ARNOLD:  Film Music (Volume I) The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Whistle Down the Wind.  The Sound Barrier (Rhapsody for Orchestra).  Hobson's Choice.  The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.
London Symphony Orch/Richard Hickox, cond.

CHANDOS 9100 (F) (DDD) TT: 77:35

ARNOLD:  Film Music (Volume II)  Trapeze.  The Roots of Heaven.  Machines, Op. 30.  No Love for Johnnie.  David Copperfield.  Scherzetto for Clarinet and Orchestra 'You Know What Sailors Are.'  Ballade for Piano and Orchestra.  The Belles of St. Trinian's.  Fantasy on Christmas Carols from 'The Holy and the Ivy.'  Postcard from the Med from 'The Captain's Paradise.'
Phillip Dyson, pianist; London Symphony Orch/Rumon Gamba, cond.

CHANDOS 9851 (F) (DDD) TT:  78:55

Volume I was issued about a decade ago—finally we have Volume II—and let us hope it will be a continuing series as the distinguished British composer, who just celebrated his 80th birthday, wrote music for more than a hundred films. The first CD consists of arrangements by Christopher Palmer. The major work a suite for the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai including, of course, Kenneth Alford's famous Colonel Bogey March, initially by itself, then incorporated into Arnold's River Kwai March. The Sound Barrier is an eight-minute "rhapsody for orchestra" adapted from Arnold's first David Lean film, appropriately described in the notes as "music of the wide-open spaces of the sky, of the ecstasy of flying."  The brief suite from Whistle Down the Wind, a 1961 film in which three children living on a farm discover a stranger whom they think is Jesus but actually is a criminal, is scored for small orchestra. It is one of Arnold's personal favorites which he described as "simple, sentimental, and helps the film." Hobson's Choice dates from 1953 and starred Charles Laughton as the boot-and-shoe manufacturer. Arnold doesn't miss any opportunity for comic effect (the snarling trombone and "flat-footed" tuba), with rich romantic interludes as well.  Ingrid Bergman starred in the 1958 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness which won Sir Malcolm the Ivor Novello award. The orchestral suite ends with "Mountain Crossing - The Children" with a blazing climax heavy on percussion.

The second CD features Arnold's music reconstructed, arranged/orchestrated by Philip Lane, with premiere recordings of music from No Love for Johnnie (1960),  The Captain's Paradise (1953) and Stolen Face (1952). The latter is one of three Hammer Films scored by Arnold. Dr. Philip Ritter (played by Paul Henreid) is a plastic surgeon whose distress about his ended relationship with a concert pianist (played by Lizabeth Scott) leads him to recreate her face on that of a former prison convict (also played by Scott).  This is the "concerto" in the film—during its eight minutes' duration you'll hear just about every Hollywood piano concerto clichÈ in the book—true trash, but fun to listen to. The brief "scherzetto" You Know What Sailors Are, is a showpiece for clarinet (played by John Bradbury). It's surprising that Arnold's last film score, David Copperfield, is represented by five brief tracks totaling 11:10.  If you'd like more, you can hear the entire score on a fine Marco Polo CD (REVIEW).

The BBC Phil and conductor Rumon Gamba are perfect in this music as they were in the recent Chandos issue of Arnold's last three symphonies (REVIEW).  The sound could not be bettered (listen to that vivid percussion in St. Trinian's!).

R.E.B. (March 2002)