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<<  -- 2 --  Roderic Dunnett    MAGICAL STUFF


Yet much else impresses in these fine performances under the able Rumon Gamba's fresh, spirited, youthful direction. (Curiously, Chandos even seems to have found a measure of 'period' sound too -- deliberately?) Take the striking opening titles from Lease of Life, or the vividly contrasted sections from the fine Michael Redgrave wartime film The Captive Heart, both arranged by Rawthorne's old friend Gerard Schurmann (a brilliant film music composer himself). No surprise, either, to find that the superb vignettes from Uncle Silas, starring Jean Simmons, was given top rating by Bernard Herrmann. You don't go much higher than that.

Philip Lane's arrangement of three dances from The Dancing Fleece is pretty magical stuff, and Schurmann conjures a vivid suite from the brutally realistic Burma Victory. This is wonderfully vital music that takes on Sir Arthur Bliss's dazzling filmscore Things To Come on its own territory.

There are two drawbacks. With a composer of Schurmann's standing to hand, there is surely the option of reweaving these suites into an interconnecting sequence : at least one juxtaposition in The Captive Heart is plain ugly, and another (given identical key) unnecessary. So too the first fade in Burma Victory. And John Belcher's finely illustrated notes are misordered (why alphabetical?) and inconsistently incomplete. Names of directors and other essential details seem often to be ignored : what's the use of film notes without the basics?

At times Rawsthorne (or his arrangers) have so much detail going on it tends to obscure itself; while Saraband for Dead Lovers sounds pure classic Schurmann. Yet Gamba is remarkably successful, carrying it all off with the kind of aplomb one associates with the composer of the Street Corner Overture. One or two more takes would have helped mollify the edges, but Chandos has mikes everywhere it should have and nowhere it shouldn't : the mark of class.

Copyright © 17 March 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK







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