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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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The Essential Hollywood
CD 1:
John WILLIAMS
Star Wars: Main Title [5:44]
London Symphony Orchestra/John Williams
Max STEINER/Alfred NEWMAN

Gone With the Wind: “Selznick International Fanfare”; Main Title: Dixie; Mammy; Tara; Rhett [3:04]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
Maurice JARRE
Doctor Zhivago: Prelude and Laura’s Theme [5:15]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Maurice Jarre
David RAKSIN

Laura: Main Theme [5:52]
New Philharmonic Orchestra/David Raskin
Bernard HERRMANN

Psycho: Prelude; The Murder; Finale [4:57]
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Esa-Pekka Salonen
Maurice JARRE

Lawrence of Arabia: Overture (Part II) [4:26]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Maurice Jarre
Elmer BERNSTEIN

The Magnificent Seven: Main Title and Calavera’s Visit [3:37]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Elmer Bernstein
John WILLIAMS

E.T. – The Extraterrestrial: Flying Theme [3:42]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/John Williams
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Robin Hood and His Merry Men [4:28]
London Symphony Orchestra/John Williams
John WILLIAMS

Jaws: Main Theme [2:57]
London Symphony Orchestra/John Williams
Bernard HERRMANN
Vertigo: Scene d’Amour [6:49]
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen
Nina ROTA
The Godfather Part II: End Title [4:11]
Filarmonica delta Scala/Riccardo Muti CD: 2
Alfred NEWMAN
20th Century Fox Fanfare and “Street Scene” (from How to Marry a Millionaire) [4:22]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
Max STEINER

Casablanca: Main Title; The Immigrants; Morocco; “Sam, I thought I told you never to play . . .”; As Time Goes By; Flashback; Rick Remembers Paris; Love Scene; The Airport; Major Strasser’s Death; “The beginning of a beautiful friendship” [8:36]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
Monty NORMAN

Dr. No: The James Bond Theme [2:53]
London Symphony Orchestra/John Barry
Ennio MORRICONE

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Titles [3:04]
Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Ennio Morricone
John WILLIAMS

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Dialogue [3:28]
Boston Pops Orchestra/John Williams
Max STEINER

King Kong: The Forgotten Island; Natives; Sacrificial Dance; the Gate of King Kong; Kong in New York  [7:16]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
Dimitri TIOMKIN

High Noon: Theme [5:26]
Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra/Dimitri Tiomkin
Franz WAXMAN

Sunset Boulevard: Main Title; Norma Desmond; The Studio Stroll; The Comeback; Norma as Salome  [7:44]
National Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Gerhardt
Henry MANCINI

The Pink Panther: Theme [2:36]
Henri Mancini and His Orchestra
Miklos ROZSA

Ben-Hur: Parade of the Charioteers  [3:39]
Boston Pops Orchestra/Arthur Fiedler
Henry MANCINI

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Moon River [2:36]
Henry Mancini and his Orchestra
Bernard HERRMANN

Citizen Kane: Rosebud; Finale [2:41]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD

King’s Row: Main Title  [1:39]
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt
rec. 1970s-1990s. collection 2006 ADD, DDD
SONY CLASSICAL 82876 77086 2 [54:50 + 47:24]


 

One could hardly imagine a better collection of musical snippets from some of the greatest movies ever to come out of Hollywood. This disc has the added benefit of excellent transcription from some original analog recordings into the digital medium of the 21st century. Oddly, the one piece here that seems quaintly anachronistic is David Raksin’s “Main Theme” from Laura from 1941 wherein the languorous muted trombone - the soloist is not credited - evokes not only our memories of the movie, but the entire era, behind us now these sixty-three years. The physical sound, however, is luscious and full.

In fact, one finds oneself caught up in the visual imagery each movie theme evokes, and it takes a while to come back around to focusing on the music as music, realizing just how well written some of these pieces really are. The favorites by John Williams are here: the themes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and E.T. – The Extraterrestrial. Also here is one of the best from any movie ever, Elmer Bernstein’s theme from The Magnificent Seven. Most of this music is conducted by the original composers, though Charles Gerhardt apparently was the conductor of choice when the original music was recorded.

Williams, Mancini and Rota (The Godfather Part II) are all too familiar, as, too, the “James Bond Theme” from Dr. No, by Monty Norman.  But what I found more delightful here was the inclusion of my Bernard Herrmann favorites, the themes from Psycho and Vertigo. Both movies required different musical settings and Herrmann delivers uniquely to each, particularly the shrill violin screech in the “Finale” of Psycho. Sounds of this kind are usually relegated to mere effects, rarely incorporated in a soundtrack. Yet this music is truly epic. What would Lawrence of Arabia be without Maurice Jarre’s opening theme so richly evocative of the desert? The same is true for Doctor Zhivago with “Lara’s Theme” on the balalaika.

Most of the pieces here are short and to the point — rarely longer than three minutes —  performed by their original orchestras and conductors. However, there are three mini-suites here, each about eight minutes long: the music from Casablanca and King Kong (both by Max Steiner) and Franz Waxman’s music from Sunset Boulevard. Only the music from King Kong seems a bit lacking. There aren’t any really catchy themes or specific moods created. And, too, the original movie goes back to 1933 and probably won’t resonate that much with listeners who’ve lived past two significant remakes and may never have seen the original film.

Still, these two discs are well worth your money. Only one or two pieces won’t be familiar to you. The others, of course, will be — and several of them will break your heart . . . as they did when we first heard them in the theater. The music from Vertigo still slays me.

Paul Cook


 

 



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