KORNGOLD (1897-1957) The Film Music of Erich Korngold - Volume 2 The Sea Hawk - Suite from the film score (ed.
Rumon Gamba) [76:57]
Chamber Choir (male voices)
BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba
rec. Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 4-5 January
2007. DDD CHANDOS
7 BBC Manchester, just down the road from the Oxford Road
railway station, was an acoustic success from the start.
I recall those early broadcasts in the 1980s and they were
every bit as sumptuous and vivid as this.
Sea Hawk was Korngold's last swashbuckler. Its
orchestration was done with a team comprising by Hugo Friedhofer,
Milan Roder, Simon
Bucharoff and Ray Heindorf working under Korngold's close
marks a bit of a departure for Rumon Gamba who has become
something of a film music specialist. In the interests of
musical continuity he has moved away from tens of often minutely
short segments to sequencing and organising the music in
a way designed to give greater musical logic and continuity.
Gamba can now offer new perspectives on the music. While
some purists may be pursing their lips others will welcome
the musical intelligence that makes the music intrinsically
more of a pleasure to listen to.
Gamba has created something of a ‘Sea Hawk symphony’ in
six movements each segment of each movement is separately
tracked and the titles preserved.
is the very welcome sequel to the first Gamba Chandos Korngold
collection which presented the score to The Sea Wolf (CHAN10336
- see review)
- not a pirate swashbuckler at all - more a cross between ‘Captains
Courageous’ and ‘Moby Dick’. It also had music from The
Adventures of Robin Hood.
Carroll in his note points out that the film runs for 127
minutes of which 106 minutes are scored. 75+ of those minutes
are here. We are assured however that this covers most of
the major themes and sequences.
turmoil of Battle and Duel in Part I gives
way to a victory theme underpinning the plunging music of
the title sequence. That torrential opening is grand indeed.
With a dozen main themes at play throughout the six movements
(or parts) it is clear that, rather like the young Sibelius,
Korngold struggled to keep his tumultuous creativity under
control. In Love scene in the boat at tr. 10 there
is one theme where the horn-call for The Vikings rings
out clearly - had Nascimbene heard it here? The music is
varied including plenty of regal ragamuffinery but juxtaposing
it with English pastoral, archetypal lush romance and moonlit
idyll – for the last listen to the Rose Garden with
its filigree of solo violin, celesta and harp. Time after
time one is struck by Korngold's inventiveness: Jungle
Orchid (tr. 14) is heavy with a delicious tension, jungle
atmosphere and tropic luxuriance. This is also encountered
in In the Jungle. Even so it is a deep and reviving
draught of renewal and ozone when we get to the yearning
plunge of The Ocean (tr. 20). Knife Fight sounds
a little like Walton's con malizia in the First Symphony.
The swell and ebb of the great sea theme in tr. 30 smells
of the green and blue ocean and radiates romance - a great
decisions by Chandos are as usual unerring. The old doubloon
gold and crimson of the cover is spot-on. There are stills,
photos of studio orchestral sessions from the 1930s and original
cinema poster repros. Brendon Carroll's classy essay is printed
black on white on some pages and white on black on others.
It is completely readable - a shame that it is necessary
to praise this sort of touch but it's not be taken for granted
in today's design-obsessed – text-averse image market. The
essay is also in French and German translation.
Detailed Tracklisting Part I [22:04]
1 Main Title 1:59
2 Spain 3:21
3 Slaves 1:25
4 Big Drum 1:15
5 The Albatross 1:54
6 Battle 6:12
7 Duel 0:36
8 Slaves' Release 5:21
Part II [15:11]
9 Night Banquet 2:28
10 Love Scene on the Boat
11 Throne Room 2:13
12 Exit 2:01
13 Elizabeth and Thorpe
14 Rose Garden 4:12
Part IV [10:52]
15 Jungle Orchid/Thorpe's
Men Hiding 0:44
16 Gold Caravan 1:36
17 Attack 0:18
18 Fight 2:16
19 In the Jungle 1:27
20 Ocean/The Hanging Man
Part V [15:11]
21 The Galley 2:12
22 Spanish Boat 2:06
23 Rebellion/Along the Coast
of Cadiz 2:22
24 The Slaves Liberate Themselves/The
25 The Fight with the Guard
26 Knife Fight 0:52
27 Happy Sailing 1:26
Part VI [9:02]
28 Thorpe Enters into Castle
29 Duel/Thorpe Fights/Elizabeth
30 Finale/End Title 3:28
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