||'TV Sound and Image: British Television, Film and Library Composers 1955-78'...
Soul Jazz Records latest release TV: Sound and Image provides an overview of British composers who worked in television, film and music libraries the second half of the 20th century.
The 2CD album comes with 50-page book featuring exclusive text, biographies and exclusive photography. It also comes in a limited run two-volume double-vinyl edition. Sleevenotes are by Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records) and Johnny Trunk (Trunk Records).
Aside from John Barry, whose work on the James Bond films made him a household name, the majority of composers featured here remain relatively unknown. And yet ironically they have created some of the most recognisable songs in British popular culture, their music widely disseminated on television.
This album is not however a stroll through the TV memories of the mind, but an exploration of the serious contribution that these creative musicians have on the landscape of popular music in Britain.
Most of the music featured here was commissioned by music libraries such as KPM, De Wolfe, Chappell, Bruton, Themes International, Peer International, Conroy and Amphonic.
Music libraries first appeared as a consequence of the rise of the film industry at the start of the twentieth century when Meyer DeWolfe, graduate of the Dutch Royal Conservatory of Music, arrived in London to work as a musical director with the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Limited, supplying live music in cinemas throughout Britain.
Shortly afterwards Meyer set up DeWolfe music, moving into supplying music for newsreel companies such as Pathé Films, Movietone in the 1930s and 40s, continuing to expand in the 1950s with the birth of television.
Unlike popular commercial music, work created for a music library is created contractually as ‘work for hire’ and the library controls all the copyright of the material. This makes music libraries a convenient one-stop source for media producers and one of the reasons that library music is thus widely disseminated through its use in television, film, radio, commercials, computer games, corporate videos, websites and more.
Music libraries are quick to adapt to new markets (from silent films to sound, from newsreels and cinema to television), new musical trends and new technologies. With digital access to music nowadays so readily available via youtube, spotify, itunes, mobile phones, internet radio and streaming services, the music library business model also appears strikingly modern and healthy in a way that commercial record companies appear to struggle in this new environment.
This album focuses on the period from the mid 1950s to the 1970s when TV dominated popular culture in Britain. During this era much of the material made for libraries was orchestral, continuing a style that originated out of its film industry birth.
In the early 1960s music libraries began to release their music on vinyl, solely for the purpose of distributing to potential clients. With relatively small-run pressings, generic sleeve designs and not made for commercial sale to the public, these releases are now of particular interest to collectors, as the apparently anonymous music contained on them reveals a hidden history of artistry and creativity in British music from a mainly unsung set of talented composers.
In the 1980s music libraries switched to CDs, replacing records, as a more portable marketing tool. Currently clients can obtain whole libraries on customised USB hard drives or download broadcast quality tracks directly from library websites.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the music featured here is that despite library or commissioned music being on the one-hand the ultimate ‘faceless music’, with composers often uncredited, its widespread use in film and television makes it simultaneously some of the most recognisable in the world.
This imbalance is something we wish to redress here with this album.