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CHAN 10459
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CHAN 10459

Lambert/ Berners: Film Music

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2008

Originally recorded in 2007


BBC Concert Orchestra

Rumon Gamba

Mary Carewe


Joyful Company of Singers

(female voices)


Watford Colosseum


Ralph Couzens

Neil Varley


Jonathan Cooper

Ralph Couzens

Record Label
Chandos Movies


Film & TV Music

Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 79:01
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  The following tracks are premiere recordings: 7-12, 14, 16 (in this version), 19-24  



Suite from 'Merchant Seamen' (1940)

1 1 Fanfare 1:28
2 2 Convoy in Fog 2:26
3 3 Attack 4:21
4 4 Safe Convoy 3:30
5 5 March 2:49

Suite from 'Anna Karenina' (1948)

  arr. Philip Lane  
6 1 Main Titles and opening scene 3:58
7 2 Anna and Vronsky's first meeting 2:20
8 3 Anna and Vronsky on the train 2:39
9 4 Séance scene 2:35
10 5 Anna and Vronsky discovered 1:43
11 6 Anna's garden 3:32
12 7 Anna's illness 2:50
13 8 Anna and Vronsky in Venice (Forlana) 4:02
14 9 Anna and Vronsky part acrimoniously 3:13
15 10 Finale 3:23



From 'Champagne Charlie' (1944)

16 Come on Algernon 3:08
  orch. Philip Lane  
 Mary Carewe soprano
17 Polka 2:34
  orch. Philip Lane  

Suite from 'Nicholas Nickelby' (1947)

  Nicholas & Madeline Bray - Meno mosso - Kate Nickleby  
  & the Mantilinis - Ralph Nickleby & Miss La Creevy -  
  Miss La Creevy - Love Scene (Kate & Frank) - Mr Squeers -  
  The Cherryble Brothers - The Death of Smike - Nicholas says  
  goodbye to Crummies - The Hampton Inn - The Wedding  

Suite from 'The Halfway House' (1944)

  arr. Philip Lane  
19 1 Main Titles 1:46
20 2 The Concert 2:16
21 3 Bicycle Ride 1:14
22 4 'Drowning' Scene 2:39
23 5 Séance Waltz 4:15
  orch. Philip Lane  
24 6 Resolutions & Finale 5:57
Premiere recordings of Halfway House, Come on Algernon (in orchestrated form) and Anna Karenina (complete suite)

Rumon Gamba and the BBC Concert Orchestra now present the first composer-pair in Chandos’ film music series.

‘Chandos have been doing great things in the film score re-recording world over recent years, especially in the case of British composers of the Golden Age… This Chandos CD is for me the crowning achievement so far of what was already an impressive addition to the Golden Age film music and one can only hope that Gamba and his forces will be able to record more before too long’, wrote Music from the Movies on The Sea Wolf, the last release on Chandos Movies. Rumon Gamba and the BBC Concert Orchestra now present the first composer pair in Chandos’ film music series, and the ‘tandem’ is no accident. There is the obvious link that the two composers were close friends, both musically and socially. But more to the point, the output of each in the field was limited, Lambert scoring only one documentary and one feature film, Lord Berners two complete features while contributing a song and dance to another. This output is here conveniently represented on a single well-filled disc.

Each composed in his own distinctive style, with a cosmopolitan rather than purely English accent. As a young man, Lambert developed interests in French and Russian music; in fact, three years after winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Music he was collaborating with the great Russian impresario Diaghilev on the ballet Romeo and Juliet – the only other British composer to receive a commission from Diaghilev was Lord Berners! Lambert would go on to become musical director and conductor of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet. With this background he was an obvious choice to score the film of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1945) whose cast included Vivien Leigh and Ralph Richardson, with designs by Cecil Beaton. Dances by Glinka are woven into the ball scenes but elsewhere Lambert relies very much on his own voice, using a generous range of instruments including triple woodwind, four trumpets and trombones, and two harps. In the score for Lambert’s earlier Merchant Seamen (1940) one detects the influence of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.

Lord Berners deserves his reputation as a versatile eccentric. Having worked as a diplomat, serving as honorary attaché in Constantinople and later in Rome, he returned to England on his succeeding to his title, and lived the rest of his life ostensibly as a country gentleman. Here was a composer whose music drew the highest praise from Stravinsky, and the consistently sharp focus of his small musical output ensures his survival as a unique figure in British music of the period. The three film scores featured here constitute some of the last music he was to write. Champagne Charlie (1944), starring Stanley Holloway, Tommy Trinder and Betty Warren, is a lively recreation of the bawdy music halls. The film is famous for the song ‘Come on Algernon’, praised as a hysterically realistic music hall number. Mary Carewe here brings it to disc for the first time in orchestral form. The Halfway House (also 1944) was Ealing Studio’s first foray into the occult. The score is quintessential Berners, very much of a piece with his concert and ballet music. Of the Suite from Nicholas Nickleby (1947) Philip Lane writes, ‘the music flits from scene to scene and character to character in a seamless stream of fertile invention’. This latest release in the film music series is sure to attract fans of both the films and their magical scores.

Under its regular conductor Rumon Gamba, the BC Concert Orchestra takes to these entertaining tidbits with its customary aplomb, and Chandos sound remains top-of-the-line as usual. One of the most interesting and enjoyable entries in this necessary series

Rumon Gamba secures orchestral playing that is both deft and precise
BBC Music Magazine


Maestro Gamba’s film music series ventures into less familiar waters with this engaging entry…This is British film music at its best, and like the entire programme it’s performed with Rumon Gamba’s customary affection and enthusiasm
American Record Guide

Sympathetic performances throughout in a generous 80-minute CD

You can’t fault the performances, which are fiercely conducted by Rumon Gamba, and played with great finesse by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Vocalist Mary Carewe, meanwhile, is glorious.
The Guardian

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