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CD Review

British Film Music

Volume 3

  • William Walton:
  • The First of the Few
  • Henry the Fifth
  • Miklós Rózsa: Spellbound
  • Anthony Collins: Odette
  • William Alwyn:
  • Desert Victory
  • The Rake's Progress
  • Allan Gray:
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • This Man is Mine
  • Benjamin Frankel:
  • Sleeping Car to Trieste
  • So Long at the Fair
  • Mischa Spoliansky: Wanted for Murder
  • John Greenwood: Hungry Hill
  • Gordon Jacob: Esther Waters
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Loves of Joanna Godden
  • Lambert Williamson: Woman Hater
  • Arthur Wilkinson: The Weaker Sex
Hallé Orchestra/William Walton
Queen's Hall Orchestra/Charles Williams
London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Muir Mathieson, Ernest Irving & John Hollingsworth
Pearl GEM141 71m ADD
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Pearl continues with their excellent issues of British Film Music with a third volume of historic recordings. This one includes a number of films from the immediate post-war era that are quite rare to find but all the music is interesting material.

The famous 'Spitfire' sequences are conducted by Walton himself whilst the evocative pieces from Henry V also feature the composer in altogether more relaxed vein. However I enjoyed most of the rare music especially the evocatively mysterious 'Sleeping Car to Trieste' with Benjamin Frankel's music entirely appropriate. Muir Mathieson conducts most of the music such as 'Hungry Hill' by John Greenwood and a splendid 'Derby Day' by Gordon Jacob, another grossly underrated film composer. I was also pretty chuffed to hear a 1950 recording of Frankel's 'carriage and Pair' conducted by Charles Williams, this is also available on one of Hyperion's splendid British Light Music CDs.

The recordings have come up pretty well in the transfers from what must have been tiresome originals. Is there room for a fourth volume please?!

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech