It was with great sadness that we learned of Gordon Langford’s passing, at the age of 86. Gordon had a rich and inspiring career as a pianist, composer and arranger, and his relationship with The King’s Singers was particularly special. Brian Kay, our founding Bass, wrote the following tribute to Gordon:
“In the early days of The King’s Singers we were desperately looking for something new: we had inherited wonderful close harmony arrangements passed down from one generation to another of choral scholars at King’s College Cambridge, though these had been around for a long time and were inevitably of their period and times were changing!
On one unforgettable morning we were rehearsing in Al Hume’s flat in north London when a knock at the door introduced a representative of the music publisher Chandos. She simply said that they had on their books an arranger called Gordon Langford and that he had heard us on the radio and was intrigued by what was then an unusual combination of voices. He also picked up on the way we sang – the blended legacy of our time as choral scholars – and also such humour as we seemed to possess. He tied all these things together and wrote an arrangement of the folk song BLOW AWAY THE MORNING DEW and sent it round, just in case we were remotely interested. We sang it straight through and immediately realised that this was precisely what we had been looking for and hoping for.
In that one arrangement, I believe he instantly created what was to become the ‘sound’ of The King’s Singers. His impeccable ear for choral balance, his amazing skill at voicing and his own great sense of humour all combined to create something very special and we never looked back. It was to be the first of countless arrangements he did for us, every one a winner and each of them giving us as much fun in singing as we hope the audience enjoyed in listening.
Gordon was a GENIUS – let’s not beat about the bush! We were lucky in attracting the skill of so many fine arrangers and composers, but Gordon not only got there first, he absolutely set the standard and we shall always remain profoundly grateful.”
For an official obituary of Gordon, follow this link
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