Ron Goodwin: 633 Squadron


English composer Ron Goodwin was asked to write the music for the 1964 war film 633 Squadron a year before the release of the film. The main title theme was an instant hit and has since been arranged for a number of different ensembles, as well as being used in TV advertisements. Goodwin left behind quite the film music legacy after his passing in 2003, but 633 Squadron certainly remains one of his most-performed works. 


The Music

Opening with a fanfare-like passage led by the trumpets, Goodwin sets up two themes from the start. The opposing horn theme reflects the style of the trumpet opening, but the softer sound creates a different effect. As the strings enter, they take over the theme and a more lyrical section ensues. Cascading falls from the woodwind create a spiral effect that trickles throughout the orchestra. The broad string theme is interrupted by brass fanfares, which keeps the opening theme alive throughout the whole piece. The central lyrical part reflects a march, where the bold theme is countered by a more broad theme. As the opening trumpet and horn feature returns, the piece heads towards the heroic ending. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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