BiographyKingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, UK
Born in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1918, Frank Cordell (his full original name) won a Melody Maker poll at age 17 for most promising jazz pianist of 1935. However, his skills at arranging and conducting were acquired while serving in the RAF (1940-1946), during which time he was appointed musical director of Forces Radio. In 1947 Frank married Magda Lustigova, a 26-year-old Hungarian artist who in 1952 would become a founding member of The Independent Group (IG), a British art movement best known for launching Pop Art. Read more... most notable radio score was the historical drama The Gay Galliard (1951) starring Valerie Hobson as Mary, Queen of Scots. His film scores date from 1952, and he composed music for many advertising commercials. Leaving the BBC in 1955, he became musical director of HMV Records (later EMI) up to 1962. Apart from his feature film scores, he scored the eight-part cliffhanger serial Project Z (1968) for the Children's Film Foundation, and music for several TV series. Although usually based in London, he travelled to Japan to score Flight from Ashiya (1964). Today, Frank Cordell is chiefly remembered for scoring two large-scale epics Khartoum (1966) and then Cromwell (1970) for which he received an Oscar nomination. In between film scores he wrote concert hall works including the Concerto for Cello, the Concerto for Horn and a wind quartet entitled Interplay. Before his untimely death in Hastings in 1980 at the age of 62 he scored two documentary shorts, Tiger Tiger (1977) and Fathers of Pop (1979), the latter of which charted the story of The Independent Group. Magda married fellow IG founder John McHale and adopted the professional name Magda Cordell McHale. Frank Cordell's original manuscripts are preserved at the Trinity College of Music in London.