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2 CDs

CD 1 (Playing Time =66:07)

1. EXCALIBUR -- O Fortuna (Carl Orff)(2:48)
2. THE SCARLET LETTER -- Agnus Dein (Samuel Barber)(6:14)
3. STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH -- Battle of the Heroes (John Williams)(4:25)
4. THE DA VINCI CODE -- Kyrie For The Magdalene (Richard Harvey)(3:56)
5. CONAN THE BARBARIAN -- Riders of Doom (Basil Poledouris)(6:03)
6. 1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE -- Theme ( Vangelis)(5:07)
7. THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE -- Concerto in E minor (Z. Preisner)(5:05)
8. KING KONG -- It's Beauty That Killed The Beast (James Newton Howard)(6:03)
9. THE MISSION -- On Earth As It Is In Heaven (Ennio Morricone)(3:33)
10. THE ABYSS --Theme (Alan Silvestri)(4:27)
11. AMISTAD -- Dry Your Eyes Africa (John Williams)(3:41)
12. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE -- Only The Beginning of the Adventure (Harry gregson-Williams)(6:41)
13. THE LION IN WINTER -- Suite (John Barry)(8:14)

C. D 2 (Playing Time = 71:33)

1. THE OMEN -- Suite (Jerry Goldsmith)(11:55)
2. LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING -- Evenstar/ A Knife in the Dark (Howard Shore)(6:59)
3. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS -- Main Title and Ice Dance (Danny Elfman)(5:30)
4. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST -- Resurrection (John Debney)(4:57)
5. STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE -- Duel of the Fates (John Williams)(4:09)
6. LES CHORISTES -- Vois Sur Ton Chemin/ In Memoriam (Bruno Coulais/Christophe Barratier)(5:36)
7. THE LAST VALLEY -- Main Title/ The Valley (John Barry)(6:04)
8. THE SUM OF ALL FEARS -- The Mission (Jerry Goldsmith)(5:44)
9. THE EMPIRE OF THE SUN -- Exsultate Justi (John Williams)(5:01)
10. IF -- Sanctus from MISSA LUBA ((Trad., arr. Haazen)(2:49)
11. HOW THE WEST WAS WON -- Prelude (Alfred Newman)(3:15)
12. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN -- Hymn To The Fallen (John Williams)(6:04)
13. HENRY V -- Non Nobis Domine (Patrick Doyle)(3:44)

Album Produced by James Fitzpatrick. Crouch End Festival Festival Chorus, David Temple, Chorus Master. Finchley Children's Music Group. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus, Charlotte Kinder, soprano soloist (CD 1: tracks 4,7,8), Lenka Pecharova (CD 2: Track 4), conducted by Paul Bateman, Nic Raine, James Fitpatrick. Orchestral Engineers: John Luard Timperley & Jan Holzner. Mixing and Mastering by Gareth Williams. Recorded at Barrandov Studio - Smecky Soundstage, Prague; Whitfield Street Studios, London; Angel Studios, London.

Silva Screen SILKD 6040

Rating: ***1/2 (Outstanding)

It is amazing how Silva Screen can keep turning out these compilations of previously released film soundtrack themes and suites. But they are usually quite good for listening. That's the case with this one, with its excellent sound and production quality.

Usually the Silva compilations deal mostly with instrumental themes. This time the chorus gets its chance to be highlighted and the Crouch End Festival Chorus is obviously a highly talented group of singers, through the expert direction of Chorus Master, David Temple.

Of the 26 films represented, 14 of them qualify for the focus of FMR which is from the early 1930s to early 1990s.

It isn't necessary to mention them all so only a few will be highlighted. On CD 1 it is good to have the tracks from CONAN, 1492, and Barry's Oscar-winning THE LION IN WINTER. CD 2 begins with an extensive and well performed suite from Goldsmith's THE OMEN. Other standouts are the two excerpts from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and Barry's memorable music from THE LAST VALLEY.

There are several tracks taken from classical composers (O Fortuna, Agnus Dei), but the one I especially enjoyed hearing again was the Sanctus from MISSA LUBA used effectively in the somewhat odd anti-establishment film, IF (1968). The music is anything but odd, with its catchy African rhythms. The notes even claim this "Congolese Mass" was a chart-topper in the UK. It was also popular in the US as well.

I would not agree with calling this CD compilation -- "The Greatest Cinema Choral Classics."
Does that mean that earlier choral music isn't also among the greatest? What about choral pieces from such scores as Tiomkin's THE ALAMO or Newman's THE SONG OF BERNADETTE? Maybe it would be better to call this compilation: "Great Cinema Choral Classics."

In any case, this is a compilation worth having if you want a very good sampling of various popular film themes from the 1960s onward.

--Roger L. Hall , 30 September 2006

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