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Editor's Choice

Best of the Month
for July 2011
 
 

 

TARAS BULBA

 

Music composed by Franz Waxman

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
Conducted by Nic Raine. Music score reconstruction by Nic Raine. Additional reconstruction by Charles Gerhardt, Arnold Freed, Steven R. Bernstein.
Original orchestration by Leonid Raab. Songs arranged by Leigh Phillips. Song Parts Preparation by Rebecca Thomas.

Additional vocals by Keith Ferreira and Voxcetera.

2 CDs

* - previously unrecorded
** - includes previously unrecorded music

Disc One: 18 Tracks (Total Playing Time = 58:43)

1. Overture (2:09)
2. Turkish Invasion*/Opening Battle*/ Horn Call*/ Polish Betrayal* (4:15)
3. Taras' Pledge (3:01)
4. The Birth of Andrei (2:47)**
5. Young Andrei*/The Priest*/ Arrival at Kiev*/ Students Fight* (4:14)
6. Amos, Amas, Amat* (1:22)
7. Hunting Scene*/ Sleigh Ride* (2:08)
8. Kiev Street* (2:51)
9. The Thieves Market* (1:31)
10. Pastorale - The Wishing Star (lyrics by Mack David)(2:03)
11. The Duel* (3:37)
12. Chase at Night**/ Return to the Steppes** (4:58)
13. Gypsy Camp* (4:15)
14. Leaving Home** (4:24)
15. The Ride to Dubno (Film Version)(5:05)
16. Mykola's Warning*/ Mykola's Death* (2:40)
17. Fanfare and Drums (Welcome at Dubno)* (2:07)
18. The Siege of Dubno** (5:13)

Track 10 - features Voxcetera, recorded at Angels Studios, London by Gary Thomas

Track 15 - The City of Prague Philharmonic Choir, Conducted by Miriam Nemcova.


Disc Two: 20 Tracks (Total Playing Time = 69:23)

1. Delirium/ Vision of Natalia* (3:20)
2. The Black Plague** (7:44)
3. Cossack Anthem*/ Free Men* (1:56)
4. No Retreat* (3:31)
5. The Burial*/ Natalia at the Stake* (2:54)
6. Andrei and the Duke* /The Battle of Dubno**(5:47)
7. Finale** (7:57)

Bonus Tracks:
8. I Lulee, Lulee (Little Shepherd of the Wind)(1:39)
9. Zaporozhtzi (Original Version)(1:08)
10. The Fox and The Hen (2:26)
11. There Comes a Time (2:34)
12. Drinking Song (1:33)
13. He Died with his Boots On (4:01)
14. Zaporozhtzi (Film Version)(1:04)
15. Kontakion for the Departed (Traditional Russian Orthodox Hymn)(4:02) -
arranged by Adam Klemens
16. The Ride of the Cossacks (2 Pianos, Six Hands Version -
Premiere Recording)(5:06) - arranged by Paul Henning
17. Overture (Concert Suite Version)(2:43)
18. The Birth of Andrei** (Original Version)(2:48)
19. Pastorale (Orchestra Version)(2:03)
20. The Ride of the Cossacks (Concert Suite Version)(5:06)

 

Tracks 8, 11 - lead vocals by Keith "Yul" Ferreira; Guitars: Jaraslav Novak and David Holy.

Tracks 9,10,12,13,14 - lead vocals by Keith Ferreira and The City of Prague Philharmonic Choir with Voxcetera; Guitars: Jaraslav Novak and David Holy; Violin: Radana Vectomova; Cimbalom: Michael Horsak.

Track 15 - Edita Adlerova, mezzo-soprano and The City of Prague Philharmonic Choir, Conducted by Miriam Nemcova.

Track 16 [the CD booklet lists it as track 2] - featuring Petroff Pianos played by Miraslav Sekera, Marcel Javorcek and Vaclav Macha.

Album produced by James Fitzpatrick. Associate Producers: John W. Waxman, Gareth Williams. Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner. Album Mixed and Mastered by Gareth Williams.

Recorded at Smecky Music Studios, Prague, November 2010, January 2011, March 2011. Introduction in CD booklet by John Waxman. Booklet notes by Frank K. DeWald. Producer's Notes by James Fitzpatrick.


A Tadlow Music Production.

Tadlow Music TADLOW013

Rating: ****

 

Back in November of 2009, I praised the Kritzerland soundtrack recording of TARAS BULBA and selected it as Best of the Month. As good as that single CD was, after the original three-track album master was found, there was still only about 48 minutes on 13 tracks. It was far from complete.

Now after years of waiting for the best time financially to record it, we have the complete 100 minute film score spread over 25 tracks on two CDs, in full dynamic sound, plus wonderful bonus tracks, and the handsome fact-filled 24 page booklet to top it off.

There are are many delights in this new Tadlow 2 CD set.

First off, the opening Overture on CD One features the major themes and a few secondary ones in just over 2 minutes - and what an amazing opening this is! The two main themes are: "Cossack Brotherhood Theme" and "Natalia's Theme." This is a terrific opening to this recording.

The introduction by Franz Waxman's son, John, in the CD booklet is well worth reading. He writes:

"My first encounter with the film/score was when father invited me to a preview in Huntington, Long Island. I knew immediately that I was hearing something very special."

That is rather ironic because I attended Eastern Military Academy near Huntington but unfortunately not at the same time as the TARAS BULBA preview.

There are so many wonderful cues in this Waxman film score that is not necessary to point them all out. Let me just mention a few of them.

The two main themes are both featured on CD One.

Natalia's theme or the love theme is heard Track 10, with lovely lyrics by Mack David, unfortunately not included in the CD booklet. This song is sensitively performed by the group known as Voxcetera.

The other main theme from TARAS BULBA is the incredibly rousing cue, "The Ride to Dubno" heard on Track 15, also on CD Two in a six hand piano version (Track 16). This cue is the best known one from the entire film score and also titled, "The Ride of the Cossacks" (CD Two, track 20), it has been performed in concert halls around the world and deservedly so.

Following the complete film score on CD One and the first part of CD Two, there are added treats with the Bonus Tracks. Album producer James Fitzpatrick writes about them:

"I fully realize that the main interest in this release is the fabulous orchestral score but as this is the one and only time that the complete music will be committed to tape (well, hard drive anyway) John Waxman and I decided to record all the songs written for the movie (including those that were not used), as well as a piano-only concert version of 'The Ride of the Cossacks' ...and they were all great fun to do!"

And, I might add, there are all fun to listen to as well. However, it would have been appreciated to have the texts for these seven flavorful Ukraine-inspired songs included in the CD booklet. The solos by Keith Ferreira are fine and the accompanying Voxcetera chorus adds just the right amount of support, such as on the "Drinking Song" (track 12) and a song written for the film but not used, "He Died with His Boots On" (track 13). The very powerful Russian Orthodox Hymn, "Kontakion for the Departed" is beautifully performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Choir.

The original orchestrations were done by Leonid Raab, who is shown here with Franz Waxman during the TARAS BULBA sessions, reproduced in the Tadlow CD booklet:

Besides Raab's work, there were other score reconstructions done by Charles Gerhardt (for the excellent RCA SUNSET BOULEVARD release) and Arnold Freed and Steven R. Bernstein for a recording made by film composer, Elmer Bernstein. But it is Nic Raine who deserves the most praise for reconstructing this massive score from Waxman's own sketches and from other CDs of the film music plus the DVD of the film. What he has accomplished is simply amazing and he has brought this score back to its full brilliance.

Also worthy of praise are Frank K. DeWald's excellent CD notes and album producer, James Fitzpatrick, for getting this magnificent 2 CD set recorded and released, as well as including the very worthy bonus tracks.

Is this Franz Waxman's greatest film score? I'm not one to pick out only one score by one of Hollywood's greatest past film music masters. Let's not forget all the other great scores he composed. I have selected four of them for the 100 Essential Film Scores list: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (No. 52), A PLACE IN THE SUN (No. 20), SUNSET BOULEVARD (No. 50), and yes also, TARAS BULBA (No. 42).

 

This may be the greatest recording of a Franz Waxman film score yet made.

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra has proven itself to be a highly accomplished orchestra for film music, under Nic Raine's skillful direction.

This Tadlow CD release even surpasses several other stellar releases, such as CONAN THE BARBARIAN (Poledouris), EXODUS (Gold), and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (Tiomkin).

 

If you're a fan of this film score, I recommend you purchase this TARAS BULBA release and be thrilled by all its glorious sound and magnificence!

This is easily the best film score reconstruction of this year.

It is also a glowing tribute to the memory of Franz Waxman. As his son wrote in the CD booklet: "I know my father would be enchanted."

It is my pleasure to give this terrific Tadlow 2 CD release my highest recommendation and I have chosen it Best of the Month for July.

 

-- Roger Hall, 22 July 2011

 

To order this 2 CD Tadlow Music soundtrack, see

Screen Archives Entertainment

Read more about this 2 CD release at

Tadlow Music

 

Read the extensive interview with Record Producer, James Fitzpatrick,
who has received numerous Sammy Awards, including Album Producer of the Year.

See also

A Centennial Tribute to Franz Waxman

 

And the DVD of the film...

 

Taras Bulba

TARAS BULBA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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