Music From The Movies

Louis LEVY Music from the movies – march (1937)

Gaumont British Symphony/Louis Levy

William WALTON Spitfire fugue from film “The First of the Few” (1942) with Laurance Turner (violin solo) Hallé Orchestra/William Walton

Clifton PARKER Seascape “Western Approaches” (1944) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

William ALWYN Calypso music “The Rake’s Progress” (1945) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

Lambert WILLIAMSON The last walk “The Edge of the World” (1937) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

John GREENWOOD Waltz into jig “Hungry Hill” (1946) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

John IRELAND Incidental music from “The Overlanders” (1946) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Prelude from “49th Parallel” (1941) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

William ALWYN Theme music from “Cure for Love” (1949) with Sidney Crook (piano solo) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

Philip GREEN Romance “The Magic Bow” (1946) with Reginald Leopold (violin solo) Music from the Movies Orchestra/Louis Levy

Gordon JACOB Theme and Derby Day 1886 from “Esther Waters” (1947) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

ArthurWILKINSON London scene “The Weaker Sex” (1948) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

Benjamin FRANKEL Sleeping car train and Waltz “Sleeping Car to Trieste” (1948) London Symphony Orchestra/Muir Mathieson

Lambert WILLIAMSON Dinner at Lady Datchett’s “Woman Hater” (1949) John Hollingsworth/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

John VEALE Joanna’s theme; Alec’s theme; Title music “High Tide at Noon” (1957); Title music from “The Spanish Gardener” (1956)

Leighton LUCAS Theme and incidental music from “Yangtse Incident” (1957) Leighton Lucas

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Incidental music from “The Loves of Joanna Godden” (1947) Philharmonia Orchestra/Ernest Irving

rec. 1937-57. mono. ADD



A generous slice of British film music from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s in contemporary recordings.


The bustling shallow pomp of Louis Levy's Music from the Movies March. It draws on Offenbach and Coates - a curiosity. It is followed by the Spitfire Fugue played with glitter and glory by the Hallé with the composer conducting and the trembling moonlit solo violin of Laurance Turner. This is an exciting recording. Clifton Parker's 1940s Seascape was derived from music he wrote for the documentary film about convoys and the U-Boat menace in 1944. It's a lovely open-textured marine impression. Unlike Walton Alwyn had to make his own break-through happen when income from his films helped him finance the illustrious series of recordings he made of his orchestral music with Lyrita. One of his films was The Rake's Progress which is fruitily exotic - well suited to the intended locale - a coffee plantation. After a sleepy calypso there is a bustling quick rumba to banish the siesta's sleepy eyes. Lambert Williamson had no reputation outside the film world. The Last Walk is from the1937 film The Edge of the World. It is set on the Scottish island of Foula. John Greenwood wrote two symphonies but who hears them now? Waltz Into Jig is from Hungry Hill. It's a grand swaying waltz which melts into a romping jig. Somehow you don’t associate John Ireland with film music; neither did he. The Ealing Studios production. The Overlanders was a sort of Australian western. It echoes moments from Mai-Dun (2:41), Epic March and Julius Caesar. RVW's Prelude from The 49th Parallel has an unhurried and irresistibly confident majesty yet is feminine in its feel. It is a great theme. Alwyn's theme music from A Cure for Love features an easy rolling piano solo matched with a sentimental string choir. Phil Green's score for the biopic of the life of Paganini as played by Stewart Grainger (Menuhin playing the violin) takes a theme from one of the concertos and adds a sentimental overlay. Jacob's theme from Esther Waters clearly owes a drink or two to the music for Walton’s Henry V. The Derby Day cue from the same film is one of the best on the disc - its vitality and Rowlandson bustle is undeniable. Arthur Wilkinson's London Scene from the 1948 film The Weaker Sex owes a deal to West End dance-band commercialism. It's pointedly done and is very light on its feet. Frankel wrote the music for the1948 film Sleeping Car to Trieste. There's none of the toughness of his eight symphonies. This evocation of a continental train journey into romance and danger is superbly atmospheric even if the first cue does end pretty abruptly. The Waltz betrays knowledge of Prokofiev's music for Romeo and Juliet but it is skilfully done. Speaking of Prokofiev, the Classical Symphony must have been in Lambert Williamson's mind when he wrote Dinner at Lady Datchett's for the 1949 film The Woman Hater. John Veale then has four tracks allocated: three from High Tide at Noon and the Theme from The Spanish Gardener. The cues from the former are confident and florally enriched. The Theme (tr 19) is particularly fine - darkly turned at first then opening out into a decorative triumphant progress. Veale can then be heard again in the big Theme from The Spanish Gardener who is played by Dirk Bogarde. The music catches the psychological interplay that holds the tension of the story. Leighton Lucas wrote the music for The Dam Busters. His music for the serious naval melodrama The Yangtse Incident sounds a little cheeky-cheery matelot for such a serious piece and if I am not mistaken Lucas also must have had a few of Rawsthorne's signature sounds lodged in his creative springs. RVW's incidental music from The Loves of Joanna Godden is pastoral-tension and part rhapsodic progress. You can hear a more extended version in new sound from a new edition of the score on volume 3 of the RVW British film music series on Chandos.


The note which deals with the essentials is by Lewis Foreman - a safe pair of hands


This anthology has a precedent. Fleetingly available in the early 1990s there was an EMI Classics special CD of British film music of the same era CDGO 2059. There’s a slight overlap in repertoire but nothing to worry about. It was also very well documented with plenty of studio stills.


A pungent collection from the wonderful Michael J Dutton with a good smattering of rarities along the way. By no means a case of all the usual suspects.


Rob Barnett


A pungent collection with a good smattering of rarities along the way. By no means a case of all the usual suspects. ... see Full Review