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Cat. No. CHAN 9774 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9774 - The Film Music of George Auric
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Available From: 16 September 1999
Auric’s first British studio commission was for Pascal’s ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’ (1945). Apparently Pascal had already approached Britten, Walton and even Prokofiev. Auric came at the end of this list. Auric’s ebullient musical interludes and impressive marches are the only bright spots of the whole production. While at Ealing, Auric was snapped up by Ernst Irving for ‘Dead of Night’ (1945), arguably the first great British horror movie, in which the nightmare montage finale is both a cinematic and musical classic. Auric was back at Ealing in 1946 for ‘Hue and Cry’, a good-humoured romp of villains, penny-dreadfuls and hoards of children chasing war-scarred London. ‘It always Rains on Sunday’ (1947) portrays twenty-four hours in the life of a damp London Sunday. By now a recognisable Ealing house-style was emerging, dealing with neighbourhood spirit, a little gentle rebellion and triumph, despite overwhelming odds. One of the most satisfying examples is ‘Passport to Pimlico’ (1949) where an austerity-battered neighbourhood is unexpectedly liberated from petty beaurocracy and rationing by a quirk of local history. ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ (1951) involves the export of Eiffel Tower trinkets to France and gave Auric the chance to portray a Parisian scene. Huston’s sumptuous ‘Moulin Rouge’ gave Auric his most enduring international hit with the French waltz theme. Later that year Auric made his last trip to Ealing for ‘The Titfiled Thunderbolt’. For ‘Father Brown’ (1954), G.K. Chesterton’s tale of a modest Catholic Priest pitting his powers of detection against France’s master criminal, Auric displays his cross-channel versatility to its utmost. Auric’s last significant British film was ‘The Innocents’ (1961), a psychological thriller based on Henry James’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’. The opening title music, an adaptation of the usually innocuous folksong ‘O Willow Waly’, is particularly disturbing, and several musical moments, omitted from the final version of the film, have been restored for this recording.

From the gusto of the playing throughout it seems clear that the BBC Philharmonic enjoyed making this disc: understandably so.’


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