“Robert Lockhart, who has died aged 52 after a heart attack, was a musician to the tips of his nimble – and invariably heavily nicotine-stained – fingers. A piano virtuoso, he retired from concert performance early in his career to concentrate on composition, and became both an eclectic and effective composer for theatre, film and television, as well as creating freestanding works for ensembles ranging from the string quartet to the brass band.
“An unashamedly ‘pre-sampling’ composer, Lockhart savoured working with musicians above all else, and his flair for arranging and conducting in the studio ensured him a steady stream of commissions which, although often requiring only workmanlike undertones, his often deeply personal music frequently managed to soar high above.
“His film credits were extensive, but particularly notable were his work on John Schlesinger’s Cold Comfort Farm (1995), and his long association with the director Terence Davies, for whom he worked as musical director on the films Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Long Day Closes (1992) and The Neon Bible (1995). Davies’s meditative and elegiac films about a Liverpool working-class family were appealing to Lockhart, who was born and brought up in Wigan and never quite adjusted to what he viewed as the terminal effeteness of the south-east. Other film credits included Andrew Grieve’s On the Black Hill (1988) and the thriller Vicious Circles (1997).”
Read the rest of Will Self’s obituary of his friend the composer and pianist Robert Lockhart at the Guardian here.