The Symphonic Celtic Album
Music composed by Carter Burwell, Howard Shore, Enya, Sean O’Riada, Thomas Newman, James Horner, Trevor Jones, Michael Kamen, Victor Young, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Bill Whelan.
14 Tracks (Playing Time = 65:37)
Album produced by James Fitzpatrick and Rick Clark. Featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn (THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS), Paul Bateman (BARRY LYNDON, TITANIC, THE QUIET MAN, ROB ROY, FAR AND AWAY), James Fitzpatrick (MILLER’S CROSSING, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, BRAVEHEART, “Riverdance”), Mario Klemens (GLADIATOR), Nic Raine (THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, HIGHLANDER). Recording compiled and mastered by Rick Clark. Artwork and design by Rick Clark.
Silva Screen Records 6046
With an ample supply of music on this latest release of Celtic-flavored film and stage music, there is very little to quibble about. Most of the selections come from films of the 1990s with two selections from THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2002) being the most recent.
The concept behind the release is to present a variety of musical tracks with Celtic-influences in their scoring or melodic material. For that reason we get tracks like “Women of Ireland” by Sean O’Riada (used in BARRY LYNDON) Bill Whelan’s “Riverdance,” which makes for an exhilarating close to the disc. James Horner is represented by two fine selections of his two more popular scores that includes the requisite “My Heart Will Go On” (TITANIC) and an interesting selection from BRAVEHEART (“For the Love of A Princess” a fine newer performance with James Fitzpatrick conducting). End credit music from MILLER’S CROSSING (Burwell), THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (T. Newman), and FAR AND AWAY (Williams) all appear here as well. The latter is taken at breakneck speed but one wishes that the orchestra might take a new shot at this (this is the same occasionally problematic recording noted in past appearances).
Some highlights include the music from Trevor Jones’ score for THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS; a delightful performance of “The Donnybrook” from Victor Young’s THE QUIET MAN; and the moving romantic Celtic cue “Rob and Mary” from Burwell’s ROB ROY. One of the odder choices is “Now We Are Free” from GLADIATOR which seems like a stretch; the “Training Montage” from HIGHLANDER (Kamen) a little less so. But they are both fine performances.
Many of the pieces here are quiet rich in their orchestration with a warm harmonic backdrop to the colorful melodies that float over the music. The dance-like tracks help provide necessary energy to the surrounding selections.
Many of these recordings have appeared in previous Silva releases (the Shore and Enya selections come from the label’s good overview of THE LORD OF THE RINGS music, and other selections have multiple reuses).
Still, this is a fine compilation of music that makes for a real treat for fans of Celtic-influenced music who will find much to enjoy here.
--Steven A. Kennedy, 26 April 2011
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