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The Ultimate Movie Music Collection (2005)

CD One - 14 Tracks (Playing Time = 56:03)

CD Two - 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 57:55)

CD Three - 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 58:48)

CD Four - 16 Tracks  (Playing Time = 61:23)

Performed by Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, conducted by Erich Kunzel.  Compilation Producers: Holgar Wemhoff, Kajo Paukert, Bernhard Roessle, Elaine Martone.  Compilation Mastering and Editor: Erica Brenner, assisted by William Allen.

Telarc 4CD-80700

Rating: ****

For those who have been following the career of Erich Kunzel and his numerous recordings on Telarc, this is indeed a treasure box of great film themes and suites.  It could just as easily be called " Erich Kunzel's Greatest Hits."  With 60 tracks on 4 CDs, there's one familiar theme after another, from GONE WITH THE WIND to the STAR WARS films.  These tracks are re-issued from 14 previous Telarc releases by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under Kunzel's expert direction.

The first CD begins impressively with "The Imperial March" from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (2:50). That is followed by another John Williams classic, the Main Theme from JURASSIC PARK.  In fact Williams is well served on the 4 CDs, as he should be, with 12 tracks devoted to his film music.  Among the other composers with more than one track are:   Jerry Goldsmith (3 tracks), James Horner (5 tracks), and Max Steiner (3 tracks).

Also on the first CD are several less represented  but deserving themes such as Henry Mancini's Theme from THE THORN BIRDS (3:05), and Bruce Broughton's Suite from MOONWALKER (4:30).

The second CD has many familiar themes like "Bicycle Chase" from E.T. (3:50) and Bill Conti's Theme from ROCKY (2:27).  Once again there are several less well known themes such as the Angelo Badalamenti's Love Theme from COUSINS (2:47) and Alan Silvestri's wonderful End Credits music from CONTACT (3;56), a vastly underrated score.

On the third CD, this same pattern is continued with familiar tracks including Max Steiner's classic " Casablanca Suite"(5:38) and his best known " Tara's Theme" from GONE WITH THE WIND (3:31).  Also James Horner's Main Title from THE MASK OF ZORRO (4:16)[see above review]; and Jerry Goldsmith's lovely "Carol Ann's Theme" from PLOTERGEIST (3:54), featuring the School for Creative and Performing Arts Chorale, Deborah Berry, director.   There are also a few pop oriented tracks without vocals, like Enya's "Book of Days"(3:21) from FAR AND AWAY (arranged by Crafton Beck) and the Finale from VICTOR/VICTORIA (4:50). There is one wasted track, the brief special effects "Don't Mess with Z" (0:15), originally on the Mega Movies Telarc CD .  It doesn't connect to anything and sounds more like a defect on the CD.

The final CD leads off with another SPX, "Iceberg"(0:43), which leads into the the mega blockbuster hit score theme by James Horner, "Back to TITANIC" (4:51).  Other very familiar ones include Maurice Jarre's " Lara's Theme" from DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (5:44), Francis Lai's Theme from LOVE STORY (2:30), and the John Williams scary Theme from JAWS (2:24).  There is another special effects track, "The Apollo 13 Mission" (1:36), and it leads into a theme from the film, "Re-Entry and Splashdown" from APOLLO 13 (4:34).  Just like the first CD opened with a familiar theme from a STAR WARS film, the fourth CD ends with an excerpt from the first film made in the long-running George Lucas series: "Throne Room and End Title" from STAR WARS IV: A NEW HOPE (7:45).

While you may already have some of the individual Telarc CDs with the Cincinnati Pops under Erich Kunzel's leadership, this is still a recommended compilation of "movie music."  

The packaging is well done, with each CD in its own separate plastic case that folds open.  The insert booklet lists the tracks from the individual Telarc CDs.  The CD tracks are listed both on the CD box and the outside slipcase. That's a handy duplication and something other record companies don't usually provide.  The art design is bright and colorful as is appropriate to this grand celebration of previous Kunzel and the CPO releases.  

This is one time when "ultimate" is an appropriate term to use for a movie music collection.

This Telarc 4 CD set is indeed the "ultimate" in listening enjoyment!

An excellent production and a real bargain, with 4 CDs sold for the price of 2.

-- Roger Hall, 8 November 2005

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©Film Music Review.   All Rights Reserved, 2005.






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