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Golden Age singers

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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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Classic FM at the Movies
CD 1
1. John WILLIAMS Superman: The Movie
2. Alan SILVESTRI Back To The Future
3. James HORNER Apollo 13
4. John WILLIAMS Star Wars
5. Ennio MORRICONE The Mission
6. Tan DUN Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
7. Nigel HESS Ladies in Lavender
8. Craig ARMSTRONG Love Actually
9. Maurice JARRE Ghost
10. Michael NYMAN The Piano
11. John BARRY Out of Africa
12. Maurice JARRE Witness
13. David ARNOLD The Stepford Wives
14. Danny ELFMAN Batman
15. John WILLIAMS Star Wars
CD 2
1. John WILLIAMS E. T.
2. John WILLIAMS Harry Potter
3. Jan KACZMAREK Finding Neverland
4. Klaus BADELT Pirates Of The Caribbean
5. John WILLIAMS Raiders Of The Lost Ark
6. Alexandre DESPLAT Girl With A Pearl Earring
7. John BARRY Dances With Wolves
8. Debbie WISEMAN Arsene Lupin
9. Hans ZIMMER Gladiator
10. George FENTON Stage Beauty
11. Patrick DOYLE Shakespeare In Love
12. Craig ARMSTRONG Romeo And Juliet
13. Rachel PORTMAN Oliver Twist
14. Maurice JARRE Dr. Zhivago
CD 3
1. Max STEINER Gone With The Wind
2. Richard ADDINSELL Dangerous Moonlight
3. John WILLIAMS Born On The 4th July
4. Samuel BARBER Platoon
5. John WILLIAMS Schlinder's List
6. John WILLIAMS Saving Private Ryan
7. Gabriel YARED The English Patient
8. Elmer BERNSTEIN The Magnificent Seven
9. Maurice JARRE Lawrence Of Arabia
10. Howard SHORE The Lord Of The Rings
11. Jerome MOROSS The Big Country
CLASSIC FM CFMCD46 [3 CDs: 65:21 + 67:33 + 57: 13]

 



The box for this set confidently declares 'featuring your favourite music from 40 of the best loved movies of all time’. If that's the case the best loved movies of all time are largely from the
Hollywood over the last thirty years. There's some concession to the films of Europe and the UK but it’s scant. The great god Hollywood still mumbles, shambles and struts about. 

The box certainly complies with the Ronseal test when it says ‘including Original Soundtrack material and re-recorded versions of music inspired by your favourite movies’. The wording is carefully chosen. In fact the only original soundtrack amongst the three discs was John Williams’ score for Born on the Fourth of July. Williams garners nine tracks across the forty offered on these three discs (four for Jarre and two for Barry). This recording of Raiders of the Lost Ark romps along, revelling in the music’s kitsch glories.

Allowing for the odious subscript that film music history pretty much began in 1970 this is an enjoyable popular collection. Along the way it serves to point up the magnificence of Varese-Sarabande's engineering team especially when they travel to Glasgow. Their Elmer Bernstein Magnificent Seven is matchless; the best recording and even better than the original soundtrack. This is astonishingly good music-making – brazen, masculine and euphoric. This piece bred a thousand great themes such as The High Chaparral but itself owes something to Martinu’s 4th symphony.

Sadly the Saving Private Ryan extract is a little soggy as is the Superman theme by comparison with the OST. On the other hand Silvestri's Back to the Future sounds glorious with stabbing Waltonian energy. Tan Dun's score for Crouching Dragon has the requisite strangeness and plenty of gruff impact. 

Barry's Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa sound languidly sumptuous just as they should. Jarre's music is lightly dancing – typically Coplandesque Americana for WitnessThe Building Of The Barn. The Stepford Wives theme is by David Arnold. Arnold seems here to be ‘doing an Elfman’. Alexandre Desplat's Girl With A Pearl Earring also pays glistening tribute to Elfman in the style of Edward Scissorhands. We also hear Arnold conducting Elfman himself in Batman. This is again a bit ‘wet’ but Paul Bateman is anything but in the fine re-recording of Star Wars Episode IV - Main Title.

John Williams, in the main theme from ET, is in luxurious form, making the perfect start to the second disc. Badelt 's theme from Pirates of the Caribbean played by Tolga Kashif and the RPO has all the requisite grunt and thud (1.40). This is irresistible toe-tapping music but then so is Zimmer's music for Gladiator, sounding startlingly like Holst's Mars. It is spectacular in the anvil blows and in the massed brass. Lara’s theme succumbs to unfeeling kitsch - it sounds simply perfunctory. Disc 2 has a higher proportion of romantic material than the other two.

Gone with the Wind represents Steiner – the sole representative of the ‘Golden Age’. But there's no Waxman, no Rózsa, no Korngold, no Herrmann, no Friedhofer. Addinsell speaks for the older British contingent – sadly no Vaughan Williams, Bliss or Rawsthorne. Barber's Adagio is used in Platoon. Here it is the sole voice for classical pieces used in the cinema.

Tony Bremner paces things adroitly in the Lawrence of Arabia overture. Serebrier is good in The Big Country with buzzing energy aplenty and then the easing stretch of that big theme; in this case a mite rushed.

Tim Lihoreau's notes are very good of their kind and are studded with gems of information and humour. Pity though that he is allergic to giving dates for the films. The documentation comes in the form of a fold-out paper insert in each slim-line case. These three cases are housed in a very sturdy card box. The only downside is that they slip out of the box far too easily.

Why are the company so coy about playing times? Nowhere is the total duration declared. As it turns out they are not exactly packed but the content is generous enough for anyone accustomed to pop CDs.

The collection is assembled from various sources licensed from Silver Screen, Sony, Varese-Sarabande, Geffen and BMG Conifer.

This is not aimed at a specialist market but across more than three hours stylishly provides an attractive and inspiring populist flavour of cinema music over the last thirty or so years.

Rob Barnett


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