Film Music Review
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DISCOVER FILM MUSIC (2 CD compilation)

Booklet notes written by John Riley
Design & layout by Hannah Davis


CD One (78:52):

1-2. KING KONG (Max Steiner): Main Title, A Boat in the Fog 3:46)
3-5. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Erich Wolfgang Korngold): Main Title, Sir Guy and Robin Hood, The Banquet (3:11)
6. HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hans J. Salter): Full Moon (1:16)
7. THE MALTESE FALCOM (Adolph Deutsch): The Deal (2:47)
8. REBECCA (Franz Waxman): Selznick Trademark, Introduction, Forward, Opening Scene (3:16)
9. JANE EYRE (Bernard Herrmann): Rochester (2:29)
10. SPELLBOUND (Miklos Rozsa): Spellbound Concerto (3:55)
11. ALL ABOUT EVE (Alfred Newman): Suite (4:38)
12-13. RED RIVER (Dimitri Tiomkin): Main Title, Dunson Heads South (6:16)
14. THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (Virgil Thomson): War and the Tractors (3:54)
15. THE RED PONY (Aaron Copland): Walk to the Bunkhouse (2:57)
16. ON THE WATERFRONT (Leonard Bernstein): Symphonic Suite excerpt (5:35)
17. BEN-HUR (Miklos Rozsa): Prelude (3:41)
18. SCHINDLER'S LIST (John Williams): Main Theme (4:24)
19. STAR WARS (John Williams): Main Title Theme (5:23)
20. ALIEN (Jerry Goldsmith): Main Theme (original version)(4:44)
21. OUT OF AFRICA (John Barry): Main Title Theme (3:54)
22. CHARIOTS OF FIRE (Vangelis, arr. Andy Vinter): Main Title Theme (3:31)
23. SPIDER-MAN (Danny Elfman, arr. John Wasson): Main Theme and Farewell (5:13)

CD Two (78:48):

1. THE DAM BUSTER (Eric Coates): Dam Busters March (3:53)
2. 633 SQUADRON (Ron Goodwin): Main Theme (2:57)
3. THINGS TO COME (Arthur Bliss): Interlude - The World in Ruins (2:37)
4. DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT (Richard Addinsell): Warsaw Concerto (3:33)
5. DAVID COPPERFIELD (Malcolm Arnold): Mr. Micawber (2:10)
6. HAMLET (William Walton): The Ghost (3:13)
7. THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (Benjamin Frankel): Revenge and Escape (2:58)
8. 49TH PARALLEL (Ralph Vaughan Williams): Prelude (2:13)
9. SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT (Erik Nordgren ): Dangerous Wine (2:38)
10. A COUNTRY TALE (Hugo Alfven): Introduction (2:55)
11-14. ALONE (Dmitry Shostakovich): Largeo, Overtone singer, The school class, The children come to comfort Kuzmina (4:25)
15. HAMLET (Dmitry Shostokovich): The Ghost (3:40)
16. LIEUTENANT KIJE (Sergey Prokofiev): The Birth of Kijje (4:10)
17. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Ennio Morricone): Main Theme (2:52)
18. REGAIN (Arthur Honegger): Nuit dans la grange - Ete (3:50)
19. CRIME ET CHATIMENT (Arthur Honegger): Depart pour le crim (4:57)
20. DON QUICHOTTE (Jacques Ibert): Chanson de la mort (3:05)
21. MACBETH (Jacques Ibert): Overture (3:19)
22. LA BELLE ET LA BETE (Georges Auric): Les couloirs mysterieux (3:37)
23. FACE OF ANOTHER (Toru Takemitsu): Waltz (2:20)
24. SYMPHONIC FANTASIE No. 1 (Akira Ifukube): excerpt (4:04)
25. UN SOIR, UN TRAIN (Frederic Devreese): Danse de l"auberge (2:40)
26. BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (Wojciech Kilar): Mina/Dracula (4:46)

Naxos 2 CDs 8.558210-11

Rating: ***1/2

Trying to cover the history of film music is not any easy task and this 2 CD set doesn't quite succeed with all the examples, but it is proably among the most diverse film music collections yet released.

Part of the problem is having to rely on the Naxos recordings, many of them are just not as good as the original recordings, especially such soundtracks as BEN-HUR and SCHINDLER'S LIST. Or not as good as re-recordings on Varese Sarabande and other labels. Those in this CD set featuring the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Stromberg and first released on the Marco Polo label are the best of the set. They include: KING KONG, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, THE MALTESE FALCON, ALL ABOUT EVE, RED RIVER, and DAVID COPPERFIELD.

The first CD covers many of the major Hollywood films. Yet there are some gaping holes in this first CD. Why jump from BEN-HUR in 1959 to STAR WARS in 1977 and skip such major film scores of the 1960s as PSYCHO, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and TOM JONES to name just a few? Perhaps none were available on the Naxos label but something from the 1960s should have been included for a better balance. The emphasis is on the 1930s and '40s with 11 of the films, 2 are from the 1950s, NONE from the 1960s, 2 from the 1970s, 2 from the 1980s, 1 from the 1990s, and 1 from the first decade of the 21st century. A few of the themes are arrangements, for example CHARIOTS OF FIRE and SPIDER-MAN.

The second CD has films from the rest of the world, including Britain (tracks 1-8), Sweden (tracks 9-10), Russia (or the USSR)(tracks 11-16), Italy (track 17), France (tracks 18-22), Japan (tracks 24), Belgium (track 25) and Poland (track 26). Naturally, it isn't possible to cover each countries film scores in great depth yet the examples chosen are all good ones and give at least a decent representation of film scores from these countries. The British scores receive the most attention and are probably the best known to film fans. They include themes by Eric Coates, Ron Goodwin, Sir Arthur Bliss, Richard Addinsell, Malcom Arnold, William Walton, Benjamin Frankel, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

One of the real assets of this 2 CD set is the 165 page booklet written by John Riley. He provides a very good summary of film music throughout the 20th century. It is arranged as follows:

Preface: The CDs (p 14-15)
I. The Beginnings (p 16-34)
II. Hollywood ( p 35-87)
III. Outside Hollywood (p 88-119)

There is also "A Century of Film Music: A Timeline" (p 122-157) covering the years from 1885 to 2008. Isn't that time period well over a century? And why begin in 1885, with the births of Stothart and Berg instead of the film music on the CDs, which cover the years from 1933 to 2002? Well, in any case, the Timeline has useful comparative charts of Music and Film Music, History, Art and Architecture, and Literature. The last section of the booklet has a Glossory (p 158-164) and Credits (p 165).

The 2 CDs matched together with the extensive booklet provide a very good survey for a film music class or for those who wish a convenient collection of film music over a long period of time.

Though this isn't the best compilation of a century of film music (I prefer the ones released by Silva Screen), DISCOVER FILM MUSIC is worth discovering, especially for a film music class or for those wanting a convenient collection of themes over a long period of time.

--Roger Hall, 21 January 2009


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