The prolific output yet sustained eminence of Chandos
production is witnessed yet again by another immaculately prepared and
executed disc. This is the most recent in Chandos's 'Movies' series
which stretches back to the first of the Arnold and Alwyn anthologies.
The series now stands proud on the shelves with a common livery - even
the aforementioned Arnold and Alwyn volumes have been repackaged to
match. Documentation is outstanding with notes by Michael Kennedy, generosity
of duration is self-evident, design is clear and eye-catching.
The Scott music is mostly familiar from the Sinfonia
Antartica but there are quite a few unfamiliar moments. Ship's
Departure (tr.5) is marked by a Sally Army 'tin tabernacle' recessional;
very much Moody and Sankey. This is followed by the shimmer chill of
the Ice floes with some chortling cor anglais work and music
of which Bernard Herrmann would have been proud. Recording quality is
outstandingly satisfying as in the famous Penguin Dance - part
fun and part presentiment of cataclysm. If the BBCPO and Chandos can
keep this up for their new Bax symphony cycle then we have something
both troubling and joyous to come. In tr.14 the linkage with the bleak
lines of the Sixth Symphony and the Sinfonia del Mare of Gösta
Nystroem is clear enough. With harkings back at 1.28 to the Saturnine
terror of the bells - there are surely memories here of Holst's Planets.
In this most extensive ever recording of the Scott
music we are indebted to Stephen Hogger for his remarkable research
and arrangement work. As a result of this ten of the eighteen Scott
tracks are world premiere recordings.
The movements in the Scott of the Antarctic suite
are: Main Titles, Prologue, Doom, Sculpture
Scene, Ship's Departure, Ice Floes, Penguin Dance,
Aurora, Pony March, Blizzard, Distant Glacier,
Climbing the Glacier, Scott on the Glacier, Snow Plain,
The Return, Descending the Glacier, The Deaths of Evans
and Oates, End Titles.
The movements in the Coastal Command suite are:
Prelude, The Hebrides, U-Boat Alert, Taking-Off
at Night, The Hudsons take-off from Iceland, Dawn Patrol
(Quiet Determination), Battle of the Beauforts, Finale.
These are colourfully despatched by Gamba. The music is familiar both
from the Silver Screen and the Marco Polo recordings. No such familiarity
in the case of Mr Hogger's 13 minute single movement revival of RVW's
music for The People's Land - a celebration of the work of the
National Trust and through its love affair with landscape a natural
for Vaughan Williams' pastoral vein. However there are also aggressive
flashes as at 1.47. Rather a pity that this score is in a single compacted
rhapsodic movement (although the notes assure us that it is complete
in this form) rather than separately tracked. It would have been good
to be able to tie in the music with the scenes portrayed: Dover, Lake
District, West Wycombe, Bodiam Castle, cliffs and pastures, lakes and
sea visions. The film was made in 1942 with commentary by Freddie Grisewood.
The music is full of folk references and one of the most glowing of
these relates to his music for Sir John in Love at 4.48.
Roll on volumes 2, 3, 4 ....
see also Editor's
Choice on Film Music on the Web
CHANDOS'S MOVIES SERIES WITH THE BBC PHIL
The Film Music of:-
Alwyn vol. 2 CHAN 9959
Arnold vol. 2 CHAN 9851
Rawsthorne CHAN 9749
Rodney Bennett CHAN 9867
Bliss CHAN 9896