Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Vernon Elliot was a bassoonist, a teacher, a writer, conductor, composer, beekeeper. He spent his life in classical music, although he is now probably best known for his scores and cues for the Small Films productions of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, including ‘Pogles Wood’, ‘Noggin the Nog’, ‘Ivor the Engine’ and my childhood favourite ‘The Clangers’ (I had Clangers wallpaper in my room; when a clip from the show appeared on ‘Dr. Who’, I thought my life was complete).

Vernon’s music for ‘The Clangers’ is some of the best written for any TV programme ever, kids show or not. Recorded live on a summer day in a village hall with all of the windows open, ‘The Clangers’ music is beautiful in its simplicity, eccentricity and poignancy – it’s ethereal and other-worldly, but couldn’t have been recorded anywhere here else but England, on a summer day in a Village Hall with all of the windows open. It’s wonderful music, folky, classical, pastoral, beautiful.

‘Introduction’ blends Vernon’s score with the mellifluous voice of Oliver Postgate, and always reminds me of the superlative opening sequence of Powell & Pressburger’s ‘A Matter Of Life & Death’: a slow drift through space, a patrician narrator, a sense of the universe unfolding before you. ‘Glowhoney’ is a pretty little tune that every interesting instrument in the orchestra to create a sound picture that recalls the best of Debussy or Vaughan Williams. Marvellous.

Please contact me immediately if you have any information on where I can get ten rolls of ‘Clangers’ wallpaper, or any advice on how to get my wife to agree to my redecoration scheme.

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