As this eclectic selection of music shows us, George Martin was something of a musical polymath, from Bach to The Beatles. Under his astute direction, Martin enabled the fab four to move beyond everyday pop. On this CD we have a mix of his film music and concert works.
Suites drawn from film scores can give film music a more structured life in a concert hall and recordings. The Pepperland Suite is from the score of Yellow Submarine, the lovely main theme having echoes of John Williams and John Barry. The James Bond connection also goes to the style of music in Live and Let Die. Martin was the original composer for The Mission. Curiously, he went no further than sketches and Ennio Morricone went on to write the film’s famous score. Not all was lost as those sketches evolved into The Mission Chorales, a dramatic 12-minute work for choir and orchestra.
For the concert hall Martin wrote Three American Sketches – charming and folksy Americana – an overture for the radio play Under Milk Wood and some smaller items: Waltz in D Minor for flute, Judy’s Theme, the recently discovered Belle Etoile and a Bach arrangement, the Prelude for Strings. However it is his studio work for which he is most famous and John Lennon’s tribute was apt: “George Martin made us what we were in the studio. He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians.” The music is expertly performed by the Berlin Ensemble, conducted by Craig Leon who also did research for the CD. Recordings are first class.