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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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Film Noir
Disc 1:
F. WAXMAN Rebecca: Prelude (1940) [1:52]
B. HERRMANN Citizen Kane: Prelude (1941) [3:47]
A. DEUTSCH The Maltese Falcon: Main Title (1941) [2:42]
M. ROZSA Double Indemnity: Main Title (1944) [2:47]
B. KAPER Gaslight: Main Title and Opening Theme (1944) [4:02]
M. STEINER The Big Sleep: Main Title (1946) [2:23]
M. ROZSA The Killers: Main Title (1946) [2:31]
R. WEBB Notorious: Alex in the Wine Cellar (1946) [3:28]
G. BASSMAN The Postman Always Rings Twice: Main Title (1946) [1:42]
R. WEBB Out of the Post: Main Title (1947) [1:57]
H. ROEMHELD The Lady From Shanghai: Main Title (1947) [2:41]
H. FRIEDHOFER Body and Soul: Main Title (1947) [1:58]
M. STEINER Key Largo: Main Title (1948) [1:41]
A. KARAS The Third Man: Third Man Theme (1949) [3:07]
F. WAXMAN Sunset Boulevard: Sunset Boulevard Prelude (1950) [3:20]
Disc 2:
D. TIOMKIN Strangers On a Train: Prologue/Duet For Four Feet (1951) [2:20]
G. FRIED The Killing: Main Title (1956) [2:57]
B. HERRMANN Vertigo: Vertigo Prelude and Rooftop (1958) [4:46]
D. AMRAM The Manchurian Candidate: Theme From The Manchurian Candidate (1962) [1:50]
L. SCHIFRIN Bullitt: Bullitt Main Theme (1968) [2:24]
M. SMALL Klute: The Tape (Main Title) (1971) [2:12]
L. SCHIFRIN Dirty Harry: Main Theme (1971) [4:03]
M. THEODORAKIS Serpico: Theme From Serpico (1973) [3:25]
J. GOLDSMITH Chinatown: Love Theme (Main Title) (1974) [3:39]
D. SHIRE Farewell My Lovely: Main Title (Marlowe’s Theme) (1975) [2:29]
D. GRUSIN Three Days of the Condor: Condor! (Theme from Three Days of the Condor) (1975) [2:58]
J. BARRY Body Heat: Main Title (1981) [3:54]
VANGELIS Blade Runner: Main Title (1982) [3:35]
C. BURWELL Blood Simple: Blood Simple (1984) [3:52]
Disc 3:
A. BADALAMENTI Blue Velvet: Main Title (1986) [1:27]
R. McNAUGHTON, K.HALE, and S. JONES Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer: Henry’s Theme (1990) [2:12]
C. ISAAC Wild at Heart: Wicked Game (1990) [4:01]
A. BADALAMENTI Wild at Heart: Dark Spanish Symphony (edited string version) (1990) [2:08]
J. GOLDSMITH Basic Instinct: Main Title (Theme from Basic Instinct) (1992) [2:11]
E. GOLDENTHAL Heat: Main Title (1995) [4:29]
J. OTTMAN The Usual Suspects: Main Title (1995) [3:47]
H. SHORE Se7en: Portrait of John Doe (1995) [4:43]
C. BURWELL Fargo: Fargo, North Dakota/The Ozone (1996) [3:05]
J. GOLDSMITH L.A. Confidential: The Victor (1997) [2:24]
D. JUYLYAN Memento: Opening Titles (2000) [7:02]
A. BADALAMENTI Mullholland Drive: Mullholland Drive/Love Theme (2001) [6:13]
C. BURWELL The Man Who Wasn’t There: The Trial of Ed Crane (2001) [3:52]
G. REVELL and R. RODRIGUEZ Sin City: Marv (2005) [2:26]
R. RODRIGUEZ Sin City: End Titles (2005) [3:23]
Music and vocals performed by The Global Stage Orchestra Recording location and dates undisclosed DDD
GOLDEN STARS GSS 5427 [39:54 + 44:24 + 53:30]


The whole genre of Film Noir is one of jarring disjointedness, disillusionment, moral ambiguity, pessimism, and disenchantment. It is a bleak outlook captured on film where the heroes are often as corrupt as the villains, and where both the plots and the music are elliptical, non-linear, and twisting.
 
There is not a single original recording on the collection. That in itself is not a problem. Often studio orchestras are able to create far cleaner recordings for less cost than possible by trying to clean up the original soundtracks from 50 year old movies. That implies that there is an actual collection of live instrumentalists who are capable of playing the instruments that would have been used on the original recordings. The “Orchestra” on this collection is apparently nothing more than a collection of inexpensive keyboards and an occasional electric bass or guitar. There is also included a mediocre rendition of the Chris Isaac song “Wicked Game”, which has to be considered the ‘best’ selection on the 3 discs of material inexpertly rendered. The sequenced keyboards have poor string emulation and nearly unlistenable wind instrument patches. The music is overtly quantized and mechanistic. It is as if someone had contracted Kraftwerk to create a collection of film noir pieces but given them the cheapest equipment available in 1995 to do the deed, perhaps after “roughing them up a little” as well.
 
It is difficult to imagine what would possess someone to record or produce the music here. It seems that nearly every decision is questionable. If this is to be considered a “tribute” it would have to be produced with skill and care. The musician or musicians are little better than able to program a midi sequencer, so it is impossible to consider this a tribute to the genre or the composers who labored for these films. Many of the later films can hardly be described as Noir; it is clearly marketed with the broadest definition of “film noir” possible in order to lure as many fans as possible into buying the discs.
 
In fact, the only decision that can be understood is the total lack of recording information or package inserts.
 
There are some recordings that never need to be made available. They can do more harm to a piece of music than never giving air to the music again. If this album gets purchased it could make listeners less likely to ever indulge in this type of recording at all. Its existence actually does a disservice to the composers and filmmakers that made these movies. Worse, it insults the fans of these films by cheapening the music of an entire film genre. It can only be hoped that this is the final offering from The Global Stage Orchestra.
 
Patrick Gary
 

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