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Editor's Choice:

Best of the Month
March 2016

 

 

THE BLUE MAX and other film scores by Jerry Goldsmith

Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
and Chorus
Conducted by Nic Raine
Choir Master: Miriam Nemcova
Concertmaster: Lucie Svehlova
Produced by James Fitzpatrick

Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner
Assistant Engineers: Michael Hradisky and Vitek Kral
Orchestra and Chorus Recorded at Smecky Music Studios,
April/May 2015

Sleeve Notes: Frank K. DeWald
CD Artwork: Matthew Wright

CD One (Total time = 65:06):
THE BLUE MAX - Complete Film Score - tracks 1-19
MacARTHUR - Concert Suite - track 20
PATTON: March - track 21/ Winter March - track 22

CD Two (Total time = 64:02):
A GATHERING OF EAGLES - Trademark/ Prologue/Alert
Main Title - track 1
THE SAND PEBBLES - Concert Suite - tracks 2-7
INCHON - Concert Suite - tracks 8-10
TORA! TORA! TORA! - Main Title
THE CHAIRMAN - Concert Suite - tracks 12-14
THE MUMMY - Concert Suite - track 15
OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT - Concert Suite - tracks 16-18

Tadlow CD 020

 

EPIC HOLLYWOOD: The Music of Miklós Rózsa

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,
Conducted by Nic Raine
Concertmaster: Lucie Svehlova
Produced by James Fitzpatrick

Recording Engineer: Jan Holzer
Assistant Engineer: Ivan Zbiral
Recorded in a live concert at the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, 28 September 2015
Mixed by Gareth Williams

Sleeve Notes: Frank K. DeWald
CD Artwork: Matthew Wright

CD One (Total Time = 46:38):
1. Applause (0:17)
2. EL CID: Overture (3:03)
3. EL CID: The Barn - Love Theme (5:05)
4. Applause (0:17)
5. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: Overture (2:20)
6. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: The Love of the Princess (4:55)
7. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: The Market at Basra (2:37)
8. Applause (0:14)
9. PROVIDENCE: Vale Crepusculaire/ Finale (6:58)
10. Applause (0:14)
11. IVANHOE: Suite - Prelude/Lady Rowena/Finale (9:17)
12. Applause (0:14)
13. QUO VADIS: Romanza (6:31)
14. QUO VADIS: Ace Caesar March (4:24)

CD Two (Total Time = 43:57)
1, SODOM AND GOMORRAH: Overture (5:45)
2. SODOM AND GOMMORAH: Theme and Answer for a Dream (5:00)
3. Applause (0:13)
4. THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: Gabrielle (5:08)
5. Applause0:28)
6. THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD: Suite - Prelude/Sindbad Battles Kali/ Finale (4:00)
7. Applause (0:17)
8. KING OF KINGS: Entr'acte (3:15)
9. Applause (0:17)
10. BEN-HUR: Prelude (3:52)
11. BEN-HUR: Love Theme (2:50)
12. BEN-HUR: The Rowing of the Galley Slaves (2:20)
13. BEN-HUR: The Parade of the Charioteers (3:03)
14. Applause (0:18)

Encores:
15. EL CID: March (3:39)
16. Applause (0:53)
17. THE PRIVATE LIVES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: Castles (3:03)
18. Applause (0:18)

Hear an excerpt from this recording -- click here

Tadlow CD 021

Rating for Both Releases: ****

 

This is only the second time in the 18 years of Film Music Review that two separate releases on the same album label have both received a Best of the Month designation at the same time. Previously it was for the first two releases of Tribute Film Classics, both featuring music by Bernard Herrmann: FAHRENHEIT 451 with "Walking Distance" from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Over the past few decades James Fitzpatrick has produced a considerable number of outstanding CD releases. Because of his continued excellence with film music production, he has received more Sammy Film Music Awards than any other album producer.

Working first for Silva Screen, more recently he has been connected with two album labels: Prometheus and Tadlow Music. The Tadlow releases have featured memorable film scores by Elmer Bernstein (TRUE GRIT), Ernest Gold (EXODUS), Maurice Jarre (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA), Dimitri Tiomkin (THE ALAMO and THE GUNS OF NAVARRONE).

Two other composers have had previous releases on Tadlow: Jerry Goldsmith (THE SALAMANDER) and Miklós Rózsa (QUO VADIS). On Prometheus there are two more releases by these same composers: QB VII (Jerry Goldsmith) and SODOM GOMORRAH (Miklós Rózsa). -- this release received a recent Sammy Film Music Award.

The latest two releases have much to recommend and I will only summarize their merits here.

THE BLUE MAX, released fifty years ago in 1966 is one of Jerry Goldsmith's best early scores. It features a marvelous Main Title which is used throughout this score. In the sleeve notes, Frank K. DeWald quotes Goldsmith's remarks about this film score who mentions that "I wrote music which was designed to score the whole of the scene without emphasis on any individual moment or incident. By this overall mood I was able to use the more classical means of development and form, such as the passacaglia used in the battle music."

There are examples of his brilliant use of passacaglia in track 7 ("The Attack" -6:19) and track 14 ("Retreat" - 7:20). On track 8 there is a much shorter Love Theme (1:49) which is too short to have much that is memorable. Most of this score is devoted to the exciting aerial combat scenes and both are outstanding.

The remaining scores include other battle themed films with Concert Suites from MacARTHUR and THE SAND PEBBLES. There are also two short themes from what I believe is Goldsmith greatest film score for PATTON (March - 2:49; Winter March - 1:54) and I wish there was more from this great score.

There are also two scores from his later years: THE MUMMY (1999) and OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT (1981), both of which end the second CD with a different more intense sound that Goldsmith used in his later film scores.

To summarize, I think that the two film scores with the most music (THE BLUE MAX and THE SAND PEBBLES) provide the largest amount of memorable music. The entire CD is extremely well performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under Nic Raine's expert direction.

Turning to the other 2 CD release, EPIC HOLLYWOOD -- it provides some of Miklós Rózsa's best music for grand historical epics and fantasy films. This release was recorded at a live concert held in September of 2015. The sound quality of this concert is superb with very little audience sounds other than the frequent applause, which are appropriately placed on separate tracks so they can be skipped by those who only want to hear the music. All of the ten film scores by Rozsa are memorable ones and feature impressive orchestral playing and sound from this live concert (kudos to the engineers).

I'll just mention a few that I especially enjoyed. On the first CD the excerpts from EL CID and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD are special favorites of mine.
While on the second CD, one of the highlights for me was the beautiful theme for "Gabrielle" from THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and beautifully played by violinist, Lucie Svehlova. See my review of the complete soundtrack on another Tadlow CD -- click here.

In addition, the excerpts from SODOM AND GOMORRAH (especially the Overture), and of course the four often recorded themes from BEN-HUR contain impressively majestic themes and are well performed, sometimes at a slower tempo (such as the "Prelude" in BEN-HUR) than earlier recordings but that is not meant as a criticism.

Not only do you get to hear all these concert selections, but also there are two encores. The first one with the March from EL CID seemed to get the most enthusiastic amount of applause from the concert goers, at least with the time included on the CD release.

With over 80 minutes of music, EPIC HOLLYWOOD features some of the most memorable film music ever composed by Miklos Rozsa, a composer I have always greatly admired. He has more film scores than any other composer, except for Bernard Herrmann, on my list of 100 Essential Film Scores of the 20th Century.

One complaint I have with the artwork. Why put the text over pictures in both CD booklets? It makes the text harder to read. It would be much easier if there were plain backgrounds underneath the texts. For some reason, CD artwork designers believe they have to squeeze more pictures into these booklets. There is nothing wrong with having pictures off to the side or on a whole page. There might be others who want to read the well written comments by Frank K. DeWald about these film scores without trees, planes and other barely visivble images underneath the text. But the cover pictures for both CD releases are quite handsome and the pictures placed apart from the texts are also well chosen.

For those who love films, here are 2 CD releases with music from two of the greatest film music masters. Over their careers both Jerry Goldsmith and Miklós Rózsa provided an endless amount of memorable music, and a generous sampling for both composers are on these CDs.

Bravo to James Fitzpatrick and all the others who worked on these two excellent Tadlow CD releases!

Both CDs are highly recommended.

--Roger Hall, 22 March 2016

 

 

 

Sammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)

The Blue Max

 

 

THE BLUE MAX (DVD)

 

 

 

THE SAND PEBBLES
(DVD)

 

Centennial Birthday Tribute
To Miklós Rózsa -- click here

Sammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1996)

 

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the review of this CD,

click here

 

For the interview with James Fitzpatrick, Album Producer,

click here

 

 

 

 

 

6th edition of this popular book,
with bonus features of CD reviews, film and composer tributes,
film music examples, and a video program:


A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC: Songs and Scores

 

 

 


Film Music Review (Home Page)

 


 

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