Search

Beckenham composer Carey Blyton put music to the tale of Tolkien’s Hobbit

09:23 27 December 2012

Beckenham composer Carey Blyton. CREDIT: Frank Brayford

Beckenham composer Carey Blyton. CREDIT: Frank Brayford

Archant

Telling the story of one hairy-footed halfling’s travels across Middle Earth with 13 dwarves and a wizard has taken Hollywood director Peter Jackson nine hours on the big screen.

MARTIN FREEMAN as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the fantasy adventure “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY,� a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.MARTIN FREEMAN as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the fantasy adventure “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY,� a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.

For Beckenham composer Carey Blyton the feat was accomplished in just four minutes.

His Hobbit Overture, created almost 50 years before the film, is widely accepted as the first musical interpretation of the novel and was given author Tolkien’s blessing.

In 1963, the nephew of renowned children’s author Enid Blyton wrote to Tolkien for his permission and received the following reply: “As an author I am honoured to hear that I have inspired a composer.

“I have long hoped to do so, and hoped also that I might perhaps find the result intelligible to me, or feel that I was akin to my own inspiration.”

Children's author, and Carey's aunt, Enid Blyton.Children's author, and Carey's aunt, Enid Blyton.

The piece would be performed locally, though it wouldn’t reach the success of Carey’s best known composition – Bananas in Pyjamas.

Carey was a prominent figure in the Beckenham music scene, says director of music at Beckenham Junior Choir, John Webber.

“He had a lot to do with music locally in his early days with the Beckenham Salon, which was a group of talented musicians and poets in the early 1950s,” he said. “Later on he had commercial success with Bananas in Pyjamas, which I believe he wrote for his kids in the car one day, but unfortunately the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) own the rights to that.

“The Hobbit was one of the many micro-pieces he composed and was characteristically clever and to the point.

“I met him through music and he was a very funny man – that often comes through in his music.”

Born in 1932, Carey battled polio as a boy and would eventually succumb to the illness at the age of 70.

Beckenham historian Cliff Watkins came across Carey while writing a book on the area’s famous residents and struck up a friendship.

Cliff remembers a certain “Dalek” quality to Carey who also composed much of the Dr Who music in the early 1970s, but who had become restricted to a wheelchair having moved from Beckenham to Suffolk.

Cliff said: “I’m not sure I ever told him that, but he really did seem to move automatically.

“He invited me to his home and we discussed his work. The Hobbit is the complete story of Bilbo’s journey and Carey got there before any film. He didn’t have great success with the piece and if The Hobbit movie was 100 on the scale of notoriety, his overture would be down at one.

“But I have arranged for it to be performed here in his home town and the legacy of his music does continue.”

The composer was encouraged to continue his career in music by his aunt Enid.

Bananas in Pyjamas would go on to make more for the ABC than her character Noddy made for the BBC.

Carey Blyton was honoured by a civic reception in Beckenham in 2002 but was too ill to attend and died in July that year.

The successful Blyton pair are currently the focus of an exhibition at Central Library in High Street, Bromley, that Cliff helped to curate.

Carey’s Aunt and Enid’s Nephew is free to enter and runs until February 8.

0 comments

Latest news

Yesterday, 11:26
London Bridge

Kent commuters caught up in ‘horrific’ scenes at London Bridge

Yesterday, 16:01
Police are looking for this man in connection with an assault in Penge High Street in which a bus driver was stabbed in the eye

The suspect attacked him through the open cab window

Yesterday, 15:25
Southeastern High Speed service

New service will run to Waterloo East and Charing Cross

Yesterday, 10:40
Beckenham accountant Mark Hill is running the Brighton and London marathons for the British Skin Foundation's It Takes 7 appeal

London and Brighton marathons are just two weeks apart - and Mark Hill has never run one before

Tue, 13:03
Dr Bob Gill

Bob Gill is standing in Old Bexley and Sidcup

Tue, 12:19
Southeastern

Services between Shortlands and Bromley South affected

Most read

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bromley Times e-edition today E-edition