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Thursday, June 14, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Film Music of John Addison

The Film Music of John Addison
BBC Concert Orchestra, Conducted by Rumon Gamba
Chandos Movies CHAN 10418 (UK)
17 Tracks 70:50 mins

The latest entry in this splendid series of 24-bit digital recordings features music by the late John Addison, whom I had the great pleasure of witnessing conducting some of the music featured on this disc at Filmharmonic one year.
Addison enjoyed a long career, both in British films and, in later life, for American film and TV productions. Highlights from that career are presented in this generous collection of his music, performed concert-style by the BBC Concert Orchestra, under the baton of Rumon Gamba.
The album starts off with a premiere, Addison's march, which is by turns stirring and whimsical, from 1958's I Was Monty's Double. This is followed by a presentation of his main theme, winding up music and end title from the sprawling U.S. TV western series Centennial (oh how I wish this splendid production was available on DVD - and that someone would release an album of Addison's score). A suite from 1976's Swashbuckler follows, with its great main theme, passionate love theme and some slapsticky action; then a generous suite from 1977's A Bridge Too Far, encompassing all his fine thematic material from the score. A nice comic romp follows with his theme for 1953's The Maggie; then his theme for 1956's Reach for the Sky," which soars and stirs at the same time.
An unusual assignment for Addison was the 1983 sci-fi parody Strange Invaders, but the composer managed to come up with another fine, varied score, both menacing and heroic. The dramatic theme for 1953's The Man Between follows; then the overture from Addison's Oscar-winning Tom Jones, a mix of boisterous comedy music and romance. A lengthy suite from the 1968 version of The Charge of the Light Brigade follows, with its heroic finale.
Next up on the disc is another premiere, the Opening and End Titles from 1951's Brandy for the Parson, light and airy in style.
Of course the story of Addison's replacement of Bernard Herrmann on Hitchcock's Torn Curtain (1966) has been well documented and the collection would not have been complete without the composer's main theme from the film. Another premiere follows, the "Mirror Waltz" from 1955's Touch and Go; then the boisterous Oscar-nominated Sleuth overture.
The final premiere performance on the disc is of the comic march from 1958's Carlton-Browne of the F.O., the programme concluding with the quaint and catchy theme for popular American crime series Murder, She Wrote.
The CD comes with a 28-page booklet, in three languages, with Mervyn Cooke's notes on the composer and the films represented, along with some rare pictures of the composer, and stills from the film. Highly recommended!


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