A fine English film composer has died

A fine English film composer has died


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2015

Patrick Gowers, a brilliant composer who was disabled by a stroke a few years back, has died aged 78.

Among various concert works, he wrote a terrific guitar concerto for John Williams and a Toccata for organ for Simon Preston.

His film work, starting with Peter Brooks’s Marat/Sade in 1966, was distinguished and original. It included David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash and Tony Richardson’s Hamlet.

He may be most widely remembered for television music for Smiley’s People, Thérèse Raquin and The Woman in White.
patrick gowers john williams


  • jennifer says:

    And the Granada Television Sherlock Holmes series! R.I.P. Mr Gowers.

  • Andrew Giles says:

    and what about his great music for the Jeremy Brett “Sherlock Holmes”?

  • Catherine Nary says:

    I know you are busy, in the process of preparing a Celebration of Life, and grieving at the same time. Am in the process of updating authority records for the US Air Force Academy Library system. We have a copy of “Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” TV Series DVD, for which he did the music. Would appreciate a response whenever you have the time.

    Did he pass away on January 1, 2015 (per IMDB), or December 30, 2014 (per Wikipedia)? And would you please let me know the city/state/country? The date of this article is January 1, 2015. Sometimes it takes a while for the press to get the word out…and in the midst of the holiday season as well.

    I can let the Library of Congress/Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), which is used by Librarians the world over, know the correct date and place. Neither set of records has been updated yet.

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a great contribution to the World of Music he made.
    Catherine Nary

    • Mike Chenery says:

      Sorry that in all this time, nobody was polite enough to answer your question.
      All published obituaries have Patrick’s death as December 30th.

      • Catherine Nary says:

        Mr. Chenery,

        Not to worry. Thank you so much for getting back with me. I have forwarded the transcript of our conversation to the Library of Congress / OCLC for incorporation of Mr. Gowers’ death date into his authority record.

      • Catherine Nary says:

        Mr. Chenery,

        It occurred to me that you might like to see his authority record. Here is a link as it stands today.


        I am unauthorized to update it myself–I found out later after my original post. So, you might want to check back later, at


        Just click “Search Authorities”
        Under “Search Text,” enter “Gowers, Patrick”
        Under “Search Type” select “Name Authority Headings”
        Click the “Begin Search” button in the center of the page
        Click the red button with yellow text that says “Authorized Heading” under the # Column
        Under the Column titled “Select a Link to View the Authority Record,” click on his name
        And there you have it!

        He has additional authority records.
        Under the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS AUTHORITIES title of the page, click the olive green button that says “New Search.”
        Under “Search Text,” enter “Gowers, Patrick”
        Under “Search Type” select “Name/Title Authority Headings”
        Click the “Begin Search” button in the center of the page
        There you will find five red buttons with yellow text: four Authorized Headings and one Reference.

        Enjoy the Library of Congress!
        Catherine Nary

  • Kevin Mallon says:

    I was saddened to hear of the death of composer Patrick Gowers, and that he had been ill for some time before. I was a composition student of his in the 1980’s at Dartington. His analysis and take on Debussy’s Jeux remain with me after all this time. As well as being an interesting composer he was also a fine jazz pianist and one of the exercises he had for us was a tape he created, with him at the piano, playing 12 bar blues in every key. The examples got ever more complex, as the keys got more remote. The idea was for us to improvise to the tape. Fantastic! He was inventive and had a meaningful perspective on how music was put together.

    I feel truly honoured to have been in his orbit for a while—the very time of his many film- score successes. Thank you, Patrick for all you imparted to me and to many others. Condolences to your family. May you RIP.

  • Mike Chenery says:

    A great talent, who though known for wonderful classical arrangements, and the Sherlock Holmes theme, also created a wonderful “homely” atmosphere with his music for the 1989-1992 TV series “Forever Green”.
    A particular song sung around a camp fire in the “Hippies” episode, was a real “folky” departure from that which he normally wrote.
    I tried for years to find out if it was commercially available, but alas I shall never do now.