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Sunday, May 14, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Film Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Volume 3 +
News of an exciting release from Intrada

The Film Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Volume 3
BBC Philharmonic, Rumon Gamba, Conductor
Ladies of Manchester Chamber Choir, Darius Battiwalla, Chorus Master
Chandos Movies CHAN 10368
23 Tracks 66:37 mins

This third in Chandos' series of recordings of the film music of Ralph Vaughan Williams kicks off with 25 minutes from the 1943 propaganda film The Flemish Farm. The opening "The Flag Flutters in the Wind" is suitably proud and heroic, though the track ends rather subdued. "Dawn in the Old Barn - The Parting of the Lovers" is a romantic, though again largely subdued track, featuring violin, which does take a passionate turn at the end. "In the Café" begins and ends quite carefree, but offers up some threatening music in between. "The Dead Man's Kit" has an overall feeling of gloom, but does feature elegiac violin and a fanfare leading to a lilting passage for flute. The concluding "The Wanderings of the Flag" offers up a stirring march, before reprising the opening music.
A 15-minute suite from 1947's The Loves of Joanna Godden follows. One of my favourite Vaughan Williams scores, it really deserves to be recorded in full, but this will have to do for now. The suite becomes powerful and optimistic at around the four-minute mark, and then comes a haunting passage for female choir. The music turns violent and troubled at around ten-minutes, but the suite ends on an optimistic note.
The album closes with 25 minutes from 1950's Bitter Springs, which was actually scored by Ernest Irving, utilising just thirty-eight bars of music supplied by Vaughan Williams. Irving worked wonders, with eight of the fifteen tracks recognisably VW, including the big and adventurous "Main Titles and Opening Music," which has a bouncy march at its core; "Rocks," an action cue based on the same march figure; the rather dark and desolate "First Desert" and "Waterhole;" the triumphant then again desolate "End of the Trek;" the elegant slow dance of "Housewarming;" the sneaky "Hunters" and the concluding "Round Up," which reprises the main theme, with a brief violin solo to end.
Irving's tracks are somewhat outclassed by the Vaughan Williams material, with only the menacing action of "Fire" holding any great interest. It's a pity that so much disc space on a Vaughan Williams collection was given over to somebody else's music, when more from Joanna Godden could have been included. A pretty fair collection then, but a bit of a missed opportunity.
The accompanying booklet features Michael Kennedy's notes on the films and their music in three languages.

INTRADA Announces:

Composed by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, and More
INTRADA Special Collection Volume 32

In 1985, Steven Spielberg launched an ambitious anthology series called
AMAZING STORIES. Spread out over two seasons were good-natured, colourful tales of the fantastic. Stories about a cartoon wheel on a world war II plane, a phantom train, a ghoulish school teacher, magnetized kids, mummys and hair pieces gone wild...anything the imagination could conjure. To bring these outlandish tales to life,
Spielberg assembled an amazing line up of directors including himself,
Clint Eastwood, Danny DeVito, Robert Zemeckis, Joe Dante, Martin
Scorsese and many more. Musically, AMAZING STORIES featured some of Hollywood's biggest talents -- a roster of composers never seen before or since on a single television series.

Within the next few months, INTRADA will be releasing three 2-CD sets featuring the stunning music composed for AMAZING STORIES. Some of the highlight episodes included on these three sets are John Williams' GHOST
TRAIN and THE MISSION, Jerry Goldsmith's BOO, James Horner's ALAMO JOBE, and music by Bruce Broughton, Michael Kamen, Leonard Rosenman, Georges
Delerue, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, Craig Safan, David Shire...the list goes on. Each represented episode is complete, and each disc features a different version of the AMAZING STORIES theme. Also featured is Williams' Amblin logo theme.

The music was mixed from the original multi-track masters and result in stunning stereo sound throughout. Liner notes are by Jon Burlingame. The first set is available now and is limited to 3000 copies.

INTRADA Special Collection - Volume 32
For cover art, track listing, and sound samples, please visit


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