Ron Godwin: An Inspiring Musician
A tribute written and compiled by Raktim Sen
01: My Motivation
How would Indian film music sound if Ron Godwin’s “Music For An Arabian Night” (1959) did not exist? How would Bengali Modern and Film songs sound if we carve out the influence of Ron Godwin? The answer is quite easy – it would sound very different. Most Indian composers and arrangers during the 1960s, specially in Bombay (now, Mumbai) and Calcutta (now, Kolkata) have been influenced by this great composer and his arrangement style either knowingly or unknowingly.
It is said, that Ron spent about five years roaming the streets of Beirut and then spent the next two and half years with his orchestra writing and recording 12 tracks for his “Music For An Arabian Night” album. Each of these are a gem in its own right. That he scored music for over 70 films in a career lasting over fifty years including “Where Eagles Dare“, “Battle of Britain” , “633 Squadron” and “Operation Crossbow” are all important feats and landmarks of his illustrious career. But to me even if he did nothing else, he would remain a composer from the modern era whom I would adore the rest of my life.
Ronald Alfred Goodwin was born on February 17, 1925 in Plymouth, Devon (United Kingdom) He learned to play the piano and trumpet from the age of five which allowed him to join the school band. When he was nine, his family moved to Harrow, London, where he attended Willesden County School and Pinner County Grammar School, in Middlesex. From there he went on to study the Trumpet in London at the Guildhall School of Music.
During the last 20 years of his life Goodwin began concentrating on live orchestral performances and appeared as guest conductor with many Symphony orchestras at home and abroad including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. On 7 January 2003, having completed conducting Christmas concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra he returned home and died in his sleep at Blacknest Cottage, Brimpton Common, Berkshire, on 8 January 2003, aged 77 He is buried at St Paul’s Churchyard, Ashford Hill, Hampshire, England.
Click here for his complete discography. ■
02: Music For An Arabian Night (1959)
Great Britain: LP Parlophone PMC 1109 (1959)
Great Britain: LP Parlophone PCS 3002 (1959)
France: LP Odeon EMI LSO 108 (1959)
USA: LP Capitol T 10251 (1959)
USA: LP Capitol ST 10251 (1959)
Greece: LP EMI Regal SREG 1032 (1959)
Arabia: CD EMI Arabia 85 2357 2 (1996)
Click here to listen…
01 – Windows Of The East
02 – Bazaar
03 – Old Beirut
04 – Wedding Dance
05 – Return To Paradise
06 – Arab Feast
07 – Dancing Eyes
08 – Come Back To Me
09 – Barefoot Girl
10 – The Moon And I
11 – Desert Hero
12 – The Cedars Of Lebanon
Images of the Album