The Watermill was written in 1955. It is one of those pieces that is not played a lot on radio, but every broadcast gives rise to many letters and requests for more information. Wikipedia notes that it is always placed high on programmes such as “100 best tunes” and it reached the top 250 of Classic FM’s “Hall of Fame”.
It was originally written for Oboe and a string orchestra, but many adaptations have been created, including a solo part for the clarinet, and a version for piano rather than orchestra.
Jeremy Polmear plays the oboe in this video
In 1975 it was chosen as the theme music for an acclaimed BBC adaptation of The Secret Garden, and later for a BBC documentary on Kenneth Graham, author of The Wind in the Willows. And at one time it served as background music for a margarine advertisement!
In 2000 Mike Carey published his biography of Ronald Binge.
Mike is a well-known Derbyshire figure, and he chose this moment to celebrate Ronnie’s Derbyshire origins.
The launch was held at Cromford Mill, the first water-powered spinning mill developed by Richard Arkwright in 1771.
It was followed by the installation of a Blue Plaque to Ronnie at Derby Assembly Rooms, and an evening concert.
The Watermill was played at Ronnie’s funeral in 1979.