The Reprobate is sorry to learn of the death of Jan Stoeckart, one of the titans of library music. Recording under several different names – most famously as Jack Trombey for the De Wolfe library but also as Willy Faust, Peter Milray and Julius Steffaro – he was classically trained on trombone, piano and double bass, and began his career working in his homeland for Dutch television. An early composition was the 1969 theme to the popular, long-running, Floris, starring a very youthful Rutger Hauer.
Working freelance from the late 60s, Stoeckart churned out music at a preposterous rate for De Wolfe, many becoming well-known through virtue of the vehicles they were attached to – most notably the million-selling Eye Level, the theme tune to Van der Valk, which still left Stoeckart in the shadows as many assumed the composer was Simon Park, whose orchestra took the glory. Also familiar will be cues later used in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead; TV’s Prisoner: Cell Block H; antiques rib-tickler Never the Twain; Callan (later re-recorded with added vocals by star Edward Woodward) and Monty Python both on small and big screen, to name but a few.
In all, it is estimated that Stoeckart composed around 1300 cues for De Wolfe, covering lush orchestration, pulpy jazz spy themes, perky folk and horn-led gallops with equal aplomb. His death at the age of 89 sees the passing of yet another composer whose work receives little praise beyond committed DJs and musicologists.