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FILM MUSIC BY ELMER BERNSTEIN (compilation)

12 Tracks (Playing Time = 57:20)

 

 

Album produced by James Fitzpatrick. Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Fitzpatrick and Nic Raine. Also featuring the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Bill Ashton. Mastered by Rick Clark. Release co-ordination: David Stoner and Peter Compton. Artwork and Design: Damiel Doherty.

Silva Screen Records SILCD 2008

Rating: ***1/2

Tracks:

1. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - Main Theme (4:50)
2. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Suite (8:22)
3. GHOSTBUSTERS - Main Theme (3:11)
4. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE - End Titles (4:24)
5. AIRPLANE! - Suite (4:28)
6. TRUE GRIT - Rooster and Leboeuf (4:07)
7. FAR FROM HEAVEN (5:55)
8. THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE - Sky-Hi (2:31)
9. HAWAII - Overture (4:17)
10. THE GREAT ESCAPE (2:17)
11. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (5:01)*
12. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS - Overture (7:54)

* = National Youth Jazz Orchestra

 

This is another in the budget offerings in the Silva "Film Music By" series. Previous ones include music by John Barry , Ennio Morricone, James Horner and John Williams. One might be tempted to call these the "Great Hits By" series since so many of these themes have been recorded before.

The Bernstein collection happens to be one of the best yet, with stellar performances of a dozen signature score excerpts from one of the greatest film masters of the past half century.

The selections are all worthy choices and the performances by The City of Prague Philharmonic are excellent, under the highly capable direction of James Fitzpatrick and Nic Raine.

All of these selections have been previously released on Silva CDs including the very good 2 CD tribute to Elmer Bernstein, which is a much better sampling of his film music. But this budget does provide enough of the Bernstein "hits" like THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE, and the superb score for HAWAII. There are also less recorded suites, like the witty theme quotes Bernstein used in AIRPLANE! and the lovely music for FAR FROM HEAVEN, Bernstein's last great score, which received a Sammy Award in 2002.

The only track I didn't much care for was THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, who too ragged and rushed in their playing. Too much youthful exuberance perhaps.

The CD notes are extremely short (only three paragraphs!) . Couldn't a bit more be written about one of film music greatest composers? The artwork is very spare with lots of white space, in keeping with the overall design for the "Film Music" series. The covered wagon on the front is a bit misleading since only two of the twelve tracks have music for western films. But Bernstein is probably best known for his iconic western scores.

This compilation is obviously intended more for the novice than the collector, who probably already have these themes and suites or complete soundtracks in their archives.

Yet the CD remains a welcome addition for any fan of Elmer Bernstein's glorious music and one of the best yet in this ongoing "Film Music" Silva series.

 

--Roger Hall, 10 April 2007

Comments regarding this review can be sent to this address: Film Music Review

 


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