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date: 20 August 2019

Dring, Madeleine (Winefride Isabelle)locked

  • Stephen Banfield

Extract

(Winefride Isabelle)

(b Hornsey, London, Sept 7, 1923; d Streatham, London, March 26, 1977). English composer and actress. Born into a musical family, she won a violin scholarship to the junior department of the RCM, where the director, Angela Bull, channelled her theatrical talent into children’s plays; Percy Buck was another early mentor at the RCM. Later, when she won a scholarship to study there as a senior student, her teachers included Howells, Vaughan Williams and Gordon Jacob for composition, and Topliss Green for singing. Dring also studied drama and mime and sustained a lifelong love of the theatre; she both wrote and composed for it (mostly incidental music and songs) and sang, played the piano and acted on the stage, combining modesty with a lively sense of wit and mimicry.

In a light style, Dring composed unpretentious and attractive chamber and instrumental works (several for her husband Roger Lord, a professional oboist), teaching pieces and songs. An affinity with Francis Poulenc, whom she admired, showed in her combination of a frank enjoyment of vernacular idioms such as Latin American rhythms with a harmonic and melodic fastidiousness. Her work has been taken up and published in the USA, and compared with Gershwin’s, while the ...

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