Leslie Charteris had created the fictional character of Simon Templar, The Saint, back in the 1920s. Then after many books, movies, radio shows and magazines the character moved into television. The ITC series The Saint starring Roger Moore became the most successful and popular version to date. This is despite another series by ITC called The Return of the Saint starring Ian Ogilvy, a couple of other TV attempts at a new version and a film in the late 1990s. It is a great series. But as well as the great stories, production, acting and style there was one other important feature that made the show so good. That was the music score.
Edwin Astley composed the music for the series. The majority of original recordings for the black and white series have been lost. Thankfully the recordings for the new arrangements and new pieces that Astley created for the new look colour series survives. This four CD set is very comprehensive in that it includes just about everything of value that was recorded for the colour series. The first three discs cover a number of episodes that are musically important. The set includes music cues that were also used again on other episodes. The final disc even offers alternative takes of some of the pieces. Edwin was a master of rich arrangements and this set illustrates the creativity in his scores. The originality of writing plays out like an epic suite on these discs. The work of this great composer is extensive and Astley should be better remembered for his work. This well presented four CD set shows how he should be recognised better along side other great composers. There is a lot to listen to here and it may only appeal to a big fan of the series or other ITC related projects. But the whole set has all the atmosphere and drama of the actual series. It is a great release.
Edwin Astley was a successful English composer born in 1922. As well as composing he played violin, clarinet and saxophone. He began in a band and later formed his own orchestra. He worked as arranger and then composer. Astley composed for films and then TV including The adventures of Robin Hood, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The Buccaneers, The Invisible Man, Danger Man, The Saint, Gideon's way, The Baron, The Champions, Department S, and Randall and Hopkirk (deceased). Through the ITC produced TV shows he became world famous.
The music on this set is excellent. Its some of the finest examples of the genius that is Edwin Astley. The set is expensive but it is very good and there is an excellent booklet with information about the compositions. The whole set is housed in a DVD sized box.