themes from the big and little screens
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The Introduction and Waltz from ‘The Slipper & the Rose’ is the only track on the CD that is not entirely my composition. The Introduction uses fragments of the song ‘Suddenly it Happens’, and accompanies the scene where the Prince and ‘the Princess Incognita’ see each other for the first time and slowly approach each other. When they meet, the Waltz begins. ‘Suddenly it Happens’ and the Waltz theme ‘He Danced with me’ were composed by Richard and Robert Sherman, the songwriters who composed all the songs for the film ‘The Slipper and the Rose’.
The Transformation Music is the music I composed to accompany the scene where the drab little Cinderella is transformed into an elegant princess. Here, a short excerpt of this music serves as an introduction to the Wedding March. I composed this march to be played on a church organ in the film for the wedding that was not to be; that is to say, the wedding to the princess whom Prince Edward doesn’t love.
The Theme from TV film ‘Madame X’ comes from the score which I wrote for the Universal Studios version of 1981, in which ‘Madame X’ was played by Tuesday Weld. The piano soloist here is Andy Vintner.
‘When Eight Bells Toll’ I scored in early 1970, and it stars a young Anthony Hopkins. The film was made from an Alistair MacClean novel about gold bullion ships being hijacked at sea.
‘A Tender Mood’ for violin solo and strings was composed for Chappell sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Here the solo is superbly played by Andrew Havoran.
I scored ‘The Looking Glass War’ in March 1969. It is a film about the British planting a young spy in East Germany during the Cold War era and stars an even younger Anthony Hopkins. The flugel horn solo is played by Tony Fisher.
White Wing comes from the score I wrote for an episode of the TV series: ‘Hotel’. In this episode, a quite ordinary American man was observed to be loitering in the hotel lobby after most of the guests had gone to bed. He told the management that he was about to die, and wanted it to happen in the middle of the lobby. He explained that he was really a native American who wished to die in the village of his ancestors, a village that had long disappeared under the relentless march of modern civilization, in fact, under this very hotel. A sympathetic management allowed him to have his wish, and he died during the night wearing the regalia of his tribe. He was called White Wing. The soloists are: Andy Findon (flute), Michael O’Donnell (bass flute), Philip Harmer (cor anglais), Andrea Flamm (bassoon) and David Pyatt (horn).
Snow Ride is another of those pieces for Chappell, originally composed in the early 1960s. Chappell couldn’t find the score, and it was probably incinerated in their great fire. Using the original recording, I’ve recently done my best to reconstruct it for this CD.
Blues for Alexis is the title I’ve given to a compilation of themes I composed for ‘Dynasty’ in Hollywood in the late 1980s, to accompany scenes with Joan Collins’s sultry character Alexis. Andy Wood (trombone) and Howard McGill (alto sax) are the outstanding soloists.
Rotten Row (the area in London’s Hyde Park where people go to ride horses) was originally a short cue called ‘Ponies’, and was part of a Chappell project called ‘Zoo Cues’. For my album ‘London Pride’ in 1958, I expanded this fragment to make a playable piece and I called it ‘Rotten Row’. We had been trying to find the score and parts for this piece for months with no success. Two days before the recording, John Wilson told me that the music had been found and was in the post to us. The music did not arrive in time and, with the session already under way, a phone call was made to the publishers. We asked them to put the score and parts in a taxi, but were told that everyone at the publishers' was sick and there was no one available to do this. We then asked them to fax the thirty-six pages to Studio 2 at Abbey Road. David Ades of the Robert Farnon Appreciation Society nobly stood by the fax machine and fielded the pages, then photocopied all the string parts. One might say it was a real ‘photo finish’! Unfortunately, in our great haste to record this piece, we didn’t realise that there were sixteen bars missing from this publisher’s printed version! Since then, I have reconstructed Rotten Row myself. But, alas, not in time for this CD.
My Autumn Love I composed for Rediffusion in the 1970s, and performed it several times with the BBC Radio Orchestra around that time. Here it features the superb flugel horn playing of Tony Fisher and the excellent alto sax of Howard McGill.
A Canadian in Mayfair (1950) was the first thing I ever composed. I took a favourite piece of mine, ‘Portrait of a Flirt’ by my idol and mentor Robert Farnon. Emptying its ‘mould’ of the Flirt, I poured in the elements of the Canadian! I showed this example of my audacity to the master, and, expecting a sharp reprimand, was asked instead if I would like it to be recorded and published by Chappell! It is dedicated to Robert Farnon. This score was also unavailable and had to be reconstructed during the weeks before this recording. My apologies to purists who detect slight differences from the original version. I simply didn’t have the time to make an exact transcription. My thanks to Gavin Sutherland for adding some little touches that I accidentally omitted.
There is a good soundtrack CD on the market, so here we’ve chosen only four excerpts:
1) Venturing Forth is the first theme after the main title music. I composed it the evening of the day I agreed to take on the film.
2) Through the Woods accompanies Hazel and his group as they brave and pass through the scary woods on their journey to find a safer place to found a new warren.
3) Kehaar’s Theme I composed as ‘flying music’ for Zero Mostel’s character, the seagull Kehaar. Here it is played by the concert saxophonist John Harle.
4) Final Struggle and Triumph is a compilation that I’ve recently made of three cues from the film. This accompanies the scenes where Hazel and his comrades are fighting for their life against the terrifying General Woundwort and his army.
Captain Nemo and the Undersea City - I scored this film in June/July 1969, and the music has never been available on disc before. First, we hear the main title theme which represents the adventure itself. Next, we hear the music that represents Nemo’s noble vision, then the music behind the reading of Senator Fraser’s apology for having escaped from the city in the stolen submarine Nautilus II. Here the main theme and Nemo’s theme are combined. Lastly, we hear the music for the ascent of the escapees to the surface of the ocean. They see a ship on the horizon, and the sailors lower rescue boats. Fraser and his group are helped to climb on deck, where they see a sailor dancing a hornpipe. This is followed by a reprise of the main title theme, which provides a grand conclusion to the adventure, and also to this CD.
I was privileged to attend all the recording sessions, and would here like to express my gratitude to John Wilson and his magnificent orchestra and to Michael Dutton for his excellent recording.
Incidentally, I have, since this recording, completely restored ‘Rotten Row’ and added the missing 16 bars. The rental agency, Concord, now has the new restored ‘Rotten Row’and will offer it in place of the flawed version to anyone wishing to rent it. If anyone has difficulty in locating any of the scores from this CD, please contact me via the email address at the bottom of this page.
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