Under Milk Wood composer has died

British jazzman Stan Tracey has played his last. Jamie Cullum tweets: ‘He played like a demon right up until his last days on earth as an Eightysomething.’ His best-known work is a score for Dylan Thomas’s radio play.

stan tracey 

photo: Lebrecht Music&Arts

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  • A great pianist. I loved the BBC recording of Under Milk Wood and was at university with David Close-Thomas’s daughter (David played Dai Bread for the BBC in 1954), with whom I did a few concerts. That double-album boxed set was a staple at home and I still remember some of the lines: ‘Thou Shalt Not on the walls’; ‘I lost my step in Nantucket’; ‘What’ll the neighbours say?’. Like Captain Cat, I mourn the passing of so many great people…

  • Stan Tracey did not write a score for the play Under Milk Wood (the radio play). He wrote a jazz suite based on the characters of the play. The music for the radio production was written by Dylan’s good friend Daniel Jones – basically the setting of the songs in the play.

    Later on I was asked to write some music for a stage production of Under Milk Wood, and Dan Jones was a bit upset! But after seeing my score and checking that I had not copied of his settings we became good friends – especially when I conducted performances of his lovely cantata Country Beyond the Stars!

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