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Originally released back in 1989 by Silva Screen Records, MUSIC FROM THE HAMMER FILMS was indeed a groundbreaking release, the compilation which was firstly released on long playing record in a gatefold cover later received a compact disc issue and has remained an iconic and popular release amongst collectors of fine movie music. Remember this was in the days before any of Hammers film music had been released in full soundtrack editions by GDI/BSX records and I think I am correct when I say that the only music that had been released was in the form of background music to story version from Hammer movies such as THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES and CHRISTOPHER LEE,S DRACULA album on EMI, which did have four tracks on its flip side that were promoted as THE FOUR FACES OF EVIL, these being the romantic and haunting SHE by James Bernard, the sensual and malevolent sounding THE VAMPIRE LOVERS by Harry Robinson, the gloriously dramatic and romantic DR JECKLE AND SISTER HYDE by David Whittaker and the jagged and chilling FEAR IN THE NIGHT by John McCabe all of which were conducted by Philip Martell.

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Hammer films from the 1950,s through to the late 1970,s always boasted strong musical scores and it was something of a surprise to many when the scores were not issued onto any recording format whatsoever. James Bernard’s iconic and fearsome sounding DRACULA theme surely deserved an entire release to its self, alas not. So when SILVA SCREEN announced this re-recording fans of Hammer went into raptures. The compilation features mainly the music of Hammer’s almost composer in residence Bernard and also boasted David Whittaker’s powerful music for VAMPIRE CIRCUS and Christopher Gunning’s beautiful but at the same time unsettling music for THE HANDS OF THE RIPPER. The music was performed by the world renowned Philharmonia orchestra under the baton of Neil Richardson, the whole thing being supervised by Hammer films MD Philip Martell. Silva Screen had obviously put a lot of time thought and effort into bringing the re recording to fruition and presented the release with glowing art work and informative liner notes, giving collectors a chance to see James Bernard, at the recording sessions with engineer Mike Ross Trevor and producer Eric Tomlinson at the mixing desk, the booklet also featured pictures of David Whittaker listening intently to the playback of VAMPIRE CIRCUS and Neil Richardson conducting the orchestra. The compact disc opens with THE DRACULA SUITE, which is such a fitting way to start any compilation of Hammer film music, James Bernard’s foreboding, dark and evil sounding DRA-CU-LA three note motif setting the scene for the Prince of chaos.

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The suite which is in five sections is made up from music that is taken from the original 1958 DRACULA and also DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS from 1966, the opening is instantly recognisable and still strikes a little terror into the hearts of anyone who hears it, Bernard’s simple but highly effective musical motif is as recognisable as Monty Normans, JAMES BOND THEME, as terrifying as Herrmann’s PSYCHO and as menacing as the JAWS theme by John Williams. After the familiar and dramatic opening the suite segues into the music that Bernard used to accompany Jonathan Harker on his investigation of the lofty hallway of castle Dracula, where he encounters a young woman, unbeknown to him she is one of the undead and attempts to turn Harker into one of her kind, this is interrupted by the appearance of Count Dracula who ferociously attacks the girl and also lashes out at Harker. Part three of the suite THE KISS OF THE LIVING DEATH is a piece of masterful scoring by Bernard his music acting as a hypnotic and alluring background to Dracula’s attempt to seduce his victims. Part four of the suite is FUNERAL IN CARPATHIA, which is a slow but menacing piece for strings woodwind and subdued brass that are all punctuated by a slow and deliberate sounding drumbeat. Part five is the finale sequence music from DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, which takes place on a frozen river, where the infamous Count is dispatched by Father Shandor (Andrew Keir) with a single gun shot into the ice that releases pure running water, the vampire lord falls into the icy depths and is destroyed, but I think we all realise at this point that he will return. Bernard’s music is dramatic and feverish in places, supporting and underlining wonderfully the confrontation between good and evil and the Counts demise. The next section is from the 1971 Hammer production HANDS OF THE RIPPER, this starred Eric Porter and also Dora Bryan, with Anghard Rees as the beautiful but deadly Anna, who is supposedly the daughter of Jack the Ripper and is from time to time possessed by his spirit and goes on a killing spree, the movie was actually very entertaining and the score by British composer Christopher Gunning had within its make up a kind of James Bernard sound, but also had at its core a mesmerising and haunting theme for the films central character Anna that is luxurious and affecting. In my humble opinion this is probably one of Hammer’s best non James Bernard scores, Gunning unfortunately did not return to work on any other horrors for the studio, which is a great pity. For the next section we return to the music of Bernard and also to DRACULA. DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE was the third in the Christopher Lee DRACULA cycle of movies, and for this outing the Count becomes locked in a battle of wills and also stamina with a Monsignor played by the excellent Rupert Davies.

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The glamour in the movie was provided by Veronica Carlson who took the role of the Monsignors Daughter who was a prime target for the Count. Bernard’ s music was just as dramatic as his two previous works for Dracula but on this occasion the Dracula theme did not seem to be used as much the composer opting for an arrangement of the theme on which he based the remainder of his score. VAMPIRE CIRCUS comes next in the running order a vampire movie with a difference and one that took the traditional vampire tale and twisted it slightly to come up with an ingenious and also an entertaining movie. The opening pre credit scene is one that must go down in Hammer history as being one of the most exciting and dramatic. Helped along by the powerful, sensual and mesmerising music of composer David Whittaker. The music for this compilation and re recording is represented by a near 10 minute suite that is just glorious. Whittaker’s darkly rich and evil sounding waltz like theme weaving its way through the suite and acting as the basis of the work, effective use of cimbalom that is strategically placed adding an authenticity and giving the music a greater depth and increasing the atmospheric effects of it within the film, bombastic sounding brass that is supported by thundering percussion and punctuated by strings making this a candidate for the best Hammer vampire soundtrack ever penned. I hope that one day the entire score will be released as only sections have since made it onto compact disc, within the excellent GDI series. For the final section on the compilation we return to the master of the Counts music James Bernard, for TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA the composer was asked by producer Aida Young to provide a more romantic sounding score, I remember Bernard telling me in interview that initially he was a little cross at the request, but then could see that the movie did need a love theme for the two young central characters in the story, thus was born the beautiful and quintessentially English sounding pastoral piece THE YOUNG LOVERS, which has endured over the years as one of the scores most haunting themes. In fact it ranks along side the composers romantic and mysterious theme for SHE, which was his own personal favourite. Of course Bernard utilised his DRA-CU-LA theme within the score and because of the presence of the love theme this already familiar and fearful sounding theme seemed even more threatening and ominous. The suite of music contained in this re-recording runs for just over 17 minutes, with ROMANCE AT DUSK being the highlight cue, beautiful and subdued woodwinds open the track that are underlined by a light strings, the central theme is then taken on by the string section who give it a more sustained working, the theme gradually builds and emerges into a poignant and attractive composition.

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The final cue THE VICTORY OF LOVE is a triumphant sounding version of the love theme the composer adding brass and percussion to the proceedings, telling the audience that evil has once again been defeated and love and good has prevailed. This is a collection that you as a Hammer fan should not be without, and yes I know these are not the original recordings, but they were arranged by the composers and also supervised by Hammers own Phil Martell, the compilation which was deleted was soon after resurrected with alternative art work the only difference being that the suite from HANDS OF THE RIPPER was a shorter version on the re release, if you can find a copy of the original release it would be far better, but if not settle for the re-issue an essential purchase.

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Hubert Bath was born in Barnstable on November 6th 1883, his connection with music began at an early age as he sang in church as a choir boy, his father who was a teacher was the choirmaster. Bath studied both piano and organ, and when he attended the royal academy of music he also studied composition. He began his studies at the age of 17, after completing his studies Bath began to write music and would often be diverse and varied in his musical style, he also did not restrict his writing to just one particular area of music. The composer does fall easily into the category of light music but he also produced some memorable and superbly harmonious scores for films. His most renowned and popular work being the gloriously romantic CORNISH RHAPSODY from the movie LOVE STORY, the composer is also credited with writing the score for the first British made full length non silent film which was BLACKMAIL in 1929 which was directed by a young Alfred Hitchcock. He wrote scores for a number of films that were produced by the famous GAUMONT and GAINSBOROUGH studios who were so industrious during the 1930,s and 1940,s. Bath worked on THE THIRTY NINE STEPS in 1935, a version of the story which starred actor Robert Donat and the composer also provided the score for RHODES OF AFRICA in 1936. Bath enjoyed considerable success as a composer of what is still referred to as light music, and penned a number of rousing marches, ATLANTIC CHARACTER, OUT OF THE BLUE and EMPIRE BUILDERS to name but three. OUT OF THE BLUE being used as the signature tune for the BBC radio show SPORTS REPORT for many years. The composer passed away on April 24th 1945 in Harefield, Middlesex UK.



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Albert Elms was a composer and musical director that was particularly active in the 1950,s and also worked steadily through the decade of the 1960,s scoring television shows and motion pictures. Elms was also a well known composer of military music. He was born in Newington Kent in the United Kingdom in 1920. He had always showed a keen interest n music and in 1934 he joined the Royal Marines Band, taking to sea in 1937, after three years of active service and taking part in the evacuation of refugees during the Spanish Civil war Elms returned to dry land but the second world war interrupted his plans to involve himself more in music and he spent much of the next six years serving on cruisers such as AJAX, and ARETHUSA, it was whilst on ARUTHUSA that he took part in the Norway evacuations in the April of 1940 and a year on also took part in the shelling of Vichy French ships which were in Algeria, the action was ordered by Winston Churchill to stop the ships falling into the hands of the Nazis.


During 1941 elms also saw active service on escort duties for convoys that were heading for Malta, he was reassigned to the Orion at one point and it was at this time that the ARETHUSA was bombed by German aircraft and was hit badly in fact the section of the ship where Elms had been serving was destroyed and all of the Marine contingent in that part of the cruiser were killed. Elms was demobbed in the summer of 1949, it was at this time that the young composer found work with the music publishers Francis Day and Hunter in Soho London, where he began to work on composition of popular music and also acted as an arranger. Whilst at Francis day and Hunter Elms gained a lot of experience in composition and also in arranging and decided to become a freelance composer, he began to work on the incidental music for British TV shows such as THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1955) which starred Richard Greene and also provided the background scores for THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT (1956) which featured a very young William Russell plus he wrote rousing compositions for other popular shows such as THE BUCCANEERS (1957), WILLIAM TELL (1957) and worked on 26 episodes of IVANHOE (1958) which was one of roger Moore’s first starring roles for television. In the 1960,s he began to move into the composition of music for movies and worked on THE BREAKING POINT, BLUEBEARD’s TEN HONEYMOONS and TREASURE IN MALTA. He became a much in demand composer and worked on THORNDIKE for the BBC plus wrote the incidental music for prime time 1960’S series such as THE CHAMPIONS, THE PRISONER and MAN IN A SUITCASE.

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In the 1970,s Elms continued to work steadily and wrote the music for the big screen version of the comedy TV series LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and became the musical director for THE BENNY HILL SHOW after which Elms decided to return to the composition of military music and it was this that kept him gainfully occupied for the remainder of the 1970,s. His compositions during this period included, BLAZE OF LIGHT, ON PARADE and WEMBLEY WAY. Which was a piece that had been commissioned especially for the 100th F.A. CUP FINAL in 1972. In 1973 Elms was approached by the director of music for the Royal Marines band who wanted a piece of music to commemorate the battle of Trafalgar, Elms obliged and his march BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR was premiered at the 1974 Royal Tournament, the composition which became a favourite of the Royal Marines Band and was also performed at St Paul’s Cathedral as an orchestral work with choir being conducted by sir Charles Groves in 1981 and later was performed at The Royal Albert hall at the 200th Anniversary of Trafalgar. Albert Elms passed away on October 14th 2009 he was 89 years of age.





Composer Richard Addinsell is probably best known for his powerfully lush and romantic WARSAW CONCERTO from the 1940 motion picture DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, but this wonderful and haunting composition has in many ways sadly overshadowed the other film music that the British born composer penned during his busy and illustrious career. This collection of some of his film music triumphs is released on the CHANDOS recording label and performed magnificently by the BBC PHILHARMONIC under the baton of conductor Rumon Gamba, with arrangements and musical reconstruction work by Philip Lane, Roy Douglas, Steven Bernstein and Robert Sharples, this is collection of purely great film music from a bygone age the likes of which will regrettably never be seen again. The compact disc opens with a near 11 minute suite of Addinsell,s music for GOODBYE MR CHIPS (1939). Taken from the novel by James Hilton this amiable and consuming film starred Robert Donat, Geer Garson and Paul Heinreid, the film was produced by Victor Saville who had collaborated with Addinsell previously on movies such as DARK JOURNEY and SOUTH RIDING the director/producer and composer worked with each other from time to time over a thirty year period and Addinsell always fashioned memorable and rousing music for the film makers productions. GODBYE MR. CHIPS, was no exception to that rule the composer creating a wonderfully robust, lush and rousing work that also contained numerous subdued and graceful sounding interludes, the composer even at one point introducing an accordion into the proceedings. However it was the string section that was the main component of the work, either as a section performing sumptuously and filling the scenario with romantic and fervent content or as solo instruments purveying melancholy and emotion just at the correct moment, adding emotive and touching fragility to the story that was unfolding upon the screen. Addinsell also provided the movie with a school song which had words by Eric Maschiwitz. The music from the film was re constructed by Philip lane for this re-recording who remarks in the liner notes that very little of the original score remained, in fact just the piano score of the school song had survived. The next selection is from DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, a now classic piece of film music that has crossed over into the concert hall THE WARSAW CONCERTO, is basically the reason that the movie is remembered. Addinsell surrounded himself with the scores of Rachmaninov or so it is said and along with the assistance of Roy Douglas penned the WARSAW CONCERTO, the piece was not merely music in a film, but it became a standard and also a popular piece that was listened to away from the movie.



The composition is romantic, dramatic and potent and influenced many compositions that would come in the following years in fact it influenced composer Victor Reyes score for the 2013 movie GRAND PIANO and remains one of the most enduring and influential pieces of British film music ever and ranks along side such other classics as THE LEGEND OF THE GLASS MOUNTAIN and DREAM OF OWLEN. The next section is dedicated to Addinsell’s score for the 1941 production of LOVE ON THE DOLE, which starred Deborah Kerr and Clifford Evans, directed by John Baxter the story which was set in the period of the depression during the 1930,s in a small Lancashire mill town, was at times down beat and fittingly sombre but there were glimpses of light that managed to shine through the gloom which handed the composer an opportunity to write some emotive and delicately romantic and humorously laced themes for the film which are more predominant in the scenes that displayed a rare trip to the seaside which is paid for from a winning wager on a horse race. The films screenplay was written by Walter Greenwood, Rollo Gamble and Barbara Emery and based upon Greenwoods play of the same name. Addinsell’s music fit’s the movie like a proverbial glove and compliments and supports it in all the right places and in fact assists it in attaining a realistic and at times stark persona. In 1945 Addinsell scored David Lean’s version of Noel Cowards BLITHE SPIRIT, the movie which starred Rex Harrison and Constance Cummings was it is rumoured not a favourite of Coward’s who thought that Lean’s take on his story was lacking. Addinsell and Coward however became friends ad remained in contact with each other long after the film was released, at times performing together for other friends and party guests. Sections of Addinsell’s score are represented here in a 10 minute cue that was re constructed by Philip Lane includes THE MAIN TITLES music, the music that was a background to Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) riding her bike to the séance and also some quite busy sounding near travelogue music that accompanied Harrison and his new wife plus the Waltz which Addinsell penned to for Harrisons first wife Elvira. The composers score reflects both the reality and also the mysterious elements that are present within the story and superbly underlines, supports and enhances the beguiling storyline. We enter the decade of the 1950,s with the section on the compact disc, Directed by Henry Hathaway THE BLACK ROSE (1950) is a thirteenth Century romp which starred Tyrone Power, Orson Welles, Jack Hawkins and as a token love interest Cecile Aubry.

Addinsell’s music is certainly romantic, heroic and melodious but as it explains in the liner notes of the release that many of the sequences contained very short musical cues and it was difficult to incorporate these into any kind of substantial suite, however in my humble opinion this is probably one of the most enjoyable sections within the compilation and yes although brief (just over 7 mins) it is highly emotive and contains a beautiful central theme performed by lush strings with subdued percussion and supporting brass. A gem of a piece that is stirring and poignant. One year on from THE BLACK ROSE Addinsell scored SCROOGE with the brilliant actor Alastair Sim in the title role, a role if I might add he made his own and is also a performance that most recall when discussing the much filmed Charles Dickens tale. Addinsell incorporated traditional Christmas carols and music into his score. This is a wonderfully entertaining compilation of some of the film music of Richard Addinsell, and also includes music from his scores to TOM BROWNS SCHOOL DAYS (1951), THE ADMIRABLE CHRICHTON (1957) and OUT OF THE CLOUDS (1954). Out of all the excellent compact discs within the FILM MUSIC OF series on Chandos this I must say stands very high in the ratings it is a CD that I know you will enjoy and also return to many times, a triumph for Rumon Gamba with superb performances from Martin Roscoe (piano),Chetham’s Chamber Choir and The Manchester Cathedral Choir plus of course the flawless performance of the BBC Philharmonic and their leader Yuri Torchinsky. Please if you have missed this release remedy this oversight forthwith.



Composer Steve Jablonsky has been involved on all of the TRANSFORMER movies, the latest installment being TRANFORMERS 4-AGE OF EXTINCTION and as this was released the fifth installment was announced, with Jablonsky at the musical helm of the production. The music that the composer has written for the series is obviously dramatic and action led, his scores for the series enhance, support and even manage to elevate the action taking place on screen to greater heights. The score for the latest installment is no exception to the rule that the composer has applied on its predecessors, high octane and powerful with a driving and fearsome fervency that catapults the audience to the very edge of their seats and also creates tension and anxiety as it enhances the knock em down and drag em out story lines. Saying this however, the composer also infuses a great deal of emotion into the scores and gives the mechanical giants on screen a heart and soul his music acting as a connection between the watching audience and the mechanical stars of the production. Jablonsky’s highly percussive and driving score for TRANSFORMERS 4-AGE OF EXTINCTION, is in my opinion one of the best scores for the so far quartet of movies and contains some real heart stopping and commanding musical moments, the composer integrates both symphonic and synthetic elements into his work and maintains a strident and unrelenting pace throughout the score, percussive components acting as a thundering but rhythmic background to brass stabs that are rasping and aggressive, strings that are cutting and imposing and to this he adds electric rock guitar rifts which further enhance and embellish the proceedings, his score simply builds tension upon tension until it reaches an crescendo or climax and then all of the musical elements seem to explode into a cacophony that is exciting and expressive. The composer also makes effective use of solo voice both female and male which again brings another level to the score. This is in no way a typical actioner soundtrack as it also has to it an upbeat and memorable resonance, with infectious bass lines, cadenced passages being relayed via the up tempo and feverish percussive beats. If you are looking for subdued and delicate this is the wrong score for you, however if you are looking for an onslaught of pure musical thrills.BUY now.


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