Music Webmaster Len Mullenger
List compiled by Rob Barnett
Alphabetical composer listings A- F Discography etc. (text only)
Return to Film Music Front Page
1950, England. Lead singer of Genesis pop group. Birdy (1985 his first film score) is on Charisma CASCD1167. Note also his score for The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) Real World RWCD1.
MARIUS FRANCOIS GALLIARD
French composer who wrote single British documentary score: Forty-Million People (GPO). In 1947 he scored The Convict Has Escaped for Riverside.
Better known as an arranger, violinist and orchestral leader and conductor, Gamley also penned music for films which include: The Admirable Crichton (19570, Another Time, Another Place (1958), Tom Thumb (1958), Gideon of Scotland Yard (1959), Web of Evidence (1959), Tarzans Great Adventure (1959), The Horror of it All (1964), The Return of Mr Moto (1965), Spring and Port Wine (1970). He has also conducted Robert Farnons popular short orchestral piece: The Lake of the Woods.
Composer and song writer who contributed songs to various British films.
This Spanish composer was for many years a British resident a refugee from Spain after the end of the Spanish Civil War. His dissonant music found both recordings, performances and festivals during his lifetime. He had several excursions into film music the most notable of which is the 1963 This Sporting Life.
Another fine British composer neglected even in her own country. Her music is unfailingly tuneful but also challenging. She has many works to her name including five symphonies. Her
Jane Grey Fantasy for viola and strings is dedicated to Nova Pilbeam who acted that part in the film Tudor Rose.
Walter Goehr (1903-60) also wrote under the pen name Georg(e) Walter. He was born in Berlin and studied with Schoenberg. He was well known in British film studios. His film music included the British Spellbound, For Freedom and The Ghost Train. His most famous score was for David Leans Great Expectations (1946). Other films include: Amateur Gentleman (1936), Stop Press Girl (1949), Lucky Nick Cain (1951) and Betrayed (1954). He was the conductor for the Archers films: A Canterbury Tale; The Volunteer; I Know Where Im Going - all with music by Allan Gray.
Ron Goodwin (born 1929 in Plymouth) is very well known for his music for 633 Squadron and Those Magnificent Men both of which spawned concert marches. His career began with the film Whirlpool in 1958. Studied at Guildhall School of Music in London. Formed own radio orchestra in 1951 and made great success with his recording of Elizabethan Serenade. His work for films is supplemented by his arranging. The CD Fire and Romance included the Beatles Concerto (previously released on LP) and a new concerto for two pianos and orchestra using songs by Lennon and McCartney.
Goodwin enjoyed the music of Tiomkin and Rozsa - especially the great epics. He recalls seeing the film The Picture of Dorian Gray (*) and the tremendous impact made by the music when the picture is finally revealed in all, its decay and horror. The music was hair-raising. He has been earmarked for war films and comedies but would love to do a grand romantic film - perhaps a remake of The French Lieutenants Woman!
His commission for Whirlpool (1958) came when he and Lawrence Parkman met at a Cardoma teashop in Piccadilly. The young Juliette Greco was the star. The story involved a love story set on a barge going down the Rhine. There is beautiful scenery, schlossen - all those fairy tale castles! The music flows and surges. Somehow the music is bigger than the Rhine. It has a pacific depth to it rather like Herrmanns wondrous harp-drenched score for Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef. Goodwin also introduces unbuttoned dance band music conjuring up 1950s scenes of glittering ball rooms and mirrored globes reflecting fragments of light around the hall. Horns bloom voluptuously over the top of the theme. Sometimes this music drifts into an undemanding Binge mode or even into Ketelbey sands. His light music has been issued on both Marco Polo and Chandos.
His films include: The Green Carnation (1960) I'm All Right Jack (1960) The Village of the Damned (1960) Invasion Quartet (1961) The Flying Man (1962), Kill or Cure (1962), Murder She Said (1962), The Day of the Triffids (1963), Follow the Boys (1963), Ladies Who Do (1963), Murder at the Gallop (1963), Sword of Lancelot (1963), Children of the Damned (1964), Murderer Ahoy (1964), Murder Most Foul (1964), Of Human Bondage (1964), 633 Squadron (1964) Operation Crossbow (1965), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), The Alphabet Murders (1966), That Riviera Touch (1966 - the Morecambe and Wise film), The Magnificent Two (1967 - another Morecambe and Wise frolic), Decline and Fall (1968), Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968), Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969), The Executioner (1970), Frenzy (1972 Hitchcocks lurid shocker. His score replaced one by Henry Mancini which was discarded. The Goodwin score can be heard in part on Silva Screen FILMCD137). He also provided scores for The Battle of Britain, Where Eagles Dare (1969 - a notable success) and Force Ten from Navarone (1978).
He composed the music for all four of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films of the fifties: Murder She Said (4.50 From Paddington), Murder Ahoy, Murder Most Foul and Murder at the Gallop, also for The Alphabet Murders (The ABC Murders) (1965) but did not achieve the popularity of his other film music. Did the music for an earlier Agatha Christie, 4.50 from Paddington, filmed under the title Murder She Said.
(*) footnote: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) was directed by Albert Lewin and starred Hurd Hatfield as Dorian and George Sanders as his mentor Lord Henry Wotton. It featured Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury (who steals the show as Sybil Vane) and Peter Lawford. Sir Cedric Hardwicke was the narrator and Moyna MacGill, Lansburys real-life mother, played the Duchess. Film music is by Musical contributions, mostly uncredited, go to Herbert Stothart who along with Rudolf Friml wrote the wildly popular operetta Rose Marie and who won an Oscar for his original score for The Wizard of Oz. There are also selections from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Chopin. In addition to the music, Director Albert Lewin and cinematographer Harry Stradling, Jr who won the black and white Oscar that year. The film shifted from black & white (in which the film was shot) to colour at the moment the ghastly portrait is revealed. It drew a huge gasp from the audience. The portraits were painted by Ivan and Zsissly Albright (Thanks to Thomas G Corrigan and another Net contributor for the above information.)
Ron Goodwins music for the Miss Marple films (plus for Lancelot and Guinevere (1972) and Force Ten from Navarone) is on Label X Europe LXE706 with the Odense SO conducted by the composer. His light music is available on Chandos and Marco Polo discs.
Goossens is not known as a film composer and there were in fact only two forays into the field. The first was towards the end of the silent era. Goossens provided incidental music for The Constant Nymph, first as a stage play and then in a film version. In fact he needed additional music for the film version (1928) and borrowed extracts from his other concert music. The score includes Goossens attempt at writing a show-stopper and one designed with commercial success in mind. This was the song When Thou Art Dead. This was later recorded and had some success.
He provided the score for the 20 minute propaganda film Cowboy (1943) under the auspices of the Office of War Information. It showed the American Far West as the home of plenteous food production. The score is continuous. He hoped that this would result in commissions from Hollywood but none came. This was surprising given the cinematic vivid quality of his orchestral music. He later carved the Cowboy music into his Op. 62 Cowboy Phantasy for small orchestra - regrettably still unrecorded.
Tasmanian composer. Born 1903. Studied with RVW at RCM. Wrote music for short films including RAF newsreel The Gen.
Hamlet (1969), Give God a Chance on Sunday (1970), The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970).
Grainer wrote a number of documentary film scores including: in 1961 Tetanus
and in 1963 Giants of Steam. His feature films include Lock Up You Daughters, A Kind of Loving (1962), The Finest Hours (1964 - from which was extracted a very successful Churchill March), The Guest (1964), The Moonspinners (1964), Night Must Fall (1964), Nothing But the Best (1964), Station Six - Sahara (1964), The Trap (1966), The Tiger Makes Out (1967), To Sir With Love (1967), Only When I Larf (1968), The Assassination Bureau (1969), Before Winter Comes (1969), Hoffman (1970), In Search of Gregory (1970), Then Omega Man (1971). His work for TV included music for Dr Who and the famous Steptoe and Son signature theme.
Gray was Polish but his creative life was largely spent in England. Musical Director to Max Reinhardt for some years. His films included Madness of the Heart, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The African Queen (the famous Humphrey Bogart vehicle) for and Mr Perrin and Mr Traill, based on the novel by Hugh Walpole, from which a movement entitled Proposal was extracted for concert use. His very first score was a German film Emil and the Detectives. He wrote a number of scores for Emeric and Pressburger including A Matter of Life and Death (1946) with its haunting, simple piano progression, the Prelude of which was recorded on 78 and reissued on EMI CD in a classic collection of 40s and 50s film scores.
Films: Emil and the Detectives (1931), The Silver Fleet (1943), The Volunteer (1943), Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where Im Going (1945), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Stairway to Heaven (1946), This Man is Mine (1946), Mr Perrin and Mr Traill (1948), Madness of the Heart (1949), The Reluctant Widow (1950), No Place for Jennifer (1951), Obsessed (1951), Outpost in Malaya (1952), Twilight Women (1953).
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) 78. Commando Patrol. RAF Dance Orch. Decca F8364.
A Matter of Life and Death (1946): Prelude and This Man is Mine (1946): theme. Queens Hall Light Orch/Charles Williams. Columbia DX1320.
Born Blackburn 1925. Died in 1984. Composer arranger for Eartha Kitt and Hoagy Carmichael. Vera Lynns arranger/accompanist 1949-59. Music for Gerry Anderson animation series: Battery Boy, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett, UFO, Space 1999. Thunderbirds music on EMI CDP 7 99922-2.
Born in London in 1911. Green studied at the Trinity College of Music. He was a West-End theatre conductor at age 18. He recorded very extensively. The tune Romance from the score for The Magic Bow (1946) made a major splash becoming a great popular success. Make Mine Mink (1960) had a catchy, jazzy score. He died in Ireland in 1982.
His films include:
Saints and Sinners
Murder Without Crime
Isnt Life Wonderful
Affair in Monte Carlo
Inn for Trouble
Conflict of Wings
John and Julie
The March Hare
John and Julie
The Ship Was Loaded
Carry on Admiral
The Square peg
A Question of Adultery
The League of Gentlemen
A Touch of Larceny
Man in the Moon
The Secret Partner
The Singer not the Song
Upstairs and Downstairs
The Girl hunters
The Dream Maker
Make Mine Mink see also
Greenwood was born in London in 1889 and died in 1975. Educated at Royal College of Music. Studied with Stanford. His works include two symphonies, tone poems, chamber music, songs etc. He has a long list of film credits.
He wrote music for some fifty films including To What Red Hell; Stranglehold; The Sleeping Cardinal; At the Villa Rosa; Alibi; A Tale of Two Cities; Prison Without Bars; Twenty One Days; (1939); The Drum (1937); Elephant Boy (1937); Man of Aran (1933); East Meets West (1936); The Constant Nymph (1933, with Goossens); Contraband (1940 with Addinsell); A1 at Lloyds (1940); Pimpernel Smith (1941); Wavells 30,000 (1942); The Gentle Sex (1943); Painted Boats (1945); Nine Men (1943); San Demetrio (1944); They Knew Mr Knight (1944); Men of Rochdale (1945); Switchover (1945); Hungry Hill (1946); Frieda (1947); The Last Days of Dolwyn (Venice Film Festival 1948) He also wrote music for documentaries such as Berth 24 (1950) and The Lake District (1957) Berth 24 portrayed the life of the Hull docks in 1950. He was signed up at the recommendation of Muir Mathieson. Greenwood returned to documentaries to score a travel film, The Lake District with narration by Michael Redgrave.
The march The Eighth Army (from the film The Nine Men) ascribed jointly to Eric Coates and John Greenwood was recorded on 78. HM Grenadier Guards Band/Lieut F Harris. Columbia DB2140.
78 - Hungry Hill: Waltz into Jig. Decca series Incidental Music from British Films LSO/Mathieson.
The Key to Scotland 1935 - Strand.
All That I Have - Peak Films 1947.
Has written some film music.
Gundry who is better known if at all for his operas, wrote The Daytime of Christ in 1978. It declares itself as a full-length Dramatic Oratorio for an operatic film and is scored for chorus and full orchestra in 7 scenes and six interludes. It remains unperformed. If anyone is interested in mounting a performance please contact me in first instance. Rob Barnett.
Gunning was born in 1944. Has written music for film documentaries also for Poirot and Middlemarch (with Stanley Myers).When the Whales Came is a fine score evidently evocative of the open air music of Britten, Holst and Vaughan Williams - Silva Screen FILMCD049.
Born 1917. Has written some film music.
Born in 1944. Hartley wrote the score for the remake of The Lady Vanishes
Hely-Hutchinsons (1901-1947) most famous work is A Carol Symphony. Born Cape Town, South Africa 1901. He did however write film music for a sequence of documentaries: Battle of Supplies (Strand 1942), New Zealand (Crown, 1945), Camouflage Airview (Verity 1945), Teeth of Steel (Technique), The Gen (RAF newsreel), When We Build Again (Strand 1944), The Call of the Sea, South Africa (Crown 1944)..
This Dubliner made a great name in the USA as a composer of musical shows. However we should not forget his score for the 1916 silent: The Fall of a Nation. He was born in 1859 and died in New York in 1924.:
Heward is better known as a conductor than as a composer. He was born in Yorkshire in 1897 and died in Birmingham in 1943. A conductor with an adventurous taste in music he premiered Alan Hovhaness Symphony No. 1, The Exile (1936) with the BBCSO in 1939. He also conducted the renowned pioneering recording of E J Moerans symphony. He wrote the music for a single film: The Loves of Robert Burns (1928). The film music was recorded at EMI studios with the tenor, Joseph Hislop.
Hollingsworth (born Enfield - same area as Vernon Handley - on 20 March 1916) is better known as a conductor than as film music writer. Joined RAF in 1940 and with R P ODonnell was associate conductor of RAFSO with whom he toured widely. He even visited Hollywood with the orchestra during World War II. He conducted the recording sessions for the documentary short The England of Elizabeth with music by Vaughan Williams. He also conducted the RAFSO in the music for the soundtrack of Target for Tonight (Warner Brothers Studio, Teddington) and Burma Victory (1945) amongst many others.
His own film scores include The Abominable Snowman (1957 - actually it is Searles score and Hollingsworth conducted), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958), Mystery Submarine (1963), The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963).
Holst who died in 1934 is not a name much associated with films though his vivid music would certainly have lent itself to the medium. He did how ever number Anthony Collins amongst his pupils and he later rose to some prominence in the industry. Holsts Suite in E for brass band was used as incidental music for the 1956 documentary short Making Tracks.
In March 1931 Holst was commissioned to write a film score for an adaptation of J.R. Wares The Polish Jew. The title of the film was The Bells. It was to be made at Associated Sound Film Industries, Wembley. There was to be music for a storm, wedding feast, dance music and drinking songs. All the music was written. He recorded the music at the Wembley studios using an orchestra of wind, brass, sousaphone, percussion, harp, piano and celesta. He even appeared as an extra in the film although there is doubt that his appearance survived the cutting floor. As was not unusual Holst was later asked to make cuts in the music to match the cut film. He began to lose interest but complied. He was desperately disappointed on playback of the film when the sound of his music on track was so poor. The film attracted little interest and was sold to a company in the USA. There it appears never to have been shown and both the musical materials and the film itself have disappeared. (see pp.296-8, Gustav Holst, Michael Short, OUP 1990)
Hopkins was known for many years for his lucid non-technical introductions to the popular and not so popular classics. His radio talks are themselves classics of a peculiarly British BBC genre. He wrote many film scores and one of these was excavated by Carl Davis in a 1995 programme examining rare British film music. The music was a suite from the film Pickwick Papers. Hopkins was a prolific composer who, while he was at college, never dreamt he would be a professional composer. After leaving the RCM and for the next 15 years he wrote music for films, theatre and radio in the latter of which he served his apprenticeship.
He came into films firstly through a rather tough introduction to theatre music. Michael Tippett told him he had a job for him and that was to tidy up some music he would be writing for a production of Dr Faustus in Liverpool. He was then to train the theatre orchestra. Tippett just did not have the time to do the music and with only two weeks to go handed the whole commission over to Hopkins. He managed to complete the score in time and coach the players. He needed to write at an amazing rate. He prepared the music for all three Huggett pictures with Jack Warner (known to older British readers as Dixon of Dock Green).
It was not unusual for him to be asked to write a whole score in a week and orchestrate it into the bargain. Pickwick Papers (1952) was done in 11 days. The Pickwick suites first movement starts with a glorious reference to Boys and Girls come out to play. Everything is great fun and bright-eyed innocence. The next movement emulates a giant hurdy-gurdy. There is a fairground roundabout feel to it. A reflective interlude follows for the love episode but done wittily with a tuba leaning a little towards VWs idiom. This is Englishry prettiness alternating with traditional tunes or ones which sound traditional. Occasionally he dives with glorious abandon in the direction of Ketèlbey. The penultimate full panoply march has a very serious mien which seems out of keeping in this pretty company. Full blown horns end the suite picking up references to the wedding march and echoes of the merry-go-round again. This is a charming suite.
His film roster includes The Seven Thunders, Vice Versa (1945), Its Hard to be Good (1948), Vote for Huggett (1949), Decameron Nights (1953), Johnny on the Run (1954), Pickwick Papers (1954) and Billy Budd (1962).
Ireland was born in 1879 and died in 1962. In general Ireland deprecated the writing of film music. He regarded it as artistically damaging. When he was approached by Ernest Irving to write the music for the Michael Balcon film The Overlanders in 1946 he rejected it out of hand. The film was written and directed by Harry Watt. Irving was not to be discouraged and came back with a financially very tempting offer. Ireland became interested and negotiations progressed to contract. Irving promised to provide every support for the composer and firmly believed that Ireland was the only man for the job. Ireland was drawn to the project as it featured a cast of people who were not stars. The plot followed the trek of rangers who in 1942 were moving a million cattle from the Northern Territories in the face of possible invasion from the Japanese. Though Ireland had never been to Australia he certainly caught the atmosphere very well indeed. The film was a great success and the music has been recorded by Boult, Hickox, Measham and others. The orchestral suite was arranged by Charles Mackerras. It is not widely known that Ireland was to have produced a second film score for Cavalcantis The Toilers of the Sea. This project came to nothing when Cavalcanti left Ealing Studios.
1877-1953. Music Director at Ealing Studios. Films: Whisky Galore, The Proud Valley (1939), Ships with Wings (1942), Bitter Springs (Savage Justice) (1950), I Believe in You (1950).
Jacob was born in 1895. He was a student at the RCM (1919) and studied with Stanford, Charles Wood, Boult and Howells after serving in the First World War. He spent some of the war years as a prisoner of war from his capture in 1917. It is no surprise that this master of so many fields of music should have turned his hand to film music. Well known as a craftsman the film world represented the usual things to him but he was in a very good position to respond to them. His work is concentrated during and around the years of the second world war. His first films were for the Crown Film Unit at Denham Studios. Jacob believed that film music opened up many possibilities for the contemporary composer. As well as opening up a source of income denied in many other areas. It also allows full scope for the imagination. Jacob came into the industry when film makers awareness of the importance of music was at its height. His films include: Close Quarters (1943); Maintenance Command (1944); Journey Together (1945) and Esther Waters (1948).
Jaubert contributed a number of scores to British films.
Jefferies (1896-?) enjoyed some attention in the years after world war 2. The Song of the Plough was extracted from one of his film scores.
Born 1927. Various film music scores.
1908-90. He played for silent films. His knowledge of film stars and film stills was extensive. Song sheets featuring Deanna Durbin were library treasures.
KENNETH V JONES
Jones and Douglas Gamley completed or realised Benjamins work on the music for Fire Down Below (1957-60). His films include: How to Murder a Rich Uncle (1957), High Flight (1958), The Horses Mouth (1958), Indiscreet (1958), Intent to kill (1958), Room 43 (1958), Task Force (1958), Tom Thumb (1958), The Bandit of Zhobe (1959), Ten Seconds to Hell (1959), Surprise Package (co-written with Frankel), Jazz Boat (1960), Oscar Wilde (1960), Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), Ferry to Hong Kong (1961), The Green Helmet (1961), Two Way Stretch (1961), Nearly a Nasty Accident (1962), Operation Snatch (1962), Tarzan Goes to India (1962), Cairo (1963), Horror Hotel (1963), Dr Crippen (1964), Psyche 59 (1964), Maroc 7 (1967), The Projected man (1967), Battle Beneath the Earth (1968), Who Slew Auntie Roo? (1971).
Josephs (1927-1997) was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. He studied dentistry but then turned to music studying with Arthur Milner. He attended the GSM (1954-57), and Paris in 1958 with Max Deutsch. He has composed prolifically for both television and film. His Symphony No. 5 and Requiem have been recorded commercially by Unicorn though not on CD at present. His films include Cash on Demand (1962); Die! Die! My Darling (1965); The Deadly Bees (1967); My Side of the Mountains (1969).
CEDRIC KING PALMER
King Palmer (1913-?) was a native of Sussex. His films included Cockney Kids Adventure, Dark Eyes of London, Signs of the Times, Secrets of the Stars, Rhythm of the Road and Holiday Time. Palmer composed various pieces of mood music for the record libraries of the time.
Renowned as a ballet conductor Lanchberys score for the filmed fantasy ballet Tales of Beatrix Potter was extremely popular and rates the occasional showing and revival of the ballet even now twenty or more years after the film came out (1971). He also provided the scores for The Turning Point and Nijinsky.
There are two film scores by Lambert. In 1940 he wrote a score for the documentary film Merchant Seamen (originally entitled Able Seamen). This depicted the merchant marine in wartime. As his biographer Richard Shead points out the score in the style of Vaughan Williams. The concert suite of five movements is highly attractive and deserves a recording. The piece was extremely popular well into the fifties. Lamberts own performance of the suite with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (17 February 1944) exists on transcription discs.
Both Rae Jenkins and Carl Davis have revived the piece, Davis most recently revived the piece as part of his BBC radio British film music feature in 1995. The second movement Convoy in the Fog sounds remarkably Baxian and one wonders whether he had attended the premiere of Baxs Tale the Pine Trees Knew a work he was to conduct in 1944. The music is despite being disparaged by biographer Richard Shead it offers attractive material and is well worth hearing. The suite is dedicated to the orchestras of the Royal Marines. It features a meltingly lovely tune rather like Eric Foggs Sea Sheen. The movements feature vivid aquatic music, a wild storm and conflict, a deep sea-green oceanic tune with a long line running free. The final movement is maybe slightly portentous but any false notes are swept away by a closing section which is all bustle but with a glance back at the high old time of his ballet Horoscope.
His sole feature film score was for a prestigious production featuring Ralph Richardson and Vivien Leigh, design were by Cecil Beaton and the screen play was by Jean Anouilh. The subject was Tolstoys Anna Karenina. Some music deployed on the soundtrack is authentic Russian - including Glinka and Tchaikovsky. The rest is pastiche Russian. It has been recorded by Bernard Herrmann in his classic Decca album of Great British Film Music. Humphrey Searles entre to the film world came when Lambert needed his help to finish the score for Anna Karenina.
Leighs gentle and undemanding but always interesting music has been recorded by Lyrita. He also wrote a number of film scores: Pett and Pott (1934), Song of Ceylon (1934), Dawn of Iran (1936), The Face of Scotland (1938), The Fourth Estate (1939), Squadron 992 (1940).
Better known as a conductor of the baroque era repertoire with the cocasional migration into the more modern territory. His performances of the filmicly vivid fifth and seventh symphonies of Arnold Bax is worth noting though currently only the seventh is available on a Lyrita CD. There are three film scores: Lord of the Flies (1963), Alfred the Great (1969) and Laughter in the Dark (1969).
Levy (1893-1957) was active in films from 1916 and with Gaumont and Gainsborough between 1928 and 1947 as supervisor to the musical side of all their productions. He was credited with the music for many of their films; but it is difficult to say exactly what music he actually composed. The Citadel (1938) is his as is the march-style title music for the Gaumont-British newsreel. His music graces Oh Mr. Porter (1937). He also wrote music for the 1941 screening of The Ghost Train.
A selection of other films scores credited to Levy: Evensong (1934), Alias Bulldog Drummond (1935), Mr Hobo (1935), Transatlantic Tunnel (1935), East Meets West (1936), First a Girl (1936), Its Love Again (1936), Nine Days a Queen (1936), Passing of the Third Floor Back (1936), Secret Agent (1936), Seven Sinners (1936), Head Over Heels in Love (1936), Man of Affairs (1937), The Citadel (1938), Haunted Honeymoon (1941), Night Train (1941), The Hasty Heart (1949), Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957).
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
The phenomenal success of his stage and theatre music should not let us forget his film music for Gumshoe (1971) and The Odessa File (1974).
Lockyer had his own concert orchestra. He wrote music for the films Ten Little Indians, The Night of the Big Heat and The Vengeance of Fu-Manchu. Some of his film music was published. Films: The Little Ones (1965) Ten Little Indians (1965) Bang, Bang, Youre Dead (1966) Deadlier than the Male (1967) Island of Terror (1967) The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1968)
Leighton Lucas (1903-1982) who was active in the field of light music and had his own eponymous orchestra regularly featured on Third Programme broadcast studied as a dancer but at age 19 became a theatre conductor. He served in the RAF during World War II. He wrote the film music for Target for To-night and most the score for The Dambusters and for the Hitchcock film Stage Fright. The Dambusters March was of course the handiwork of Eric Coates although Lucas uses the theme from the march in various places in the score. Film scores also include Of Love and Destiny, Son of Robin Hood (1958), Ice Cold in Alex (The Road to Alex was a fine march extracted from the score) and Yangtse Incident (a march The Amethyst was extracted from the score).
Films: Target for Tonight (1941) Stage Fright (1950) The Weak and the Wicked (1954) The Dam Busters (1955) The Son of Robin Hood (1959) Desert Attack (1960)
During the early 1930s Lutyens determined to break into the world of film music. It was Muir Mathieson (who else?) who gave her first break. She received a commission to provide music for an item in a 1944 RAF newsreel. She composed a march Bustle for WAAFs. Apparently the music is redolent of Malcolm Arnolds uproarious music for the St Trinians films.
At about the same time she also wrote music for a Crown Film Unit production: Jungle Mariners depicting deadly techniques in jungle warfare. She sacrificed her usual twelve tone idiom and adopted a more epic style. After this came four more documentaries. After this commission work on shorts came thick and fast.. She enjoyed her work but saw it as nothing more than it was - not great art but as a service to make complete a product which would be useful - the attitude of a consummate professional.
While Bliss saw the music as an integral and at least equal part of the film making process Lutyens was happy enough to come in after the shooting and compose to the visual images. Music in films should she felt provide discreet rather than commanding attention. It should be quietly supportive and people should not be overly aware of it. This is in line with Scott Goddards praise of Brian Easdales score for the post-war Black Narcissus. The work in documentaries flowed and flowed all the way through until the early 1950s covering Africa in The Boy Kumasemu (1952), Switzerland in Tyrolean Harvests (1954) and Israel in Challenge of the Desert (1960). There was also a film The Weald of Kent with narration by Sir John Betjeman.
Fascinatingly her film This Little Ship produced for the UK Atomic Energy Commission and centring on the loss of HMS Plymouth which exploded while carrying nuclear weapons was suppressed. A Cold War propaganda film for which she provided film music was The Atlantic Decade.
1960 marked her move into feature films with Dont Bother to Knock. Philip Martell was music director for the majority of her feature films and was convinced that she had a natural aptitude for film work. He acted as her mentor in all things practical and in matters of taste when her experimental style occasionally went too far. Lutyens wanted more feature film work but felt that Muir Mathieson was blocking her. She had heard him commenting that women film composers were unable to express passion in music!
Her association with Hammer films was fruitful. Hammer were happy to tap into Lutyens twelve tone system. This connection brought her yet more financial security and an income that continued into her old age and after her death benefited her estate. She commented that a single showing in Spanish cinemas of Dr Terrors House of Horrors brought her more income than all her BBC broadcasts put together. Earth Dies Screaming was said to have kept her in champagne for years.
The odd documentary commission continued to come her way well into the 70s. However one of her most satisfying commissions was for Turner a film sequence on Turners paintings. She continued however to gain splendidly from her scores of The Earth Dies Screaming (1964), The Skull (1965) and The Terrornauts (1967). In one year during the 1970s her horror films brought in £10,000 in royalties.
Dr Terrors House of Horrors (1965).
The Welsh composer, Mathias employed the Philip Joness Brass Ensemble for Britannia - A Bridge which showed the reconstruction of the bridge across the Menai Straits.
His films include: Desperate Moment (1953), Penny Princess (1953), Break to Freedom (1955), The Man in the Road (1957), Three on a Spree (1961), Escape by Night (1964), Witchcraft (1964), The Psychopath (1966), The Viking Queen (1967), The Anniversary (1968) and he appears to have been music director for St Joan (Spoliansky), Albert R.N. (Malcolm Arnold), Top of the Form, Made in Heaven (Ronald Hanmer), Cosh Bay (Lambert Williamson), Trouble in Store (Spoliansky).
He also acted as MD for several London musical productions including The Wizard of Oz, Annie Get Your Gun, the 1952 Saville Theatre production of Hugh Martin's Love From Judy, the 1954 Globe production of Noel Coward's After The Ball and the 1957 Savoy production of Julian Slade's Free As Air.
Martelli, a living British composer, now much neglected, enjoyed great and passing success for his concert scores during the 1950s. They are well worth examination and revival. His film scores, all typical hammer fare, include The Curse of the Mummys Tomb (1965), The Woman Who Wouldnt Die (1965), The Murder Game (1966), It (1967), Prehistoric Women (1967).
Martins film music includes My Wifes Family (1956) and The Hoax (1972).
Born Stirling 24 January 1911. Died Oxford 2 August 1975. OBE 1957. For many years made his home at Shogmore, Frieth, Bucks. The dynamo of the British film music industry. Responsible for persuading so many composers of serious music to write for film. These included Bliss, VW, Walton, Britten and Bennett not to mention Ernest Toch. His name is entangled with almost every composer entry on this site. His importance cannot be over-stated. He was music director for over 600 films and probably in excess of another 400 when one counts documentary shorts and other probables. The FM series of film music 78rpm discs produced for the studios were often conducted by him. Occasional opera conductor at Sadlers Wells. Her recorded Red Shoes and two small pieces by Benjamin plus a Tchaikovsky symphony. He conducted most British orchestras in film music concerts doing much to popularise the sound-world of which in many ways he was the architect.
Andrew Youdell of the BFI has grouped Mathieson with Ernest Irving and Louis Levy as that strange creature: the studio Music Director. He coordinated the music. Conducted it. Made arrangements for it. Commissioned new scores and acted as the link between the studio moguls and the composer. He broke the bad news about cuts and was responsible for the supervision of the musical aspects of the picture. Altogether Mathieson stands as the doyen of British film music.
McGuffie was active in radio music but has at least two film scores to his name: Daleks Invade Earth 2150AD (1966) and Corruption (1968).
1909-65. Apart from his activities in recording extracts from others film music he was active as a band and orchestra leader during the heady days of British light music popularity. He also scored a number of films: Woman to Woman (1947), Code of Scotland Yard (1948), No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948), Dark Secret (1950), Story of Shirley Yorke (1950), The Gamma People (1956), Odongo (1956).
Mewton-Wood the Australian born pianist contributed to the film music genre. He was also famous for his recording of the Bliss Piano Concerto. He gave the premiere of the revised version of Brittens Piano Concerto.
Montgomery is perhaps better known under the pseudonym Edmund Crispin, the author of a line of well-regarded detective fiction.
The Little Kidnappers (1954), A Prince for Cynthia (1954), Doctor in the House (1955), Escapade (1955), Doctor at Sea (1956), Cartouche (1957), Checkpoint (1957), Doctor at Large (1957), Raising a Riot (1957), The Truth About Women (1958)9, Carry on Sergeant (1959), Carry On Nurse (1960), Please Turn Over (1960), Beware of Children (1960), Watch your Stern (1961), Doctor in Love (1962), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966).
Born in 1923. Also composed as Wally Stott. Her film music includes the delightful saxophone solo for Kehaar the seagull in Watership Down (1978). This has been recorded in a version conducted by Marcus Dods.
An aficionado and virtuoso performer of early music, he will be fondly remembered by British listeners as the engaging presenter of the Radio Three programme Pied Piper. He provided the film score for Henry VIII and His Six Wives.
Born in London in 1909 Herbert Murrill joined the staff of the BBC in 1936, becoming Head of Music in 1950. He was also a professor of composition at the RAM. He died in 1952 having written a number of film scores: And So To Work; The Daily Round.
Myers was born in 1930 and died in 1993. He was amongst the most prolific of writers of film music working on almost 60 films spanning British independent productions to Hollywood spectaculars. His first film score was Kaleidoscope (1966). He also provided scores for Ulysses (1967), No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), Michael Kohlhaas (1969), Otley (1969), Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969), Take a Girl Like You (1970), Tropic of Cancer (1970), The Walking Stick (1970), Long Ago Tomorrow (1971), A Severed Head (1971), Tam Lin (1971), King, Queen, Knave (1972), Sitting Target (1972), Summer Lightning (1972), My Beautiful Launderette, Eureka, Castaway, Wish You Were Here and X, Y and Zee (1972). His most widely known composition is the memorable Cavatina for guitar and orchestra from Michael Ciminos The Deerhunter.
A frequent collaborator with Peter Greenaway. Outstanding scores include Prosperos Books and the film piano concerto for The Piano. This continues although extremely distinctively a vein which traces its way back to Brief Encounter (Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2), Elvira Madigan (Mozart). Nymans concert music draws on his films and vice versa. The Piano Concerto has often featured in the concert hall. His music for The Bee Dances for saxophone and orchestra is a remarkably attractive piece. The concert suite drawn from Prosperos Books has nothing like the flowing mystical and magical elegance of the music heard in the film. Nymans inventive genius has done much to bring contemporary cinema closer to the field of contemporary concert music - to the benefit of both worlds.
Born 1924. Composer and conductor of West End shows. Studied at the RCM. Films including: Some May Live (1967), I Cant I Cant (1969), Subterfuge (1969), Cool it, Carol (1970).
Buxton Orr studied with Benjamin Frankel, himself, a film music composer of considerable note. Frankel had taken considerable risks in moving into the field of film music. The risk was to his standing as a concert music composer. The risk was multiplied by the film genre in which he occasionally chose to work - namely horror. Despite the risks followed in Frankel's film-music footsteps. He first came to public attention through a number of Boris Karloff and other horror films and then, with the score to the film of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn and directed by Sam Spiegel.
His list of films includes: The Haunted Strangler (1958), First Man Into Space (1959), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), Doctor Bloods Coffin (1961), The Snake Woman (1961),.Corridors of Blood (1963), The Eyes of Annie Jones (1964) and Walk a Tightrope (1964).
A Weekend with Lulu (1961), The Secret Door (1964), Seaside Swingers (1965).
1914-79. Films: Expresso Bongo (1960), The Frightened City (1962), Play it Cool (1963), Doctor in Distress (1964), Young and Willing (1964) and My Lover, My Son (1970).
Parker began as a session guitarist but wrote music for 20 feature films including Jaws-3D.
Parker was born in London in 1905 and died in 1989. His early career took him to the Eastbourne Municipal Orchestra where he served as the orchestras organist. He composed profusely - mostly small light orchestral pieces. These brought him to the attention of the ever-watchful Muir Mathieson who it is likely launched him on his long film career. Sink the Bismarck (1960) which starred a tight-lipped Kenneth Moore had a stirring march and is perhaps the most famous of the scores. Western Approaches dating from 1944 was a Crown Film Unit commission. The film was the first major Technicolour feature to be filmed entirely at sea. The fee for the music was £100. His other films include Children on Trial (1945), Johnny Frenchman (1945), Blanche Fury (1947), The Smugglers (1948), The Man Within (1947), Diamond City (1949), The Blue Lagoon (1949), Treasure Island (1950), The Wooden Horse (1950), a famous early P.O.W. film , The Gift Horse (1952), Elizabeth Express (1952), The Story of Robin Hood and His Merry Men (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953), Hell Below Zero (1954), A Day to Remember (1955), The Feminine Touch (1956), ), The Gentle Touch (1957), Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957), Campbells Kingdom (1958) based on the Neville Shute novel, The Curse of the Damned (1958), Harry Black and the Tiger (1958), The Secret Place (1958), The Thirty-Nine Steps (1959), The House of the Seven Hawks (1959), The Hellfire Club (1960), Blue Pullman (1960), Circle of Deception (1960) The Long Night Haul (1960), Desert Patrol (1961), Scream of Fear (1961), The Secret of Monte Carlo (1961), HMS Defiant (1962), Mystery Submarine (1962), The Informers (1963), The Great Highway (1965). A suite from Night of the Damned is available on Silver Screen FILMCD175.
(1914-55). Shipyard Sally, Were Going to be Rich, Lassie for Lancashire, The Show Goes On.
Born 1947. Some film music.
Payne currently famous for his realisation of Elgars incomplete sketches of the Third Symphony once composed a horror film score. He found the commission instructive and learnt a great deal very quickly composing a 40 minute score in ten days.
Portman was born in 1961 and has gained considerable praise for her scores for Marvins Room, Sirens, Pinocchio and Precious Bane.
She benefited from the commissions of the emerging Channel 4 in the 1980s. This gave her a good start. Portman believes in writing music with a strong melodic line. She sees melody as of paramount importance. She encountered a deep prejudice against film music from her Oxford days. Her accessible style did not impress her tutors who wanted something more contemporary. I wanted melodic music then. There is a snobbishness towards film composers. My tutors told me Id get a third or fail if I used it and that it was the not the work of a real composer.
(1916-) Some film music.
Rawsthorne who died in 1971 adopted a slightly more approachable style for his film music than for his concert music. Once again it was his films which gave him and his estate some prominence and royalty revenue when interest in his concert scores had dwindled to virtually nothing. Of course now he is enjoying a revival at least on CD which would never have been possible without the revenues generated by the film music. We are well on the way towards all of his concert music being recorded and easily available often on budget labels like Naxos. Ironically the benefactor who made all this possible in the shape of the film music is the last to receive treatment. While the odd segment of the odd score has been recorded in recent years (see Silva Screens Ealing Studios CD) there is currently no complete film score of Rawsthornes available on CD nor for that matter is there an anthology along the lines of the Alwyn and Arnold Chandos Collections.
Raswthorne was conscious of how film can reach out far to an audience far beyond the stiff ranks of concert goers. Also despite relaxing more than a little in his film music it is still noticeably Rawsthorne and the fingerprints are easy to detect. Hans Keller describes the scores as magnificent music - all of them, and however intricate and cogent their relation to the visual, they would lose absolutely nothing if that relation were lost, the experience of sheer musical substance, of a reality that cant be expressed any other way, would not only remain, but actually emphasise its own irreplaceability far more clearly than it could in the cinema.
The links with the concert hall are apparent in Overture for Farnham and the opening movement of the Suite for Brass Band. These inhabit similar soundworlds to the title music for The Captive Heart and The Cruel Sea. The latter has been recorded by Silver Screen (CD177) and its prelude and nocturne have a fine epic feeling to them as well as having many distinctive Rawsthorne fingerprints including a yearning slightly sour theme.
The Captive Heart is often shown at Christmas on British TV. Also reasonably frequent TV showings are given to The Cruel Sea and Sarabande for Dead Lovers. The latters Prelude and Carnival has been recorded on Silver Screen FILMCD 177. The Carnival is suitably chaotic and bursting with a wild energy. The prelude opening in an almost Korngoldian splendour but is dominated by an atmosphere of desperate sorrow and romance inherent in the films title. Even the carnival is disturbed by the sorrowing theme after a mechanical hammering figure taken by the percussion.
Where No Vultures Fly gets the occasional outing. The Prelude and Vultures section of the soundtrack as played by the Philharmonia was broadcast as part of Carl Daviss film music revival series in 1995. The Prelude is a commanding piece with a slightly sour edge to it. Vultures is a very skilful piece. The vultures are illustrated by circling high woodwind trills. Deep brass beneath these stratospheric trills give the tangible illusion of the birds circling high above the plains.
The MSS of the film scores have been lost so the only hope of substantial suites and even complete scores is via painstaking and expensive reconstruction from the soundtrack. The Silva Screen Ealing Studios anthology exists because of the brilliant reconstruction work of Philip Lane and Gerard Schurmann.
ALAN RAWSTHORNE - FILM SCORES:
Power Unit c.1937 Shell Film Unit (GB);
The City 1939 GPO Film Unit;
Cargo for Ardrossan 1939 Realist Films (GB);
Street Fighting 1942 Army Film Unit (MOI);
Tank Tactics 1942 Army Film Unit (MOI);
USA The Land & The People 1945 War Office;
Burma Victory 1945 Army Film Unit;
Broken Dykes 1945 Ministry of Information;
The Captive Heart 1946 Ealing Studios;
School for Secrets 1946 Two Cities;
Uncle Silas 1947 Two Cities;
Saraband for Dead Lovers 1948 Ealing Studios;
x - 100 1948 Shell Mex GB;
The Dancing Fleece 1950 Crown Film Unit;
Pandora & the Flying Dutchman 1950 Romulus Films;
The Waters of Time 1951 International Realist Ltd.;
Where No Vultures Fly 1951 Ealing Studios;
The Cruel Sea 1952 Ealing Studios;
The Drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci 1953 Leonardo Film Committee;
West of Zanzibar 1953 Ealing Studios;
Lease of Life 1954 Ealing Studios;
The Man Who Never Was 1955 Sumar Films;
The Legend of the Good Beasts 1956 Bear Films (GB);
Floods of Fear 1958 Rank;
The Port of London 1959 Greenpark;
Sweet Without Tears 1960 Kuwait Oil Company;
Messenger of the Mountains 1964 Countryman Films.
Born 1886. Died 1972. Distinguished conductor. He wrote much film music dating from between the Wars. He reportedly composed, arranged and conducted for the first British film to have its own score. More details would be appreciated.
Born 1919. Harmonica player. Some film music.
Reizenstein was born in Nuremberg in 1911 and died in London in 1968. The Nazi régime drove him to England in 1934 finding the Nazi regime intolerable. He was interned as an alien at the beginning of the war. During his period of internment he arranged and performed music for the internment camp. He was released while the war was still continuing, worked as a railway clerk and performed at wartime concerts. Here he studied with Vaughan Williams at the RCM. He taught piano at the RAM from 1958. His films include: The Mummy (1959) and Circus of Horrors (1960).
Rogers jokey music matched well the high spirits and peculiarly British humour of the films he chose to score: The Swingin Maiden (1964), Carry on Cleo (1965), Carry on Spying (1965)), Carry on Cowboy (1966), Dont Lose Your Head (1967), Follow That Camel (1967), Carry on Doctor (1968), Carry on Up the Khyber (1968), Carry on Again, Doctor (1969), Carry on Camping (1969), Carry on Up the Jungle (1970), Doctor in Trouble (1970), Assault (1971) and Quest for Love (1971).
Rózsa was of course Hungarian and this fact proclaims itself many times in his music. His great success in film music has obscured his attractive concert music. Although the purpose is to concentrate on British film music we should mention and recommend the Symphony, Violin Concerto and his Tripartita for orchestra - only the latter is not available on CD.
His presence here relates to his half decade in Britain. For this reason he is noted here rather than given fuller treatment. Honegger who had written multifarious film scores (gradually being revived by Adriano and Marco Polo) was a friend of Rózsas. Honeggers and Rózsas music shared the same concert in Paris in 1924. Honegger himself contributed a score to a British film; that of Pygmalion. The Swiss composer advised the Hungarian to try his hand at film music A fateful suggestion as it turned out.
Rózsa came to London in 1935 to oversee the ballet Hungaria which was put on by the Markova-Dolin company at the Duke of York Theatre. Here he met up with the Kordas of Denham Studios. They gave him many commissions. In 1937 he wrote the music for Knight Without Armour, a film starring Robert Donat and Marlene Dietrich. In the same year he scored Thunder in the City. There were several more British film scores including The Four Feathers (1938) and The Thief of Baghdad (1940) - both well loved and respected scores. The latter dates from the year in which Rózsa moved to Hollywood as United Artists transferred the production of The Thief to the safer realms of California.
As the title of his autobiography proclaims Rózsa lead a double life. His concert music was performed in Hollywood and elsewhere and all the time he wrote music for the films. This was also written with an eye to the concert hall. Rózsa used to make concert suites of his film music and so did Walton and others.
His fantasy film The Thief of Baghdad dates from the London days. The segment known as Love for a Princess is gentle and bright - more English in style rather than Hungarian. Those Hollywood-style string swoops are there and so also is a touch of Korngolds schlagobers. Strangely enough unlike Herrmann in similar territory the music is not at all eastern-exotic. The interlude ends in a vibraphone chord echoing and dying away.
A leading conductor of his day. He was born in London in 1873 and died in 1938. The New Symphony Orchestra of which Ronald was conductor were the first orchestra to be engaged by a London cinema in the presentation of a film and to take part in the production of soundtracks. Ronald arranged the music for films of Faust and Wagner.
Sainton was a briefly successful British composer who is pictured as principal viola in Donald Brooks Conductors Gallery (Rockliff, 1947). He wrote the music for the Warner Brothers film of Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab. This 1956 film has been shown several times on BBCTV during the last couple of years. Its well characterised music conveys the essence of the elemental and psychological struggle. The film is most impressive. The music seemed to have been given special prominence in the balancing of the soundtrack occasionally at the expense of the dialogue. This is very much against the trend where quite often a soundtrack is overwhelmed by speech or sound-effects - compare the soundtrack of Battle of the Bulge with score by Frankel. There was a long unavailable record of part of the score on RCA 1247. Now Marco Polo are in the process of recording the score complete for issue later in 1998. Saintons impressive concert works including the tone poem The Island and Nadir have, against the odds, and triumphantly, made it onto two Chandos CDs coupled with works by Patrick Hadley.
His films include: Shadow of Fear (1956); Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) and The Steel Bayonet (1958).
Of course Sarde as a French composer has no obvious right to be here. However he has written a super-romantic English score which in fact outpoints a number of those written by English composers. The score is for Roman Polanskis remarkable film of Thomas Hardys novel Tess of the Durbervilles. Because of Polanskis complicated legal position at the time (late 1970s) the film was shot in Normandy and Brittany rather than the Dorset and Wiltshire in which John Schlesinger was able to shoot Far From the Madding Crowd. However not for one moment are doubts raised about the authenticity of the setting and feeling of the film. The music is supercharged with tragic emotion and desperate passion. Its evocation of the countryside produces an almost palpable impression. Silva Screen have only recently recorded, with great feeling, a selection from the score (SILKD6018). We now need the whole score in all its glory. This film can be compared with Richard Rodney Bennetts Far From the Madding Crowd. Both are deeply impressive and tap into the true Hardy vein. Sardes masterly score burns long in the memory and its themes are rich memorable. Do hear it.
Gerard Schurmann was born in Indonesia of Dutch parents in 1928. He moved to England and wrote film scores alongside his serious concert music. He now lives in America. His scores include dozens of originals like The Lost Continent and The Man in the Sky. The prelude from the later is very much in the style of Rawsthorne and extremely effective in its mixture of turbulence and a brand of tense excitement. A long lyrical horn theme is a distinguishing feature as are the carolling trumpets which drift stratospherically high above the sinuous lyrical theme and end in a heroic positive climax. He also orchestrated music by other composers (e.g. for Lawrence of Arabia and Exodus). His apprenticeship in film music was served as assistant to Alan Rawsthorne for whom he has done great work in the revival of interest in all his music but especially in relation to the film music. It is worth noting that Nascimbenes glorious music to The Vikings was orchestrated by Schurmann.
His cello concerto The Gardens of Exile has been recorded on Silver Screen CD. Silver Screen have also issued a suite from his Horrors of the Black Museum (FILMCD175) and a complete CD (Silver Screen CNS5005) of extracts from his most important films scores: Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), Cone of Silence (1960), The Bedford Incident (1965), Smugglers Rhapsody (1963), Konga (1961), Lost Continent (1968), The Ceremony (1963), The Long Arm (1956), Attack on the Iron Coast (1967) and Claretta (1984). His Attack and Celebration has been recorded by Kenneth Alwyn and the Philharmonia on FILMCD072. This work comprises music from two films: Attack on the Iron Coast and the 1958 film The Two-Headed Spy. His other films include The Third Key (1957), The Camp on Blood Island (1958) and Trouble in the Sky (1961).
Scott was born in Bristol. He joined the army as a boy musician and later fell under the spell of the saxophone playing of Charlie Parker. He has worked with many of the worlds finest musicians including Julian Bream, Yehudi Menuhin, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. He has worked as an arranger with EMI and George Martin. Scott has written many effective scores. Amongst his earliest is the documentary short Give Your Car a Holiday (1967). He will be long remembered for his music for the various Cousteau under-sea films. His concert music includes A Colchester Symphony which is available on CD. Antony and Cleopatra, Greystoke. the Legend of Tarzan, Inseminoid, Mountbatten, The Final Countdown, Far From Home - The Adventures of Yellow Dog and The Shooting Party.
Searle (1915-1982) is well known for his dissonant style. He was active in the film world. His films include: Action of the Tiger (1957); Beyond Mombasa (1957); The Abominable Snowman (1957); Law and Disorder (1958); Left, Right and Centre (1961) and The Haunting (1963). Val Guest in a slightly bemusing quote recalled in connection with the making of Abominable Snowman Humphrey Searle was a very good composer. He did a very good score. It was very haunting. I never worked with him again & wouldnt know whatever happened to him Halliwell misattributes this score to John Hollingsworth.
Searle also wrote scores for the GPO Film Unit. In 1977 there was Woodland Harvest, apparently one of his most characteristic scores, uncompromising but very effective. He conducted the session himself. Twenty years earlier he had done three scores for GPO travel films: 1955: Mountains and Fjords, 1955 Holiday In Norway, and 1959 Coasts of Clyde. Searle helped Lambert to complete the score for Anna Karenina. Of all his original film scores the one that reputedly made the most impression was the one for Robert Wises The Haunting (1963) a suite from which is available on a Silva Screen CD FILMCD175.
An expat Hungarian, Seiber (1905-1960) was resident in England for most of his working life. In 1935 he settled in London, as choral conductor and film composer, and joined the teaching staff at Morley College. His film music includes contributions to cartoons and short films. He wrote scores for The Magic Canvas (1949), The Diamond Wizard (1954), Animal Farm (1955), Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958), The Mark of the Hawk (19958), Robbery Under Arms (1958) and two scores released posthumously: For Better, for Worse (1961) and Malaga (1962).
Blackout (1954), The Saints Girl Friday (1954), The Scarlet Spear (1954), Zanzabuku (1956), The Poachers Daughter (1960).
Eric Spear was active in TV music and wrote the theme for The Grove Family. His films Ghost Ship (1953), The Limping Man (1953) and The Vulture (1967).
Of Russian birth Spoliansky was a native of Bialystock born there in 1898. He moved to Germany and became involved in the film industry there writing songs for Marlene Dietrich. Alexander Kordas invitation to come to England came at just the right moment to remove him from the Nazi pogroms. Goodbye Trouble (from the soundtrack of the H G Wells novel adap
ation The History of Mr Polly) sung by John Mills was one of Spolianskys film songs. His score for the 1946 film Wanted for Murder features a part for solo piano with orchestra. A mini-concerto appeared as a soundtrack recording on 78. The film tells the story of the son of a public hangman who betrays himself through falling in love. This features on EMIs valuable collection of British film music of the 1940s and 1950s 7243 8 28844 2 2. His films also include King Solomons Mines. He died in 1984.
The Private Life of Don Juan
Sanders of the River
The Ghost Goes West
Wanted for Murder
The Idol of Paris
Meet Me at Dawn
Adam and Evelyn
The Dangerous Age
The Happiest Days of Your Life
Happy Go Lucky
Man in the Dinghy
Turn the Key Softly
Duel in the Jungle
Trouble in Store
Victoria and Her Hussar
The Whole Truth
Flame Over India
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita
The Best House in London
Hitler - The Last Ten Days
Standford (1939-) has written at least one film score.
Stevens was born in 1916 and died in 1983. The Bernard Stevens Trust and his widow have done much to revive interest in his music. The Meridian discs of the two symphonies, the violin and cello concertos and the Unicorn disc of the string quartets plus the Marco Polo CD of the Piano Concerto are well worth exploring.
Currently none of his three scores for film have been recorded. He scored three films in 1947 and then stopped. He had just been demobbed and found the work financially very helpful. He enjoyed his first collaboration (The Upturned Glass) with James Mason playing the lead. Mason was also the creative director and had selected Stevens following the great success of Stevens first symphony. The two enjoyed working with each other though Stevens found the work hard and very demanding.
His next score was The Mark of Cain starring Eric Portman. This experience was less happy and he became increasingly irritated by the director. The commission required a Tchaikovsky style of piano concerto over which the star could emote. Stevens widow recalls him composing segments of score overnight and the next morning, on the way to the studio, stopping the car and ripping up his overnight work and dropping it into the ditch.
The short scores of the film music were fully available at the time of his death and all that was needed was for the dependable and inspired composer Adrian Williams to make an orchestral suite. The third and final film was Once A Jolly Swagman which came out in 1948. This was his last film score. He could tolerate no more although he enjoyed ghosting the piano playing in the first two scores.
In the music for The Mark of Cain as revived by Carl Davis in 1995, Stevens used the now well known Songs of the Auvergne. The songs have existed in a strange obscurity for many years despite Netania Davraths classic and still unexcelled recordings on Vanguard until a certain Dubonnet commercial on British TV and cinema. Then every soprano of world standing or aspiration began recording them. It has to be said that they better suit a gentle immature voice than they do a high powered soprano fresh from operatic triumphs. However I digress. Walton had of course the Songs of the Auvergne to stunning effect even earlier in his music for Henry V.
The Mark of Cain tells the story of two brothers in love with the same woman. One brother plots and executes the murder of the other. The score alternates high passion and stormy romantics with the innocence of rural scenes and children dancing in beautiful French rural settings. The music cuts brutally in with high voltage passion and relaxes into a broad string melody that sounds like Finzi - a composer noted by Stephen Banfield as someone who wrote filmic music but who never scored a film. The cuckoo chirrups bucolically amidst t
e deeply attractive Auvergnat songs. This is very distinguished material and well worth a recording. We can perhaps hope for a CD coupling excerpts from all three scores?
Professional film and TV composer since the mid 1980s. Before that an LSO violinist and session player in London. Before becoming a full time composer worked on orchestral film scores with Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Michael Kamen, Alan Silvestri, Michael Nyman, Ennio Morricone, James Horner etc. BAFTA Cymru award for best original music was for score to the Polygram film - TWIN TOWN. Nominated several times for BAFTA Cymru awards and feature film credits include: UP'N'UNDER HOUSE! - Pathe THE BIG TEASE - Warner Bros. THE TESTIMONY OF TALIESIN JONES - MERLIN THE RETURN TV credits include: ARISTOCRATS - BBC/ WGBH Boston DAISIES IN DECEMBER - Hallmark RAGING PLANET - Discovery Channel I am the first Welsh composer ever to have composed music for the RSC in Stratford.
A composer of light music and at the forefront of its renaissance. Has composed some film music.
Towns is an Oxford graduate who provided the score for Full Circle.
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS **
RVW came late in life to film music. His music for The 49th Parallel does not betray this in any way. The Prelude perhaps echoes Moeran and certainly if you listen to the last movement of Moerans Violin Concerto and the Prelude side by side you will see what I mean. It is a great romantic score with its King of Kings type moments and episodes of calm ecstasy. Vaughan Williams was however no dewy-eyed idealist. He said that if you went into writing film music you must be prepared to have your head and tail and entrails cut off. This was a reference to the ruthless approach of the film editors and studio moguls. Nevertheless he enjoyed writing fil
music and wrote a substantial amount of it between each of the mid to late symphonies.
Alongside Arthur Bliss, Vaughan Williams stands as a composer whose works were accepted in the concert hall and who contributed notably to British film scores. His fame in the concert hall is undoubted and works such as the central three symphonies will secure a strong future for him. Several cycles of symphonies are being recorded now. Naxos are recording them with the Bournemouth orchestra and Kees Bakels. Andrew Davis has just finished recording the cycle gradually over a period of years with Teldec. The operas, a long a neglected corner apart from the odd EMI/HMV recording, will now be recorded in a complete cycle (as is the companys wont) by Chandos. Herrmanns recording of the Prelude to 49th Parallel (a very slow, deliberate performance but packing a big emotional punch), Kenneth Alwyns Silva Screen CD of the Coastal Command Suite and Marco Polos sterling collection are great achievements. There is still plenty of scope for a second and third volume to complete the cycle. Also it is perhaps time to think about having the complete score of Forty-Ninth Parallel with every scrap of music presented.
Muir Mathieson recalled in a radio interview that VW loved films and always wanted do a cowboys and indians film score. He recalled the 49th Parallel as a tremendous propaganda film. When asked to score the film VW accepted with alacrity. He arrived at Denham Studios with 79 pages of enormous full score. A desk at Denhams had to be specially built to carry it. He had imagined the whole thing and his imagination fitted the picture perfectly. The music he had written was used in its entirety. The music was, as Mathieson recalled, a simple piece but one of his great masterpieces.
Film music became VWs war work. In this genre British film music reached its heyday. The role of the music was recognised in a practical accolade in the films opening credits. After the cast list was scrolled past came a title board The music of Vaughan Williams and then in the next title board the title of the film. So VWs name came before the title. All of this in an industry prone to the most fragile of egos and with a tendency to look down on the music used in a film
Bayan Northcott in a BBC radio 3 programme pointed out that the scores were written with one eye on the possibility of a concert suite. VW felt the stirrings of a symphonic work when writing the music for Scott of the Antarctic. He was given nine months to write the film score. The music is wonderfully illustrative. Sinfonia Antarctica is not however satisfactory as a symphony being so episodic with sections apt to fade rather than end. Howard Ferguson recalls Gerald Finzi once saying that, after hearing the premiere of Antarctica, he had asked VW: Why call it a symphony? It is not a symphony. VWs reply was: If Id called it a suite no one would have played it!
VW wrote about film music in general that (it) is capable of becoming and to a certain extent already is, a fine art, but it is applied art, and a specialised art at that I am only a novice at this specialised art of film music, and some of my more practised colleagues assure me that when I have had all their experience my youthful exuberance will disappear, and I shall look upon film composing not as an art, but as a business. At present I still feel a morning blush in my art, and it has not yet paled into the light of common day. I still believe that the film contains the potentialities for the combination of all the arts such as Wagner never dreamt of. I would therefore urge those distinguished musicians who have entered into the world of the cinema - Bax, Bliss, Walton, Benjamin and others to realise their responsibility in helping to take the film out of the realm of hack-work and make it a subject worthy of a real composer.
Later films using VWs music include Fully Fitted Freight 1957 (Wasps Overture and The Scene from Melbury House 1972 (London Symphony excerpts).
RVWs film music is best tackled here by descriptive notes for each of the scores:-
Dim Little Island
VWs Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus served as a quarry for the material for this score. A short film this in which VW is one of four narrators focusing with an innocent idealism on the bright future associated with the countryside, shipbuilding and music. Other material used includes the folk tunes Betsy of Balahtrae Brae and Pretty Susan the Pride of Kildare.
For this film Michael Powell the Director took his film unit into the far north of Canada capturing some truly breathtaking scenery. On his return to Denham Studios he moved to complete the film which is known as The Invaders in America. The film concentrates on six German survivors from a sunken U Boat making their escape across hostile Canada to the then neutral America. It is an engrossing film even now though the final scene with the chief Nazi villain and Raymond Massey as the simple but honest American soldier creaks now with a still admirable sentimentality. The underlying message, buried but not very deep, is one driven by propaganda to bring the USA into the war and at least to maintain friendly support across the Atlantic. That said it is not a cheap film, neither are its sentiments and its music is of outstanding quality.
Muir Mathieson approached VW to do the score. At this stage he had no knowledge of film music technique. He looked upon it as his war work and accepted the commission. He was then aged 70. The score was quickly written and soon made a success in its own right as well as greatly enhancing a fine film. Sadly a suite which was premiered in Prague in 1946 was withdrawn. However the prelude was recorded and has been recorded several times since including by Bernard Herrmann on Decca. The music surfaces also in the piano solo The Lake in the Woods, the unison song The New Commonwealth and in the scherzo of his 1946 second string quartet. Personally I would like to see the suite resurrected.
Another piece of war work, this picture was a documentary effort by the Crown Film Unit. It tells the fictionalised tale of a flying-boat crew patrolling and convoy and shadowing and then tackling a German surface raider. The Unit recognised the greatness of the music and cut the film to match it. Later sections of the score were used for a radio feature following the same subject. Muir Mathieson arranged the music into a seven movement suite which was then broadcast in 1943.
The Peoples Land
This 1943 colour short to a screen play by John and Jeffrey Dell offers a tour of National trust property. It shows stately homes and stone circles and the life of the fisherman, mountaineer and entomologist. Folk songs are sued including striking a somewhat jarring note John Barleycorn for the boy scouts.
Story of a Flemish Farm
A suite from this 1943 film once withdrawn by the composer but is now featured on a Marco Polo CD. It runs to six short movements. The film tracks the story of a dangerous infiltration mission in Nazi-occupied Belgium. The story involves the successful recapturing of the flag of the Belgian Air Force and its restoration to the squadron now operating in England. All prime territory for the time. The music found its way into the Sixth Symphony. The suite is unjustly neglected.
This is a short army film made in 1945 by the Ministry of Information. The music is apparently still lost but in its time provided an aural backdrop to an account of the Army restoring civilian services to Southern Italy following its liberation after the occupation.
The Loves of Joanna Godden
The score of this 1947 film survives but no suite was made. It provides the answer to the question which film scored by RVW included the story of a farmer whose herd was devastated by foot and mouth disease? It dramatises the novel Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith. A selection was recorded by Columbia USA but is no longer in circulation.
Scott of the Antarctic
This is Vaughan Williams most famous film score. It dates from 1949 and the colour film derives from Ealing Studios. The film was made with an eye and heart on authenticity and with sensitivity for the families of the polar party. Its fame travelled on the shoulders of VWs Sinfonia Antarctica. Images and music are startling - look at the cover of the Andrew Davis CD of Antarctica to get an impression of the grandeur of the visual aspect. This, his seventh symphony, in the canon is generally reckoned to be amongst the weakest as a symphony. It does however have represent a showcase for some gloriously illustrative music with a strong emotional current of desperate heroism. In its time the film music was recorded by Rank (FM43-44) and HMV (C3834) on 78. The music for glaciers, penguins, the great trek and the inhuman loneliness and despair of the polar wasteland are brilliantly caught. The icy sounds and the sheer picture paining of this score often call to mind later scores by Bernard Herrmann. Vaughan Williams was a great experimenter with sound and instruments as is evident from the use of the saxophone in Symphonies 6 and 8, tuned percussion in Symphony No. 8 and the tuba in the Tuba Concerto. In the Scott music he uses a full orchestra plus vibraphone, piano, organ, wind machine, a small womens chorus, and of course that solo soprano voice. It is no surprise to remind ourselves that Herrmann another innovator was a great supporter of British music. The use of the solo soprano voice vocalising over scenes of snow-blind wilderness, despite the obvious human source of the voice, adds to the feeling of desolation. Its effect can be contrasted with a much warmer atmosphere created by the a solo soprano vocalisation in his earlier Third Symphony Pastoral written in the aftermath of the Great War. It does however have echoes in the Three Vocalises for soprano and clarinet which he wrote during his last year. He died in 1958. The film music is more easily accessible in its form as a symphony. In fact there are currently (1998) no recordings of the film music qua film music. The symphony has prior to each of its five movements a superscription variously drawn from Shelley, Psalm 104, Coleridge, Donne and Scott. In a rare miscalculation the Previn recording on RCA/BMG has a narrator intoning these lines before each movement. The Handley, Haitink and (if you can live with historical sound) Barbirolli recordings are worth exploring. There is an admirable analysis of the music in the Fifth edition of Grove.
The Vision of William Blake
Vaughan Williams was closely familiar with Blake and of course was inspired by his illustration for his great symphonic ballet score of the 1930s, Job. This film produced in the year of Vaughan Williams death was a commemorative article produced by the Blake Film Trust. It used ten Blake poems. Vaughan Williams set these deceptively simple poems for tenor and oboe and the sequences continues to enjoy a concert hall life long after the film ceased to be in general circulation.
The England of Elizabeth
This 1955 short documentary film was the rock face from which VW extracted a 20 minute three movement suite which has been recorded by Andre Previn (RCA/BMG) and by Andrew Penny for Marco Polo. The music is a reflection of the confident New Elizabethan Age - post-War and pre-sixties: a certain innocent, strong confidence and a fierce pride in history all rooted in the years of loss, pain and adversity 1939-45. The three movements in the suite are Explorer, Poet and Queen. The scoring is skilful and sensitive. There is the occasional quiet backward glance in the first section at the Scott score but it is mixed with a more hearty English vein. The poet sequence sound-illustrated scenes of Tintern Abbey.
VW FILM PREMIERES
The 49th Parallel (Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, 8.10.1941);
Coastal Command (Plaza Cinema, London, 16.10.1942);
The People's Land (Ministry of Information, 17.3.1943);
The Story of a Flemish Farm (Leicester Square Theatre, London, 12.8.1943);
Stricken Peninsula (Ministry of Information, Department of Psychological Warfare, 10.1945);
The Loves of Joanna Godden (New Gallery Cinema , London, 16.6.1947);
Scott of the Antarctic (Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, 29.11.1948);
Dim Little Island (written with Doreen Carwithen) (Edinburgh Film Festival, 3.1949);
Bitter Springs (West's Theatre, Adelaide, Australia, 23.6.1950);
The England of Elizabeth (Leicester Square Theatre, London, 3.1957);
The Vision of William Blake (Academy Cinema, London, 10.10.1958)
John Veales initiation into the film music industry came via Muir Matheson. The usual apprenticeship was served in producing music for documentary shorts. His first feature and one of great significance came in 1954 with The Purple Plain based on a novel by H E Bates. The film is often on television and was distinguished by the contribution of Gregory Peck. It offers a tale of endurance in the jungle. The conductor of the orchestra was Matheson. Later films to his name include in 1955 Portrait of Alison and in 1956 The Spanish Gardener with Dirk Bogarde. Veales rich and promising talent lost out when the British film industry began to shudder and die during the 1960s. Commissions dried up and he returned to journalism. Tragically Veale was asked by his film company to return his unique film score manuscripts to them. He complied and the film company destroyed them. His music deserves far more attention and a number of concert works await revival or premiere.
FILMS OF JOHN VEALE:
Crown Film Unit Documentaries (1948);
The Purple Plain (1954);
Film No. 12 War In The Air (BBC, 1954);
The Spanish Gardener (1955);
Portrait of Alison (1956);
Postmark For Danger (1956);
High Tide At Noon (1957);
The House in Marsh Road (1959);
No Road Back (1960);
Freedom To Die (1961):
Clash By Night (1963).
GILBERT VINTER (1909-1969)
His works include some film music although I have not been able to trace any titles.
Waltons music, above all the others, made Britains name worldwide. His achievement on film was not just a flash in the pan but consistent across a number of films. Two of them enjoyed Oscar nominations (two of his four Shakespeare scores). Even during the days of neglect in the 1950s and 1960s these scores retained some hold on the catalogue and the concert hall. The music for Oliviers Henry V exists in various concert suites.
It is too easily forgotten that although 1935 will forever be associated with Blisss music for the film Things to Come, it was also the year when Walton introduced Escape Me Never. Both Bliss and Walton had taken a plunge in experimental waters not at all sure whether they would enhance the film music industry or whether it would damage their concert hall reputations.
If we add the late-comer Vaughan Williams to this duo all found a welcome for their music and all managed to bring film music into the concert hall. They also share another characteristic in that only a few of their film scores have achieved any sort of reputation. In the case of Walton we can ask about the rest of his output: Macbeth, Christopher Columbus (at that stage yet to be tackled by Bliss) and Major Barbara.
Chandoss four volumes of film music have done much to expose this music though I cannot help suspecting that the presence of a voice, no matter how impassioned or tender, does not help this series. I also have more than a suspicion that we should have had absolutely the whole of the Battle of Britain score on a single CD. I hope that the door is not closed on that one as yet.
If Waltons own reassuring lack of self confidence meant that he did little to promote his many films then now, more than ten years after his death, surely we can start to look at and hear the whole of these various scores? There are also the lost scores such as Major Barbara, A Stolen Life, Dreaming Lips and The Boy David. Have they surfaced yet? Where are they?
Muir Mathieson in a radio interview recalled that Walton started in films in the 1930s having made his mark in Facade and the big success of Belshazzars Feast in the early 1930s. Film music he saw as an essential part of the technique of film making. Music is written quickly and heard virtually immediately and it is very much hit or miss. Directors of the quality of Korda only employed the greatest artists. Mathiesons mission was to do the same in the field of film music.
Walton was commissioned to provide music for the Elizabeth Bergmann vehicle Escape Me Never in 1935 at a princely sum of £350. This was his first feature film and it set him rolling in the right direction establishing a reputation that was to attract other valuable commissions. Again he ran his concert music in parallel with his film life. This film should not be confused with the Errol Flynn film of the same name dating from 1947 and with a score by Korngold.
The ballet from Escape me Never came to public notice quite early in our terms. It was included on Bernard Herrmanns 1976 Phase Four Decca album of British Film Music and has been reissued on CD since. Christopher Palmer added two other movements (Prelude and In the Dolomites) for the Chandos recording.
1936 saw As You Like it which was first recorded as brief suite by Carl Davis on EMI in 1987. Christopher Palmer made of this suite a single piece with the addition of a song Under the Greenwood Tree for soprano and orchestra. The resulting 10-minute poem is now viable as a concert piece.
Britten reviewed the As You Like It film music in World Film News (October 1936). First he congratulated the studio on their choice of composer. He then bewailed the lost opportunity represented by the film. He praised the waldweben noises and the opening and closing music but clearly felt let down that the music was used for illustration rather than as a dynamic way of driving forward the plot. Britten also seemed to object to the use of a full orchestra and particularly a large string section. Brittens film unit experience involved using very few musicians so his comments are understandable.
Of course from the perspective of the Millennium we are able to look back and remark that while Walton prospered and delivered a renowned handful of film scores during the 1940s and onwards, Britten turned in other predominantly operatic and vocal directions.
Gabriel Pascal had already been active in commissioning film music from Bliss. His 1940 film Major Barbara was to have a Walton score. Christopher Palmer has commented on the factory machine music. This music has echoes in the War in the Air scene of the much later film music for The Battle of Britain.
A clutch of war work films followed reaching its zenith in Henry V. Before then there were Next of Kin, Went the Day Well? And The Foreman Went to France. These scores would be worth greater exploration because they have been pillaged (benevolently and to good effect) by Christopher Palmer to create A Wartime Sketchbook. I would like to hear at least twenty minute suites from each if the music is there.
And so we come to the Olivier production of Henry V. This has already been declared Waltons undisputed cinemusical masterpiece and a landmark in the history of the art and so it is. In the Golden age a new sense of purpose emerged during the war and the Walton score was a vividly illustration of this resolve.
Its music has travelled the world or at least certain sections have travelled. Muir Mathieson made a four movement suite which inevitably neglects many sections of the score. Malcolm Sargent made a suite (recorded on the EMI Carl Davis anthology) which perversely omits the Agincourt battle scene. There was a special version made which existed on an RCA LP. Originally this Walter Legge project was on four 78 sides and had Olivier doing all of the major speeches. Christopher Palmer has given us an almost complete sequence of the film music: between 90 and 95%.
I remain dissatisfied. As a concert work the Palmer suite is no doubt viable and is performed (witness recent performances in Aberdeen). However the film music world demands more. What we need is a top flight orchestra and a committed conductor with the expertise of an enthusiastic film music archaeologist to produce an album which has 100% of the music recorded and presented in the order in which it appears in the score and using authentic forces to match the original. There is also room for looking at the original soundtrack and issuing that on CD especially if the voices are on a separate track from the music. Perhaps discs of the original soundtrack already exist. It would be interesting to know.
The score for Henry V has a diverse ancestry although not in any weakening sense. The extended battle scene encompasses the early morning, the dryness in the throat, fear and expectation, putting on the armour, grim speeches and a battle charge which is an essay in dynamism and crescendo. The climax is so often missed and it is missed in the Chandos recording. Why are people afraid of the use of some sound effect to represent the massive rattling, passage of hundreds of arrows leaving the longbows of the English ranks? For me the only recording is that Legge project which uses the arrow effect in all its glory.
In any event it is worth recalling that the battle scene has its model in Prokofievs Battle on the Ice from Alexander Nevsky. (Now Prokofiev is another composer whose high profile film scores have done remarkably well but who lacks a series to present his music for the other films he scored dating from the thirties and forties).
Other inspirations include the Fitzwilliams Virginal Book for the scenes at the Globe Theatre and at the Boars Head. Vaughan Williams provided two tunes Agincourt Carol and Réveillez-vous Piccars for the battle scene. RVW had himself used them in his own little heard piece for brass band Henry V (1934). The most affecting ancestry is the presence of three of those dewy-fresh beauties from Canteloubes Chants de lAuvergne. These songs include BaÎlero made famous in the seventies by the Dubonnet advert on commercial television and giving rise to an industry in achieved and aspiring prima donne recording the sets complete. In any event the three songs are used as themes in the touching scenes set in the defeated French court when musing on the land of France laid waste by battle and neglect associated with war and death. The rebirth of the greenery, flowers and crops is touchingly illustrated in a lengthy scene the music for which has always struck me as being one the films highlights.
Hamlet and Richard III are not quite so impressive but are worthy of the full treatment. The impact of this clutch of films cannot be exaggerated. Through them many people will have come to Shakespeare and some will have to come to concert music. They are however important and enjoyable in themselves and not just for what they may lead to. Have these films been made available on videodisc or even VHS cassette and given the full treatment? I doubt it.
The process of musical excavation continues. Now that we have lost Christopher Palmer, a kingpin in the revival scene, others will come forward to take his place. When conductor and film composer Carl Davis launched his important series reviving British film music in March 1995 it was the warmly exulting opening music from As You Like It that he used as a signature tune - a wonderful start to each programme.
Art can be said to be at its best when at its quietest. In the Walton/Olivier/Shakespeare triptych the music was never mere background. It grasped the attention. This approach (if not the style) has been seized upon in the Peter Greenaway/Michael Nyman collaborations.
The story of Malcolm Arnold's role in orchestrating and arranging Walton's much later film score for the "The Battle of Britain" is a distressing one. At the last moment a full blown symphonic score by Walton was dropped and not used for the film. It was replaced by a new score by Ron Goodwin, although one section "Battle in the Air" of which Arnold scored the last third, was preserved because the film was already edited to the music and because Olivier insisted, threatening to have his name removed from the credits otherwise. It is the only substantial segment of the score where only the music is heard. It was recorded in 1979 by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marcus Dods (EMI ASD 3797.)
Although there is so much in which to take pleasure we can muse on what was not to be. The projects he declined included George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion, Tony Richardsons Charge of the Light Brigade and David Leans Lawrence of Arabia.
WALTON FILM SCORE RECORDINGS
Waltons Film Music is well served on CD although there is scope for complete recordings of some of the scores. The key discs are the four volumes on Chandos:-
Vol 1 Hamlet (narrator Gielgud); As You Like It (Catherine Bott, soprano).
Vol 2 Spitfire Prelude and Fugue (The First of the Few), The Battle of Britain. A wartime Sketchbook, Escape Me Never, The Three Sisters
Vol 3 Henry V (speaker: Christopher Plummer)
Vol 4 Richard III (with John Gielgud) and Major Barbara
These are all played by a much augmented Academy of St Martins in the Fields conducted by Neville Marriner.
THE WALTON FILMS
Escape Me Never
1934. First shown: London Pavilion, 14 Oct 1935.
A version of the Margaret Kennedy play. This was by the same author as the Constant Nymph play filmed previously to music by Greenwood and Goossens. Directed: Paul Czinner. Star: Elisabeth Bergner. It was Czinners assistant, Dallas Bower, who pressed for Walton to do the score. The producer had initially wanted Vivian Ellis. Walton at first found the task a hard one - which drove him to distraction. However he soon settled into it finding it reasonably easy to produce 5-10 minutes of music per day. Also the fee of £300 was a signal that he never needed again to worry about financial security; if necessary he could always do another film.
As You Like It
1936. Film first shown: London, Carlton, Haymarket, 3 Sept 1936.
This was another Bergner-Czinner production. This required and received a major score. The soundtrack orchestra is the LPO conducted by Efrem Kurtz. Part of the score was orchestrated by Hyam Greenbaum, regarded by Walton as something of a neglected genius. The score has touches of Delius and Sibelius with thankfully no mock Tudor upholstery. It was on the set of this film that Walton met Olivier who was playing Orlando.
1937. Film first shown: London Pavilion, 11 Oct 1937.
This was a further Bergner-Czinner production. Here he met the violinist Antonio Brosa who played excerpts from the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven concertos on sound while Raymond Massey played them on screen.
1938. Film first shown: London, Plaza, 18 Jan 1939.
This was the last Bergner-Czinner production. The score used parts of the first symphony and was in general strongly in the well recognised Walton language.
1940. Film first shown: Nassau, Bahamas. 21 Mar. 1941: London, Odeon,
Leicester Square, 4 Aug. 1941.
The film was directed by Gabriel Pascal. Walton was commissioned at the recommendation of the playwright and author of the play on which the film was based, George Bernard Shaw. The score was finished by the end of 1940 and parts of it orchestrated by Roy Douglas who was later to do similar duty for Vaughan Williams.
Next of Kin
Composed 1941. Film first shown London Curzon Theatre. Jan 1942 (private showing only). Public premiere: London Pavilion, 15 May 1942.
This was his first war film. It was written by Thorold Dickinson and Basil Bartlett. Walton provided 32 minutes of music written between 2 and 22 December and again had assistance for some of the score from Roy Douglas. The march has echoes of Eric Coates and other sections have similarities with Ravels Daphnis and Chloe.
The Foreman Went to France
Composed 1941-2. Film first shown: London Pavilion 13 Apr 1942.
A Ministry of Information commission. Actors: Tommy Trinder and Clifford Evans. Script: J B Priestley.
The First of the Few.
Composed 1942. Film first shown: London Leicester Square Theatre, 20 Aug. 1942.
Another Ministry of Information commission. Lead actor: Leslie Howard. About R J Mitchell designer of the Spitfire fighter. This was later the quarry for the incredibly successful Prelude and Spitfire Fugue which enjoyed a very healthy concert, recording and broadcast life.
Went the Day Well?
Composed 1942. Film first shown: London Pavilion, 1 Nov 1942.
Another war effort. A Cavalcanti film. Roy Douglas assisted again with orchestration.
Composed 1943. Film first shown: London, Carlton, Haymarket, 22 Nov 1944.
This Dallas Bower project began as a BBCTV project but was discarded by the corporation as too ambitious. When mentioned to Olivier he was enthusiastic. He in turn recommended it to Filippo del Giudice of Two Cities Productions. Del Giudice suggested Walton and the idea was quickly taken up by Olivier and Leigh. The film was made between 6 October 1943 and 3 January 1944. It was originally intended to cut the film to fit the music but this was abandoned. Walton this time scored all the music without any assistance and found the whole task very heavy going.
Composed 1947. Film first shown: London, Odeon, Leicester Square, 6 May 1948
Muir Matheson conducted the Philharmonia on the soundtrack. There is approximately 60 minutes of music in the film. Mathieson was clearly fascinated by the music for he made of it a Funeral March and the poem for orchestra Hamlet and Ophelia. The music was recorded in December 1947 and January 1948. The music in the ghost scene is particularly effective although some have compared it unfavourably with Shostakovichs much later score.
Composed 1955. Film first shown: London, Leicester Square Theatre, 13 Dec.
The last of the three Olivier collaborations. The score was recorded at Shepperton. The Coronation March was published as arranged by Mathieson as the Prelude to Richard III. Mathiesons arranged Shakespeare Suite included six sections from the score. A fourth Olivier-Walton-Shakespeare project was to have been Macbeth but it came to nothing when the money could not be raised.
The Battle of Britain
Composed 1969. Film first shown: London, Dominion Cinema, 15 Sept. 1969
In June 1968n the producer Harry Salzman invited Walton to write a score for this film. Walton hearing that Olivier was to play Dowding agreed. Malcolm Arnold assisted with various aspects of the score. The music was recorded at Denham Studios with Arnold conducting between 21 February and 10 April 1969. The score sounds wonderful from a contemporary description by Edward Greenfield. The American producers did not like the score and there were some complaints that there was not enough music to fill an LP. The producers approached John Barry who turned them down and then Ron Goodwin who agreed. Walton read about the change in the newspapers! Olivier pressurised the studio into using at least one part of the Walton music: Battle in the Air. United Artists held onto the score claiming it as their property. Stewart Craggs bought a copy of the score and the studio recording from United Artists in 1971 and after Waltons death Colin Matthews produced a suite premiered in Bristol with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Composed 1969. Film first shown: Venice, Sala Volpi, 26 Aug. 1970; London Cameo-Poly, 2 Nov 1970.
Written at Oliviers request to Chekhovs play. Recorded at Shepperton November/December 1969.
IVOR WALSWORTH (1909-1978)
The name of Ivor Walsworth may usually be associated with the BBC, which he joined in 1936, later becoming Music Transcription Organiser. But he composed a wide variety of music including five symphonies, concertos for piano, violin, viola da gamba and cello, three string quartets and other chamber works, sonatas for flute, piano, violin, and flute & harpsichord, songs and film music, and some electronic works (Contrasts Essconic in collaboration with Daphne Oram. Walsworth was born in London and studied at the RAM with MacFarren, and in Munich, Budapest and Vienna. He married the concert pianist, Joan Davies.
Warrack (1900-1986) wrote music for various films, including the official film of the 1953 Coronation. Amongst his credits there are the following films: A Defeated People (1945), Theirs is the Glory (1946) and The Story of Time (1949).
Some film music to his name. Born Tynemouth in 1925.
Whelen became well known as a writer of operas for radio all of which were relayed by Radio 3. He was assistant conductor with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He was a particular advocate of the music of Arnold Bax. He wrote three film scores: The Valiant (1962), Coast of Skeletons (1965) and The Face of Fu Man Chu (1965).
Whyte, a distinguished Scottish conductor, wrote the score for the film Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948).
Williams - conductor and composer. Born in London in 1893 (he lived until 1978, latterly near Worthing). Studied at Royal Academy of Music. Service in Great War. Violinist in symphony and cinema orchestras and the conducting again at first in the cinema, at the New Gallery Cinema, Regent Street in London. In fact he worked on the first British talkie, Alfred Hitchcocks Blackmail (1929). Williams was resident composer for Gaumont-British 1933-9. He scored the Will Hay comedies, The Thirty Nine Steps (1935, Donat version), The Night Has Eyes (1942), The Way to the Stars (1945), Kipps (1941), The Noose (1946), Night Boat to Dublin (1946) and The Young Mr Pitt. Williams conducted his own concert orchestra. He also made records for Columbia and for Chappells recorded music library.
Williams wrote music for over one hundred films although little of it was specially written for a film, much of it contributed via the mood music libraries. The music for The Noose (1947) was very popular but the most popular piece of his was While I Live (1947). The Dream of Olwen achieved enormous popularity selling over a quarter of a million copies, in sheet music alone.
Now Master of the Queens Music and the composer of a deeply impressive Mass of Christ the King, Williamson wrote three film scores: The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Crescendo (1972).
Wilson, age 26 (1998) has written film music. He assisted Doyle in the music for Donny Brosco also helped Howard Blake in score for sequel to The Snowman.
Film music for Wilde.
Born 1937. Has written some film music.
A familiar of the film industry during the 1950s, his scores included Edward My Son, Count Five and Die and the popular Battle of Britain film Angels One Five, which at its climax quotes Walford Davies/George Dyson RAF March Past. Films: Edward My Son (1949) Conspirator (1950) The Woman in Question (1950) Angels One Five (1954) The Last Man to Hang (1956) Count Five and Die (1958) RX Murder (1958)
Groundwork for Progress 1959
KENNETH ANTHONY WRIGHT
Wright (1899-1975) for many years a senior executive with the BBC went into film music writing when forced to retire from the Corporation.
1902-66. Wrote much mood music for the sound libraries. He wrote the theme for Emergency Ward 10.
Alphabetical composer listings General Introduction A- F Discography etc.
Return to Film Music Front Page