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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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CINEMA CLASSICS 2003: Classical Music Made Famous In Films
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

The flight of the Bumble Bee [1.38]
Eric SATIE

Gnossienne No.4 [2.57]
Joseph HAYDN

Piano Concerto No. 11 (1st movement) [7.11]
Federico MOMPOU

Cançons I dances No 6 [3.53]
J S BACH/Charles GOUNOD

Ave Maria [2.40]
Frederic CHOPIN

"Raindrop" Prelude [5.49]
Johann STRAUSS II

Wiener Blut [8.37]
J S BACH

Piano concerto No 5 (2nd movement) [2.45]
Johannes BRAHMS

Hungarian Dance No 5 [2.14]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN

"Moonlight" Sonata (1st movement) [5.16]
Giacomo PUCCINI

Nessun Dorma from "Turandot" [3.00]
Frederic CHOPIN

Ballade No 1 in g minor [9.56]
W A MOZART

Der Hölle Rache from "Die Zauberflöte [2.51]
W A MOZART

Piano Sonata no 11 (1st movement) [14.29]
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Bramall; Klára Körmendi; Hae-won Chang/Camerata Cassovia/Robert Stankovsky; Jordi Masó; Ingrid Kertesi/Camerata Budapest/Laszlo Kovács; Idill Biret; Tanzquartett Wien; Budapest Symphony Orchestra/István Bogár; Jenö Jandó; Thomas Harper/Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Halász; Hellen Kwon/Failoni Chamber Orchestra Budapest.
rec Various dates and Locations - unspecified
NAXOS 8.556696 [73.32]

 

They say that the recorded music business is having difficult times. Difficult times can lead to strange decisions, but whoever told Naxos that this disc was a "really good idea" needs to be given a long, long holiday. This is without doubt the most cynical and exploitative disc that this reviewer has seen in a long time. There is good music on it, and some perfectly worthwhile performances, but in the format presented here there is simply not a single good thing to say about it. This disc leaves massively unanswered the inevitable question "Who does Naxos think the customer is?" As ‘Cinema Classics’ the potential customer could, then, be movie buffs. But would not the movie buff really rather want the soundtrack? It seems every film has its soundtrack released now, whether it deserves to be or not. It is there for the movie buff. How about classical music buffs? The mental image of the classical music fan who says to himself "Puccini? Ah! I’d like to just have Nessun Dorma please" is not very convincing. So how about people who know nothing about classical music? Well, is a Satie Gnossienne or Strauss’s Wiener Blut really the best introduction? No. This disc has been put out because someone at Naxos thought that various three second snippets of music that flitted through the background of a range of recent, unmemorable movies was all available in the back-catalogue so it made sense to lump it together, stick a picture of space on the cover and see if a few people were stupid enough to buy it. After all, it cost them nothing but the price of a bit of re-packaging.

Let us come back to that title; Cinema Classics 2003: "Music Made Famous By Movies". One cannot help but notice that it might not be entirely accurate as a statement. As far as this writer can recall, Bach was sort-of well known before Lara Croft took a shine to a keyboard concerto and showed him how to exploit his talents (as it were!). It seems reasonable to state that Hadyn had been heard of, and his piano concertos even played before a film with Leonardo DiCaprio brought him to the attention of all of us who had languished in ignorance all these years. None of this music was made famous by movies, Not one piece of it!; let alone by this lot of forgettable Hollywood offerings made in the last year.

And what of the music? The performances are perfectly acceptable, but it is really not worth trying to comment on them as they are an irrelevant adjunct to the disc and one could not possibly recommend anybody to go and buy this, so, in theory, nobody reading this review should ever hear the tracks. More interesting is to read what the insert says about the music. Here is a quote about the 5th Keyboard concerto by Bach, (the middle movement anyway) in a performance on the piano by the admirable Hae-won Chang. "Born into wealth. Groomed by the elite. Trained for Combat… The heroine of a popular video games series, Lara Croft, comes to life in this movie. She is a wealthy tomb raider/archaeologist forever in search of treasures and artefacts in ancient tombs and ruins. Like a female Indiana Jones she sets to outwit a secret society bent on acquiring supreme power over the world. Music: 2nd movement from Piano Concerto No. 5, BWV1056 by Johann Sebastian Bach" Wow! Such musicological insight! That makes it really easy to understand why that particular piece was appropriate to the film. Furthermore, one wonders what the pseudo-offensive rapper Marshall Mathers (trading as Eminem) would really think of having himself associated with Rimsky-Korsakov’s wonderful, although undeniably slightly camp, "Flight of the Bumble-bee". There is no logical connection between the films and the chosen music in this context other than that it was available and had, at some point undescribed, been used during the course of the film. Throughout the cd insert the emphasis is on the film’s stars, director and (as shown above) thin plot description. Not even the performers are mentioned in the insert; they only get stuck in tiny writing on the back of the cd case.

This disc is cheap, tatty rubbish and is highly avoidable. Would anyone like the reviewers copy?

Peter Wells

 



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