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Nigel Hess - television composer

Nigel Hess - Ladies in Lavendar soundtrack CD cover Nigel Hess studied music at Cambridge University where he was musical director of the "Footlights Revue Company". Since leaving Cambridge he has sustained an active composing career for the stage, for television and with a more recent introduction to film. From 1981-85 he was Music Director and composer for the Royal Shakespeare Company on productions such as "Much Ado About Nothing", "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Julis Caesar" and "Othello". His numerous credits for television have largely been for dramatic series and mini-series, including "A Woman of Substance", "Vanity Fair", "Campion", "Maigret", "Just William" "Testament", and "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates". Hess scored the soundtrack for the film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play "An Ideal Husband" and the movie "Ladies in Lavendar". In the latter film, the "ladies" find someone who has a talent for the violin so the instrument features prominently on the soundtrack where the solo parts are played by Joshua Bell who himself is no stranger to film soundtracks. Among classical works used in the film are the famous "Méditation" by Thaïs.

The TV Themes of Nigel Hess - soundtrack album CD cover For Christmas 2010, Nigel Hess released a Christmas album called "Silent Nights" on the Classic FM label. The Classic FM magazine commissioned a poll among its readers of their favourite Christmas Carols, and Hess was commissioned to arrange the winning carols for piano and strings. The album is available at and, and there is an associated sheet music book of these arrangements for piano solo available at and Another album to look out for, dedicated to the composer's work for television is "Nigel Hess TV Themes" which shows the breadth of the composer's work and his significant impact on television music. This album is available at these links - and

Nigel Hess has won numerous awards for his music and has also composed a number of works for wind or military bands. His own website is at Myra Music.

Films by Nigel Hess:

  • An Ideal Husband - film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play
  • Ladies in Lavender - starring Judy Dench and Maggie Smith with Josua Bell providing the Solo Violin
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor

TV work by Nigel Hess:

    Nigel Hess - Silent Nights piano sheet music book cover
  • Whoops Apocalypse
  • A Woman of Substance - starring Jenny Seagrove in the title role
  • Cyrano de Bergerac - broadcast version of the earlier Royal Shakespeare Company production
  • Vanity Fair - mini-series
  • Campion - with Peter Davison
  • Stalin - title music for the documentary mini-series
  • Perfect Scoundrels - a jazzy theme with a swing
  • Classic Adventure - an heroic theme reminiscent of "Chariots of Fire"
  • Chimera
  • Growing Pains - the theme song is an old-fashioned ballad called "I Could Care for You" for which Hess also wrote the lyrics
  • Maigret - a waltz theme
  • Wycliffe
  • Just William
  • Dangerfield
  • Hetty Wainthropp Investigates - the series starring Patricia Routledge has a delightful theme played on a cornet by Phillip McCann; the theme has a homely Lancashire feel and won the composer an Ivor Novello Award
  • Badger
  • Ballykissangel - the final series
  • Last of the Summer Wine - Ronnie Hazlehurst provided the music for the old series we know and love, with Hess stepping in for one of the later spin-off type series in 2006-2007

Nigel Hess Recommendations - CDs and Sheet Music:

Nigel Hess - Silent Nights album CD cover Although he has some tracks available on collections of televsion themes or collections of band music, it can be difficult to find recordings dedicated to Nigel Hess' music, though the "Ladies in Lavendar" soundtrack is available at the following links: or There is also sheet music available for the theme to "Ladies in Lavendar" at this link into the Music Room. The online sheet music stores don't seem to have his "Silent Nights" set of Christmas Carol arrangements, but it is available at various amazon outlets - try these links: and Although we haven't been able to find it online, the piano sheet music collection called "More TV Hits of the 90s" has four themes by Hess: "Classic Adventure", "Growing Pains", "Maigret" and "Perfect Scoundrels".

Nigel Hess - Memorabilia:

Here are some CD covers signed by Nigel Hess, including his music for TV and film, for stage and for the concert hall. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click on any thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.

Nigel Hess: Ladies in Lavender - signed CD Nigel Hess - Screens & Stages: The Music of Nigel Hess - signed CD Nigel Hess: The Food of Love - signed CD Nigel Hess: The Winds of Power - signed CD