|Editor's Choice -
Best of the Month for February
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956)[Deluxe Expanded Edition]
Music composed and conducted by Victor Young
23 Tracks (Playing Time = 71:58)
Album produced and liner notes by Didier C. Deutsch. Digital remastering by Tom Daly. Cover design adapted by Jeff Vorzimmer. Package design by George Mattingly.
Hit Parade Records 13502
Victor Young’s film music still is woefully underrepresented on CD.
Many of his songs written for films, or taken from themes for films, are however still part of most jazz musicians repertoire. After 50 years of waiting, Young’s classic score for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is finally available in digitally remastered stereo in this expanded release from Hit Parade Records. The disc includes an additional 30 minutes of music that was previously unavailable.
This particular score has one of Young’s most delightful main themes, a wonderful waltz that just sparkles along with the rest of the music. It is fascinating that it has taken so long to get this score on CD.
Roger listed this score among his “Top 100” list of film music [A Guide to Film Music] and the score invariably makes “top lists” of film scores. The film itself won five Oscars including Best Score. It was the first and only Oscar Young received after 22 nominations. Sadly, Young would die of a heart attack late in 1956 before ever knowing how lauded this work would be. The soundtrack was at the top of the charts at #1 for 10 weeks which is quite a feat in any era.
There should be little to keep anyone from adding this disc to their collection. The music really speaks for itself. The orchestration is truly amazing. “Aloft Above France” is just wonderfully written. It incorporates harp and strings for a statement of the waltz theme before heading into a concluding portion that mixes a little adventure writing with classic narrative underscoring. As the balloon journeys throughout the world, Young incorporates a variety of flavorful excursions into Spanish dance or bullfight music (“A Landing in Figueroas” and “Invitation to a Bull Fight/Entrance of the Bull March”), Hindu instruments (“A Princess in Distress,”or Far Eastern chanting (the amazing “Royal Barge of Siam”) or musically gorgeous views of the “India Countryside.”
The production is enhanced by an excellent booklet written by producer Didier C. Deutsch. The notes include an overview of director Michael Todd, the film itself, and Victor Young. There are individual track breakdowns that both discuss the plot as well as include brief commentary on the music. Various photos also help to add to the pleasure of the booklet and are nicely distributed throughout.
The disc is being exclusively distributed by Eric Records (though I was able to pull it up at Amazon).
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is simply one of the finest of Golden Age film scores by one of Hollywood’s finest composers.
It receives glorious sound here along with excellent production values that make it the best release of any year.
--Steven A. Kennedy, 1 February 2007
Comments regarding this review can be sent to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm completely agree with Steve's description of this wonderfully tuneful score by Victor Young. It has one of the most beautiful main themes of any film score from the past. The last two tracks: "End Credits" (6:27) and "Exit Music" (5:03) provide a superb sampling of the main themes used in this score.
This is an excellent restoration with great sound for its era. Highest recommendation.
--Roger L. Hall
There is an article on Victor Young and the music for the AROUND THE WORLD title song in the Winter 2007 issue of Sheet Music Magazine.
Read the review of another CD that received Special Merit at this link:
Cinema Rhapsodies: The Musical Genius of Victor Young
The excellent Special Edition 2 DVDs of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is available here:
Five from 1956
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