Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Ronnie Hazlehurst

So sad to hear that Ronnie Hazlehurst died on 1 October.  There have been plenty of well-written obituaries (e.g. the BBC, the Guardian, and Telegraph), but I wanted to write a few lines myself because for me, like most people of my generation, his music formed an essential part of the backdrop of my early life.  I still find the tunes he wrote for all those wonderful BBC sit-coms hugely evocative: the instant I hear the opening few notes of "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" I'm transported back...

I hadn't fully appreciated the sheer brilliance of the man until I read some of the obits: for example, he used the morse-code letters for "Some Mothers do 'Ave 'Em" to dictate the rhythm, and then scored the piece for two piccolos! Every piece seemed to fit perfectly the character of the programme for which it was written.  Some might say that we will always make that judgement in retrospect, because there never was any other theme tune association.  Well, perhaps, but just listen to "The Two Ronnies", "Fall and Rise", and especially "Yes, Minister": these are works of art - you just couldn't improve on them. Those tunes will be forever special to all of us who grew up with them.

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