ADDINSELL: Suite from Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Warsaw Concerto from Dangerous Moonlight. Suite from Love on the Dole. Prelude and Waltz from Blithe Spirit. Suite from The Black Rose. Suite from Scrooge. Overture: Tom Brown's Schooldays. Polka, Galop and Waltz Sequence from The Admirable Crichton. The Flame Tango from Out of the Clouds.
Martin Roscoe, pianist; Chetham's Chamber Choir; Manchester Cathedral Choir; BBC Philharmonic Orch/Rumon Gamba, cond.
CHANDOS 10046 (F) (DDD) TT: 79:50

Chandos continues their distinguished film music with this magnificent issue of music of Richard Addinsell. Born into a wealthy family in London in 1904, Addinsell came to music via the theater, composing music for writer Clemence Dane beginning with incidental music for the play Adam's Opera. Gertrude Lawrence recorded one of his songs; her co-star in the play, Moonlight Is Silver, was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. who introduced the young composer to writing music for films in 1936. The first was The Amateur Gentleman after which he wrote scores for many now-classic films including Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Gaslight, Blithe Spirit, The Prince and the Showgirl, A Tale of Two Cities, Waltz of the Tordeadors - and Dangerous Moonlight (known in the U.S. as Suicide Squadron). Addinsell also wrote songs for his good friend, comedienne Joyce Grenfell, and for several dozen British documentaries. Dangerous Moonlight, released in 1940, is the story of a Polish airman and concert pianist. "Warsaw Concerto" is heard excerpted and in its entirety in the film. Supposedly Rachmaninoff was asked to write this music but he turned the offer down. Addinsell was given the job and he and Roy Douglas "surrounded by the scores of Rachmaninoff's Second and Third Concertos and "Paganini" Rhapsody" wrote the piece. It surely has a Rachmaninoff "sound" to it, dramatic writing for the soloist, and lush themes. Right from the beginning it was a favorite with audiences and there have been more than 100 recordings. This newest, featuring Martin Roscoe as soloist, is one of the best, and he has the advantage of superb accompaniment from the BBC Philharmonic under Rumon Gamba's knowing direction.

In addition we also have excerpts from the other films listed above including premiere recordings (music from Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love on the Dole, The Black Rose and The Admirable Crichton,) in reconstructions and arrangements by Philip Lane, Steven Bernstein and Robert Sharples. Chandos has gone all-out in this production, with choruses required for the suites from Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Scrooge, the fine BBC Philharmonic and their Rumon Gamba who conducts superbly with flair and style. Add to this the usual sumptuous Chandos sound and we have a CD to cherish; Addinsell's music never sounded this glossy in the films! I'm sure he would have been delighted.

R.E.B. (May 2003)