Haydn Wood

Active - 1935 - 1985  |   Genres - Science Fiction, Drama, Horror

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Haydn Wood was a composer primarily associated with songs and ballads, and although he never formally wrote film music, his work has turned up in various film and television productions -- as did he in one instance. Wood was born in 1882, the son of a Yorkshire innkeeper who was also a gifted amateur musician. He later spent a good part of his youth on the Isle of Man, where he took up the violin under the guidance of his older brother Harry, himself an orchestra conductor of considerable local renown. A student at the Royal College of Music from age 15, he excelled in violin, piano and composition, and quickly achieved recognition far beyond the school as a violin prodigy. He toured the British Isles and the Empire from 1913 until 1925 in professional partnership with soprano Emma Albani and her Concert Party, playing music halls with an act that was built largely upon her performances of his ballads, plus his violin virtuosity. As a composer, Wood had a special talent for light classical music, and began receiving commissions from the BBC for compositions in that vein. He was sufficiently well established to appear as himself in the 1935 feature The Small Man, directed by John Baxter. Wood was ultimately the author of over 180 songs, as well as various instrumental works, and his compositions -- including the songs "I Look Into Your Garden" and, especially, "Roses of Picardy" -- made appearances on the soundtracks of movies from 1929 onward. The latter ballad has shown up in more recent times, as well, in the 1966 Charlie Brown special It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the 1980 M*A*S*H episode "Old Soldiers," and the 2004 feature Ladies In Lavender. In the early twenty-first century, Wood's instrumental works, which included a violin concerto and an unpublished symphony as well as various "light music" pieces, began receiving commercial recordings. Wood passed away in 1959, at age 76, and is not to be confused with the similarly-named actor of the 1970s and 1980s.