If you want a collection of bombastic, second-rate piano concerti in which Rachmaninov’s parentage is obvious, then this is the disc for you. However, there are some gems, such as Hubert Bath’s 1944 Cornish Rhapsody (A Lady Surrenders) and Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto for Dangerous Moonlight (1941). On the other hand, I don’t think much of Shostakovich’s music for The Unforgettable Year (1951), steeped in musical rhetoric of the worst type and possibly written to order by the authorities. Similarly vacuous is Kenneth Leslie-Smith’s music for The Women’s Angle (1952) and Nino Rota’s unusually poor music for The Glass Mountain (1949).Charles Williams’ charming music for The Apartment (1949) is far better.
Richard Rodney Bennett’s journeyman music for the overrated Murder on the Orient Express is not the best film music he ever wrote, whereas Jack Beaver’s music for The Case of The Frightened Lady (1940), is first class. After pages of arpeggios it was a relief to hear Dave Grushin’s On Golden Pond (1981) for piano. Finally, Carl Davis’ elegant and freewheeling music for Pride and Prejudice (1985) is arguably the best music on the disc.
Valentina Lisitsa plays all the music very well, and the orchestral accompaniments are equally professional as they thump their way through the noisy repertoire. Of special note are Philip Lane’s excellent and informative liner notes. He also arranged some of the music.