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Oscar Nominated Composer Richard Rodney Bennett Dies at 76

Variety reports that Academy Award nominatEd English composer Richard Rodney Bennett died on Monday, December 24th at the age of 76. According to the report, Bennett passed away in his home in New York City.

Among the many films which Bennett composed music for were "Far From the Madding Crowd,", for which he earned his first of three Academy Award nominations, "Nicholas and Alexandra", "Murder on the Orient Express," "Secret Ceremony," "Billion Dollar Brain," "Equus," "Yanks," "The Return of the Soldier," "Enchanted April" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral." His music was featured on the television series "Sherlock Holmes in New York," "Murder With Mirrors",for which he earned an Emmy nomination, the miniseries "Tender Is the Night" and "Gormenghast."

Bennett composed in a wide range of styles, including jazz, which he had particular fondness for. Early on, he found success by writing music for feature films. He said that it was as if the different styles of music that he was writing went on 'in different rooms, albeit in the same house'. Later in his career the different aspects all became equally celebrated - for example in his 75th birthday year (2011), there were numerous concerts featuring all the different strands of his work.

At the BBC Proms for example his Murder on the Orient Express Suite was performed in a concert of film music, and in the same season his Dream Dancing and Jazz Calendar were also featured. Also at the Wigmore Hall, London, on 23 March 2011 (a few days before Bennett's 75th birthday), a double concert took place in which his Debussy-inspired piece Sonata After Syrinx was performed in the first concert, and in the Late Night Jazz Event which followed, Bennett and Claire Martin performed his arrangements of the Great American Songbook (Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein)

Between 1957 and 1996, he wrote the score for three dozen films, including four for director Joseph Losey (including "Secret Ceremony" in 1968, "Yanks," 1969; and the made-for-TV "Tale of Sweeney Todd" in 1997), and two for Sidney Lumet ("Murder on the Orient Express" in 1974 and "Equus" in 1977).




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