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Charles Williams (born Isaac Cozerbreit on 8 May 1893 in London, died 7 September 1978 in Findon Valley, Worthing, West Sussex, England) was a British composer and conductor, contributing music to over 50 films. While his career ran from 1934 through 1968, much of his work came to the big screen as stock music and was therefore uncredited.



Charles Williams originally played as a freelance violinist in theatres, cinemas and symphony orchestras. He studied composition with Norman O'Neill at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1933, he went to Gaumont British Films as composer and stayed there until 1939. He composed for many British films and radio shows.

After the end of World War II, he became the conductor of the new Queen's Hall Light Orchestra. Later, he formed his Concert Orchestra. He composed many orchestral pieces and marches, which were recorded in the "Mood Music" category of Light Music. He wrote the signature tunes of the radio programme "The Voice of London" and also Devil's Gallop, the theme tune to the radio serial Dick Barton. He also composed the popular piano concerto pastiche, The Dream of Olwen, for the film While I Live. His composition The Young Ballerina accompanied probably the most famous of the BBC's 1950s so-called interludes, namely The Potter's Wheel.

An abridged version of his Majestic Fanfare (1935) was used by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for many years as the signature tune for its radio and television news broadcasts.[1] A version as re-orchestrated by Richard Mills in 1988 is still used for radio news broadcasts. An adaptation of his "High Adventure" is the signature tune of BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night.

Films having sound tracks composed by Williams


  • Oxford Companion to Popular Music by Peter Gammond - published by Oxford University Press 1991 - ISBN 0-19-280004-3

External links



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