It’s a pleasure
to welcome the latest instalment in the Chandos British Film
Music line. Surely we will not be denied a Brian Easdale collection
for much longer.
The cheeky resonant
skirl and braggart splendour of I was Monty’s Double
bears comparison with similar moments in one of Addison’s finest:
A Bridge Too Far. We are reminded of this in the premiere
recording of a ten minute suite from A Bridge Too Far.
Interesting to hear the other interludes – including one which
seems to be Rachmaninov out of Fauré’s Pavane - but everyone
is on tenterhooks for the return of the march. This one does
not have quite the swagger of Marcus Dods version made the year
after the film with the CBSO for EMI. However Gamba is no slouch
and the march struts superbly well: all swagger stick, bristling
moustache and that piccolo cutting through like a razor. It’s
a treasure of a march with a beaming Arnoldian smile at 3:03.
The Strange Invaders music from many years later also
reeks of the theme from A Bridge Too Far.
The score for the
Kenneth More hit Reach for the Sky is truly magniloquent
with the horns gloriously blatant. They are given a romping
and rolling romantic theme and they play their hearts out with
it. The Man Between music comes complete with rolling
drum and film noir tensions – a typical vehicle for James
Mason: the Cold war thriller in West Berlin. The score for Tom
Jones is more zany with its Arnoldian bawdiness. It’s rather
like Britten at play among Purcell and Handel but with a dash
of the feral and rebellious turmoil of Auric (one of the earlier
volumes in the series). Touch and Go offers romance while
the cue from Sleuth manages absurd and grand guignol
all at once. Carlton-Browne of the FO is a fluffy piece
with a skip in the step in the march. Murder she wrote
will be very familiar to many listeners even if it is rather
reminiscent Carl Davis’s music for BBCTV’s Pride and Prejudice.
For The Charge of Light Brigade Addison draws on a gallimaufry
of national tunes treated with frolicsome brio. There’s a lilting
and haunting romantic interlude as contrast. The Brandy for
the Parson excerpt is a sort of slightly inebriated fugue.
The Maggie is a confection in which Arnold might well
have been the model. The cheeky little music box moments counter-pointed
with the stomping bombast of the English Dances.
His even more ephemeral
TV music heritage is captured at its peak in the almost mystical
main title for the TV series Centennial (1978-79) – a
small screen history of a Colorado town of that name from the
1700s to the 1970s. This is both poetic and in its insistent
bass heavy fanfares hyper-epic. If the Waxman style wails at
the start of the Swashbuckler suite, paying fleeting
tribute to an overlooked hero of the silver screen, the remainder
of this score pulses forward with confidence. Predictably given
that the film was meant to evoke the era of 1940s Spanish Main
films (such as The Sea Hawk recently re-recorded by Naxos)
there is even a golden strand of Korngold in the strings. A
slow rumba rocks insistently in Caribbean consolation through
the final pages.
Addison is one of
the treasures of the film and television music worlds and this
disc magnificently performed and recorded is ample proof.