b. 23 June 1909, Paris, France (of British parents), d. 11 November 1998, London, England. Pianist and composer of light orchestral 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 30s 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. Richardson’s scores for this feature included ‘A-Hunting We Will Go’, ‘Baa! Baa! Black Sheep’, ‘British Grenadiers’, ‘Camptown Races’, ‘Come Lassies And Lads’, ‘Grand Old Duke Of York’, ‘Irish Washerwoman’, ‘John Peel’, ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’, ‘Little Brown Jug’, ‘Oh Susannah’, ‘O Where O Where Has My Little Dog Gone’, ‘On Ilka Moor Baht’ At’, ‘Polly-Wolly-Doodle’ and ‘Sing A Song Of Sixpence’. 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’, and it was recorded by Sidney Torch (Parlophone Records) and Charles Williams (Columbia Records) - both with the composer at the piano, and also by the Mantovani Orchestra with Monia Liter (Decca Records). Other major works at this time included ‘Salute To Industry’ (1945) and a nautical overture ‘White Cliffs’ (1946). 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. Today Richardson is best remembered for his light orchestral works: ‘Holiday Spirit’, ‘Shadow Waltz’ (written under the nom de plume Paul Dubois), ‘Running Off The Rails’, ‘Melody On The Move’, ‘Road To Rio’, ‘Tom Marches On’ (the ITMA march), ‘Chiming Strings’, ‘Continental Galop’, ‘Elixir Of Youth’, ‘Valse Bijou’, ‘Romantic Rhapsody’ and many others. In 1988 he received a BASCA Gold Award for Lifetime Services To The Music Business.
Share this page