August 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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The Longest Day The Ultimate World War Movie Theme Collection  
Various
  The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crouch end Festival Chorus
The Philharmonia Orchestra
The Royal Ballet Sinfonia
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra
Music conducted by Nic Raine, Kenneth Alwyn and Paul Bateman
  Available On: Prime Time (Silva Screen) TVPMCD 812
Running Time: 4 CDs CD1:56:27; CD2: 62:16; CD 3: 63:33 and CD4 62:04
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longest day

CD1 comprises music from:-

  • Maurice Jarre/Paul Anka - The Longest Day (1962)
  • Gerard Schurmann Attack on the Iron Coast (1968)
  • Michael Kamen Band of Brothers (2001)
  • Ron Goodwin Battle of Britain (1969)
  • Benjamin Frankel The Battle of the Bulge (1965)
  • Jerry Goldsmith - The Blue Max (1966)
  • Klaus Doldinger Das Boot (1981)
  • Elmer Bernstein - The Bridge at Remagen (1969)
  • Kenneth J. Alford - Colonel Bogey from The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • John Addison A Bridge Too Far (1977)
  • Max Steiner The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  • Alan Rawsthorne The Captive Heart (1946)
  • Max Steiner Casablanca (1942)

CD2 comprises music from:-

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams - Coastal Command (1942)
  • Alan Rawsthorne - The Cruel Sea (1953)
  • Eric Coates The Dam Busters (1954)
  • Alfred Newman - The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
  • Lalo Schifrin The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
  • John Williams Empire of the Sun (1987)
  • Gabriel Yared The English Patient (1996)
  • Gerald Fried Fear and Desire (1953)
  • Ron Goodwin Force Ten From Navarone (1978)
  • Tomaso Albinoni [source music Adagio for Strings] Gallipoli ( 1981)
  • Elmer Bernstein - The Great Escape (1963)
  • Dimitri Tiomkin The Guns of Navarone (1961)

CD3 comprises music from:-

  • John Barry Hanover Street (1979)
  • David Shire - The Hindenburg (1975)
  • Jerry Goldsmith - In Harm's Way (1965)
  • Maurice Jarre Is Paris Burning? (1966)
  • John Barry King Rat (1965)
  • Maurice Jarre Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Hugo Friedhofer - Lifeboat (1944)
  • Jerry Goldsmith MacArthur (1977)
  • Jerry Goldsmith Patton: Lust for Glory (1970)
  • Sir Arnold Bax Malta G.C. (1942)
  • Ryuchi Sajkamoto Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983)
  • John Williams Midway (1976)
  • Jerome Moross The Mountain Road (1960)
  • John Williams 1941 (1979)

CD 4 comprises music from:-

  • Bernard Herrmann The Naked and the Dead (1958)
  • Maurice Jarre The Night of the Generals (1967)
  • Antonin Dvorak - (source music) Largo from the New World Symphony
  • Paradise Road (1997)
  • Gerald Fried Paths of Glory (1957)
  • Hans Zimmer Pearl Harbour (2001)
  • John Williams Saving Private Ryan (1996)
  • John Williams Schindler's List (1993)
  • Max Steiner Sergeant York 1941
  • Jerome Moross The Sharkfighters (1956)
  • Clifton Parker Sink the Bismark (1960)
  • Ron Goodwin 633 Squadron (1964)
  • Ron Goodwin Where Eagles Dare (1969)
  • Carl Davis The World at War (1973)
  • Reprise The Longest Day

This compilation appears somewhat belatedly after the 60th anniversary of the D-Day commemorations hence, presumably, the title, The Longest Day. The label, Prime Time, is a Silva Screen brand name, making this a rather sneakily clever repackaging-of-old-material ploy. Enthusiasts are advised to examine the content carefully to see how many tracks duplicate material already in their collections. Nevertheless, four CDs for the price of one represents a lot of music for the money, even if over four hours of war film music leaves one more shaken than stirred.

From Silva's (and Cloud Nine's) huge backlog library the compilation includes material recorded by the regular stalwarts The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crouch end Festival Chorus, plus the Philharmonia, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra, all conducted by various conductors including Nic Raine, Kenneth Alwyn and Paul Bateman.

Most performances are good, some very good. Most of the music is original rather than source music. Amongst the latter there is a rather painful arrangement for wordless voices of Antonin Dvorak's Largo from his New World Symphony, as utilised in Paradise Road (1997). Scores from a number of British composers better known for their classical music are included: Vaughan Williams (Coastal Command), Bax (Malta GC) Frankel (Battle of the Bulge) and Eric Coates (The Dam Busters), most prominent; but why wasn't the best of all British 'war' film scores not included i.e. Arthus Bliss's Things to Come?

Enthusiasts will have their own favourites. From the swaggering, my favourites: Ron Goodwin's 'Luftwaffe March' from Battle of Britain and his Main Title music from Where Eagles Dare, John Addison's March from A Bridge Too Far, Max Steiner's March from The Caine Mutiny, Tiomkin's The Guns of Navarone music and Jerry Goldsmith's Patton music. I welcomed some unusual content: Max Steiner's Sergeant York Overture that cleverly compresses such a lot of varied music into six minutes and Hugo Friedhofer's powerful music for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat, brilliantly conveying a sense of claustrophobia and mounting, tense suspicion and hysteria. In less stressful mood, I enjoyed Yared's atmospheric and romantic music for The English Patient, and John Williams's 'Exsultate Justi' from Empire of the Sun.

The 8-page booklet, unlike most Silva productions, is very skimpy providing no description of the films only terse listings of film, year of production, composer's name, stars and director.

Over four hours of war film music and a generally pleasing compilation. Prospective purchasers are advised, however, to check for duplications in their Silva Screen records collection.

Ian Lace

***(*) 31/2

Gary Dalkin adds:- To answer a question Ian raises, presumably Bliss' Things to Come wasn't included because the subtitle of this anthology is "The Ultimate World War Movie Theme Collection" and Silva interpreted that literally to cover only the two "official" World Wars. Nevertheless, Things to Come depicts a fictional WWII beginning in 1940 (the film was made in 1936) and it wouldn't have been stretching too fine a point to feature some of the music.

Elsewhere one can argue over individual inclusions and omissions (such as the validity of including classical pieces used in films, or music written for television series), but as Ian says, there is a lot of fine music here and it would be churlish to nitpick at such a bargain price. Even those with extensive collections will find this release plugs a few gaps, while those just beginning a film music collection will find this a useful building block and point for further exploration of the excellent scoring to be found in several decades of war movies.

Gary Dalkin

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