Theme from Blue Hills by New Century Orchestra, 1949
This is the theme music and opening announcement from the long-running ABC radio drama Blue Hills (1949–76).
Summary by Matthew Davies
Hanmer’s theme successfully evokes the pastoral setting implied by the title. The opening strings suggest the breaking dawn, and the swelling horn lines create a feeling of spaciousness, not desolate but inhabited by bustling life. This scene is a perfect setting for the serial’s stories about the lives of families in a typical Australian rural location.
This recording exhibits signs of generation loss as the sound from the original recording has been copied multiple times over the course of its use.
Theme from Blue Hills synopsis
This recording is a short excerpt from episode 528 of the long-running radio serial Blue Hills, including the theme music and opening announcement.
As the theme music for the popular long-running radio series Blue Hills, Ronald Hanmer’s ‘Pastorale’ is instantly recognisable to a generation of Australians. The music introduced 5,795 episodes of the serial produced for national broadcast over nearly 30 years.
Ronald Hanmer began composing music for radio programs during the Second World War for the BBC’s ITMA (It’s That Man Again) radio series and had over 700 of his compositions published in production music libraries. Hanmer is reported to have been delighted when he discovered, on emigrating to Australia in the 1970s, that his ‘Pastorale’ had attained fame in Australia through its use as the Blue Hills theme.
This recording was produced as part of a production music library by the Francis, Day & Hunter company in the late 1940s. Production music libraries comprise recordings of compositions commissioned especially for sale to producers of radio, television and film programs for use as theme or background music. Unlike normal commercial music recordings, production music is sold with licence conditions that permit a wide range of uses of the music without seeking permissions or making royalty payments.
The New Century Orchestra was formed specifically to record production music for FDH and was comprised of experienced musicians, many of whom held positions in other prominent London-based orchestras. Conductor Sidney Torch was an experienced organist, who became conductor of the RAF Concert Orchestra during the Second World War and went on to conduct numerous bands and orchestras, including the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Blue Hills was broadcast by the ABC from 28 February 1949 to 30 September 1976.
Notes by Matthew Davies