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Chandos finally salutes a great British composer who was far more prolific than most of his admirers realise

The Film Music of CLIFTON PARKER

Chandos CHAN 10279 featuring music from Treasure Island, Western Approaches, The Sword and the Rose, Sea of Sand, The Blue Lagoon, Night of the Demon, Virgin Island – a Caribbean Rhapsody, Sink the Bismarck and Blue Pullman. BBC Concert Orchestra Conducted by Rumon Gamba

The excellent CD booklet notes by James Marshall give us some welcome biographical details of this slightly elusive composer, whose work seems to have been largely ignored by many reference books. He was born Edward John Clifton Parker on 5 February 1905 in London, the third and youngest son of bank manager Theophilus Parker.

The three boys were encouraged by their father to go into commerce, but Edward (who later dropped his first two names) studied music privately and composed his first recognised work Romance for violin and piano when aged sixteen. This was published, and led to Clifton Parker obtaining an ARCM diploma in piano teaching at the Royal Academy of Music in 1926. A little later, he abandoned his career in commerce, and became a music copyist.

By the mid-1930s he was achieving success with some of his classical pieces, and managed to get his work accepted for broadcasts on the BBC. He came to the attention of Muir Mathieson, one of the music pioneers of the British film industry. Like so many fellow composers at the time, his early contributions went uncredited (including the 1942 Noel Coward film "In Which We Serve"), but in 1944 his name finally attracted attention following his superb score for "Western Approaches". Muir Mathieson recorded the film’s main theme Seascape on a Decca 12" 78 (now reissued on Guild GLCD5109), and Stanley Black later conducted it in stereo.

In the world of Light Music, Clifton Parker’s Overture – The Glass Slipper has long been a favourite, although it was many years before it became available on a commercial recording. Originally it was performed by Charles Williams and the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra for the Chappell Recorded Music Library in 1945, and this is also on a recent Guild CD – GLCD5107.

RFS member Alan Willmott has assisted with the production of this new Chandos CD, and he was at the recording sessions in Walthamstow Town Hall last March. It is due to Alan’s influence that the final track is a suite from the British Transport Films 1960 production "Blue Pullman" – probably the finest of Parker’s scores for BTF documentaries. Some of these famous shorts have already appeared on video, and there are plans for further releases on DVD in the near future. As well as providing a fascinating glimpse of an era that now seems so distant, these films benefited from specially commissioned scores from leading composers of the day.

It is to be hoped that this new CD will stimulate fresh interest in the music of Clifton Parker, leading to more recordings of his compositions and film scores. He also composed over 100 songs, and wrote for a number of theatrical productions, so there must be a wealth of ‘undiscovered’ material available. Sadly his last years were spoilt by ill health, and he died on 2 September 1989 aged 84. David Ades

to other articles:

[ THE QUEEN'S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA ]
[ FRANK COMSTOCK ] [ LOONIS MCGLOHON ] [ JOHNNY HARRIS ]
[ BRIAN KAY INTERVIEWS ROBERT FARNON ] [ GAVIN SUTHERLAND ]
[ FARNON IN CONCERT 1967 ] [ SOUND RESTORATION ]
[ CONRAD SALINGER ] [ PAUL GEMIGNANI ] [ ANGELA MORLEY ]
[ JOHN WILSON AT ABBEY ROAD MAY 2003]
[ ALAN AND BLOOM CLARE, PETER SELLERS ]
[ GUILD LIGHT MUSIC ] [ CARRY ON COMPOSING ]
[ MEMORIES OF LEVY’S SOUND STUDIOS 1955-1961 ]
[ SOUND COPYRIGHT: UNDER THREAT AGAIN? ]
[ ROBERT FARNON'S TRADE SECRET ]
[ ROBERT FARNON An Affectionate Tribute by MARC FORTIER ]
[ BOB FARNON HAS BEEN MY TEXTBOOK FOR STRING WRITING ]
[ AND THEN A VIOLIN BEGAN TO PLAY: ]
[ Bob Farnon: The Practical Joker recalled by MURRAY GINSBERG ]
[ THE LONGINES SYMPHONETTE RECORDINGS ]
[ THE FILM MUSIC OF CLIFTON PARKER ]
[ VAN ALEXANDER ]
[ PETE CANDOLI AND UAN RASEY IN CONVERSATION WITH FORREST PATTEN ]
[ SIDNEY TORCH recalled by LEW WILLIAMS ]
[ PREMIERE OF ROBERT FARNON’S SYMPHONY No. 3 – THE ‘EDINBURGH’ ]
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[ GEORGE GERSHWIN – an affectionate tribute by Murray Ginsberg ]
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[ Neal Hefti is interviewed by Forrest Patten ]
[ Alan Bunting takes us behind the scenes of the Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ CDs ]
[ Sound Copyright: the Threat to Light Music ]
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[ BBC Television Newsreel recalled by Peter Luck ]
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[ BBC RADIO : TIME FOR A RADICAL RETHINK argues David Ades ]
[ GOWERS REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – THE FINDINGS ]
[ SOUND COPYRIGHT – THE SAGA RUMBLES ON! ]
[ European Study rejects call for Sound Copyright period extension ]
[ Robert Farnon on ‘Desert Island Discs’ in Canada ]
[ PLAQUE IS UNVEILED IN HONOUR OF HAYDN WOOD ]
[ EDINBURGH LIGHT ORCHESTRA Celebrates its 30th Anniversary ]
[ ANDRE KOSTELANETZ – The Man who started it all by Enrique Renard ]
[ GREAT DAYS OF HOLLYWOOD FILM MUSIC by Reg Otter ]
[ LEROY ANDERSON'S 'FIDDLE FADDLE' analysed by Robert Walton ]
[ TOM WALSH – FOLLOWING IN GRANDPA’S FOOTSTEPS! ]
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[ ROBERT FARNON’S BASSOON CONCERTO RECEIVES ITS WORLD PREMIERE IN MALVERN ]
[ TONY BENNETT AND ROBERT FARNON AT ‘THE TALK OF THE TOWN’ ]
[ Eileen Farrell & Robert Farnon Spring 1990 London Sessions ]
[ Remembering Gene Lees – a Great Supporter of Robert Farnon ]
[ BBC Acknowledges that it has failed to maintain its appeal to Older Listeners ]
[ THE ROBERT FARNON CD THAT NEVER WAS ]
[ JOHN WILSON’s RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN PROM CONCERT IN 2010 ]
[ 2010 IS THE CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF DAVID ROSE ]
[ TREVOR DUNCAN - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY THAT ONLY JUST STARTED ]
[ MORE ABOUT JAN BERENSKA ]
[ JOHN BARRY - TRIBUTE BY GARETH BRAMLEY ]
[ REMEMBERING GEORGE SHEARING ]
[ LIGHT FANTASTIC WAS SIMPLY FANTASTIC! ]
[ LIGHT MUSIC: A RECONSIDERATION – INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ADES ]
[ THE ALAN DEAN STORY ]
[ JOHN BARRY MEMORIAL CONCERT 2011 ]
[ The Effects of the Extension of European Copyright in Sound Recordings to 70 year ]
[ Hooray for Hollywood : John Wilson's 2011 BBC Prom ]
[ Immortal Songs of the Last Century ]
[ The Film and Television Music of David Rose ]
[ Daryl Griffith – A Talented Composer In The Best Traditions Of Light Music ]
[ YOU’VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE! ]
[ Learning to Like Light Music ]
[ MIKLOS ROZSA : CHOSEN PATHS OF A DOUBLE LIFE by Alan Hamer ]
[ In The Mood by Martin Moritz ]
[ Golders Green Hippodrome – 100 Not Out! By Anthony Wills ]
[ The Finest Collection Ever of Definitive Eric Coates Recordings ]
[ Producing Mantovani by Franck Leprince & Review of the Concert ]
[ The Musical Robert Farnon Never Wrote by Anthony Wills ]
[ Who Conducted What, and When, and Where for Chappells? By David Mardon ]
[ Filmharmonic ’77 remembered by Gareth Bramley ]
[ Listen To The Banned! By Martin Moritz ]
[ The BBC Dance Orchestra is recalled by Brian Willey ]
[ Seavington Summer Music Days of the 1990s ]
[ 1953 And All That - Jim Palm remembers the Music of Coronation Year ]
[ Alice and Light Music : a Summary by Philip Scowcroft ]
[ EMI Matrix Cards ]
[ Filmharmonic – The Final Years 1978-1985 by Gareth Bramley ]
[ I Still Recall Chatting with Robert Farnon by Brian Johnstone ]
[ A Lifetime of a Light Music Enthusiast ]
[ Remembering The Robert Farnon Society ]
[ It All Began In 1956 ]

- a welcome new Chandos CD
Some Recollections by Angela Morley
]
[ Jumping Bean ] [ Keeping Track ]

 


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