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Clive Richardson

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Clive Richardson


Clive Richardson (23 June 1909, Paris, France – 11 November 1998, London) was a British pianist and composer of light classical music.

Richardson trained as a doctor before switching to the Royal Academy Of Music, studying several instruments as well as orchestration and conducting.

Richardson’s early career during the 1930s included working in Andre Charlot reviews in London’s West End, with artists such as Beatrice Lillie, Lupino Lane and Hermione Gingold. As the singer Hildegarde’s accompanist and musical director, he spent several years touring Britain and Europe, culminating in a triumphant season at New York’s prestigious Rainbow Room.

In 1936 Richardson joined Gaumont-British Films as arranger and assistant musical director to Louis Levy, working alongside Charles Williams, Leighton Lucas, Jack Beaver, Bretton Byrd and Mischa Spoliansky, although almost every film gave screen credits to Levy who did little conducting and no composing at all. With Williams, Richardson wrote the scores for most of the Will Hay comedies, including Oh Mr Porter (1937), and he also scored French Without Tears (1939) which was officially credited to Nicholas Brodszky.

Richardson served in the Royal Artillery Regiment during World War II, but managed to keep his musical career active. He contributed arrangements to BBC Radio’s most popular show ITMA; novel arrangements by leading writers of folk songs, nursery rhymes and traditional melodies, played by the BBC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell, were a popular feature of each programme.

Following the success of Richard Addinsell’s The Warsaw Concerto, Richardson’s publisher asked him to compose a sequel, which was originally called The Coventry Concerto, as a tribute to the Midlands city which had suffered from saturation bombing. Eventually in 1944 this work emerged as London Fantasia.

Between numerous composing assignments, Richardson developed a performing career with fellow pianist Tony Lowry as Four Hands In Harmony, which topped variety bills and notched up over 500 broadcasts.

Clive Richardson is probably best known for his ‘major’ light music works such as the wartime London Fantasia for piano and orchestra (1942) and his railway inspired miniatures such as Melody on the Move and Running Off the Rails. Perhaps less well-known is the fact the he provided the score for Will Hay’s film masterpiece Oh Mr. Porter (1937).

In 1988 he received a BASCA Gold Award for Lifetime Services to the Music Business.

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