Sound Of Cinema: Composer Of The Week - British Film Music

Monday 23 September to Friday 27 September



Donald Macleod celebrates a quintessentially British legacy of film music – from Vaughan Williams to Nitin Sawhney, via Walton, The Beatles, Nyman, Britten, John Dankworth, Malcolm Arnold, Elisabeth Lutyens, John Barry and many more as part of the BBC’s Sound Of Cinema season.

Donald is joined in the studio by film music expert and writer David Huckvale, to explore film works by two grandees of the British concert hall: Sirs Arthur Bliss and William Walton, and to discuss the hugely important influence of the conductor and musical svengali James Muir Matheson.

Walter Leigh's pioneering score for the 1934 documentary Song Of Ceylon provides the backdrop to a unique complete performance of WH Auden and Benjamin Britten's score to the 1935 social history documentary Coal Face – a portrayal of the 1930s coal industry, complete with highly original sound effects and musical experiments. There's also space for one of the most popular and enduring examples of early British film music: Richard Addinsell's heartstring-tugging Warsaw Concerto, and the programme ends with Walton's famous music to Laurence Olivier's wartime adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V.


Bliss: Suite - Things To Come (1934, Alexander Korda): March

[original studio recording]

Bliss: Suite - Things To Come (1934, Alexander Korda): Ballet

LSO / Arthur Bliss

Walter Leigh – Song Of Ceylon [excerpt] (1934, Basil Wright)


Britten: Coal Face (1935, Alberto Cavalcanti / GPO / John Grierson)

Simon Russell Beale (speaker)

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Martyn Brabbins

Richard Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto (from Dangerous Moonlight, Brian Desmond Hurst, 1941)

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano); BBC SO / Hugh Wolff

Walton: Henry V (Suite, arr. Muir Matheson) (1945, Laurence Olivier)

Philharmonia Orchestra / Sir William Walton

BBC’s Sound of Cinema season is dedicated to exploring the composers, songs and film scores that form the soundtrack to the big screen. The season started on 12 September on BBC Four, accompanied by three weeks of programming on BBC Radio 3. Further programmes take place on BBC Radio 6 Music, Radios 1 & 1xtra, Radio 2 and the Asian network.

Presenter/ Donald McLeod, Producer/ Steven Rajam

BBC Radio 3 Publicity