Waxman: Old Acquaintances: Hollywood Suite; Souvenirs de Paris

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WORKS: Old Acquaintances: Hollywood Suite; Souvenirs de Paris
PERFORMER: St Clair Trio and Friends
CATALOGUE NO: 3-7398-2
Despite his importance for defining the Hollywood style in film music, Franz Waxman was less celebrated than Korngold, say, or Rózsa, as a ‘serious’ composer. Here, however, in performances of patent affection, selections from The Young in Heart, Huckleberry Finn, The Spirit of St Louis and other movies – ‘dished up’ for the St Clair Trio and friends – are counterpointed against some of Waxman’s non-film compositions, mainly occasional pieces. The piano quartet variations on ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – wickedly and accurately rendered in the styles of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich – are a musical joke with real music in it, composed for a New Year’s Eve at Heifetz’s house. The birth of Heifetz’s son occasioned the Scenes of Childhood for violin and piano: this delightful miniature suite deserves to be allowed to lighten up recital programmes occasionally. The Charm Bracelet is a suite of children’s pieces, and even Waxman’s extremely serious oratorio The Song of Terezín is represented by an arrangement of its one carefree children’s song. It would be idle to pretend this is music of much significance, and the medium chosen for the arrangements (more Palm Court than concert hall) perhaps reduces such stature as their originals possessed; but it has abundant charm and skill, and for that one can forgive a lot. Calum MacDonald