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Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981)

Robert Russell Bennett, composer Robert Russell Bennett studied with Carl Busch in Kansas City and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He composed a wide variety of music, including seven symphonies and orchestral works, music for chamber groups and wind bands, operas and a ballet-operetta. However, Bennett's recognition stems from his work in orchestration. This career started with a commission in 1919 by the publishers T.B. Harms to orchestrate songs for the theatre. One of his earliest efforts was Cole Porter's An Old Fashioned Garden (1919). He went on to become the leading orchestrator for Broadway musicals from the 1920s to the 60s. He scored some 300 productions, including the works of Kern, Gershwin, Berlin, Rodgers and Lowe. His efforts established criteria for other orchestrators to follow, and elevated the status of orchestrator to equal to that of the authors and composers. His 1975 book  Instrumentally Speaking became a source for much information about the technique of arranging, and his posthumously published autobiography is Nor Is Not Moved - A Music Arranger's Storybook.
-  Lynn Vought/allmusic

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Robert Russell Bennett Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
Works that R.R. Bennett composed; for Bennett's work as an orchestrator, see "Works by Genre"
Dance Sonata, [????] (????)
Nocturne, piano (appears to be dated April 28, 1911)
At Sundown (Romance), violin and piano (1913)
Echoes of Palermo (Serenade-Romance), piano (pub. 1913)
June Twilight (Reverie), piano (1913)
Spirit of the Dance, piano (1914) [inscribed: "For Mile, Anna Pavlova's Dance Music Contest, July 29, 1914"]
Pianoforte Trio, violin cello and piano, F, op. 1 (1915) [2 mvts]
A Dream Is Wings, piano (c. 1915) [may have been intended as fourth movement of a longer work]
A Fleeting Fancy, piano (c. 1915)
Fugues de l'ecole, [piano] (c. 1915) [5 and 6-part fugues on subjects of Cherubini and Marcello]
Melody, piano (c. 1915)
Spring Spirits, piano (c. 1915)
Wildwood (Scherzo for Piano), piano (c. 1915)
Columbine, pantomime ballet, theater orchestra (1916)
Rondo Capriccioso, 4 flutes (1916; rev. 1962)
Celebration Festive ("Danse Joyeuse"), piano (c. 1916)
A Belasco Sonata for the Piano (1919) ("Christmastide of 1917 at Oaksmere") [written in collab w/ D. Belasco and Winifred Merrill]
The Oaksmere Spirit (March), piano (c. 1917)
Water-Mirror, piano (c. 1917)
The Bartender, voice and piano (????) [text: Bennett(?)]
Romance, high voice and piano (1917) [text: John Maroney, Jr.]
My Garden, voice and piano (c. 1920)
My Star, voice and piano (c. 1920) [text: Robert Browning]
Sonnet 111, voice and piano (c. 1920) [text: Shakespeare]
Macbeth, incidental music (1921) [starring Lionel Barrymore]
Ballade Moderne, orchestra (1922)
Hamlet, incidental music (1922) [starring John Barrymore]
Rome and Juliet, incidental music (1922) [starring Ethel Barrymore]
The Firebrand, incidental music (1924) [music by R.R. Bennett and Maurice Nitke]
Princess Charming, musical play (1926) [music & lyrics by Sirmay & Ruby; add’l songs by R.R. Bennett & Jack Waller]
Three Songs from Chaucer ("Merciles Beaute"), high voice (or women's voices) and string quartet (or piano) (1926)
Endimion [Endymion], ballet-operetta (1926 or 1927)
Symphony [No. 1] (ca. 1926) ["to Carl Busch"] [probably same work as "Uke", scored for orchestra w/4 ukeleles]
Charleston Rhapsody, small orchestra (1926; rev. 1933)
Paysage (Landscape), orchestra (1927 or 1928)
Violin Sonata, violin and piano (1927)
An Hour of Delusion, opera in 1 act (1928)
Sights and Sounds, an Orchestral Entertainment, orchestra (1928) [EAM: 1921]
Toy Symphony, wind quintet (1928)
Dance, flute and piano (1928) [c. 1922?]
Nocturne, flute and piano (1928)
Seven Fox Trots in Concert Form, piano (c. 1928)
VU ("Seen in Paris"), piano (c. 1928) [20 etudes in miniature, from the 20 arrondissements of Paris]
Organ Sonata, G (1928) [1929?]
Abraham Lincoln: A Likeness in Symphony Form ("Abraham Lincoln" Symphony), orchestra (1929) [Sym No. 2]
Nietzsche Variations, female chorus (c. 1929)
Theme and Variations in the Form of a Ballade About a Lorelei, female chorus and piano (c. 1929)
Four Songs from Lyrics by Sara Teasdale, high voice and piano (c. 1929) [1928?]
Aux Quatre Coins de Paris, female chorus (c. 1930) [1929?]
Variations on "I Got Rhythm", [orchestra?] (ca. 1930)
Three Marches for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1930)
Seven Love Songs with Ukelele, voice and ukelele (c. 1930)
Adagio Eroico (To The Memory of a Soldier), orchestra (c. 1932)
Concerto Grosso for Small Dance Band and Orchestra ("Sketches from an American Theatre") (1932)
An Early American Ballade on Melodies of Stephen Foster, small orchestra (1932)
Hold Your Horses, musical play (1933) [words and music by Russell Bennett, Robert A. Simon and Owen Murphy]
Six Variations in Fox-Trot Time on a Theme by Jerome Kern, chamber orchestra (1933)
Maria Malibran, opera (1934) [text: Robert A. Simon]
Orchestral Fragments from the American Opera "Maria Malibran" (1934)
Hollywood (Introduction and Scherzo), orchestra (1936)
Show Boat (]. Kern), film score (1936; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Swing Time (Kern), film score (1936; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Water Music, string quartet (1937; fp. 1945)
Dance Scherzo, wind quintet (1937)
Shall We Dance (Gershwin), film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
High, Wide, and Handsome, film score (1937; uncredited)
Artists & Models, film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett, w/three other composers]
Ali Baba Goes to Town, film score (1937; uncredited)
A Damsel in Distress (G. Gershwin), film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Radio City Revels, film score (1937; uncredited)
Eight Etudes for Orchestra (1938)
Joy of Living (J. Kern), film score (1938; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Carefree, film score (1938; uncredited)
Suez, film score (1938; uncredited) [w/four other composers]
Lawless Valley, film score (1938; uncredited) [with Roy Webb]
Annabel Takes a Tour, film score (1938; uncredited)
A TNT Cocktail, band (1939) [a brief introductory piece written for the 1939 World's Fair]
Lagoon of Nations [music for the 1939 World's Fair - for fountains and fireworks display designed by Jean Labutut]
    - Call to the Nations, fanfare, band (1939)
    - Fountain Lake Fanfare, band (1939)
    - Postlude, band (1939)
    - The Hunt, band (1939) [15']
    - Spirit of George Washington, band (1939) [15']
    - Story of Three Flowers, band (1939) [15']
        - "A Morning Glory"
        - "Daffodil"
        - "Moonflower"
    - Garden of Eden, band (1939) [15']
    - The World and the Cathedral, band (1939) [15']
    - From Clay to Steel, band (1939) [15']
Pacific Liner, film score (1939; uncredited)
Twelve Crowded Hours, film score (1939; uncredited)
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, film score (1939; uncredited)
Career, film score (1939) [w/Roy Webb; Bennett uncredited]
Stanley and Livingstone, film score (1939) [w/six other composers, all uncredited]
5th Ave Girl, film score (1939)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, film score (1939; uncredited) [w/four other composers, all uncredited]
Intermezzo: A Love Story (M. Steiner), film score (1939; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Swanee River, film score (1939; uncredited) [w/three other composers, all uncredited]
Mill Potatoes, orchestra (1940) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Hexapoda, "Five Studies in Jitteroptera", violin and piano (1940)
Brigham Young (A. Newman), film score (1940; uncredited) [w/two other composers, all uncredited]
Music Box Operas (1940-41) [one-act operas for Bennett's radio program "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
A March for America, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
The Grey Flute Song, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Sodom by the Sea, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Theme and Variations (on "Father, Dear Father"), orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Antique Suite for Clarinet and Orchestra (ca. 1940-41) [dedicated to Benny Goodman]
Theme and Variations ("My Lost Youth"), [????] (c. 1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
The Wedding Sextet, 4 solo voices, oboe and alto saxophone (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Railroad Cantata (on "Casey Jones"), contralto and orchestra (ca. 1940-41) [presented on "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Vocal Variations, mezzo-soprano, baritone and orchestra (1940-41?)
Concerto for Viola, Harp and Orchestra (1940 or 1941; rev. c. 1960 for cello, harp and orchestra)
Classic Serenade ("Portraits of Three Friends"), string orchestra (1941)
Symphony in D for the Dodgers,  orch (1941) [a WOR radio commission, w/narrator "Red" Barber in final mvt] [Sym No. 3]
Lady in the Dark: Symphonic Nocturne, orchestra (1941) [based on songs from 1940 musical by Weill, Moss Hart & Ira Gershwin]
Symphony ("On College Themes"), orchestra (ca. 1941) [Sym No. 4]
Violin Concerto in A Major ("in the popular style") (1941)
Nocturne and Appassionata, piano and orchestra (1941)
Sonatina, piano (c. 1941)
Clarinet Quartet (1941) [c. 1922?]
Sue Ann, song (1941) [text: R.R. Bennett] [the only instance where Bennett wrote both music and words]
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture, orchestra (1942) [based on Gershwin's melodies, under the supervision of Fritz Reiner]
The Four Freedoms - Symphony after Four Paintings by Norman Rockwell, orchestra (1943) [Sym No. 5]
The Enchanted Kiss, opera in 1 act (1944 or 1945)
Second Sonatina, piano (c. 1944)
Andante and Allegro, violin and orchestra (1944-45) [based on themes of Stephen Foster]
Cowboy Overture, orchestra (1945) [for "The Ford Hour"]
Prayer - For a Boy and a Girl, orchestra (1945) [for "The Ford Hour"]
Suite, violin and piano (1945) ????
Overture To An Imaginary Drama, orchestra (1946) [dedicated to Fritz Mahler]
A Dry Weather Legend, flute and orchestra (1946)
Tema Sporca con Variazioni (Travel Sketches), 2 piano (1946)
Happy Birthday, incidental music (1946)
Piano Concerto, B Minor (1947)
Crazy Cantata ("Three Blind Mice"), contralto, baritone and chorus (c. 1947)
Crazy Cantata No. 2 ("I Took a Spanish Lesson"), chorus, piano and percussion (????)
Five Improvisations on Exotic Scales, flute, cello and piano (1947)
A Song Sonata, violin and piano (1947) [1956?]
Sonatine, soprano and harp (1947) [french text: R.R. Bennett]
Allemande, violin and piano (1947 or 1948)
Sixth Symphony, orchestra (1948)
Six Souvenirs, 2 flutes and piano (1948)
Five Tune Cartoons, violin and piano (1948) [1949?]
Suite of Old American Dances, band (1948-49; arr. for orch, 1950) [orig. title: "Electric Park"]
Kansas City Album (Seven Songs for Orchestra) (1949) ["impressions of childhood"]
Concert Variations on a Crooner’s Theme, violin and orchestra (1949)
Overture to the Mississippi, orchestra (1950)
Trio, flute, cello and piano (1950 or 1951)
Choral Overture, chorus and band (1952) [text: R.R. Bennett]
Mademoiselle, "A Ballet for Band" (1952)
A Flute at Dusk, flute (1952)
Victory at Sea (12 themes by Richard Rodgers), TV doc series score (aired 26 Oct 1952 - 3 May 1953) [26 half hour episodes]
    - for more information about the Rodgers/Bennet "Victory at Sea" score see  here
All Faith: Prayer for Peace, orchestra (1953)
Choral Overture, chorus and band (1953) [text: R.R. Bennett]
United Nations All Faith Prayer for Peace, chorus, solo voice and piano (1953) [text: John Golden] [1950?]
Nocturne, flute and piano (1953)
Four Dances for Piano Trio (1953 or 1954)
An Adventure in High Fidelity (1954) [commissioned by RCA for a "demo" LP)
Three, Two, One-Zero! (atomic energy), TV documentary film score (aired 13 Sept 1954) [Project XX/NBC]
March of Might, band (1955) [from the doc. film score "Nightmare in Red"]
Rose Variations, cornet (or trumpet) and band (or piano) (1955)
Call to Freedom (modern Austria), TV doc. film score, (aired 7 Jan 1955) [featured in NBC's "Producers' Showcase"]
Nightmare in Red (history of Communist Russia), TV doc. film score (aired 27 Dec 1955) [Project XX/NBC]
String Quartet (1956)
The Twisted Cross (rise and fall of Nazi Germany), TV documentary film score (aired 14 Mar 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
The Great War (World War I), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Oct 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
Call to Freedom (modern Austria), TV documentary film score, (re-aired 5 May 1957) [Project XX/NBC]
The Jazz Age (America in the 1920s), TV documentary film score (aired 6 Dec 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
Symphonic Songs for Band (1957)
Kissel berry Pie, voice and piano (1957) [text: Harold Orlob]
The Innocent Years (America, 1900-17), TV documentary film score (aired 21 Nov 1957) [Project XX/NBC]
Concerto Grosso for Wind Quintet and Wind Orchestra (1958)
Suite, flute and clarinet (c. 1958; pub. 1973)
Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1958 or 1959)
A Commemoration Symphony: Stephen Collins Foster, soloist, chorus and orchestra (1959; fp. 1960) [Sym No. 7]
Ohio River Suite, wind orchestra (1959) ["describing the 3 rivers that meet in Pittsburgh"]
Four Nocturnes, accordion (1959)
Meet Mr. Lincoln (close-up of Abraham Lincoln), TV documentary film score (aired 11 Feb 1959) [Project XX/NBC]
Life in the Thirties (Depression America), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Oct 1959) [Project XX/NBC]
Not So Long Ago (America immediately after World War II), TV doc. film score (aired 19 Feb 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Mark Twain's America (late-19th-century America), TV documentary film score (aired 22 Apr 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Oscar Hammerstein II: An Appreciation, TV documentary film score (aired 26 Aug 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Those Ragtime Years (popular music, 1900-17), TV documentary film score (aired 22 Nov 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
The Coming of Christ (the Nativity in great art), TV documentary film score (aired 21 Dec 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Victory at Sea (90 mins of excerpts), TV documentary film score (aired 29 Dec 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Sonatina [Trio], flute, cello and harp (c. 1960; fp. 1961)
The Circus, TV documentary film score (aired 21 Jan 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
The Story of Will Rogers (American humorist), TV documentary film score (aired 28 Mar 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
The Real West (authentic American frontier life), TV documentary film score (aired 29 Mar 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
Laughter, U.S.A. (American humor), TV doc. film score (aired 17 Sept 1961) [Project XX/NBC] [DuPont Show Of The Week]
Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days of the Automobile, TV doc. film score (aired 22 Oct 1961) [DuPont Show of the Week]
Music of the Thirties, TV documentary film score (aired 5 Nov 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
Overture to Ty, Tris and Willie, wind orchestra (1961) [Pittsburgh baseball greats: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Willie Stargell]
Song of the Rivers, wind orchestra (1961)
Three Humoresques, wind orchestra (1961) [one for each of the: woodwinds; brass; percussion/harps]
Track Meet, band (1961) [1960?]
Quintet (Psychiatry), accordian and string quartet (1962)
Symphony [No. 8], orchestra (1962) [1963?] ["to Fritz Reiner"]
Cops and Robbers (American crime since Colonial times), TV doc. film score (aired 18[23?] Mar 1962) [Project XX/NBC]
He Is Risen (the Resurrection in great art), TV documentary film score (aired 15 Apr 1962) [Project XX/NBC]
West Virginia Epic, wind orchestra (1963) [1960?]
The Many Moods of Christmas, chorus and orchestra (1963) [medley of Christmas carols; arr. for Robert Shaw Chorale]
The Tall American, Gary Cooper, TV documentary film score (aired 26 Mar 1963) [Project XX/NBC]
That War in Korea (ten years after the armistice), TV documentary film score (aired 20 Nov 1963) [Project XX/NBC]
The Red, White and Blue (nostalgia for old-time patriotism), TV documentary film score (aired 9 June 1964) [Project XX/NBC]
Kentucky, wind orchestra (1965)
Impromptu, piano (1965)
Smalltown, U.S.A. (three rural American towns portrayed) (aired 13 Aug 1965) [Project XX/NBC] - unable to confirm details
Dartmouth Overture, band (1966)
The Soap Box Derby March, band (1966)
Seven Postcards to Old Friends, flute, viola and piano (1966)
The Island Called Ellis (immigrants to America), TV documentary film score (aired 13 Jan 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
The End of the Trail (Plains Indians in the 19th century), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Mar 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
The Law and the Prophets (Old Testament in great art), TV doc. film score (aired 23[13?] Apr 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
Down to the Sea in Ships (fascination w/the ocean), TV doc. film score (aired 11[13?] Dec 1968) [Proj. XX/NBC] [arr. for band]
Down to the Sea in Ships, suite (5 mvts), band (1968) [music from the TV documentary " Down to the Sea in Ships", 1969]
    - S.S. Eagle March, band (1968) [5th mvt from " Down to the Sea in Ships"]
Twain and the River, wind orchestra (1968)
Rhythm Serenade, snare drum (1968)
Jazz? (New York—Jazz?), variations, band (1969)
Overture and The Pickle (from "The Pickle Suite"), wind orchestra (1969)
Down on the Farm (salute to American farmers) (aired 25 Jan 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
Meet George Washington, TV documentary film score (aired 24 Apr 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
Mirror of America (Washington, D.C., reflects U.S. history), TV documentary film score (aired 11 May 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
Wings of Man Theme, voice and piano (1970)
The West of Charles Russell (frontier paintings), TV documentary film score (aired 7 Jan 1970) [Project XX/NBC]
The Shining Mountains (romantic look at Colorado Rockies), TV documentary film score (aired 27 May 1970) [Project XX/NBC]
Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra (1971 or 1972)
Crystal, opera (1972)
The Fabulous Country (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (aired 20 Oct 1972) [Project XX/NBC]
Southern Comfort - Civil War South Medley, chorus and orchestra (or piano) (pub. 1973) (EAM)
Northern Lights - Civil War North Medley, chorus and orchestra (????) (EAM)
Strange and Terrible Times (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (aired 27 Apr 1973) [Project XX/NBC]
Faith of Our Fathers (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (never aired) [Project XX/NBC]
The Fabulous Country, march, band (1974)
Four Preludes, band (1974)
Zimmer’s American Greeting, narrator and wind orchestra (1974)
Sonata (Ragtime), piano (1974) [c. 1970?]
Born of the Navy, band (1975)
The Fun and Faith of William Billings, chorus and orchestra (1975)
Autobiography [Part One, Part Two], band (1976 or 1977)
Carol Cantatas (nos. 1, 2, 3, 4), chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1977)
Arabesque, brass quintet (1978)
The Easter Story, chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1979) [1978?]
A Florida Nocturne, hamonica and wind orchestra (1970-81?)
A Christmas Overture, wind orchestra (1981)
Fanfare for the American Wind Symphony, wind orchestra (1981)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Robert Russell Bennett Links     ~ top of page ~
Dramatic/Theater
Columbine, pantomime ballet, theater orchestra (1916)
Princess Charming, musical play (1926) [music & lyrics by Sirmay & Ruby; add’l songs by R.R. Bennett & Jack Waller]
Endimion [Endymion], ballet-operetta (1926 or 1927)
An Hour of Delusion, opera in 1 act (1928)
Hold Your Horses, musical play (1933) [words and music by Russell Bennett, Robert A. Simon and Owen Murphy]
Maria Malibran, opera (1934) [text: Robert A. Simon]
Music Box Operas (1940-41) [one-act operas for Bennett's radio program "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
    - My Darling Clementine
    - The Man on the Flying Trapeze
    - The Band Played On
    - Kafoozalem
    - My Old Kentucky Home
The Enchanted Kiss, opera in 1 act (1944 or 1945)
Crystal, opera (1972)

Musicals - As Sole or Principal Orchestrator (composers in parenthesis) - selective list  (see also  here )
Wildflower (V. Youmans) (1923)
Rose Marie (R. Frim! and H. Stothart) (1924)
Show Boat (J. Kern) ( 1927)
Girl Crazy (G. Gershwin) (1930)
Of Thee I Sing (Gershwin) (1931)
Anything Goes (c. Porter) (1934)
Oklahoma! (R. Rodgers) (1943)
Carmen Jones (version of Bizet: Carmen) (1943)
Annie Get Your Gun (I. Berlin) (1946)
Kiss Me, Kate (Porter) (1948)
South Pacific (Rodgers) (1949)
The King and I (Rodgers) (1951)
My Fair Lady (F. Loewe) (1956)
Bells are Ringing (]. Styne) (1956)
Flower Drum Song (Rodgers) (1958)
The Sound of Music (Rodgers) (1959)
Camelot (Loewe) (1960)
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (B. Lane) (1965)

Orchestra
Ballade Moderne, orchestra (1922)
Symphony [No. 1] (ca. 1926) ["to Carl Busch"] [probably same work as "Uke", scored for orchestra w/4 ukeleles]
Charleston Rhapsody, small orchestra (1926; rev. 1933)
Paysage (Landscape), orchestra (1927 or 1928)
Sights and Sounds, an Orchestral Entertainment, orchestra (1928) [EAM: 1921]
    - Union Station
    - Highbrows
    - Lowbrows
    - Electric Signs
    - Night Club (Fox Trot)
    - Skykscraper
    - Speed
Abraham Lincoln: A Likeness in Symphony Form ("Abraham Lincoln" Symphony), orchestra (1929) [Sym No. 2]
    - His Simplicity and His Sadness
    - His Affection and His Faith
    - His Humor and His Weakness
    - His Greatness and His Sacrifice
Variations on "I Got Rhythm", [orchestra?] (ca. 1930)
Adagio Eroico (To The Memory of a Soldier), orchestra (c. 1932)
Concerto Grosso for Small Dance Band and Orchestra ("Sketches from an American Theatre") (1932)
An Early American Ballade on Melodies of Stephen Foster, small orchestra (1932)
Six Variations in Fox-Trot Time on a Theme by Jerome Kern, chamber orchestra (1933)
Orchestral Fragments from the American Opera "Maria Malibran" (1934)
Hollywood (Introduction and Scherzo), orchestra (1936)
Eight Etudes for Orchestra (1938)
Mill Potatoes, orchestra (1940) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
A March for America, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
The Grey Flute Song, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Sodom by the Sea, orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Theme and Variations (on "Father, Dear Father"), orchestra (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Classic Serenade ("Portraits of Three Friends"), string orchestra (1941)
Symphony in D for the Dodgers,  orch (1941) [a WOR radio commission, w/narrator "Red" Barber in final mvt] [Sym No. 3]
Lady in the Dark: Symphonic Nocturne, orchestra (1941) [based on songs from 1940 musical by Weill, Moss Hart & Ira Gershwin]
Symphony ("On College Themes"), orchestra (ca. 1941) [Sym No. 4]
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture, orchestra (1942) [based on Gershwin's melodies, under the supervision of Fritz Reiner]
The Four Freedoms - Symphony after Four Paintings by Norman Rockwell, orchestra (1943) [Sym No. 5]
    - Freedom of Speech
    - Freedom of Worship
    - Freedom from Want
    - Freedom from Fear
Cowboy Overture, orchestra (1945) [for "The Ford Hour"]
Prayer - For a Boy and a Girl, orchestra (1945) [for "The Ford Hour"]
Overture To An Imaginary Drama, orchestra (1946) [dedicated to Fritz Mahler]
Sixth Symphony, orchestra (1948)
Suite of Old American Dances (1948-49; 1950 orchestration of his original for concert band)
Kansas City Album (Seven Songs for Orchestra) (1949) ["impressions of childhood"]
    - Westport Landing
    - Missouri Pacific
    - Cable Car Ride
    - A City Under the Trees
    - Twelfth Street
    - The Great Gallery
    - The Big Town Today
Overture to the Mississippi, orchestra (1950)
All Faith: Prayer for Peace, orchestra (1953)
An Adventure in High Fidelity (1954) [commissioned by RCA for a "demo" LP)
A Commemoration Symphony: Stephen Collins Foster, soloist, chorus and orchestra (1959; fp. 1960) [Sym No. 7]
Symphony [No. 8], orchestra (1962) [1963?] ["to Fritz Reiner"]

Band
A TNT Cocktail, band (1939) [a brief introductory piece written for the 1939 World's Fair]
Lagoon of Nations [music for the 1939 World's Fair - for fountains and fireworks display designed by Jean Labutut]
    - Call to the Nations, fanfare, band (1939)
    - Fountain Lake Fanfare, band (1939)
    - Postlude, band (1939)
    - The Hunt, band (1939) [15']
    - Spirit of George Washington, band (1939) [15']
    - Story of Three Flowers, band (1939) [15']
        - "A Morning Glory"
        - "Daffodil"
        - "Moonflower"
    - Garden of Eden, band (1939) [15']
    - The World and the Cathedral, band (1939) [15']
    - From Clay to Steel, band (1939) [15']
Suite of Old American Dances, band (1948-49; arr. for orch, 1950) [orig. title: "Electric Park"]
    - Cakewalk
    - Schottische
    - Western One-Step
    - Wallflower Waltz
    - Rag
Choral Overture, chorus and band (1952) [text: R.R. Bennett]
Mademoiselle, "A Ballet for Band" (1952)
March of Might, band (1955) [from the doc. film score "Nightmare in Red"]
Rose Variations, cornet (or trumpet) and band (or piano) (1955)
Symphonic Songs for Band (1957)
    - Serenade
    - Spiritual
    - Celebration
Concerto Grosso for Wind Quintet and Wind Orchestra (1958)
Ohio River Suite, wind orchestra (1959) ["describing the 3 rivers that meet in Pittsburgh"]
Overture to Ty, Tris and Willie, wind orchestra (1961) [Pittsburgh baseball greats: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Willie Stargell]
Song of the Rivers, wind orchestra (1961)
Three Humoresques, wind orchestra (1961) [one for each of the: woodwinds; brass; percussion/harps]
Track Meet, band (1961) [1960?]
West Virginia Epic, wind orchestra (1963) [1960?]
Kentucky, wind orchestra (1965)
Dartmouth Overture, band (1966)
The Soap Box Derby March, band (1966)
Down to the Sea in Ships, suite (5 mvts), band (1968) [music from the TV documentary " Down to the Sea in Ships", 1969]
    - S.S. Eagle March, band (1968) [5th mvt from " Down to the Sea in Ships"]
Twain and the River, wind orchestra (1968)
Jazz? (New York—Jazz?), variations, band (1969)
Overture and The Pickle (from "The Pickle Suite"), wind orchestra (1969)
    - Overture (by R. R. Bennett)
    - A Cucumber's Pickle (by Oliver Nelson)
    - Meditation for a Pickle Suite (by Shulamit Ran)
    - Rhyme for the Very Pickled (by Jacques Casterede)
    - Polly Picklenose (by Henk Badings)
    - The Pickle (by R. R. Bennett)
The Fabulous Country, march, band (1974)
Four Preludes, band (1974)
    - George
    - Vincent
    - Cole
    - Jerome
Zimmer’s American Greeting, narrator and wind orchestra (1974)
Born of the Navy, band (1975)
Autobiography [Part One, Part Two], band (1976 or 1977)
    - I. 1884: Cherry Street
    - II. 1899: South Omaha
    - III. 1900 Corn, Cows, and Music
    - IV. 1916: Mo. to N.Y.
    - V. 1919 The Merrill Miracle
    - VI. 1926: A Parisian in Paris
    - VII. 1935: What Was the Question?
A Florida Nocturne, hamonica and wind orchestra (1970-81?)
A Christmas Overture, wind orchestra (1981)
Fanfare for the American Wind Symphony, wind orchestra (1981)

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra
Three Marches for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1930)
Antique Suite for Clarinet and Orchestra (ca. 1940-41) [dedicated to Benny Goodman]
Violin Concerto in A Major ("in the popular style") (1941)
Nocturne and Appassionata, piano and orchestra (1941)
Concerto for Viola, Harp and Orchestra (1940 or 1941; rev. c. 1960 for cello, harp and orchestra)
Andante and Allegro, violin and orchestra (1944-45) [based on themes of Stephen Foster]
A Dry Weather Legend, flute and orchestra (1946)
Piano Concerto, B Minor (1947)
Concert Variations on a Crooner’s Theme, violin and orchestra (1949)
Rose Variations, cornet (or trumpet) and band (or piano) (1955)
Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1958 or 1959)
Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra (1971 or 1972)
A Florida Nocturne, hamonica and wind orchestra (1970-81?)

Guitar Concerto (????)

Chorus w/Orchestra
Choral Overture, chorus and band (1953) [text: R.R. Bennett]
A Commemoration Symphony: Stephen Collins Foster, soloist, chorus and orchestra (1959; fp. 1960) [Sym No. 7]
The Many Moods of Christmas, chorus and orchestra (1963) [medley of Christmas carols; arr. for Robert Shaw Chorale]
Southern Comfort - Civil War South Medley, chorus and orchestra (or piano) (pub. 1973) (EAM)
Northern Lights - Civil War North Medley, chorus and orchestra (????) (EAM)
The Fun and Faith of William Billings, chorus and orchestra (1975)
Carol Cantatas (nos. 1, 2, 3, 4), chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1977)
The Easter Story, chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1979) [1978?]

Choral
Three Songs from Chaucer ("Merciles Beaute"), high voice (or women's voices) and string quartet (or piano) (1926)
Aux Quatre Coins de Paris, female chorus (c. 1930) [1929?]
Nietzsche Variations, female chorus (c. 1929)
Theme and Variations in the Form of a Ballade About a Lorelei, female chorus and piano (c. 1929)
Crazy Cantata ("Three Blind Mice"), contralto, baritone and chorus (c. 1947)
Crazy Cantata No. 2 ("I Took a Spanish Lesson"), chorus, piano and percussion (????)
United Nations All Faith Prayer for Peace, chorus, solo voice and piano (1953) [text: John Golden] [1950?]
Carol Cantatas (nos. 1, 2, 3, 4), chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1977)
The Easter Story, chorus and orchestra (or piano) (1979) [1978?]

Chamber
Dance Sonata, [????] (????)
Pianoforte Trio, violin cello and piano, F, op. 1 (1915) [2 mvts]
Rondo Capriccioso, 4 flutes (1916; rev. 1962)
Toy Symphony, wind quintet (1928)
Water Music, string quartet (1937; fp. 1945)
Dance Scherzo, wind quintet (1937)
Theme and Variations ("My Lost Youth"), [????] (c. 1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
The Wedding Sextet, 4 solo voices, oboe and alto saxophone (1940-41) [for "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Clarinet Quartet (1941) [c. 1922?]
Five Improvisations on Exotic Scales, flute, cello and piano (1947)
Six Souvenirs, 2 flutes and piano (1948)
Trio, flute, cello and piano (1950 or 1951)
Four Dances for Piano Trio (1953 or 1954)
String Quartet (1956)
Suite, flute and clarinet (c. 1958; pub. 1973)
Sonatina [Trio], flute, cello and harp (c. 1960; fp. 1961)
Quintet (Psychiatry), accordian and string quartet (1962)
Seven Postcards to Old Friends, flute, viola and piano (1966)
Arabesque, brass quintet (1978)

Solo Instrument
At Sundown (Romance), violin and piano (1913)
Violin Sonata, violin and piano (1927)
Dance, flute and piano (1928) [c. 1922?]
Nocturne, flute and piano (1928)
Hexapoda, "Five Studies in Jitteroptera", violin and piano (1940)
    - Gut-Bucket Gus
    - Jane Shakes Her Hair
    - Betty and Harold Close Their Eyes
    - Jim Jives
    - 'Till Dawn Sunday
Suite, violin and piano (1945) ????
A Song Sonata, violin and piano (1947) [1956?]
Allemande, violin and piano (1947 or 1948)
Five Tune Cartoons, violin and piano (1948) [1949?]
    - Al Capp (creator of Li'1 Abner)
    - Peter Arno (of "The New Yorker" magazine)
    - Edgar Martin (who drew a long-running, syndicated strip called "Boots and Her Buddies")
    - Charles Addams  (of "The New Yorker" magazine)
    - Walt Disney
A Flute at Dusk, flute (1952)
Nocturne, flute and piano (1953)
Rose Variations, cornet (or trumpet) and band (or piano) (1955)
Four Nocturnes, accordion (1959)
Rhythm Serenade, snare drum (1968)

Piano/Organ
Nocturne, piano (appears to be dated April 28, 1911)
Echoes of Palermo (Serenade-Romance), piano (pub. 1913)
June Twilight (Reverie), piano (1913)
Spirit of the Dance, piano (1914) [inscribed: "For Mile, Anna Pavlova's Dance Music Contest, July 29, 1914"]
A Dream Is Wings, piano (c. 1915) [may have been intended as fourth movement of a longer work]
A Fleeting Fancy, piano (c. 1915)
Fugues de l'ecole, [piano] (c. 1915) [5 and 6-part fugues on subjects of Cherubini and Marcello]
Melody, piano (c. 1915)
Spring Spirits, piano (c. 1915)
Wildwood (Scherzo for Piano), piano (c. 1915)
Celebration Festive ("Danse Joyeuse"), piano (c. 1916)
A Belasco Sonata for the Piano (1919) ("Christmastide of 1917 at Oaksmere") [written in collab w/ D. Belasco and Winifred Merrill]
The Oaksmere Spirit (March), piano (c. 1917)
Water-Mirror, piano (c. 1917)
Seven Fox Trots in Concert Form, piano (c. 1928)
VU ("Seen in Paris"), piano (c. 1928) [20 etudes in miniature, from the 20 arrondissements of Paris]
Organ Sonata, G (1928) [1929?]
Sonatina, piano (c. 1941)
Second Sonatina, piano (c. 1944)
Tema Sporca con Variazioni (Travel Sketches), 2 piano (1946)
Impromptu, piano (1965)
Sonata (Ragtime), piano (1974) [c. 1970?]

Vocal
The Bartender, voice and piano (????) [text: Bennett(?)]
Romance, high voice and piano (1917) [text: John Maroney, Jr.]
My Garden, voice and piano (c. 1920)
My Star, voice and piano (c. 1920) [text: Robert Browning]
Sonnet 111, voice and piano (c. 1920) [text: Shakespeare]
Three Songs from Chaucer ("Merciles Beaute"), high voice (or women's voices) and string quartet (or piano) (1926)
Four Songs from Lyrics by Sara Teasdale, high voice and piano (c. 1929) [1928?]
Seven Love Songs with Ukelele, voice and ukelele (c. 1930)
Railroad Cantata (on "Casey Jones"), contralto and orchestra (ca. 1940-41) [presented on "Russell Bennett's Notebook"]
Vocal Variations, mezzo-soprano, baritone and orchestra (1940-41?)
Sue Ann, song (1941) [text: R.R. Bennett] [the only instance where Bennett wrote both music and words]
Sonatine, soprano and harp (1947) [french text: R.R. Bennett]
Kissel berry Pie, voice and piano (1957) [text: Harold Orlob]
Wings of Man Theme, voice and piano (1970)

Film/TV
Show Boat (]. Kern), film score (1936; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Swing Time (Kern), film score (1936; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Shall We Dance (Gershwin), film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
High, Wide, and Handsome, film score (1937; uncredited)
Artists & Models, film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett, w/three other composers]
Ali Baba Goes to Town, film score (1937; uncredited)
A Damsel in Distress (G. Gershwin), film score (1937; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Radio City Revels, film score (1937; uncredited)
Joy of Living (J. Kern), film score (1938; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Carefree, film score (1938; uncredited)
Suez, film score (1938; uncredited) [w/four other composers]
Lawless Valley, film score (1938; uncredited) [with Roy Webb]
Annabel Takes a Tour, film score (1938; uncredited)
Pacific Liner, film score (1939; uncredited)
Twelve Crowded Hours, film score (1939; uncredited)
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, film score (1939; uncredited)
Career, film score (1939) [w/Roy Webb; Bennett uncredited]
Stanley and Livingstone, film score (1939) [w/six other composers, all uncredited]
5th Ave Girl, film score (1939)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, film score (1939; uncredited) [w/four other composers, all uncredited]
Intermezzo: A Love Story (M. Steiner), film score (1939; uncredited) [orchestrator; and original music by R.R. Bennett]
Swanee River, film score (1939; uncredited) [w/three other composers, all uncredited]
Brigham Young (A. Newman), film score (1940; uncredited) [w/two other composers, all uncredited]
Victory at Sea (12 themes by Richard Rodgers), TV doc series score (aired 26 Oct 1952 - 3 May 1953) [26 half hour episodes]
    - for more information about the Rodgers/Bennet "Victory at Sea" score see  here
Three, Two, One-Zero! (atomic energy), TV documentary film score (aired 13 Sept 1954) [Project XX/NBC]
Call to Freedom (modern Austria), TV doc. film score, (aired 7 Jan 1955) [featured in NBC's "Producers' Showcase"]
Nightmare in Red (history of Communist Russia), TV doc. film score (aired 27 Dec 1955) [Project XX/NBC]
The Twisted Cross (rise and fall of Nazi Germany), TV documentary film score (aired 14 Mar 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
The Great War (World War I), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Oct 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
Call to Freedom (modern Austria), TV documentary film score, (re-aired 5 May 1957) [Project XX/NBC]
The Jazz Age (America in the 1920s), TV documentary film score (aired 6 Dec 1956) [Project XX/NBC]
The Innocent Years (America, 1900-17), TV documentary film score (aired 21 Nov 1957) [Project XX/NBC]
Meet Mr. Lincoln (close-up of Abraham Lincoln), TV documentary film score (aired 11 Feb 1959) [Project XX/NBC]
Life in the Thirties (Depression America), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Oct 1959) [Project XX/NBC]
Not So Long Ago (America immediately after World War II), TV doc. film score (aired 19 Feb 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Mark Twain's America (late-19th-century America), TV documentary film score (aired 22 Apr 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Oscar Hammerstein II: An Appreciation, TV documentary film score (aired 26 Aug 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Those Ragtime Years (popular music, 1900-17), TV documentary film score (aired 22 Nov 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
The Coming of Christ (the Nativity in great art), TV documentary film score (aired 21 Dec 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
Victory at Sea (90 mins of excerpts), TV documentary film score (aired 29 Dec 1960) [Project XX/NBC]
The Circus, TV documentary film score (aired 21 Jan 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
The Story of Will Rogers (American humorist), TV documentary film score (aired 28 Mar 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
The Real West (authentic American frontier life), TV documentary film score (aired 29 Mar 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
Laughter, U.S.A. (American humor), TV doc. film score (aired 17 Sept 1961) [Project XX/NBC] [DuPont Show Of The Week]
Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days of the Automobile, TV doc. film score (aired 22 Oct 1961) [DuPont Show of the Week]
Music of the Thirties, TV documentary film score (aired 5 Nov 1961) [Project XX/NBC]
Cops and Robbers (American crime since Colonial times), TV doc. film score (aired 18[23?] Mar 1962) [Project XX/NBC]
He Is Risen (the Resurrection in great art), TV documentary film score (aired 15 Apr 1962) [Project XX/NBC]
The Tall American, Gary Cooper, TV documentary film score (aired 26 Mar 1963) [Project XX/NBC]
That War in Korea (ten years after the armistice), TV documentary film score (aired 20 Nov 1963) [Project XX/NBC]
The Red, White and Blue (nostalgia for old-time patriotism), TV documentary film score (aired 9 June 1964) [Project XX/NBC]
Smalltown, U.S.A. (three rural American towns portrayed) (aired 13 Aug 1965) [Project XX/NBC] - unable to confirm details
The Island Called Ellis (immigrants to America), TV documentary film score (aired 13 Jan 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
The End of the Trail (Plains Indians in the 19th century), TV documentary film score (aired 16 Mar 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
The Law and the Prophets (Old Testament in great art), TV doc. film score (aired 23[13?] Apr 1967) [Project XX/NBC]
Down to the Sea in Ships (fascination w/the ocean), TV doc. film score (aired 11[13?] Dec 1968) [Proj. XX/NBC] [arr. for band]
Down on the Farm (salute to American farmers) (aired 25 Jan 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
Meet George Washington, TV documentary film score (aired 24 Apr 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
Mirror of America (Washington, D.C., reflects U.S. history), TV documentary film score (aired 11 May 1969) [Project XX/NBC]
The West of Charles Russell (frontier paintings), TV documentary film score (aired 7 Jan 1970) [Project XX/NBC]
The Shining Mountains (romantic look at Colorado Rockies), TV documentary film score (aired 27 May 1970) [Project XX/NBC]
The Fabulous Country (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (aired 20 Oct 1972) [Project XX/NBC]
Strange and Terrible Times (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (aired 27 Apr 1973) [Project XX/NBC]
Faith of Our Fathers (commemorating the US Bicentennial), TV doc. film score (never aired) [Project XX/NBC]

Film Scores - as Orchestrator (composer in parentheses)
Show Boat, film score/orchestrator (1929) [for "Prologue" only]
I Dream Too Much, film score/orchestrator (1935; uncredited)
Romeo and Juliet, film score/orchestrator (1936; uncredited)
Walking on Air, film score/orchestrator (1936) (1936; uncredited)
Lost Horizon (D. Tiomkin), film score/orchestrator (1937; uncredited)
The Road Back, film score/orchestrator (1937; uncredited)
High, Wide, and Handsome, film score/music arranger (1937; uncredited)
Music for Madame, film score/orchestrator (1937; uncredited)
Vivacious Lady, film score/music arranger: orchestral music (1938; uncredited)
Fugitives for a Night (Roy Webb), film score/orchestrator (1938; uncredited)
A Man to Remember, film score/orchestrator (1938; uncredited)
The Law West of Tombstone, film score/composer: stock music & orchestrator (1938; uncredited)
Next Time I Marry, film score/composer: stock music (1938; uncredited)
The Great Man Votes, film score/orchestrator (1939; uncredited)
Gunga Din (A. Newman), film score/orchestrator (1939; uncredited)
Love Affair, film score/orchestrator (1939; uncredited)
The Spellbinder, film score/orchestrator (1939; uncredited)
The Day the Bookies Wept, film score/composer: stock music (1939; uncredited)
Sued for Libel, film score/composer: stock music (1939)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (A. Newman), film score/orchestrator (1939; uncredited)
Rebecca (F. Waxman), film score/orchestrator (1940; uncredited)
Stage to Chino, film score/composer: stock music (1940; uncredited)
Lucky Partners, film score/orchestrator (1940; uncredited)
Wildcat Bus, film score/composer: stock music (1940; uncredited)
Journey Into Fear, film score/composer: stock music (1943; uncredited)
Lady in the Dark, film score/orchestrator (1944)
Carnegie Hall, film score/orchestrator (1947) [for "The Pleasure's All Mine" only]
Victory at Sea  -  see Film
My Son John, film score/orchestrator (1952)
The Unconquered (Morgan Lewis), documentary film score/orchestrator (1954)
Oklahoma! (R. Rodger), film score/musical arrangements, orchestrator (1955; uncredited)
The King and I (R. Rodger), film score/orchestrator (1956)
Cinderella (R. Rodgers), TV musical/orchestrator (1957)
South Pacific (R. Rodger), film score/orchestrator (1958)
Annie Get Your Gun (Berlin), TV film /orchestrator (1967)
Androcles and the Lion (R. Rodgers), TV film score/orchestrator (1967)
Camelot (F. Loewe), TV film/orchestrator (1982)

Incidental Music
Macbeth, incidental music (1921) [starring Lionel Barrymore]
Hamlet, incidental music (1922) [starring John Barrymore]
Rome and Juliet, incidental music (1922) [starring Ethel Barrymore]
The Firebrand, incidental music (1924) [music by R.R. Bennett and Maurice Nitke]
Happy Birthday, incidental music (1946)


ROBERT RUSSELL BENNETT  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
About the Rodgers/Bennett collaboration for NBC's "Victory at Sea" (Roy Benton Hawkins)
The Broadway Sound: The Autobiography and Selected Essays of Robert Russell Bennett (ed. George Joseph Ferencz,
        Univ Rochester Pr, books.google.com)
The Life and Work of Robert Russell Bennett (Roy Benton Hawkins)    also  here
The Music Man: Tony-Honored Orchestrator Robert Russell Bennett (Smith Galtney, Broadway.com)
Robert Russell Bennett: A Bio-Bibliography (George Joseph Ferencz, Greenwood Pr)
Robert Russell Bennett Music Manuscripts, 1911-1981(Northwestern University Library)
Russell Bennett's Notebook (Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 07, 1941)

Composer website [none at the moment]   . . .   inquire about Robert Russell Bennett:

Robert Russell Bennett @ Wikipedia
Robert Russell Bennett @ Wikipedia/french
Robert Russell Bennett @ Andy Pease
Robert Russell Bennett @ Answers.com
Robert Russell Bennett @ BookRags
Robert Russell Bennett @ Broadway World
Robert Russell Bennett @ CITWF / Complete Index to World Film
Robert Russell Bennett @ Classical Archives
Robert Russell Bennett @ Classical Composers Database
Robert Russell Bennett @ Classical Net (via google)
Robert Russell Bennett @ ClassicsToday
Robert Russell Bennett @ Facebook
Robert Russell Bennett @ Fandango
Robert Russell Bennett @ Film Score Monthly
Robert Russell Bennett @ IBDB (Internet Broadway Database)
Robert Russell Bennett @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Robert Russell Bennett @ InstantEncore
Robert Russell Bennett @ Kansas Symphony Orchestra
Robert Russell Bennett @ Karadar Classical Music
Robert Russell Bennett @ Masterworks Broadway
Robert Russell Bennett@ MusicWeb International
Robert Russell Bennett @ MySpaceMusic
Robert Russell Bennett @ Naxos
Robert Russell Bennett @ The New York Times
Robert Russell Bennett @ The Oscar Site
Robert Russell Bennett @ Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia - Alpha Iota/Famous Sinfonians
Robert Russell Bennett @ SoundtrackCollector
Robert Russell Bennett @ SoundUnwound
Robert Russell Bennett @ United States Marine Band
Robert Russell Bennett @ Wind Repertory Project
Robert Russell Bennett @ The World's Fair Community

Publisher
Robert Russell Bennett @ Belwin-Mills Pub. Co.
Robert Russell Bennett @ BKJ Publications
Robert Russell Bennett @ Chappell Music Co./Warner Bros. Publications
Robert Russell Bennett @ Contemporary Publications
Robert Russell Bennett @ Cos Cob Press
Robert Russell Bennett @ EAM (European American Music)
Robert Russell Bennett @ France Music Co.
Robert Russell Bennett @ Harms
Robert Russell Bennett @ Henmar Press/sole selling agents, C.F. Peters
Robert Russell Bennett @ Lawson-Gould Music Publishers
Robert Russell Bennett @ Masters Music
Robert Russell Bennett @ C.F. Peters
Robert Russell Bennett @ Theodore Presser Co.
Robert Russell Bennett @ G. Schirmer
Robert Russell Bennett @ Williamson Music

Streaming Audio
Robert Russell Bennett @ Classical Archives
Robert Russell Bennett @ MySpaceMusic
Robert Russell Bennett @ Rhapsody

Recordings
Robert Russell Bennett @ ArkivMusic
Robert Russell Bennett @ ClassicsOnline
Robert Russell Bennett @ Discogs

Video
Robert Russell Bennett @ YouTube
Robert Russell Bennett @ Google Video

                                                                                                                                                                                        ~ top of page ~
About the Rodgers/Bennett collaboration for NBC's "Victory at Sea"
from Chapter 6, "A Television Pioneer, An Elder Statesman" of "The Life and Work of Robert Russell Bennett"
by Roy Benton Hawkins

The new endeavor upon which Robert Russell Bennett was about to embark stemmed from the National Broadcasting Company's commission of a former Navy officer to produce a documentary series on the naval aspect of World War II. The producer, Henry Salomon, asked Richard Rodgers to compose the music for the series. As the project was quite unlike anything Rodgers had ever done before, most people - including Rodgers himself - were skeptical of Salomon's choice.

According to Richard Hanser (1981), who was to collaborate with Salomon on the script for the series, Rodgers was initially hesitant to risk his enormous reputation on a project that was so remote from his area of expertise - musical theater. However, he became intrigued when Salomon showed him some samples of the extraordinary, unedited wartime film footage which was to be the raw material for the documentary, entitled Victory at Sea.

His interest thus aroused, Rodgers composed three themes, which he played for Bennett. By his own account, Bennett found these tunes both very attractive and well-suited to the depiction of the events described in the first several episodes. He also told Rodgers, much to the latter's surprise, that the three themes would be sufficient for these first programs of the series.

Bennett began the work of arranging Rodgers' music in synchronization with the film, a task for which his arranging experience in
Hollywood during the 1930s doubtless served him well. As the project progressed, Rodgers contributed new themes as Victory at Sea delved into different events and aspects of the war.

When completed, Victory at Sea comprised twenty-six episodes, each of thirty minutes' duration. Music is present at virtually every moment, except while people are offering their personal observations on screen. In all, Victory at Sea contains over eleven hours of music.

Examination of Richard Rodgers' manuscripts from Victory at Sea reveal a total of seventeen pages of music, including some duplications. There are eleven different themes represented. It must be assumed, then, that at least in terms of quantity, Bennett's contributions to Victory at Sea far outweighed those of Rodgers. Bennett likened his responsibilities for Victory at Sea to "orchestrating a complete Broadway musical every ten days to two weeks, instead of [the customary] three to four weeks". Moreover, as the symphony orchestra utilized for the production was much larger than the usual Broadway pit orchestra, the job of scoring was even more of a challenge.

Donald Hyatt, associate producer of Victory at Sea, indicated to the author that Bennett worked even faster than he claimed. Later, when the group that produced Victory at Sea began to make documentaries on various aspects of twentieth-century life, under the name of Project XX, Bennett would take no more than a week to turn out music for each of the fifty-two-minute programs. Furthermore, when viewing the films prior to writing the music, Bennett would rarely take notes, and then only when there was dialogue to be underscored. At that, Hyatt said, the music was so good that text would often be deleted so that the music could be featured.

The Rodgers/Bennett Victory at Sea score was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Bennett's direction. Recording sessions sometimes took place on the same day as the orchestra had rehearsed under its music director, Arturo Toscanini. Apparently, Bennett as conductor suffered little by comparison to the maestro.

Donald Hyatt recounted to the author that at the conclusion of the first reading of the music for the first episode, the orchestra erupted in a standing ovation. He further stated that these seasoned professionals openly expressed their admiration for Bennett. In fact, they "flocked to him like little kids." Their esteem for him was such that, after Victory at Sea was finished, they would find players to substitute for them at other engagements in order to do a recording session with Bennett.

Hanser alluded to possible reasons why Bennett commanded such respect and affection on the part of the orchestra players. According to Hanser, Bennett could "catch the slightest misplay in the strings or reeds even in the most tumultuous passages. Correction would invariably follow, but there was never an outburst, never any scolding or ranting. The recording sessions lasted all day, take after meticulous take, and at the end everyone was exhausted . . . but nobody was ever down, or vexed. One felt that one had participated in an event."

For his own part, Bennett was extremely proud of Victory at Sea. Newsweek (7/20/53, p. 86) quoted him as saying, "It is the first time I have ever urged my friends to see a work of mine." Bennett felt that the most fulfilling part of the project for him was having the opportunity to conduct. "Conducting," he wrote, "is still the top for me."

The first episode of Victory at Sea aired on October 26, 1952, and the series was completed on May 3, 1953. The production was received with an exceptional degree of enthusiasm, Newsweek applied to it such terms as "magnificent" and "great" in an article on Bennett (7/20/53, p. 86). Philip Hamburger, writing in The New Yorker (4/4/53, p. 77), eschewed that publication's usual guise of ultrasophicated reserve, anointing the production "one of the most ambitious and successful ventures in the history of television," going on to single out its musical score as "an extraordinary achievement - a seemingly endless creation, now martial, now tender, now tuneful, now dissonant, but always reflecting the action taking place in the films."

The public responded with equal enthusiasm, despite the undesirable broadcast time assigned to the show (Sundays at 3:00 p.m., referred to by Hyatt as the "intellectual ghetto"). Hyatt told the author that many complaints were received that viewers were forced to plan their weekends around the program's air time. He also said that Victory at Sea was so popular at this early stage in the history of the medium that, in many areas, those who did not yet own television sets gathered at their local fire stations each week to watch together. As a result of this response, the show was repeated in its entirety the next season during prime time.

In his autobiography, Richard Rodgers (1975) paid tribute to Bennett's work on Victory at Sea, "[He] fully deserves the credit,
which I give him without undue modesty, for making my music sound better than it was." And according to Bennett, the music for the final episode was barely finished in time for the broadcast.
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