May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Collection: FilmFour Essential Soundtracks: The Classical Collection.
Telstar TV/FilmFour TTVCD3082 2 CD [98:58]
Purchase from:  Amazon UK  Amazon USA

FilmFour broadcast here in the UK on terrestrial as well as satellite TV, is doing a magnificent job not only screening interesting and unusual films from around the world but also helping to produce new films. This double album is a reflection of the its high standards; it contains an imaginative and intelligent collection of selections that are a mix of classical source music and excerpts from the original recordings of original scores.

The classical selections are by top artists delivering often top-recommendation performances. There is Luciano Pavorotti singing "Che gelida manin" from La Bohème as used in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Handel’s Zadok the Priest used in The Madness of King George and; Solti’s reading of Bach’s St Matthew Passion Chorale as heard in Casino. There is the elegant Bach Concerto in A minor for four Harpsichords that counterbalanced so well the vicious amorous intrigues of Dangerous Liaisons; and Mozart’s "Duettino – Sull’ Aria" from The Marriage of Figaro as recorded by Karl Böhm and used in The Shawshank Redemption. Polished playing by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez music is heard as used in that marvellous comedy Brassed Off.

Amongst the many original scores there is: David Hirschfelder’s darkly dramatic Elizabeth Overture full of foreboding; Michael Nyman’s themes for The Piano and The Draughtsman’s Contract; and Howard Shore’s intense music, again shadowy and portentous, for The Silence of the Lambs; and Trevor Jones’s memorably exciting Main Title music for The Last of the Mohicans with its Indian-inflected rhythms and those persistent war drums. Gabriel Yared’s haunting theme music for The English Patient is included forever to be associated with that opening shot of the stricken plane flying across the desert. Music form Ennio Morricone’s Once Upon A Time in America and Cinema Paradiso is included, so too is the Prelude and Rooftop music from Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo.

A well-above-the-average compilation; recommended.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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