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?