By K. J. Donnelly (auth.)
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Extra info for British Film Music and Film Musicals
This led directly to his securing the role as head of the Gaumont-British music department with the coming of sound. During silent days he apparently pioneered the use of the theme song before this became habitual in the US,10 and by 1924 Levy was also a regular on the radio, leading his own orchestra in light music for the BBC. He wrote the Music from the Movies March which not only appeared at the start of his radio show of the same name which began in 1936, but also opened all of the Gaumont newsreels of the time.
Among the major contributors to Gainsborough music were film music pioneers since silent days like Hans May, Hubert Bath and Levy himself, along with other department stalwarts such as Bretton Byrd, the senior musical arranger. 5 Levy’s department included arrangers and orchestrators,6 reminiscent of Hollywood, where it was common practice for composers to have their music radically rearranged by orchestrators while other composers provided music for films without credit. Apart from Bath, Byrd and May, Louis Levy used a large number of composers: Bob Busby (who did the music for Waterloo Road ) joined the staff in 1942, had been another film music pioneer and 42 British Film Music and Film Musicals worked for UFA in Germany; Henry Geehl (The Magic Bow , Jassy ); Cedric Mallabey (The Man in Grey , Fanny by Gaslight ); and Jack Beaver, another pioneer, who provided most of the music for the Tom Walls films as well as scoring Dr.
The score certainly aims to be unobtrusive, tending towards the unmemorable and having its volume electronically lowered to virtually disappear at times. The music does tend to match action in the manner of Hollywood film music and is also reminiscent of its American counterpart in that there is a large amount of it. Virtually, every scene in Dr. Syn is laden with some music although it still manages to hide in the background, if not through avoiding catching the memory (as one short theme comprises its repeated material), by using a volume control button.