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The Ultimate Movie Music Collection
The Empire Strikes Back: The Imperial March [2.52]
Jurassic Park: Main Theme [5.23]
Shakespeare in Love: Main Title [3.28]
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Themes [5.46]
Last of the Mohicans: Main Title [3.05]
The Godfather: Theme [3.51]
Ghost: Unchained Melody [5.12]
Goldfinger: Theme [3.51]
Somewhere in Time: We’re Losing Him [4.05]
Space Camp [4.03]
Henry V: Opening and Closing Titles [3.26]
The Thorn Birds: Theme [3.10]
Moonwalker: Suite [4.34]
A Bugs Life: The Time of Your Life [4.08]
Batman: Batman Theme [2.36]
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: Bicycle Chase [3.53]
Independence Day: Suite [5.47]
Romeo and Juliet: Love Theme [3.13]
Back to the Future [3.21]
Contact: End Credits [4.02]
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Theme [2.42]
Star Trek the Motion Picture: Main Theme [3.55]
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: May It Be and Themes [6.20]
Cousins: Love Theme [2.51]
Minority Report: Sean’s Theme [3.20]
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: I Will Wait for You [3.50]
Rocky: Theme: [2.31]
The Mummy: The Sand Volcano [4.11]
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Raider’s March [5.15]
Mission Impossible: Theme [1.37]
Casablanca: Suite [5.41]
Far and Away: Book of Days [3.27]
Superman: Love Theme [4.45]
Gone with the Wind: Tara’s Theme [3.34]
The Mask of Zorro: Don’t Mess With “Z” [0.15] Main Title [4.21]
Victor/Victoria: Finale [4.55]
Poltergeist: Carol Ann’s Theme [4.00]
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
: Love Theme [3.24]
Willow: Main Theme [4.02]
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn: Main Title [3.22]
On Golden Pond: Main Theme [4.10]
A Summer Place: Theme [4.07]
Chariots of Fire: Theme [7.00]

Titanic: Iceberg! [0.43]; Back to Titanic [4.56]
Hook: Main Themes [4.13]
Pink Panther: Theme [2.33]
Doctor Zhivago: Lara’s Theme [5.48]
Love Story: Theme [2.34]
The Right Stuff: Excerpt: [4.46]
Jaws: Theme [2.29]
The Prince of Egypt: When you Believe [5.23]
Modern Times: Smile [3.14]
Apollo 13: The Apollo 13 Mission [1.35]; Re-Entry and Splashdown [4.37]
Beetlejuice: Main Title [2.08]
Pearl Harbour: War [5.01]
The Deer Hunter: Cavatina [3.31]
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope: Throne Room and End Title [7.45]
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra/Erich Kunzel
rec. various dates
TELARC 4CD-80700 [56.03 + 57.55 + 58.48 + 61.23]

With so much wealth of screen music one knows not where to begin. Although the credits on the CD cover do not mention the names of the individual composers some of them are easily recognisable from their musical styles and from my having seen the movie concerned. Having said that, it would be difficult to recognise that John Barry composed the theme music for Goldfinger from the arrangement played on this album. Why people have to mess around with a perfectly plausible original score beats me. There are more examples of wishy-washy arrangements in this compilation, but I’ll come to that later.
Anyway, the composers I have managed to recognise include John Barry (of course), Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Nino Rota, Michel Legrand, Vangelis, Maurice Jarre, James Horner, Max Steiner, Charlie Chaplin and many whose names I would like to have known and some I am grateful not to.
The interesting aspect of listening to so much screen music is that you soon realise the music falls into roughly two categories – the inspirational or up-tempo and the romantic or more leisurely. Plus it doesn’t take a genius to realise that there is a basic formula to writing either. John Williams is easily the king of the inspirational – ET-The Extra Terrestrial, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark – and his rhythms are punctuated with bass drums, crashing cymbals and a multiplicity of triplets. The climax of his pieces is invariably punctuated with urgent strings over a background of brass and percussion. Admittedly, he does have moments of lyricism although in Jaws it is also peppered with a feeling of ‘wonder-who’s-behind-me’ anxiety.
Composers have used these formulaic techniques since time immemorial. Listening to Mahler, especially the last movement of his Symphony number 2, (and despite his protestations that the symphony was not programmatic) you realise that certain sections evoke certain emotions. The use of French horns and violins screaming away in a high register are all examples of music that could easily have fitted into a film score. The finale of Rachmaninov’s piano concerto number 2 is another example. In fact it was used to heighten tension in The Naked Edge, a film starring Deborah Kerr and Gary Cooper. Shostakovich, of course, wrote a lot of film music but his compositions were written specifically for the screen.
Harking back to this album, however, I find some of the cover versions on it disappointing. John Barry’s Goldfinger has already rated a mention. Others which should have been left well alone are Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and Vangelis’s theme from Chariots of Fire. The exceptions are Nino Rota’s romantic music for both Romeo and Juliet and The Godfather where the themes have been tastefully expanded. Here the formula for romantic-mood enhancement appears to be a hushed piano and/or a solo guitar as in The Deer Hunter or the occasional chorus in the background as in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or a distant loon crying in the wilderness as in On Golden Pond.
If you like your music light and bombastic at times I have no qualms recommending this album. Erich Kunzel does an efficient job conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. This is the type of music he seems to, and obviously wishes to excel in although I continue to hanker for the classical albums he occasionally brings out. I have in mind the excellent compilation he recorded (also on Telarc) of Leopold Stokowski transcriptions. If he decides to record anything in that vein again, I eagerly await it.
The packaging of the 4 CDs is quite attractively and ingeniously done. The CDs are housed in separate pages - much as a book is compiled with a common spine - and it all fits into a cardboard jacket. However, one word of warning: the type font size used on the cover notes is 8 point coloured white, and reversed onto an orange background that gradually turns to yellow. Altogether much too difficult for my old eyes to read with any degree of comfort.
Randolph Magri-Overend



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