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    Easdale, Brian (10 August 1909 – 30 October 1995)

    Composer from Manchester, England, who attended the Royal College of Music and the Westminster Abbey Choir School before embarking on a career in concert, film and stage music. 

     

    In 1927, his inaugural operatic effort, Rapunzel, was mounted.  Sir Malcolm Sargent conducted his “Dead March” in 1929, in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra.  This was all before he graduated from the Royal College of Music in 1933. 

     

    In 1936, his “Five Pieces” were performed in Vienna, Austria, and he began composing movie soundtracks for the General Post Office (GPO) Film Unit.  Benjamin Britten encouraged him to write documentary film music for the Crown Film Unit in 1937, which he continued to do after joining the Royal Artillery, in the midst of war.  A few of his first films included Big Money, Ferry Pilot, Health in Industry, Job in a Million, Kew Gardens, Men in Danger, and Spring Offensive. 

     

    In 1938, his “Piano Concerto” was broadcast on the radio.  He was in the military from 1940 to 1942, and then worked with the Public Relations Film Unit in India until 1945.  From 1945 to 1946, he served at the musical director for Information Films of India. 

     

    He made the leap from documentaries to feature films in 1947 after being approached by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who needed someone to score their latest production, Black Narcissus.  In 1948, they used his services again on the ambitious ballet movie, The Red Shoes, which earned the composer an Oscar for Best Original Music Score. 

     

    In the early 1950s, his operas, The Corn King and The Sleeping Children, were staged in Paddington and Cheltenham, respectively.  He continued scoring films, such as The Elusive Pimpernel, Gone to Earth, The Green Scarf, The Heart of the Matter, Miracle in Soho, Outcast of the Islands, Peeping Tom, and Pursuit of the Graf Spee. 

     

    He was one of a handful of composers asked to write original music for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1962, and responded with “Missa Coventrensis”, a work for chorus and organ. 

     

    In 1963, he reworked his music from The Red Shoes into a four-movement suite, making it accessible for the concert hall or the recording studio.  He retired shortly thereafter and did not resurface until 1978, when he returned to documentary work on Michael Powell’s Return to the Edge of the World. 

     

    He won the Ivor Novello Award in 1994 and passed away in 1995, after a brief illness. 

     

    In recent years, The Red Shoes has enjoyed something of a revival on Blu-ray and DVD, complete with commentary by the late composer on his most famous score.

     

    The Philharmonia Orchestra recordings

    The Red Shoes Ballet (Brian Easdale)

    Conductor – Kenneth Alwyn

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Easdale
    2. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0247460/bio
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPO_Film_Unit
    4. http://www.musicweb-international.com/garlands/easdale.htm
    5. http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/Easdale/Brian.html
    6. http://www.answers.com/topic/brian-easdale-classical-musician
    7. http://www.allmovie.com/artist/brian-easdale-88582/bio

     

     

          

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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