BBC Philharmonic & Rumon Gamba - Gerard Schurmann: The Film Music of Gerard Schurmann

Review BBC Philharmonic & Rumon Gamba - Gerard Schurmann: The Film Music of Gerard Schurmann

It is a long-standing practice that, following successful films, the associated film music is exploited on sound carriers or nowadays on downloads via streaming services. This measure by film producers aimed at core fans, which is only one of the numerous measures for exploiting a film, is regularly characterised by a limited running time. At best, the big hits of the film industry, such as the War of the Stars and the Harry Potter films, whose music is still performed today in concert halls with and without the moving-pictures, are an exception. From time to time, compilations of film music by a certain composer have appeared. This seems to be even more the case today. Obviously, there is an endeavor to apply a higher quality standard to projects of this kind than in the past, since it is noticeable that increasingly competent conductors are working together with "serious" orchestras in order to do justice to the compositional quality of film music. True to the fairy tale Cinderella, all this is of course preceded by a selection: the good ones into the potty, the bad ones into the little crop. Surprisingly, there is a considerable number of composers who make it into the potty with high-quality film music, namely on an album like Gerard Schurmann on the album The Film Music of Gerard Schurmann.

Who is Gerhard Schurmann? He was born to Dutch parents in 1924 in Indonesia as Gerhard Schürmann. He grew up in England. As a composer of classical musical works, he was attracted to film music at an early age. As an assistant to Alan Rawsthorne, he refined his ability to compose film music. He went through his apprenticeship with the orchestration of film music to The Vikings by Mario Nascimbene and Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre and Exodus by V. A little later, in the 1950s, he received his first commissions to compose music primarily for British film productions on his own responsibility, from The Long Arm (1956) and Man in The Sky (1957) to the Disney adventure film Dr Syn, Alias the Scarecrow (1963), The Ceremony (1963), The Bedford Incident (1965) as well as music for the fantasy films Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and Konga (1961) and The Lost Continent (1968). It is hardly surprising that the film music of Gerhard Schurmann was initially influenced by Alan Rawsthorne. Soon, however, he developed the special Schurmann sound, which can be heard in later works on this album, and which he later took with him to Hollywood. The Schurmann Sound is characterised by highly competent composing artistry, which sets it apart from not a few competitors and multi-colored orchestrations.

Rumon Gamba with the BBC Philharmonic are the ideal performers for the Schurmann Sound. Conductor and orchestra go to work with full commitment and they congenially succeed in bringing to full effect the colorful and dynamically exciting compositions that Gerhard Schurmann has tailor-made for the films he has set to music. The recording technique does the rest to do justice to this outstanding album.

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Rumon Gamba, conductor

BBC Philharmonic & Rumon Gamba - Gerard Schurmann: The Film Music of Gerard Schurmann

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