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CD Review

William Alwyn

Film Music - Volume 2

  • The Crimson Pirate
  • Green Girdle
  • Take My Life
  • A Night to Remember
  • The Card
  • Desert Victory
  • Libera Me
  • The Winslow Boy
  • In Search of the Castaways
  • State Secret
Susan Bullock, soprano
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Rumon Gamba
Chandos CHAN9959 78m DDD
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Chandos has waited quite a while to issue further recordings from William Alwyn's magnificent film music; indeed it was worth the wait for here we have quite a vast selection in this well-filled CD. The most nostalgic piece is the short 'Main Title' from 'a Night to Remember', the classic 50's film based on Walter Lord's classic novel about the 'Titanic'.

Other films that have disappeared into oblivion include the Crimson Pirate' which has some splendidly effusive music, very typical of Alwyn at his brilliant best whilst the suites from 'Green Girdle' and 'The Card' are particularly atmospheric with a huge variety of themes and tunes masterly reconstructed by Philip Lane. I was particularly chuffed by the Suite from the epic war documentary, 'Desert Victory', here Alwyn creates a masterful score which culminates in a rousing march that is demonstrative of the rip-roaring patriotism that was a feature of these propaganda movies. Other important scores are the one's from Jack Hawkins' 'State Secret' and 'The Winslow Boy', a classic rags to riches story.

Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic are clearly enjoying themselves throughout the scores whilst Chandos presentation is superb with a collage of images on the front cover and numerous stills taken from the various films. Andrew Knowles notes are a joy to read as they succinctly provide information in a nutshell on the various suites and films themselves. A must-have for all lovers of this genre.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech