Alexander Seal

The Titfield Thunderbolt

Theme Music

Georges Auric  

The music for the Titfield Thunderbolt was written by Georges Auric (1899-1983), a very talented French composer who wrote the soundtracks for a large number of French films before finding work in the UK. This quickly led to him becoming the resident composer for the series of films commonly known as the "Ealing Comedies" named after the studio which produced them. These films included the likes of "Passport to Pimlico", "The Lavender Hill Mob" and of course "The Titfield Thunderbolt."

In 1962 he gave up writing for motion pictures when he became director of the Paris Opera and then chairman of SACEM, the French Performing Rights Society. Georges Auric continued to write classical chamber music, especially for wind instruments, right up to his death.


However, it is probably forgotten that Auric scored some of the best remembered and best loved British comedies. The short suite from "The Titfield Thunderbolt'" is jolly and high-spirited. Just as his colleague, Arthur Honegger, had perfectly captured the essence of the huge locomotive Pacific 231, so Auric marvellously portrays the lumbering and puffing old steam engine of the title. He also brilliantly portrays the colourful characters who champion the threatened railway against the unscrupulous bus company.

The Titfield Thunderbolt - Theme (1.04 MB)

On Friday 24 March 2006 I walked through the kitchen at work and was shocked to hear the Titfield Thunderbolt theme being played on the radio! It turned out to be a show on BBC Radio 2 called "Friday Night Is Music Night." I was fortunately able to obtain this fantastic suite performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra on mp3 and this can be downloaded here for your listening pleasure.

  Titfield Thunderbolt -  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

The Titfield Thunderbolt - BBC Concert Orchestra (4.17 MB)

The Film Music of Georges Auric


You can also buy a suite of the music composed by Georges Auric for the Titfield Thunderbolt on a CD appropriately called "The Film Music of Georges Auric."

Record Label: Chandos Records
Catalogue Number: CHAN9774
Format: CD
Release Date: 16 September 1999

Tracks: Suite from Caesar and Cleopatra. Suite from The Titfield Thunderbolt. Suite from Dead of Night. Suite from Passport to Pimlico. Suite from The Innocents. Suite from The Lavender Hill Mob. Suite from Moulin Rouge. Suite from Father Brown. Suite from It always rains on Sunday. Overture from Hue and Cry.
Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic
Conductor: Rumon Gamba


Track Details:

Suite from "The Titfield Thunderbolt" 4:26
4 I Titles 1:19
5 II The Triumph of the Thunderbolt 2:23
6 III End Titles 0:44

Sounds like an excellent purchase to me, have a look at the full track listing here.