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One of the most accomplished if underrated British composers of the last century, William Alwyn wrote music in many genres—symphonies, chamber music, concertos, operas, solo piano and vocal works—but his music remains, except for a slew of welcome releases on Chandos in the ‘80s and ‘90s, relatively unknown. That even extends to the often imaginative and dramatic scores he wrote for more than 70 films throughout his career—he died in 1985 at age 79—and Chandos has already released fine recordings of several of his best scores.
This fourth volume, which includes his atmospheric suites (ably reconstructed and arranged by Philip Lane) for such ordinary British titles as On Approval and A City Speaks,continues the label’s winning streak of making this composer’s music available once again. Rumon Gamba conducts the BBC Philharmonic in exciting performances of works from ten different films.
As usual with Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s movies, more is most definitely less: the first hour or so of this ominous mystery follows a crime investigator who, while looking into an unsolved series of serial killings, discovers that the actual culprit might be his and his unsuspecting wife’s neighbor.
It’s too bad that the final hour becomes increasingly more hysterical and shrill as the murderer is triggered to continue with his lethal behavior, logic be damned. The first half is suggestive, and all the more effective for it, while the second half is unnecessarily oppressive, and all the poorer for it, unfortunately.
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