The Film Music of Clifton Parker

The Film Music of Clifton Parker

by BBC Concert Orchestra

CD

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Overview

Clifton Parker never got much recognition for his film scores in his own lifetime, even in England, though he was a respected composer of light classical music. This exquisite CD should change that situation and bring the composer some of the renown to which he was entitled internationally. Every aspect of Parker's work is on display within the nearly 80 minutes of this CD, from the bold, extroverted, robust sounds of his score for the 1950 Treasure Island, starring Robert Newton, to the sublimely beautiful "Seascape" from Western Approaches, and in between the spirited march from Sea of Sand and the majestic epic music from The Sword and the Rose. Ironically, the piece here that would probably have been his best-known work from the 1940s through the 1970s, Parker's music for The Blue Lagoon (1948), has fallen into neglect with the suppression of that film in favor of its Brooke Shields-starring remake, thus making this CD a special treat for fans of the earlier movie as the only tangible element of that film available to the public since the early '80s -- the music is stirring, complex, and challenging but never out of reach, and delightful to hear anew, at last. And horror film fans will want this CD just for the five minutes of eerie, unsettling music from Parker's score for Curse of the Demon (1957). The latter is something of a departure from the sea-oriented themes that dominate much of Parker's work (and much of the rest of this CD), which is sort of given away in the opening bars of "Suite from 'Treasure Island'," with the oblique quotation of "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest." The performance throughout is impeccable, as is the recording, and the annotation could easily serve as the core of a book about Parker's life and career.

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