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'... Gamba is remarkably successful ...'

The film music of Alan Rawsthorne -
with RODERIC DUNNETT

 

How many people even in England know that half a century ago Alan Rawsthorne's name rivalled that of Benjamin Britten ? The wealth of his output -- symphonies, a clutch of superb concertos, and an array of fine chamber music -- is at last being reassessed.

The Film Music of Alan Rawsthorne (c) 2000 Chandos Records Ltd

It was his film music writing that brought him his widest public, as it did for near contemporaries like Bliss, Benjamin Frankel and William Alwyn. Perhaps surprisingingly it is not The Cruel Sea, his best known film starring Jack Hawkins, Denholm Elliot and Stanley Baker, here given top billing, which impresses : the main titles have a filmic immediacy, but little more; it is rather the subliminal way the score creeps around you in the film -- in the home leave scene, for instance (not featured here), or the terrifying moments of waiting just before a submarine attack -- that makes its mark. Where no Vultures Fly ('The Ivory Hunters' in the US) is largely bombastic : Hindemith meets  Ben Hur, all a bit wafer-thin. The final scherzo, however (with sparkling BBC Phil oboe playing) is a breath of fresh air, till that score too grows a bit stodgy.

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Copyright © 17 March 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - CHANDOS CHAN 9749

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