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British Composer Pitfield Dead

November 27, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Thomas Pitfield, a composer with a long career whose music was noted for its humor and who also wrote books and poetry, has died at age 96.

Pitfield died Nov. 11, his family said. The cause of death was not announced.

He taught composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the Royal Northern College of Music) from 1947 to 1973.

His compositions included a choral suite, ``Night Music″; ``The Sands of Dee″ for voice and piano; and ``Adam and the Creatures,″ a musical morality play. Though he was never regarded as being in the top rank of British composers, he produced music throughout his life in a variety of forms.

Pitfield was a versatile artist who wrote several books of memoirs and verse, designed his own home and produced watercolors and pencil drawings.

``He regarded as one of his finest achievements a remarkable book, ‘The Poetry of Trees,’ in which beautiful drawings combine with often touching poetry and his own wood-and leather bookbinding,″ said John McCabe, who studied composition under Pitfield.

That book, McCabe said in an obituary published in The Guardian on Saturday, was ``the single, unified vision of a man closely attuned to the natural world.″

Pitfield is survived by his wife, Alice, whom he married in 1934.

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