Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
Sir Richard Rodney BennettThe composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died aged 76.

As well as many and varied classical pieces, he also wrote film and TV scores, with the incidental music for the 1964 story The Aztecs being among them. The four-part adventure is to be released as a special edition DVD in March.

Born in Broadstairs, Bennett - who was also an accomplished jazz pianist - studied and later taught at the Royal Academy of Music.

His film work included the score for Nicholas and Alexandra, which starred Tom Baker as Rasputin and Michael Jayston as Nicholas and featured Julian Glover, Maurice Denham, Gordon Gostelow, Brian Cox, and Steven Berkoff.

He also provided the score for Four Weddings And A Funeral, written by Richard Curtis and starring Hugh Grant, who was one of the Doctors in the 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, written by Steven Moffat. Other films to feature Bennett's music included Murder On The Orient Express, with George Coulouris among the cast.

Bennett was Oscar-nominated for his music for Far From The Madding Crowd, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Murder On The Orient Express, with the latter garnering him a BAFTA award.

Appointed a CBE in 1977, he received his knighthood in 1998. Bennett moved to New York in 1979 and in his later years also became an artist noted for his collage work.