon and returned to throughout the soundtrack and Fenton presents it in varying ways, arranging and orchestrating it differently on each occasion, giving it a freshness and added vibrancy. Although RED JOAN is a somewhat downbeat or even at times sombre affair musically, the music remains thematic and melodious the composer utilising sentimental sounding woods which at certain points within the score do seem to transform into a more sinister and shady sounding performance but retaining the melody that they originally purveyed. The same can be said of piano and strings which transform from light and unassuming instruments into dark and foreboding ones. I must admit I do love scores such as this, it’s not grandiose and certainly not high octane in any way, but instead is subdued and intricate, even fragile and slight in its composition and overall performance, there is a certain air of intimacy and reflective quality to the work. Fenton elaborating upon the central theme a few times by way of a lusher but still slight string performance which adds substance and emotion to the proceedings, the composer creating a luxurious sound that although not overly over the top is still powerful and affecting. He also utilises a heartrending solo violin at times and again although fleeting this creates a sense of passion, melancholy and isolation all at the same time.  Fenton gives depth, atmosphere and colour to the movie with his beguiling and haunting music and it is a soundtrack that will be welcomed by any film music connoisseur. Released by Movie Score Media and available now as digital recording and soon on CD from Quartet records.



Born, George Richard Ian Howe on October 19th 1950 in England, Fenton has been responsible for numerous film soundtracks, television themes and scores and also has worked in the theatre and regularly conducts concerts of his music and has toured conducting his music for THE BLUE PLANET live directing the orchestra in front of an audience whilst the film plays, he also lectures and gives talks at various colleges and seminars. He first came to the attention of the wider audiences of cinema goers and also to aficionados and collectors within the film music fraternity when he wrote the music for Richard Attenborough’s GHANDI (1982). He is a composer of immense talent and is able to adapt his musical skills to any genre of film.



One only has to take a glance at his impressive list of credits for film to see that Fenton has produced wonderful scores for movies and television projects which range from period dramas to comedies and also encompass horror’s and drama’s, with numerous romantic tales scattered along the way, as well as his award winning music for the wildlife television series of David Attenborough, as in BLUE PLANET and PLANET EARTH etc for the BBC. He has worked with many film makers and became the preferred composer of Sir Richard Attenborough working on films such as CRY FREEDOM, SHADOWLANDS and IN LOVE AND WAR.


Fenton began his musical career in 1971 when he wrote the score for a low budget independent movie entitled PRIVATE ROAD, after this in 1978 he wrote the music for a short film called THE WATERLOO BRIDGE HANDICAP, and it was at this point in his career that Fenton began to work steadily on short films, television dramas and series plus the odd feature film. In 1979 he provided the popular BBC television series SHOESTRING with its infectious sounding theme and also scored twelve episodes, in 1980 he also provided the music for the ITV series FOX again penning the theme and the scores for thirteen episodes. In 1983 he worked with director John Schlesinger on the drama AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD and in the same year scored another successful drama, SAIGON THE YEAR OF THE CAT for Director Stephen Frears. In 1984 Fenton was assigned to write the score for the television series, THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, a mini series that ran for eight episodes and proved to be popular worldwide.



Also in 1984 he collaborated with film maker Neil Jordan on the dark horror fantasy COMPANY OF WOLVES. Since the 1980,s Fenton has become one of the most sought after and popular composers of film music, he has worked on numerous box office hits and also at times has returned to his roots scoring smaller and more intimate productions for both the television and cinema. He also is in great demand in Hollywood and has a list of State side credits, including, FINAL ANALYSIS GROUNDHOG DAY, YOU,VE GOT MAIL, FOOLS GOLD, ANNA AND THE KING, EVER AFTER and THE BOUNTY HUNTER. His latest works for film include THE LADY IN THE VAN and COLD PURSUIT.