The British Library’s Francis Chagrin Collection

Joining the Dots


  • Alexis Bennett Goldsmiths, University of London, and British Library Sound Archive



1930s, Alexander Shaw, archives, documentaries, Francis Chagrin


Francis Chagrin (1905–1972), a Romanian who settled in Britain via France, worked on several film scores in the UK from the 1930s through to the 1960s. This paper will assess what the archive of Chagrin papers and audio recordings held by the British Library has contributed to my study of his film scores from the period. I will ask how Chagrin’s work fits in to the general frame of British scores in the period, and how correspondence between the composer and filmmakers enlightens our understanding of the creative process. The work of crossreferencing audio material with archived sketches, scores, and other documents will be explained and interrogated.


Anonymous. 1939, February 27. Five Faces of Malaya. Straits Times.

Chagrin, Francis. n.d. Untitled article, Music Parade: Magazine for Music Lovers 2, no.10.

Colonial Film. 2010. Five faces. Accessed November 2015.

Francis Chagrin Collection, British Library, London.

Francis Chagrin Recordings, British Library Sound Archive, London.

Frankel, Benjamin. 1973, January. Obituary of Francis Chagrin. New Musical Times 114, no. 1559, 65.

Gamba, Rumon. 2005. The film music of Francis Chagrin. BBC Philharmonic. CHAN 10323.

Internet Movie Database. 2015. Francis Chagrin. Accessed December 2015.

Keller, Hans. 2006. Film music and beyond. Ed. C. Wintle. London: Plumbago.

Lane, Philip. Unpublished interview with the author.

Launchbury, Claire. 2012. Music, poetry, propaganda: Constructing French cultural soundscapes at the BBC during the Second World War. Bern and Oxford: Peter Lang.

London, Kurt. 1936. Film music. London: Faber.

Sabaneev, Leonid. 1935. Music for the films. Trans. S.W. Pring. London: Pitman & Sons.

Shafer, Stephen C. 1997. British popular films 1929–1939: The cinema of reassurance. London: Routledge.



How to Cite

Bennett, A. (2016). The British Library’s Francis Chagrin Collection: Joining the Dots. Journal of Film Music, 6(2), 135–146.