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The Film Music Of William Alwyn Vol 3 / Gamba, BBC Philharmonic


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  Chandos Movies Catalog #: 10349   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews





With some 200 scores to his credit William Alwyn (1905?1985) was more prolific in this area than some of the big Hollywood names. Like the inexhaustible Max Steiner, he was capable of writing music to fit just about any cinematic occasion, but then Steiner was never capable of producing the quantity, range, and sophistication of Alwyn?s catalog of absolute music either. Among the so-called ?serious? English composers who dabbled in film?Vaughan Williams, Walton, Bliss, and Rawsthorne, for example?he made a much greater commitment of time and talent (only Malcolm Arnold may have approached his level of productivity), as this generous and varied third Chandos volume, Read more consisting of nothing but premiere recordings, amply documents.


Although not all this music dating from 1941 to 1962 is as powerful and distinctive as his greatest scores, such as Sir Carol Reed?s masterpieces Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol (both represented on Volume 1), it is astonishing how high a caliber of quality and inspiration he was able to maintain through such a great diversity of assignments. Alwyn was never at a loss for a strikingly memorable main title and his music for The Magic Box (a biographical romance about the inventor of color cinematography) is a case in point. Even though this 15-minute suite includes a few pallid passages, both the opening and closing credits are dominated by a characteristically resonant and emotionally exalted chorale theme. The two suites from the Disney films Swiss Family Robinson and Geordie are both rich in engaging or haunting moments of dramatic impact, with the latter highlighting Alwyn?s affinity for the Scottish folk melos without undue emphasis.


The suites from the somewhat more obscure sources?the historical Penn of Pennsylvania and the melodramatic The Running Man (Alwyn?s last film score)?contain a measure of not too distinguished generic writing, but scattered throughout this program are several attractive shorter self-contained excerpts. These comprise two stirring marches from The Way Ahead and The True Glory (two World War II films also directed by Reed), and two resplendent waltzes (from The Million Pound Note and The Cure for Love ), and finally a resoundingly compelling accelerando entitled ?Paul?s Last Ride? from The Rocking Horse Winner , the fine film adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence story, which, in the apt words of annotator Andrew Peter Knowles, ?possesses an appropriate hallucinatory and nightmarish quality.? For this listener, these three and three-quarter minutes represent the musico-dramatic zenith of the whole collection.


Gamba and his BBC Philharmonic cohorts give their customary force, conviction, and flair to this exemplary cross section of purposeful functional music-making, and Chandos provides its usual engineering splendor. Essential listening for all film music devotees.


FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Music Box: Suite by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
2.
The Million Pound Note: Waltz by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
3.
The Way Ahead: March by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
4.
Swiss Family Robinson: Suite by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
5.
The Rocking Horse Winner: Paul's Last Ride by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
6.
Geordie: Suite by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
7.
The Cure for Love: Waltz by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
8.
Penn of Pennsylvania: Suite by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 
9.
The True Glory: March by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane.
Composition written: 1944 - 1945. 
10.
The Running Man: Suite by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
Notes: Arranger: Philip Lane. 

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