The 17th Annual
Best Film Music Releases
Most online lists at this time of year have the Top Ten for recent films of the past year.
Film Music Review has not followed this regimented routine and in the past has listed up to 25 releases on its Best of the Year lists, with an emphasis on vintage soundtrack releases since not many online lists, if any, devote themselves exclusively to older film score releases on CD.
It is customary to praise restored films but restored or re-issued soundtracks should also be recognized.
This time the list will be just the Top Five from each reviewer for a total of Ten, but not for any new soundtracks. They will be announced in February by the International Film Music Critics Association, of which both FMR reviewers are members.
Also, both new and vintage soundtrack releases will be included when the 27th Annual Sammy Film Music Awards, the longest-running awards for best soundtrack releases on CD, are announced on 8 February 2015.
Below are the choices of our reviewers for Film Music Review's Best of the Year - Vintage and Compilation CDs...
Roger L. Hall
This year is a bit different with the choosing of only five releases.
Fortunately, as in past few years,
there are still worthwhile vintage soundtracks being released
and five of them make up my list.
These soundtracks are all are worth adding to your music collection.
My five choices are arranged in alphabetical order:
THE AVA COLLECTION - Music by Elmer Bernstein (3 CDs) - Intrada
Back in the good old days of LP albums with all those pops and other distortions,
I collected some of these titles but wished for better sound since they were in mono.
Now that has happened and they are together in this wonderful collection:
CD 1 WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (33:17)/ THE CARPETBAGGERS (25:26)
CD 2 THE CARETAKERS (23:50)/ BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL (25:26)
CD 3 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (29:59)/ MOVIE AND TV THEMES (31:27) .
They are on the short side time wise, but the stereo sound is truly outstanding.
Bravo to Intrada for re-releasing these essential Elmer Bernstein recordings!
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951, Bernard Herrmann) - Kritzerland
Though this soundtrack has been issued before on 20th Century Fox Records (1993)
and a re-recording by Joel McNeely (Varese Sarabande, 2002)
this is a most welcome release since it includes additional music, studio rehearsals and outtakes.
Along with Tiomkin's THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD,
this marvelous Herrmann score
helped ushered in a whole new era
of science-fiction film scores using electronic instruments.
HENRY MANCINI - THE CLASSIC SOUNTRACK COLLECTION (1960-78, 9 CDs) - RCA/Sony Legacy
A monumental collection with 18 soundtrack albums (2 per CD),
including just about every one of Mancini's best known film scores. Though some of
the original soundtracks have reissued in more complete versions by Intrada,
such as BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S and CHARADE,
this is still an essential set of recordings and includes bonus tracks, mostly vocals.
A wonderful collection demonstrating Mancini's melodic mastery.
MARY POPPINS (1964, The Legacy Collection, 3 CDs) - Walt Disney Records
Not only is this Walt Disney's masterpiece film,
he was also fortunate to hire the extremely gifted, Richard M. and Robert B.Sherman,
as the songwriters
for this soundtrack.
The first disc is the expanded soundtrack (79 minutes).
Disc Two has "pre-demos" by the Sherman Brothers
and "Lost Chords" of all wonderful songs not used in MARY POPPINS.
Disc Three contains the story meetings with the author, Mrs. P.L. Travers,
the Sherman Brothers and Don DaGradi. If you enjoyed SAVING MR. BANKS,
this third disc will be a revelation to hear the real author herself.
Also on that disc are
reminiscences from the Sherman Brothers recorded in 1989.
ON THE WATERFRONT (1954, Leonard Bernstein) - Intrada
Like Steve, I'm pleased to name this soundtrack to my list.
After such a long wait, it has finally arrived
and being Leonard Bernstein's only soundtrack,
that makes this release a cause for celebration.
One favorite cue of mine is "Dead Pigeons," a poignant theme of loss and sadness.
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the similarity in the opening few notes
horn theme from ON THE WATERFRONT and
the opening notes from Jerry Goldsmith's finale theme ("The Victor") for L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
That is just a case of musical coincidence perhaps and both are very memorable.
Get this landmark Leonard Bernstein soundtrack while it lasts!