“Incapable of shoddy craftsmanship, and truly a 'composer's composer', Rawsthorne brought a professional integrity, great clarity of expression and unerring economy of thought to every field of music in which he worked, not least the 27 film scores he penned between 1937 and 1964.
Here are selections from nine scores in all, the arranging and orchestrating duties being shared by the indefatigable Philip Lane and Gerard Schurmann. The Cruel Sea (1953) is the bestknown offering, its evocative, slumbering power and noble defiance as eloquent as ever. Bernard Herrmann, who knew a thing or two about the genre, rated Uncle Silas (1947) one of the greatest film scores he'd ever encountered: try the delightfully flirtatious 'Valse caprice'. The charming 'Three Dances' from The DancingFleece (a Crown Film Unit production promoting British wool) can almost be viewed as a 'trial run' for Madame Chrysanthème, the one-act ballet Rawsthorne wrote in 1955for Sadlers Wells.
The first track is an extended (18-minute) suite from the 1946 POW drama, The Captive Heart, and there are also generous excerpts from WhereNo Vultures Fly and the documentary Burma Victory (full of decidedly superior, stirring invention).
Keller was especially complimentary about Lease of Life (1954), a Robert Donat vehicle for which Rawsthorne supplied a 'rich miniature score' lasting about 13 and a half minutes, and the collection concludes with a flourish in the shape of the superbly swaggering 'Prelude and Carnival' from Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948). Gamba draws playing of panache and infectious enthusiasm from the BBC Philharmonic, with spectacularly wide-ranging Chandos sound. Not to be missed!”