Compilation: Apocalypse - Cinema Choral
Classics SILVA [74:33]
This collection could never really do any wrong
in my eyes (or ears). I'm a sucker for choral music and allowing
for a few missteps, this is a very solid compilation, performed
with aplomb by the Crouch End Festival Chorus (conducted by David
Temple) and The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted
by Nic Raine and Paul Bateman.
Let me begin by criticising the few lows that
are on offer. The title theme from The Longest Day (1962)
by Paul Anka is a typically 60s, upbeat, would-be rousing war
cry, but hasn't really aged well and its appeal is limited. But
while no fault can be found in the actual performing in that case,
I must take issue in that regard with the selection from Wojciech
Kilar's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). While I accept that
the cue chosen (entitled 'The Storm' on the original soundtrack)
is a difficult piece to translate, this interpretation just doesn't
work at all, falling a very long way short of the quirky brilliance
of the original. Too many times it degenerates into a cacophonous
shambles, particularly in the latter stages, becoming shrill and
irritating where its dissonance should have been controlled and
vivid. Putting this aside though, there are many sterling tracks
to compensate and in stark contrast, Kilar is well served by 'Vocalise'
from The Ninth Gate (1999), a very beautiful, haunting
soprano solo piece that has a slight Morricone sensibility to
it, while still retaining the composer's own uniquely stylish
and inventive stamp. Toto's extraordinary music from Dune (1984)
is nicely realised too in what is really a mini suite incorporating
several key motifs, including their stunning main theme. John
Barry's The Last Valley (1970) is represented by another
outstanding 'Main Title' theme and given a strong rendition here.
'Waxing Elizabeth' from Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) by
Bruce Broughton is another terrific track and Williams' 'Duel
of Fates' from Star Wars - The Phantom Menace (1999), also
benefits from a very solid reading. But best of all is Starman
(1984) by the late Jack Nitzsche, a very touching, emotional
theme, not because it's my favourite piece in musical terms, but
because this is a new orchestral version (originally it was created
entirely on synthesizer). This is where this kind of compilation
comes into its own, in that an existing piece has been adapted
into something fresh and vibrant.
On the strength of this I would very much like
to hear the previous two collections, 'Cinema Choral Classics'
and 'Cinema Choral Classics II'. Apart from the misfire of Bram
Stoker's Dracula, which I recommend you hear in its original
incarnation to fully appreciate its excellence, there are many
powerful selections on display here. Certainly enough to satisfy
both choral and film music fans alike.