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Editor's Choice -
Best of the Month
for April 2007

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1970)

Music composed by Miklos Rozsa

The City of Praque Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine. Solo violin: Lucie Svehlova. Score Reconstructions and Orchestrations by Nic Raine. Album Produced by James Fitzpatrick. Executive Producer: James Fitzpatrick. Associate Producers: Matthew Dilley, Gareth Williams, Stanja Vomackova. Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner. Mixed and Mastered by Gareth Williams. CD booklet : appreciations by Juliet Rozsa and Steve Vertlieb, notes by James Fitzpatrick. Recorded at Barrandov Studios, Smecky Soundstage, Prague, January 2007.

Tadlow CD TADL0W004

Rating: ****

CD Tracks (Playing Time = 77:50)

1. Main titles/221B Baker Street [4:13]
2. The Smoke Machine/ Concerto/Cocaine [2:12]
3. The Curious Case of the Upside-Down Room/ Pistol practice* [5:32] te
4. Moving Out* [2:54]
5. Watson's Rage/ Being Presumptuous [2:22]
6. Von Tirpitz Appears [1:50]
7. Gabrielle [5:17]
8. No. 32 Ashdown St./ Canaries [4:15]
9. The Rambunctious Canary* [2:36]
10. The Diogenes Club [1:29]
11. To Glenahurich (Loch Lochmond, arr. M. Rozsa)[2:25]
12. Inverness/ The Cemetery/ Valladon [5:46]
13. The Sighting [1:02]
14. Castles of Scotland/ Urquhart Castle [5:25]
15. After the Monster/ The Monster Strikes [5:03]
16. The Last Act [ 2:07]
17. Ilse von Hoffmanstal/ A Certain Royal Personage/ Gabrielle's Awakening [3:28]
18. Holmes' Morse Code/ Eternal Silence/ Farewell [3:47]
19. Aur Wiedersehen/ The End [5:16]

Bonus Tracks:
20. Castles of Scotland - Version 1* [1:54]
21. Castles of Scotland - Version 2 (Vienna in Scotland)* [2:10]
22. Castles of Scotland - Final Version with Bagpipe Drones [ 2:05]
23. Main Titles/ 221B Baker Street - Original Version* [4:22]

 

With the centennial of Rozsa's birth this year, this new recording of one of his last great film scores comes at the right time and is among the best re-recordings of his music as well.

Rozsa may be best known for his religious epics such as QUO VADIS, BEN-HUR and KING OF KINGS, but his film scores for darker (or "film noir") films such as DOUBLE INDEMNITY and THE KILLERS are just as important. After all, two of Rozsa's three Oscars were received for intense, darker films: SPELLBOUND (1945) and A DOUBLE LIFE (1947). Where does this place THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES?

I would say SHERLOCK HOLMES is definitely in a style from his dramatic films of the 1940s rather than his later religious epics of the 1950s and early '60s. But that doesn't matter one bit because this is a great score from beginning to end.

As the film's director Billy Wilder requested, some of this score was re-arranged from Rozsa's memorable Violin Concerto. According to James Fitzpatrick's CD notes, Wilder called his film "a symphony in four movements." Originally it ran well over three hours, but was then edited down to about two hours, so the symphony format was lost. The film starred Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes and Colin Blakely as Dr. John Watson. Both play their parts with great conviction. Even with the film edited down, what remains is top notch Rozsa music.

Foremost among the music rearranged from his Violin Concerto, Op. 24 is the slow movement used for "Gabrielle" (Gabrielle Valladon or Ilse von Hoffmanstal, played by Genevieve Page). This love theme is one of Rozsa's most beautiful of any he composed in his film scores. First heard briefly during the opening track, it receives the fullest treatment on track 7, with sensitive playing by solo violinist Lucie Svehlova, who excels whenever she is called upon to perform on this recording.

This is a film score with many treats to offer. One of them is the somber plainchant-like theme, first heard on track 6 ("Von Triptiz Appears"), and later used mostly when the monks appear. One of the most thrilling theme is heard on track 14 ("Castles of Scotland"), a musical excursion accompanying the bicylcle ride to castles around the Loch. There are also three bonus tracks with unused versions of this music, all of them worth having too.

The performance by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is top drawer and the recorded quality is excellent. Since this score is based partly on a classical work and is classically orchestrated as well, the solo violinist and orchestra seem to be especially in sync with this music.

The colorful, well designed CD booklet has an appreciation by Rozsa's daughter, Juliet, a good summary of Rozsa's film music by Steve Vertlieb, and excellent track notes by James Fitzpatrick.

Along with the excellent TRUE GRIT soundtrack released last year, Tadlow Music has offered outstanding film score re-recordings of music by two of the best film composers from the past: Elmer Bernstein and Miklos Rozsa.

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES is a Limited Collectors Edition offering the World Premiere of the complete score.

This is one of the best re-recordings of a past film score available anywhere.

It is a fitting tribute to this Hungarian-born film music master on the centennial year of his birth.

Needless to say this is a must have for any Rozsa fan.

Highest recommendation.

--Roger L. Hall, 15 April 2007

 

For more information about this CD, click on this link:

Tadlow Music

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

 


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