It’s not that often that we are treated to concerts of film music, and it’s even rarer to have recordings of the concerts released, so I am so pleased that the Debbie Wiseman concert at the Barbican in London has been issued onto a recording by those lovely people at Silva Screen. Debbie Wiseman is without a doubt one of the most prominent composers of film and TV music in England, and one of the most in demand composers of music for film in the world today. Her melodies are wonderfully constructed and exquisitely orchestrated, they linger long in one’s memory and not only hauntingly beautiful but fit each and every project she works on like the proverbial glove. The composer is conducting the Guildhall School Orchestra on this occasion and the performance is in my humble opinion flawless and inspiring. The recording opens with WILDE WEST from the movie WILDE, now this is a score that is overflowing with thematic content, with its romantic but at the same time fragile sounding nuances and compositions, and when the film was released I was convinced that Debbie would win the Oscar for her efforts on this soundtrack, but alas it was not to be. It is still one of the most played items within my collection, I never tire of hearing its charming and enthralling pieces. The opening cue is followed by another piece from the score entitled, WILDE, which is the central theme from the score, it is abundant with a quality and a sound that we do not encounter often enough within film music nowadays more is the pity. Track three is from TOMS MIDNIGHT GARDEN which is another incredibly emotive and wonderfully haunting piece. Track four is a 4-minute piece from the score to the very popular TV series WOLF HALL which gained many accolades and drew much attention when it was screened on the BBC, it is obvious from the applause at the end of the section that it was also very popular with the audience at THE BARBICAN. Track number five is an 8-minute suite from THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE which is just breath-taking, this is followed by the composer’s highly dramatic music from, THE FLOOD, again popular with the audience. Track seven is a 7-minute piece from the spoof horror movie LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS, and although this was essentially a comedy with tongue very much planted in cheek throughout, Wiseman scored it as a serious movie and gave it one of the most alluring and superbly attractive gothic scores that I have heard for many a year. It is quite a majestic sounding work for a horror movie, with lots of brass, choir, and soaring strings, but it works so well within the movie and has a life away from it, being an entertaining listening experience on its own. It is a powerful and commanding work that is performed here with the principal themes from the score being aired.
For track number 8, we are back with the melodic and fragile sounding Wiseman for A POET IN NEW YORK, this is a lovely score and features poignant violin solo and lilting and subtle strings that together create and lush and almost luxurious sound that is supported by horns and rumbling percussion and piano, in many ways this is very similar to Wisemans music for WILDE, it has a powerful but at the same time intimate sound which has purveys an atmosphere of solitude and loneliness. Next up is a short but beautiful suite from the movie HAUNTED, this again contains a theme that one just cannot resist, it is if you will forgive the pun haunting and completely mesmerising. Within the score the theme is performed at one point on piano which is affecting as well as effective, here we are treated to a full orchestral working of this gracious and alluring theme, which is breath-taking. The theme from the TV series Father Brown is next, this always reminds me of a waltz, it’s one of those themes that one hears and knows straight away what it’s from and if you are in another room and you hear it you know the show is starting, it’s quite jaunty and jolly at times but has a hint of a serious side. THE WHALE is next, this begins slowly and quite subdued but builds into a commanding and highly emotional piece performed wonderfully by the Guildhall School orchestra. Next are sections from Debbie’s incredibly powerful tour de force ARSENE LUPINE. In fact, there are four movements from the score, and it is as interesting and enjoyable as it was when I first heard it. The final cue on this superb recording is JUBILEE GIGUE which was written especially for the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Again, this is amazingly melodic and stirring, overall this is an album that you should have in your collection, it contains some of the best film and TV music ever written, highly recommended.