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.