Friday, 10 May 2013

Charles Williams: ‘Marianne’

Charles Williams (1893-1978) wrote a huge corpus of music for the concert platform and for the film industry. However, most of the latter is un-credited.  He is best known for the romantic tune The Dream of Olwen which was used in the 1948 film While I Live.  Equally successful was the Devil’s Galop which was the theme music to the successful radio show Dick Barton, Special Agent.  Other well-known tunes are the theme music to the long-running BBC Light Programme “Friday Night is Music Night”. For many years he was the conductor of the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra.
Marianne is a delicious little concert valse written in an easy going, but typically romantic style.  
After a sad  introduction which is followed immediately by a wistful tune for woodwind supported by strings, the main waltz tune sweeps into the picture. However the opening clarinet theme never quite leaves the scene and we are left with the distinct impression that Marianne is at one and the same time a ‘tom boy’ and a ‘deb.’  Like so much light music the listener is impressed by the formal integrity of this short work, the balance of the themes and the surprisingly subtle orchestration.
It is difficult to date the work; there is no record on COPAC. However the recording of this piece preserved on Guild’s Golden Age of Light Music was made in 1943. This was likely mood music that may have been composed in the nineteen thirties. Certainly Marianne has all the flair of thirties fashion.
‘Marianne’ can be heard on Guild Light Music GLCD 5107

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