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Cat. No. CHAN 9243 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9243 - The Film Music of William Alwyn, Vol. 1
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Available From: 14 September 2000
William Alwyn became a pioneer in the great Documentary Film Movement of the ‘thirties when, through a mechanical fault, the recorded music for The Future’s in the Air failed to register and Paul Rotha asked him – well known at film sessions as a virtuoso flautist – to compose a substitute score. During the war Alwyn worked for the Ministry of Information, composing for officially secret films to instruct the armed forces as well as films to boost home morale, and to encourage America to join the anti-Nazi struggle. Among these were the historic Fires were Started, World of Plenty, the Academy Award winner – The True Glory, The Way Ahead and the film which did so much for morale during the darkest days of the war, Desert Victory.

Penn of Pennsylvania, in 1941, was Alwyn’s first feature film. Later came such classics as Reed’s Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol, Pelissier’s The History of Mr Polly and The Rocking-Horse Winner, and the film industry’s gift to the 1951 Festival of Britain The Magic Box. He wrote the score for the first stereo film, which inaugurated the National Film Theatre, and was also commissioned to compose the Festival March for the opening of the newly-built Royal Festival Hall.

For the concert hall he wrote five symphonies, concertos for piano, violin, viola, harp, oboe and cor anglais, two major operas, five song cycles and much chamber music. At the same time he composed the scores for over 200 films, including 60 features.

In 1958, for his outstanding contribution to the art of British Film, Alwyn was elected to a Fellowship of the British Film Academy. His pioneer work helped establish the international prestige of British Film music and paved the way for the present generation of film composers.
Reviews

'No one who is seriously interested in British Film Music can afford to pass up this release.'
Music from the Movies

‘Hickox and the LSO’s enthusiastic performances are aided by superb Chandos sound.’
Classic CD

‘Hickox and the London Symphony Orchestra give the impression that this is the greatest of all British film music.’
The Daily Telegraph

‘Hickox conducts all this music with total commitment and it is beautifully played and recorded.’
Gramophone

No one who is seriously interested in British Film Music can afford to pass up this release.
Music from the Movies

 

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