A Handful Of Mighty Musical Hunters

A Handful Of Mighty Musical Hunters October 13, 2015

I trust that title is suitably obscure, but have no fear. All will be made clear.

First, listen to this:

That’s Alaric Rokko Jans’ score for David Mamet’s astonishingly (and unfairly) obscure period film, The Winslow Boy. Adapted by Mamet from Terence Rattigan’s 1940’s play of the same name, it’s a really fine piece of work. And the score is a perfect fit for the mood and tone of the film. (“Tone.” Heh.)

Still, it took me a while to appreciate Jans’ work, because for the first few viewings, all I could think of was this:

Similar, right? (“I can’t be the only one,” he tells himself, wearily. Or warily. Or both.)

That’s “Nimrod,” from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations (performed here by Sir John Barbirolli and The Hallé). You know, “Nimrod, The Mighty Hunter before The LORD.” And it’s always been my favorite of the variations. …which makes me not even remotely unique. I think it’s most everyone’s favorite, at least if the number of recordings on YouTube are any indication.

Picking out a couple of samples in addition to that fantastic Barbirolli version, here’s Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic:

Here’s an organ setting with Dame Gillian Weir that seems fairly to be falling close to the orchestral tree:

Here’s a choral setting of Lux Aeterna that’s a little unusual (but again, seems pretty similar overall):

Oh, and here’s a version for trombone and piano, because some reason or other. Certainly a pairing I would never, EVER have come up with on my own, but which I actually quite like (except for the breathing, which is a bit much):

Bonus “Just-For-The-Heck-Of-It” Clip: “Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter…” from Benjamin Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb” cantata:

Attribution(s):Nimrod” by Gustave Doré (source) is licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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