The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Music of George Martin

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The Berlin Music Ensemble conducted by Craig Leon
Atlas Réalisations ARCD008 (63.00)

This is a delightful disc which, possibly due to not being on a major label, has fallen under the radar somewhat. It is as it says on the tin music from the pen of the man called the “fifth Beatle”, well-known to light music aficionados as the producer of some of the great Ron Goodwin’s finest orchestral albums, and manager of the Parlophone label which profusely recorded comedy acts and popular singers in the 1950s, such as the Temperance Seven, Peter Sellers, Bernard Cribbins, Shirley Bassey and Matt Monro.

He later worked with Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Neil Sedaka, Paul McCartney, and many others. He was knighted in 1996 and died aged 90 in 2016.

Among the works here are the original music scores written for the films ‘Yellow Submarine’ (The Pepperland Suite), and ‘Live and Let Die’ (Live and Let Die Suite). Also included are the Under Milk Wood Overture, Judy’s Theme, inspired by his wife and former secretary, Three American Sketches for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, the pizzicato led Belle Étoile, Waltz in D Minor for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, Prelude for Strings, an arrangement of a J S Bach piece, and – for me – the ten stand out tracks of The Mission Chorales, the first recording of the original sketches for the film ‘The Mission’ featuring the Berlin Music Ensemble Choir. The uncredited helpful booklet notes tell us that due to scheduling difficulties Sir George could not complete the film score.

The orchestral players all come from leading Berlin ensembles. The American-born Craig Leon has had a long and varied career in many genres of music.

The recording was made at Berlin’s Meistersaal/Emil Berliner Studios in July 2017. I keenly anticipated the arrival of this album and have not been let down.

Peter Burt © 2018

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