March 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / March /


Compilation: Various
Way Out West- The Essential Western Film Music Collection 2  
soloists: Charlotte Kinder (soprano), Jason Howard (baritone), Keith Ferreira (baritone), Steve Lockwood (harmonica), Gareth Williams (additional keyboards, percussion and sound effects), Nick Watson (guitars and banjo)
  The City of Prague Philharmonic and Crouch End Festival Chorus conducted by Nic Raine * except track three, disc one The Philharmonia Orchestra * nine tracks conducted variously by Paul Bateman, Tony Bremner, Derek Wadsworth, Kenneth Alwyn
Dolby Surround and HDCD encoding
  Silva Screen FILMXCD 356   [Total: 140:08 * Disc One: 72:16 * Disc Two: 67:52]

Way Out West

Disc One

  • 01. The Hallelujah Trail - Overture - Elmer Bernstein
  • 02. The Alamo - The Green Leaves Of Summer - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 03. The Alamo - Davy Crockett - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 04. The Big Country - The Welcoming / Finale - Jerome Moross
  • 05. The Big Valley - Main Theme - George Dunning
  • 06. Blazing Saddles - Blazing Saddles - John Morris
  • 07. Bonanza - Main Theme - Ray Evans & Jay Livingston
  • 08. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid - Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head - Burt Bacharach & Hal David
  • 09. The Comancheros - Mcbain/Main Title - Elmer Bernstein
  • 10. Duel In The Sun - Main Title/Legend/Orizaba - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 11. A Fistful Of Dynamite - Duck You Sucker - Ennio Morricone
  • 12. For A Few Dollars More - Main Theme - Ennio Morricone
  • 13. Friendly Persuasion - Thee I Love - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 14. Giant - Main Theme - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 15. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Main Theme - Ennio Morricone
  • 16. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - The Ecstasy Of Gold - Ennio Morricone
  • 17. Gunfight At The O.K Corral - Suite - Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington
  • 18. Hang 'em High - Main Theme - Dominic Frontiere
  • 19. The Hanging Tree - Main Title - Max Steiner
Disc Two
  • 01. High Chaparral - Main Theme - David Rose
  • 02. How The West Was Won - Prelude / The Land - Alfred Newman & Jay Darby
  • 03. High Noon - Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin' - Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington
  • 04. The Jayhawkers - The Lynching / Two Brothers / The Jayhawkers - Jerome Moross
  • 05. The Lone Ranger - William Tell Overture: Finale - Rossini
  • 06. Nevada Smith - Main Title - Alfred Newman
  • 07. Old Gringo - Main Themes - Lee Holdridge
  • 08. Once Upon A Time in the West - Man with the Harmonica - Ennio Morricone
  • 09. One-Eyed Jacks - Main Title - Hugo Friedhofer
  • 10. The Proud Rebel - Main Titles - Jerome Moross
  • 11: The Quick And The Dead - End Titles - Alan Silvestri
  • 12. Quigley Down Under - End Titles - Basil Poledouris
  • 13. Rio Bravo - Rio Bravo / De Guella - Dimitri Tiomkin & Paul Francis Webster
  • 14. The Scalphunters - Main Title - Elmer Bernstein
  • 15. Shane - Main Theme: The Call Of The Faraway Hills - Victor Young
  • 16. The Shootist - Main Title - Elmer Bernstein
  • 17. The Unforgiven - The Need For Love - Dimitri Tiomkin
  • 18. Viva Zapata - Gathering Forces - Alex North
  • 19. The Virginian - Main Theme - Percy Faith

The title of this release is a contraction in terms. Music that wasn't included on the predecessor, The Essential Western Film Music collection, by definition can not be "essential". Pedantry aside, this is a good collection of slightly less than essential Western film music, some newly recorded, some drawn from previous Silva Screen releases and in certain cases already well recycled on other compilations from the label. One can quibble with certain things - why include a pastiche song from Blazing Saddles (John Morris sending up ballads from such movies as High Noon and Gunfight at the OK Corral) or the inappropriate but popular song from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid yet ignore the modern master of the genre completely? Who? Bruce Broughton of course. Why is there nothing here from Silverado, or more importantly Tombstone - I will give no ground to anyone in arguing this is the most essential Western score since Once Upon A Time in the West. Hell, pardner, alongside The Big Country and The Magnificent Seven its one of the three greatest traditional Western scores ever written. More controversially still, what are TV themes doing on a collection of film music? Music from Bonanza, High Chaparral and The Virginian have no place here.

Of the music that truly deserves a place there is a lot of Dimitri Tiomkin, which in its own way is as difficult to capture in a re-recording as is the sound of Ennio Morricone's famed Spaghetti Western scores. The Prague Philharmonic do Tiomkin proud, his rousing music from Duel in the Sun shinning with excitement. Likewise, while Morricone purists will always wince at any reinterpretation of the master's unique orchestrations, cues from For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly come across well. The latter's "Main Title" may not have the sheer spine tingling power of the original but soprano Charlotte Kinder does an excellent job of reproducing the wordless female vocals of "The Ecstasy of Gold". Jason Howard tackles not only the Blazing Saddles spoof, but also the songs it parodies, and while his voice has a rather different character to Frankie Lane his interpretations work as orchestral ballads in their own right. Gunfight at the OK Corral is nevertheless absolutely destroyed by the addition of gunfire sound effects in the action music. The outcome is cheap and tacky, but then Tiomkin's music for the shootout isn't in the same league as Broughton's scoring of the same event in Tombstone.

Elsewhere in the collection there is a lot of good music by such luminaries as Elmer Bernstein, Max Steiner and Jerome Moross, and while I have been rather critical this collection does represent excellent value, offering a lot of otherwise hard to find or unobtainable themes and suites. It may be churlish to nitpick, but as a Western fan I find one of my favourite genres all but extinct these days and would prefer such tributes to its glory days to be out-and-out triumphs rather than marred however slightly by parody, pop, sound effects and TV music. Silva Screen too are letting standards slip in other ways, cutting corners by omitting any booklet notes on the films or music. The cover painting by Gary Carter is wonderfully evocative and looks especially fine on the card slipcase. You can see more at http://www.wildwestart.com/carter/carter.html It's well worth a look.

Gary S Dalkin

****

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