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Reviews from previous months
Richard ADDINSELL Film Music Royal Ballet Sinfonia/ Kenneth Alwyn  ASV CD WHL 2115
Blithe Spirit; Encore; Gaslight; The Passionate Friends; Parisienne; Scrooge; Southern Rhapsody; Waltz of the Toreadors; South Riding; WRNS March; Fire Over England




This fine collection follows ASV's 1997 recording of film music by Addinsell (CD WHL 2108). That album included music from Greengage Summer, Highly Dangerous, Under Capricorn, the Warsaw Concerto from Dangerous Moonlight, and 'Lover's Moon' from The Passionate Friends. This new collection includes an eight- -minute suite from the gloriously romantic music for this film and it is, for me, the highlight of this album.

The collection opens with music from Blithe Spirit. The waltz had previously been included on the 1997 recording but it reappears here in an extended format together with the Prelude. This Prelude is a lively, high-spirited, irreverent escapade that pokes fun at plot and characters especially the medium Madam Acarti (Margaret Rutherford) riding along on her bicycle to the séance. The waltz, romantic yet mischievous, perfectly captures the capricious nature of Elvira, Charles's (Rex Harrison) first wife - or rather her ghost. The music is sensuous, gossamer-delicate and ghostly.

The Miniature Overture from the portmanteau production Encore (1951) sparkles. The contrasting Prelude to Gaslight (1939) has a much darker edge. The music saws at one nerves - very effective material for a drama about a vulnerable wife (Diana Wynyard) whose sanity is threatened by her murderous husband (Anton Walbrook).

Parisienne-1885 music is all glamour and glitter with a waltz that would not have ashamed Waldteufel. The WRNS March was composed in 1942 and is dedicated to the Women's Royal Naval Service. It is exuberant and heroic, and more femininely tender, by turn. It is influenced by the style of Eric Coates. Southern Rhapsody written in 1958 for the opening of Southern Television, has a pronounced coastal atmosphere, evoking waves breaking over beaches and seagulls flying overhead. It is very much of its time; cosy and old-fashioned, with a nostalgic glow.

Scrooge, the most extended suite at 13 minutes, disappoints it relies too heavily on folk song and carol source material at the expense of sufficient character building and ghostly atmospherics.

The Peter Sellers film, Waltz of the Toreadors (1962), is represented by a march full of bluster, 'The General on Parade'; and a romantic 'Waltz' that has a rather world-weary violin solo suggesting that the general's spirit may be rather more willing than…

Fire Over England (1937) was an Elizabethan adventure starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Addinsell opts for more intimate, more authentic Tudor music than the more inflated romanticism of Korngold for the equivalent Flynn/Hollywood swashbucklers of the period.

Finally the music for South Riding includes a strong main theme based upon a Northumbrian folk song. This is a fine score for the 1937 gritty drama of corruption in northern England starring Ralph Richardson and Edna Best as the schoolmistress who exposes the crooked councillors.

A very attractive compilation played with energy and conviction


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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