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THE FILM MUSIC OF ALAN RAWSTHORNE

Victor Carr Jr

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

Chandos does it again! In a contracting classical recording industry glutted by endless duplications of the same old repertoire, this label continues to find ways to make recordings that people will actually want to buy! British composer Alan Rawsthorne wrote scores for some 27 films between 1937 and 1964, and judging from the sampling on this disc a good many of them were war films. Rawsthorne, who felt that “music from films is rarely satisfactory on its own”, nonetheless composed scores filled with wonderful melodies, riveting drama, and brilliant orchestration. There is a Wagnerian sweep to this music, though other detectable influences include Prokofiev and a little bit of Roussel. The disc commands our attention right from the start with the majestic introduction to The Captive Heart, with its delicious harmonic twist in the main theme.

The music’s quality and originality is evident through all nine of the films represented here. Particularly notable is the Suite from Burma Victory, with its pulse-pounding battle sequences that contain some fabulous (and very difficult) brass writing. Just as interesting (although in a different way) are the Three dances from The Dancing Fleece, a short film promoting the British wool industry. Conductor Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic excel in presenting this music as concert hall worthy, which of course it is. Chandos’ dynamic, wide ranging recording will remind you why you paid so much for your stereo system. Even if you’ve never seen any of these films (I certainly haven’t), you’ll have loads of fun. [10/4/2000]


Recording Details:

Album Title: THE FILM MUSIC OF ALAN RAWSTHORNE
Reference Recording: None

ALAN RAWSTHORNE - The Captive Heart; West of Zanzibar; The Cruel Sea; Where No Vultures Fly; Uncle Silas; Lease of Life; The Dancing Fleece; Burma Victory; Saraband for Dead Lovers

  • Record Label: Chandos - 9749
  • Medium: CD

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