During World War II, William Walton, one of the most eminent of British composers, provided music for several films deemed to be of ‘national importance’. Scoring Lawrence Olivier’s Shakespeare epic Henry V in 1943 was the most substantial of these wartime projects. His role in patriotic films from 1941 and 42 like The Foreman Went to France, Next of Kin, Went the day Well? and The First of the Few was to provide appropriate title music and some underscoring at key moments. Walton extracted the most substantial portions of the latter as the popular Spitfire Prelude and Fugue for orchestra. The remaining music remained unpublished until 1990, when Christopher Palmer assembled the highlights from the soundtracks into A Wartime Sketchbook, ssix numbers of which were arranged into a colourful suite for Besses o’ th’ Barn and Black Dyke Mills bands in the 1990s.
1. Prologue: This is the stirring title music from Went the day Well?, a screen play by Graham Greene about a German airborne invasion of an English village. The main theme leads to (2) Bicycle Chase, characteristic musical high-jinks for J.B.Priestley’s The Foreman went to France. (3) Refugees, from the same film, is a poignant accompaniment to the long march of refugees, while (4) Young Siegfrieds is a lively movement comes from the music that Walton composed for The Battle of Britain in 1968, but which the film’s producer rejected. It portrays first the Berliners, cheerfully ignoring the black-out and then, in the trio, the Young Siegfrieds of the Luftwaffe, courtesy of a parody of Siegfried’s horn call from Wagner’s opera. In (5) Romance from Next of Kin, a soldier and a Dutch refugee snatch a few tender moments together. (6) Epilogue: at the end of The Foreman went to France, the French look forward with hope and optimism to eventual liberation.
Romance (3′) and Young Siegrfireds (4′) can be performed separately.
Duration: 14 mins
Published by arrangement with the copyright holders, Oxford University Press.
£75, plus postage and packing
PHM Catalogue No. PHM008
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