Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Richard Rodney Bennett

His death on Christmas Eve saddens me. I had the privilege of seeing him three times.

Once in the 1970s when he accompanied a singer whose name sadly I have forgotten. I do remember she sang a Berio piece that sounded like a radio being tuned between stations. Him I remember as elegant, cultured and amusing. As well as being a wonderful pianist.

Closer to his death I saw him twice with Claire Martin and what sheer pleasure they were to watch and listen to. So matched were they in their love of the songs they offered and so obviously great friends.

I heard his music many times on the radio and like other polymaths, his range of abilities across the musical genres maybe played against him being taken as seriously as he should have been as composer. He made it seem easy and that most important of abilities not possessed by all artists.

Accessible. His attitude was, come and share my love of this. And if we had any sense we did.

Sad to think I won't hear him again live because it was such a joy.

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