Ronald Binge

Ronald Binge


• 1910 1979


b. 15 July 1910, Derby, England, d. 6 September 1979, Ringwood, Hampshire, England. Binge was responsible for creating in 1951 the ‘cascading strings’ sound that made the Mantovani Orchestra famous throughout the world. This was achieved purely by clever scoring, dividing the violins into several parts, each allotted a different melody-note in turn, which they sustain and then fade out, until called upon to move elsewhere. Binge’s inspiration came from his love of church music, particularly Monteverdi. Composers of sacred music had to allow for the long reverberation inevitable in cathedrals, and this is reflected in their writing. The first big success was ‘Charmaine’, followed by many others that made Mantovani’s albums million-sellers, especially in the USA. Binge’s association with Mantovani dates from 1935 when he played in, and did all the arrangements for, Mantovani’s Tipica Orchestra. During war service in the RAF he spent some time in Blackpool, teaming up with Sidney Torch and his RAF Orchestra to present concerts for recruits. In later years Binge often provided arrangements for Torch’s many broadcasts. Much of Binge’s post-war work involved orchestrating numerous popular songs of the day for broadcasting, as well as theatrical assignments; Binge scored Noël Coward’s musical Pacific 1860, which opened at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in December 1946, with Mary Martin in the starring role. Binge gradually began to concentrate more on composing, and an early success was ‘Elizabethan Serenade’, first recorded by Mantovani in 1951, and later a big seller for other orchestras, notably Ron Goodwin. It won an Ivor Novello Award in 1957. In 1954 Binge adapted his ‘cascade’ effect with solo cornets for his ‘Concert Carillon’. Like many of his contemporaries, he contributed numerous works to the London publishers’ mood music libraries, which serve the special requirements of radio, television and films. Other compositions of note include ‘Miss Melanie’, ‘Madrugado’, ‘The Red Sombrero’, ‘Faire Frou Frou’, ‘Caribbean Calypso’, ‘Dance Of The Snowflakes’, ‘The Fire God’, ‘Song Of Canterbury’, ‘Tales Of The Three Blind Mice’, ‘Thames Rhapsody’, ‘Trade Winds’, ‘Venetian Carnival’, ‘Man In A Hurry’, ‘The Watermill’, ‘High Stepper’ and ‘Sailing By’, which for many years was the close-down music on BBC Radio 4. The BBC International Festival Of Light Music in 1956 commissioned Binge to compose his ‘Concerto For Saxophone’, which received its first performance with Michael Krein as soloist. Another major work was ‘Saturday Symphony’ (1966-68). Binge conducted them both in a recording by the South German Radio Orchestra. His scores for the cinema include Desperate Moment (1953), Our Girl Friday (1953), The Runaway Bus (1954) andDance Little Lady (1954).