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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.



Lots of dark and atonal film scores around at this time and some are just that, atonal, having very little depth or substance and containing a mere scattering of thematic material. AUTOMATA however is an exception to the rule in this particular category. It is true to say that composer Zacarias M de la Riva has fashioned a soundtrack that is quite shadowy and fearsome sounding in places but there are a number of interludes or cracks within the score that let in some welcomed light and interestingly original musical moments. The composers use of choir within the opening track on the compact disc evoked for me memories of James Horner’s opening music for KRULL, but the choir soon melts away and is replaced by a hauntingly beautiful cello, which has a melancholy and melodic persona and is successful in relaying loneliness and vulnerability in a short passage, this is underlined by suspended strings that create an uneasy atmosphere that is apprehensive and also foreboding, the sadness and fragility of the solo cello soon being overwhelmed by the dissonant strings. The composer utilises both symphonic and electronic instrumentation within the score and fuses these together with ease, at times segueing between the two or combining both to create an effective and affecting sound. Choir is also placed well within the score, which too creates a chilling and uneasy aura. Strings are used predominantly to generate a core theme or a foundation on which the more melodious music is then built upon, the composer giving glimpses of romance or delicate intricacy from time to time and then at other points within the score bursting into serene, beautiful and rich workings of the themes that have previously been hinted upon, expanding these into glorious performances that are overflowing with emotion. It is also the string section that is called upon to purvey a mood of urgency at certain points within the work with their driving and at times harsh and serrated performances. The composer also draws the brass section into the proceedings giving the work a dramatic and more fuller sound, strings combine with choral performances too which can be likened to the impish and childlike sound that has been achieved so many times by composer Danny Elfman, this is a highly original sounding work that oozes tension and is filled with a sense of nervous apprehension the composer builds rigidity masterfully with his dark strings and synthetic drones but also brings forth a lushness and a calming ambience with choir, strings and solo cello. An outstanding score, which you should own.


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If you read my reviews and also articles you will probably already be aware that I have always been of the opinion that the so called golden age of film music was not just restricted to Hollywood and the lavish productions of tinsel town, British film music also had a golden age and it is thanks to labels such as CHANDOS that we collectors have had a chance to get to listen to some of this wonderfully dramatic and lyrical music without watching the movies that it was intended to support and enhance. A composer who was particularly active between 1937 and the early 1960,s was Alan Rawsthorne who wrote the scores to 27 motion pictures, his music although never overpowering became a vital and an important component of any movie that he was involved with. Born in 1905, Rawsthorne did not turn to music straight away as his preferred profession, indeed he trained as a dentist firstly before he then went onto to train as an architect but soon decided that this also was not for him. He began his musical studies at The Royal Manchester college of music in the latter part of the 1920,s and finished his time there in 1930,he then continued to study music in Europe, in 1932 he began to teach music at Dartington Hall and became composer in residence for the school of dance and mime. During the second world war he served in the army, after which he devoted his time and the remainder of his life to music. This compact disc in my opinion is an excellent representation of his work for the cinema and contains many of his key scores but in effect still only just scratches the surface in the discovery of a great composer and his contributions to the art of film music. The compact disc opens with a near 19 minute suite from THE CAPTIVE HEART, the film which is set in the summer of 1940, stars Michael Redgrave who’s character Karol Hesek is a Czech who has escaped from the Germans and because of this takes on the identity of a dead British officer, the Germans become suspicious of him but he attempts to conceal his identity and throw the Nazi,s of the scent by engaging in at times intimate correspondence with the dead British officers wife Celia, played by Rachel Kempson. The Germans still remain suspicious and begin to close in on Hasek, his fellow captives however decide to help him and break into the camp commandants office and place Hasek’s details on a list for repatriation. Hasek then has an emotional meeting with Celia and attempts to explain his deception of the past four years. Rawsthorne’s music greatly aided the film and brought to it a deep and emotional atmosphere and at the same time underlined the more dramatic moments within the storyline. The composer creating beautiful thematic material that worked marvellously supporting, embellishing and enhancing this at times tense drama. He music here is arranged into a suite by composer Gerard Schurmann who was also responsible for writing many scores for British movies and worked alongside Rawsthorne on many of his scores.


I would say the sound achieved by Rawsthorne was fairly typical of the sound associated with British movies at this time, but there is just something about Rawsthorne’s music that makes it stand out and also makes the listener sit up and take notice. Section two on the disc is from WEST OF ZANZIBAR, we are treated to the Main titles from the score, which have for this recording been arranged by Philip Lane, the 3 minute cue is rousing and quite busy in its overall sound and style, but even though there is no real lush or outstanding theme it still remains and imposing and impressive composition, with the strings and brass taking centre stage accompanied by flyaway sounding woods and crashing percussion and timpani. THE CRUEL SEA is probably one of the most well known naval war movies ever produced in Gt. Britain, Rawsthorne’s score is powerful one with robust and rousing flourishes acting as its MAIN TITLE and then the cue segues into the more calming NOCTURNE from the soundtrack, again arranged wonderfully by Philip Lane who combines two compositions from the score into a seamless and balanced suite of sorts to create a fair and entertaining representation of the composers work from the movie. Other scores represented within the compilation are, WHERE NO VULTRES FLY, UNCLE SILAS, LEASE OF LIFE, THE DANCING FLEECE, SARABAND FOR DEAD LOVERS and the composers pulsating and at times urgent sounding music for BURMA VICTORY. This is just one of many compilations within the Chandos THE FILM MUSIC OF series, and like all of the others is an enriching listening experience and a fascinating insight into the music of one of Britain’s most talented film music composers. Wonderfully performed by The BBC Philharmonic under the direction of Rumon Gamba. It is certainly an essential purchase.