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Muir Mathieson: A Life in Film Music Paperback – 20 Apr 2006
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Muir Mathieson's name must surely appear on the credit lists of more British films than that of any other individual. A Scot (Mathieson was born in Stirling), trained at the Royal College of Music, he joined Alexander Korda at Denham in 1934, worked for various government film units during the war, and was musical director at Rank from 1945 until 1970. His first credit as music director was for "The Private Life of Don Juan" (1934), he was responsible for commissioning first scores from composers of art music like Arthur Bliss (Things to Come, 1936), Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax and Malcolm Arnold to write for the big screen and it was Mathieson who persuaded William Walton to compose the famous score for Henry V (1945). In all, it is estimated Mathieson initiated and conducted over a thousand scores. He also composed the music for films such as "Conquest of the Air (1936)", "This Happy Breed (1944)", "The Man Who Never Was (1956)", "A Tale of Two Cities (1958)", and "Call Me Bwana (1963)". While Mathieson was celebrated among his peers for his musical genius, time has not been as faithful and this is the only biography of the great man. 'Although Muir's name and work are remembered and celebrated by mature filmgoers, young afficionados are probably quite unaware of his remarkable impact and enduring contribution to the music of cinema. This book is, I hope, a reminder and a salute.' - Sheila Hetherington. Interwoven with this biographical account of Mathieson's life is a series of analyses of the scores of some of the films he worked on as Music Director or Conductor. The films were selected to provide as broad a cross section as possible of the types of movie with which he was associated. Muir Mathieson initiated and conducted over a thousand scores, this book has selected 10 to analyse: "Dangerous Moonlight", "49th Parallel", "In Which We Serve", "Fires Were Started", "Henry V", "Western Approaches", "Brief Encounter", "Hamlet", "Oliver Twist", "Vertigo".
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