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Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)





  Special Merit 


Disc One = 14 Tracks (Playing Time = 56:12)

1. THE GODFATHER - Waltz (Nino Rota) (3:49)
2. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE - Suite (Alex North) (8:20)
3. SAYONARA - Prelude (Franz Waxman/Irving Berlin)(1:45)
4. SAYONARA - Katsumi's Love Theme (Franz Waxman)(4:49)
5. SAYONARA - Street Fight (3:37)
6. SAYONARA - Elegy & Finale (3:23)
7. THE WILD ONE - Main & End Titles (Leith Stevens)(4:56)
8. THE MISSOURI BREAKS - Love Theme (John Williams)(2:35)
9. LAST TANGO IN PARIS - Gato Barbieri (3:30)
10. THE CHASE (John Barry)(5:19)
11. THE YOUNG LIONS - Main Title: The Ski Run (Hugo Friedhofer)(2:08)
12. SUPERMAN - Main Theme (John Williams)(4:12)
13. THE GODFATHER - Sicilian Pastorale/ The Pick Up (Nino Rota)(3:38)
14. THE GODFATHER - Finale (4:04)

Disc Two = 7 Tracks (Playing Time = 50:28)

1. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY - Overture (Bronislau Kaper)(5:27)
2. JULIUS CAESAR - Caesar Now Be Still (Miklos Rozsa)(6:25)
3. VIVA ZAPATA - A Gathering of Forces (Alex North)((3:30)
4. ONE-EYED JACKS - Main Title (Hugo Friedhofer)(2:44)
5. THE MEN - Suite (Dimitri Tiomkin)(7:09)
6. APOCALYPSE NOW - The Ride of the Valkyries (Richard Wagner)(4:33)
7. ON THE WATERFRONT - Suite (Leonard Bernstein)(20:39)

Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, Crouch End Festival Chorus, conducted by James Fitzpatrick, Paul Bateman, Nic Raine. Album Produced by James Fitzpatrick. Executive Producer: Reynold da Silva. Release Co-ordination: David Stoner. Art Direction & Design: Damien Doherty. Recorded at Barrandov Studios - Smecky Soundstage, Prague. Editing, Mixing and Mastering by Gareth Williams.

Silva Screen Records SILCD1166

Rating: ****


As with most of the Silva compilation albums, this one features music previously released. Yet this 2 CD set of music from Marlon Brando films has much to offer by a number of first rate film composers from the Golden Age such as: Rota, North, Waxman, Friedhofer, Kaper, Rozsa, and Tiomkin. There's also several themes by John Williams, a lengthy suite from Leonard Bernstein's only film score, and even a classical favorite by Richard Wagner.

Several of the cues are especially welcome. They include the suite from Alex North's first film score for the groundbreaking sultry drama A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951). Also the excerpts from Franz Waxman's wonderfully evocative score to SAYONARA (1957)(Disc One, tracks 3-6) with a majestic choral finale arranged from Irving Berlin's title tune. Yet another highlight is the Suite from THE MEN (1950)(Disc Two, track 5), with a highly poignant score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Needless to say that there is quite a bit of variety in these films but many of them are highly charged dramas, like Brando's iconic black leather jacket motorcyclist role in THE WILD ONE (1953), with a modern jazz infused score by Leith Stevens. There's also the easygoing Love Theme by John Williams from THE MISSOURI BREAKS (1976) and similar subdued music from John Barry's score to THE CHASE (1966), each composed a decade apart yet both distinctive in their assured style by two film composer masters.

The CD booklet notes are by the always informative David Wishart and nicely summarize the films and the scores for the Brando films.

This is a compilation that can be recommended to anyone who enjoys first class film music from the 1950s through the 1970s.

The City of Prague Philharmonic turns in solid performances. I found only a few tracks slightly less convincing than the originals, like the familiar SUPERMAN theme by Williams and the more subtle cues from Rota's THE GODFATHER. Even though there are three conductors employed ( James Fitzpatrick, Paul Bateman and Nic Raine), nothing is lost in the process. They get the job done.

This is an outstanding compilation recommended to all those who love great film music from the past.

--Roger L. Hall , 10 May 2006

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