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Editor's Choice

Best of the Month
for
September 2009

 

Sammy Award for Best Newly Recorded Vintage Film Score of 2009

 

 

 

EXODUS (1960) and
other film music (2 CDs)

Special Limited Collectors Edition
of the complete EXODUS film score
Music composed by Ernest Gold

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Nic Raine

 

CD One: EXODUS -- 19 Tracks (Total Playing Time = 61:44)

1. Prelude (2:43)
2. Summer In Cyprus (1:55)
3. Escape/ The General (2:06)
4. Ari (3:50)
5. *On The Beach (2:06)
6. The Tent -Karen/ Lorries/ *The Convoy (4:12)
7. *The Star Of David (0:41)
8. Odenheim's Death/ *Karen's Story (4:03)
9. Approaching Haifa/ *The Oath (3:03)
10. *Kitty (2:01)
11. Akiva's Hideout (1:40)
12. Love Is Where You Find It/ *The Valley Of Jezebel (6:07)
13. Yad El/ *He Is Dead (2:26)
14. Goodbye/ Intermission Music - Fight For Survival (2:45)
15. Karen's Father In Jerusalem (3:48)
16. *Akiva's Arrest (3:20)
17. Execution Chamber/ *Don't Let My Brother Die (1:36)
18. Acre Prison/ *The Chess Game (Conspiracy)(3:30)
19. D-Day/ *The Bombs (Prison break) (7:44)

* = previously unrecorded music

CD Two: EXODUS -- 6 Tracks/ 14 Bonus Tracks (Total Playing Time = 70:46 )

1. *The Arsenal (1:24)
2. *The Operation (1:46)
3. *Children On The Hill (2:00)
4. Dawn/ Finale - The Fight For Peace (6:48)
5. Exit Music - Hatikvah (3:30)
6. Exodus - "This Land Is Mine" (Lyrics by Pat Boone)(2:25)

Bonus Tracks:
7. IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD: Exit Music (2:06)
8. SHIP OF FOOLS: Candlelight And Silver Waltz (3:11)
9. JUDITH: Main Title Music by Sol Kaplan (4:09)

Suite From QB VII - Music by Jerry Goldsmith
10. Main Title (2:010
11. The Holocaust (2:51)
12. Visit To The Sheikh (2:13)
13. The Wailing Wall (3:16)
14. Kaddish For The Six Million (3:17)

SCHINDLER'S LIST - Music by John Williams
15. Schindler's List (4:18)
16. Remembrances (5:42)

CAST A GIANT SHADOW - Music by Elmer Bernstein
17. Land Of Hope (3:15)
18. Prelude (3:05)

19. EXODUS: Rhapsody For Cello And Orchestra (6:54)
20. EXODUS: Concert Overture (4:24)


Solo Violin: Lucie Svehlova; Solo Cello: Pavel Belousek/ Solo Recorder: Gareth Williams.

CD Booklet: Appreciation by Marni Nixon; A Remembrance by Kathleen Mayne; Track Notes by Frank K. DeWald.

Produced by James Fitpatrick. Executive Producer: Janet Fitzpatrick. Score Reconstructed and Orchestrated by Dominic Nunns, Leigh Phillips, Adam Saunders, Adam Langston, Philip Lane.
JUDITH Reconstructed by Adam Klemens.
CAST A GIANT SHADOW Reconstructed by Steven Baker.
New Score and Parts Preparation: Jiri "George" Simunek.
Music Mixed and Mastered at Pickles Studios, Cambridge by Gareth Williams.
Recorded at Barrrankov Studios, Smecky Music Studios, Prague, March/April 2009.

Tadlow 007

Rating: ****

 

EXODUS EVOLUTION

What is the ultimate goal of a restored film soundtrack? Is it to exactly reproduce the original film score from the past or to interpret it with a different approach for today's listeners?

This Tadlow CD release uses a different interpretation with sometimes slower tempi than the original soundtrack. Yet, I believe it was the right choice. There can be different interpretations and still be satisfying with such as glorious score as this one. I think that many film fans tend to expect to same exact sound as the original. Why is that necessary when you can just watch the film? As with classical music, there are many ways to interpret a great piece of music. And this film score is one of the great ones from its era.

How it has been changed from its original release in 1960 to today's world might be thought of as the evolution of this memorable film score.

The Prelude from EXODUS is justly famous and was a big hit when the film was released in 1960. Those who were around at that time will remember the hit recording by the piano duo of Ferrante & Teicher. The original soundtrack album, conducted by Ernest Gold, received a Grammy for Best Soundtrack of the Year. Yet there is so much more in this score that deserves to be heard and fortunately is featured on this complete EXODUS soundtrack, including many unused cues.

For instance, the second cue, "Summer in Cyprus," has a hot sultry quality in the music that ideally identifies the climate of the location. This sultry theme is again heard on track 5, "On The Beach," and though it sounds exactly the same, it has a subtle changes of orchestration and dynamics.

There are also themes that might will remind some of Prokofiev's brilliant ALEXANDER NEVSKY score. This is men tioned in Frank K. DeWald's excellent liner notes. The passage similar to Prokofiev theme is first heard on track 11, "Akiva's Hideout," and is connected to that character in the story. That same theme reappears on track 16, "Akiva's Arrest." Why did Gold choose to write something so close to Prokofiev's theme? I don't know the answer but it does get your attention if you've heard the Prokofiev theme before. Perhaps that's what Gold had intended.

Probably the highpoint of this hour long score is the final track on Disc One, "D-Day/ The Bombs (Prison Break)." At close to eight minutes, it is the longest cue of the score and is extremely descriptive in its depiction of an important scene in the story. This includes the fine recorder solo by Gareth Williams, who contributes greatly on other cues as well.

There are two other soloists who also perform their taske admirably. One if violinist Lucie Svehlova, who plays on such tracks as "Kitty" (track 10), for solo violin and piano. This theme is reprised on ttrack 12, as DeWald clearly describes it: "is rife with poignant rising and falling intervals (primarily sevenths) and characterized by restraint."

This same "restraint" is a good summation of Ernest Gold's score for EXODUS. The themes are spare yet emottionally charged and perfectly matched to the film's story.

 

On Disc Two, the remainder of the EXODUS is heard, ending with "The Exodus Song" (track 6), also known by its first words, "This Land Is Mine," with lyrics by singer, Pat Boone. Ironically, Ernest Gold did not get asked for his approval to add these lyrics. Other than the hit recording by Pat Boone, DeWald adds, "it spawned countless other vocal and instrumental cover versions and the tune a prominent place in the pop culture of the 60s." The arraangement on this CD was made by Adam Saunders and is a very good one, though the unidentified chorus (presumably from Prague) could be a lot clearer in their diction. Having the lyrics printed in the CD booklet would have helped considerably.

 

After that majestic EXODUS song, the mood changes quickly in the next track, with the delightful waltz for the Exit Music in the zany comedy epic, IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. That is followed by "Candlelight and Silver Waltz," a more elegant Viennese dance from SHIP OF FOOLS, and the Main Title from JUDITH, composed by Sol Kaplan. Why is this theme included on this collection of music by Ernest Gold? That is nicely explained by DeWald: "Kaplan's music is cast in very much the same mold as Gold's better-known effort, mining similar ethnic-modal cliches in a rich, symphonic score." And, I might add, Kaplan's score is not nearly as memorable as Gold's EXODUS. But it does offer a comparison with a similar themed film story.

Much mor substantial is the SUITE FROM QB VII, with music by one of the great past film music masters, jerry Goldsmith. The five tracks of this suite are beautifully written and performed. One highlight is the somber but expressive cue,"The Holocaust," which includes a choral passage.

Following that Goldsmith suite are several familiar themes from SCHINDLER'S LIST (tracks 15-16), with violin solos by Lucie Svehlova. These themes are well performed but not nearly as moving and expressive as Perlman's beautiful violin solos with John Williams conducting on the original soundtrack, which received an Oscar for Best Score in 1993, and also a Sammy Award.

Next are several themes from Elmer Bernstein's score for CAST A GIANT SHADOW (tracks 17-18), which again are fine but not as memorable as those from the original soundtrack from 1966.

Then to top it all off, to put the cherry on top of the cake, there are two concert pieces arranged with major themes from EXODUS. Both of them of course highlight that famous Prelude theme.

The first is a concert piece that Gold arranged for cello and orchestra and performed on this CD by cellist Pavel Belousek. The other one is a Concert Overture prepared by James Fitzpatrick and including some of the important themes from EXODUS. Both of these are welcome additions.

The performances by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus are most commendable under Nic Raine's expert direction. The three soloists also deserve high praise.

The recorded sound is superb, the CD booklet is attractively designed and the liner notes are extremely well written. There are even a few bonus video clips included of The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra recording several exceprts from EXODUS.

The CD booklet is full of worthwhile information. Make sure to read the opening witty comments by Gold's former wife, singer Marni Nixon. They are priceless! Also the tender remembrance from composer Kathleen Mayne, who studied composition with Gold. Plus the detailed liner notes by Frank deWald.

Special kudos should be given to James Fitzpatrick, the industirous and highly creative producer of this 2 CD release, as well as other Tadlow releases. Earlier this year, he was chosen to receive a richly deserved Sammy Preservation Award for Best Album Producer of the Year.

This is another landmark Tadlow recording and an ideal time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this exceptional film score by Ernest Gold.



This Special Limited Collectors Edition CD deserves to be singled out for its high quality recorded music and CD booklet. It has brought this memorable film score to a level of excellence.

Thus, l am pleased to select this superlative Tadlow CD release as Editor's Choice, Best of the Month for September.

-- Roger Hall, 30 Septmber 2009

 


 

For those who wish to compare this new Tadlow release with the the inferior original soundtrack release, which has only highlights, it is available at this link:

 

Exodus - Original Soundtrack

EXODUS (Original Soundtrack Remastered)

 

 

 

 

Also available is the film...

Exodus

EXODUS (Widescreen DVD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See also this previous Tadlow CD,
named Best of the Month
for EL CID

 

 

 


 

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