Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
September 1999 Film Music CD
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EDITORS CHOICE September (2) 1999
Luis BACALOV The Love Letter OST RCA Victor 09026 63521 2 [43:56]
This score is positively brilliant and enchanting.
Now, I usually ignore the directors' prattlings that appear on so many album booklets but in this case, Peter Ho-Sun Chan's words hit the nail on the head. He says -
"At first the impulse to use tango as the theme of the movie was a tough one to rationalise. How does one pair the exotic, Latin sound and the out-of-control passion of tango with the subdued serenity of an American, New England coastal town? But I've always believed that when it comes to love, there are no cultural boundaries. That's why we can make a movie scripted by a New Yorker, directed by a Chinese from Hong Kong and scored by an Italian composer who is originally from Argentina.
The Maestro, Luis Bacalov's music is so luxurious, almost sinful, almost intoxiacting, that upon hearing it, one can barely walk in a straight line. With music, he describes falling in love the way Byron described it with words "
- some of Peter's remarks might be a bit fanciful but broadly speaking he is quite right.
Bacalov takes the tango as his starting point and weaves a tapestry of musical pictures that underline the event and emotions of the story. The opening cue 'You Graze My heart' begins tenderly and romantically with fragile material for mandolin and piano, before the music develops into a gentle tango that is both wistful and witty. It also has a subtle 'pop' seam. This cue and the following 'Mystery and Love letters' are thoroughly charming. Bacalov spins an aura of magic and mystery while creating a heart-warming, front-porch, small-town-America atmosphere. (He also subtly alludes to the popular Italian film music style of Cinema Paradiso.) Here I must interject and say that much of the success of the recording of this score must be attributed to the immaculate and expressive playing of the Orchestra di Roma and the featured players.
The mandolin and accordion lead in the lovely romantic 'The Postcard (I want to spend my life with you).' From this point, we are treated to a series of variations on the tango. The inevitable and admonitory 'beware' response to the dreams of 'The Postcard' comes with the cynical murmurings of the bassoon in 'You can't love a letter' with colour added from drums, fluttery flutes and cautioning violins. But then we have a 'wonder-of-falling-in-love' Tango in 'The Love Letter (First Time)' with witty asides from flute and bassoon while love's innocence is eloquently expressed by the piano. 'Even an orange can be dangerous' is intrigue and cartoon capers - a sort of Tom and Jerry Tango. This cue is very imaginative and very amusing with some extraordinary orchestration. 'The Picnic' is romantic Tango with violin and mandolin leading. Contorted violin figures certainly give the impression of 'Going crazy' and 'Tango Letter' is jazz/swing orientated Tango. That Italian film music influence pervades the slow dreamily romantic 'Fly, love letter, fly.'
Two pieces of source music are featured: Chet Baker performing 'I've never been in love before,' and Louis Armstrong, 'I'm in the mood for love.'
The album is rounded off with a neat (in all senses of the word) solo piano performance by the composer of the Love Letter theme.
For the unashamed romantic this is absolutely fabulous - totally delicious
Elmer BERNSTEIN The Deep End of the Ocean Music from the film conducted by the composer MILAN 35873-2 [30:09]
I can do no better than begin my review of this album by quoting the composer's notes in the CD's booklet:-
"Deep End of the Ocean is a film about a family being held in a very delicate balance after the abduction of their youngest son. This causes a dysfunctional relationship between husband and wife and mother and the remaining two children.
"Because the central character in this film is an absent child, much of the music and its instrumentation suggests child-like memories. There is a great presence of harps, bells and musical sounds which conjure up images of childhood. Although there is a general and, in my opinion, regrettable trend toward synthesised music, such sounds would be inappropriate in a film which is about people and people's anguish. Therefore, the orchestration leans on musical sounds we associate with people rather than machines. Because of the fact that there is a delicate balance in the relationships, the score is subtle and unobtrusive in an effort to support rather than disturb that balance."
I found that I was writing practically all those words on my notepad as I was listening to the music, and before I read Elmer Bernstein's notes (honest!) which only goes to show how well his music communicates. This music is fragile, vulnerable, nostalgic as well as being lively and exuberant - all the feelings we associate with childhood. In a way Bernstein is revisiting his To Kill A Mocking Bird score. It is closely related in many ways. There is the same darkness and sense of hidden threat and isolation - the music is sometimes disturbing, abrupt and antagonistic. Sometimes it seems isolated and remote. But there is much more which sets it apart as a considerable score in its own right. It is, above all, melodic and captivating. I would mention one track 'Home Again' in which a guitar is prominent in its opening pages. You are immediately struck by the music's close resemblance to Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. This particular cue has a haunting quality and the music passes through some varied and interesting colorings suggesting a wide variety of moods and situations.
This is Elmer Bernstein in deeply personal mode. He delivers a memorable score
Jonathan GOLDSMITH Such A Long Journey Unforscene Music 6 2428 40008 2 4 [40:18]
If Goldsmith (no known relation !) concocted this score with no prior experience with Indian instrumentation or styles, the guy's a genius. Even if he did - this is still something pretty special, and light years away from anything else you'll have listened to in film music in many years.
The credited instruments are: esraj, sitar, tamboura, surmundal, cello, bansuri flutes, clarinet, and tabla. What this makes for is a night in with an up-market Indian restaurant ensemble. Although phrases re-appear to suggest linking motifs, you're hard pressed to identify what might be specific themes. Which is a most refreshing change in a 40 minute stretch.
Goldsmith plays keyboards as orchestral sample overlays, so there are the occasional traditional Western moments ("The Ledger"). Most of all, you'll be left with having had a very distinct new flavour.
Carter BURWELL The General's Daughter MILAN 73138 35885-2 [50:22]
Like the director, let's take this as a score in two parts. One concern is to not be area specific. It's largely set in the American deep South, and he really wished to skip the good ol' slide guitar cliché. It's a stretch, but his alternate take goes for its own sub-category division. He got field worker songs from the '30s and '40s sampled and mixed with contemporary rhythms. For the result made into a song opening and closing album and film - "She Began To Lie" - it's a weird feeling of Portishead style vocals and dance music.
The sourced music continues in this "Gothic South" style through a couple more mixes. Then there's a very poor choice of using both "Amazing Grace" and "O Fortuna." Will they never stop killing these poor pieces with over-use ?
Part two of the director's pre-determined bid for uniqueness was to get Burwell to fuse 2 of his recent sounds. That of Fargo and Conspiracy Theory. No prises then for working out what the resultant score sounds just like ! There is a nice poignant theme introduced in "Exercise In Darkness" - just as requested. There is plenty of jazzy upbeatness to the drama ("The Conspiracy") - also as requested.
Maybe sometimes getting what you asked for doesn't get you what you necessarily wanted...
George FENTON A Destiny of Her Own OST RESTLESS 74321 658692 [67:12]
A Destiny of Her Own tells the story of Veronica Franco, a celebrated poet who was also a prostitute in 16th Century Venice. With a background of warfare and pestilence the film covers a lot of contradictory ground and therefore the producers required Fenton to deliver a score that would hold a precarious balance between these many disparate elements. George Fenton, was therefore an ideal choice - for he is a practised and magical musical juggler. Remember his opening titles music for White Palace? The Mozart piano concerto type music for the stiff James Spader character segueing into and balancing the jazz treatment of the same theme to suggest the more street-wise and older waitress, Susan Sarandon?
Fenton writes a score which is only partially 16th century in spirit. There are pastiches of courtly dances but the music is for a modern orchestra (with a lute/mandolin added occasionally for period colour). The style is late Romantic with a seasoning of neo-classical. There is tender, dreamily romantic and poignant music for Veronica's love interest. In contrast, there is darker music of intrigue, war and tragedy. Two of the most impressive cues are 'First Poetry Duel' and 'Second Poetry Duel'
'First Poetry Duel' begins hesitantly and insecurely but gradually the music gains a swagger that indicates the poet's growing confidence and ultimate triumph. 'Second Poetry Duel' has lots of Italian colour and exuberance - and buffoonery - until the music suddenly clouds over, cloaked with intrigue and suggestive of something far more dangerous.
I wish I could be really enthusiastic about this score. I am sure it does its job very well but it is all a bit bland. I have to say that I was reminded of a recent comment by someone on one of the film music web site discussion groups. He bewailed that the magic that was the film music of the Golden Age of Hollywood is no longer. I thought of this comment when I listened to the cue 'The Plague' and remembered David Raksin's score for Forever Amber and his brilliant and chilling evocation of the Plague of (17th Century) London. Fenton's music here is good but it does not reach Raksin's inspiration. A nice entertaining score
Craig ARMSTRONG Best Laid Plans OST VIRGIN CDVUS157 7243 8 47912 2 3 [56:12]
Skipping past the unfortunate collection of songs (performed by Neneh Cherry, Mazzy Star, Patsy Cline, Massive Attack, Eagle Eye Cherry, and Gomez; are 'songtracks' a social requirement now?) leaves approximately 19 minutes of a score with interesting moments, though not much else.
Craig Armstrong's score is emotionally effective, but rather like a scattershot hybrid of Christopher Young's "Judicial Consent" (which itself essentially improved upon John Williams' "Presumed Innocent") and an exceedingly unassertive pop mentality. Particularly dull is the cue 'Father and Son,' its clichéd synthesized doodlings and percussion hits doing absolutely nothing worthwhile, comparing quite unfavorably to the more dynamic tracks. Placing style over substance is a common problem, yet the infrequent reverse is nearly as irritating. Here, the score provides substance utterly devoid of style.
The soundtrack's greatest advantage is the 'Lissa' theme, a melody that owes something to Danny Elfman's main title theme in "To Die For," but holds its own and ultimately follows a disparate path. Since it acts as a solid foundation for the score, it works well to counterbalance the less thrilling sections. The themes are a bit of a treat, actually (of course, the mere presence of recognizable motifs is a gratifying change... from certain contemporary soundtracks).
The orchestrations, principally for strings, are neither elegant nor innovative, but have a fair amount of passionate energy. The title track is a fine example, as are pieces of the 'Lissa Montage.' There is also an excellent piano solo as part of the 'End Titles' track, though regrettably brief. Alas, the overall assessment of the score is that it is average, perhaps slightly above average were I in a state of sympathetic depression.
YANNI Steal the Sky Music from the film RHINO R2 75668 [44:03]
I have to confess that before I was sent this CD to review I knew nothing of Yanni beyond his name. Perhaps therefore an introduction is in order, though it may be that I alone am in ignorance, for the publicity material which came with the CD says that a release by Yanni is the third best selling videocassette title ever. I suspect that this means within the sub-category of music video in the USA, but even so, a considerable popularity is evidenced. Yanni is, like Vangelis, a Greek musician who makes albums of electronic music and sometimes scores films. According to the brief but useful insert notes by album producer Ford A. Thaxton, Yanni has also scored Frank Nitti: The Enforcer, Heart of Midnight, I'll Take Romance and Children of the Bride.
Steal the Sky was a 1988 Home Box Office TV movie starring Mariel Hemingway and Ben Cross. Generally well regarded, it tells a story of love and espionage during the Six Day War. The title cue opens with atmospheric sweeps of synthesiser, before introducing a relentless pounding militaristic beat and electronic horn calls. Exciting it is too, just the sort of thing Jerry Goldsmith might have done to liven-up Executive Decision. A more Arabic flavour is introduced in later tracks, while the cimbalom, so favoured by John Barry, adds a welcome touch of acoustic warmth. The second track, 'Fountain/Life is Serious' seems to predate Eduard Artemyev's gorgeous ethnic sound for Urga, while an accordion in track three takes us into Dr Zhivago territory. The mood becomes more suspenseful with several pieces involving the stealing of a jet plane, and more military style action of a rather relentless and percussive character. It all leads to a weak, would-be triumphant climax in the vastly overlong 'Munir Lands the Plane'. The cimbalom returns for the sad, star-crossed lovers 'Finale', before more action music takes us to before a bonus track, a version of The Beatle's Nowhere Man, played by an uncredited Arab ensemble and used in the film as source music.
There are several problems with this album. The first and most obvious is that the music is really not very good. The first two tracks are the most enjoyable, after which the disc rapidly becomes tiresome. However, this is not entirely due to the repetitive and undeveloped nature of the music, but rather more a result of the sound. The synthesisers, circa 1988, are harsh, thin and lacking in depth, harmonics or real sense of musical presence. However, given that Vangelis was producing far richer electronic soundscapes over a decade before, it may be that the original recording simply wasn't very good. Unfortunately, whatever the recording, the range of sounds Yanni employs is also very limited, making it somewhat ironic that in the notes he tells us, regarding the development of the synthesiser, "We are in an era of the evolution of sound. Like a painter who traditionally had 100 colors on his palette and now has 1000, the array of musical sounds one can produce is mind-boggling."
Because one makes unconscious mental compensations, it really only struck me when the entirely acoustic bonus track arrived, quite how bad the sound until that point had been. The Arab ensemble sounds fresh and alive, revealing how restricted the electronic tracks are in comparison. It is as if, immediately an oppressive weight has been removed from the ears, and one, metaphorically sighs with relief at the new-found clarity and dynamic, with real instruments being allowed to 'breath' in musical space. Going back to the electronic tracks, the sound really does reveal itself to be remarkably poor for a late 1980's recording. Clearly Mr Thaxton is aware of the problem, for a note (which one can only read after purchasing the disc, it being hidden within the folds of the insert sheet) reads 'This album has been digitally remastered from the best possible analog source material. Every effort has been made to minimize noise and the distortion inherent in the source material. ' I'm sure this is the case, but with the additional problem of micro-second drop-outs, listening to this album becomes a chore.
Given the problems with the recording and the lack of any really outstanding music material to encourage perseverance, I can only really recommend the disc to Yanni completists. General buyers would probably be better served if the first two tracks were to find their way onto a broader ranging compilation of the composer's work.
Gary S. Dalkin
John DEBNEY Dick Promotional Album [26:49]
This album should be released commercially. It is far too good to be restricted to promotional-album backwaters. I was surprised when I received the other Dick album to discover, from the booklet listings, that John Debney had written the original music. Yet, not one note of his score was included on that disc (it comprised entirely 'pop' music, automatically disqualifying it from being reviewed on this site; so it is now pleasing my granddaughter).
Clearly the film (not yet arrived in the UK) is a satire on Watergate and 'Tricky- Dicky' Nixon. Debney has written an 'easy-listening' score that really stands on its own as a first class entertainment. It parodies many of the musical styles of the period and subtly lampoons numerous movies, their heroes and their associated music.
After 'Watergate Break-in' with Latin rhythm-based, stealthy music tinged with an air of buffoonery indicating Nixon's men's incompetence (?), we have the sparkling 'Skipping through Town.' This is a lively, swingy/smoochy number with vocals that remind those of us old enough to remember, of the Mike Sammes Singers. Through the score there are subtle reminders of The Man From Uncle - type music, and the James Bond theme. High-pitched string figures are reminiscent of John Barry's themes and Bernard Herrmann's Psycho music. Thinking of Herrmann, I also thought I noticed subtle references to Vertigo especially in 'The New Boyfriend.' There is much to enjoy here. 'Loungy-Dick' is a smooth, ever-so laid back jazzy number - a sort of horse trot with a horse you can't entirely trust! 'Lip Gloss Intrigue' is just that - dark-tinged fun! 'Dreams of Dick' is dreamily romantic with those little fairy bells showering their rather over-worked magic over the pillows.
An album that I will certainly be revisiting.
and more from Helen San
After Debney's sensational Inspector Gadget, Dick is disappointing. The contrast is intriguing because both films are comedies, and both rely heavily on clichés for humor and satire. However, clichés are funny things. When they work, they can make a classic. When they don't, the scores sound insipid and predictable. Inspector Gadget works, and Dick never really catches on.
Speculating from the tracks on this album, it seems as if Debney wasn't given much to work with here. First, he appears to have been asked to simply provide filler cues, short tidbits of background music. Many of the tracks are under a minute long, and only the first track is over two minutes in length. Second, the songs and songtrack are the main attraction in this project. The score feels like something that wasn't given too much priority in the production of the movie.
Nevertheless, the score is not completely flat. One track that does stand out is "High School Band," a short-lived melody that actually has some kick to it. Debney's music has its characteristic twinkle and gleam. What is missing is the long form of a score, a main theme and developments that usually accompanies a feature picture. The closest thing to a motif is "Skipping Through Town," a post-hippie 70's no-brainer with "dabba-dabba da" vocals singing barefoot and carefree. There is a hint of it in "Arlene is Heartbroken" and "I Thought You Were Cute," and a reprise in the last track. Otherwise it is like the rest of the music, one cue for one scene. Debney does employ some stylistic consistency though. The score is permeated with the flavor of a cheesy 70's lounges and spy spoofs. Maybe it is because part of the 70's sounds emotionally sterile (what with the its nostalgic wholesomeness and breezy detachment), but the flavor is rather bland. The result is a score with good craftsmanship and great sound that actually listens like the background music that it is.
If you had to choose, get Inspector Gadget while you can. The score to Dick is probably best savored in the movie.
We are grateful to Helen San (www.cinemusic.net) for giving us permission to include this review which is currently appearing on her Film Music site.
Collection: Alfred Hitchcock - A Bernard HERRMANN film score tribute MILAN 73138 35884-2 [31:33]
This compilation comprises reissues from Bernard Herrmann Film Scores 1993 Milan 74321 14081-2:-
Bernard Herrmann talking about film music
Vertigo - Scene d'Amour
The Man Who Knew Too Much - Canata - The Storm Clouds (Arthur Benjamin)
North by Northwest - Prelude
The Wrong Man - Prelude
Plus a remix of Psycho murder music as used in the 1998 remake of the film
The Milan album of the film music of Bernard Herrmann released in 1993 (is it as long ago as that?!) drew praise from the critics including myself (writing of it in Classic CD). It included music for Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster, Fahrenheit 451, The Bride Wore Black and Taxi Driver as well as the Hitchcock items. Now, Milan have cunningly clipped all the Hitchcock scores and gathered them on this rather parsimonious release. To be fair, they have remixed the tracks so that they sound even better than before. The performances are first class and it is good to have Arthur Benjamin's Storm Clouds Cantata that was used to such dramatic effect in the Albert Hall climax of The Man Who Knew Too Much. I think, too, that this is one of my favourite versions of the 'Scène d'Amour' from Vertigo. It unfolds very leisurely but it has great refinement and beauty. The only new track is the quirky synth effected (or should I say affected) remix of the Psycho murder associated with the recent awful remake of the film. At the bargain price, this album is worth acquiring. My advice, however, is to seek out a copy of the original Milan release which is still available (catalogue number (UK) 73421 14081-2 (US) 73138-35643-2).
Bernard HERRMANN Jason and the Argonauts Bruce Broughton conducts the Sinfonia of London INTRADA MAF7083 [61:33]
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) marked the fourth, and arguably the best, of the collaborations between fantasy films producer Charles Schneer and Bernard Herrmann who composed to the wondrous special effects of Ray Harryhausen. [The others were: The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958); The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960); and Mysterious Island (1961).] This is the world premiere recording of the whole score.
Herrmann, as usual, creates striking, evocative sonic images and brilliant colours by using extraordinary combinations of instruments. For Jason and the Argonauts he chooses to ignore strings altogether. On the other hand, he expands the winds and percussion to a massively huge ensemble. In most cases he triples or quadruples the instrumental requirements over the standard symphony orchestra. Standard pairs of woodwinds are increased to: 4 flutes and piccolos, 6 oboes, 6 cor anglais, 6 clarinets, including bass and contrabass clarinets, and 6 bassoons including contra-bassoons. The mammoth brass section has 8 French horns, 6 trumpets, 6 trombones and 4 tubas!
The immense battery of percussion has 26+ instruments plus 2 complete groups of 5 timpani each. The cymbals alone feature: 4 suspended cymbals, 2 separate pairs of large crash cymbals plus 1 large tam-tam and 1 medium tam-tam! For these instruments, Herrmann wrote music that explored the extreme compasses of the range of many of them, giving an impressive top-to-bottom, and wide dynamic range. He also organised the music so that it filled a wide and deep sonic stage. (Even though the soundtrack was mixed down to mono.)
I have asked the question before, but I will pose it again; however did Herrmann imagine these effects and calculate the forces to interpret them?
The score begins very powerfully with the exuberant and muscular 'Jason Prelude' that introduces the heroic Argonauts theme complete with crashing cymbals and strident brass. In the following cue, 'The Prophesy/The Battle', Herrmann creates an atmosphere of foreboding with a creepy choir of six bassoons with occasional striking harp arpeggio figures. (Throughout Herrmann's writing for the harp is extremely creative and evocative). The battle is marked by very striking, rapid-fire rhythms alternating between horns and bassoons. Herrman creates some exotic dance music in 'The Feast' and later in 'Temple dance' the latter very much in the style of the sensuous Egyptian dancing. The quiet, intense music associated with 'The Oak Grove and Hermes ascension is also impressive with flute and harp prominent.
It is, of course, the music associated with the monsters that Jason encounters which lingers in the memory. The first of these is the metal giant Talos. His might is represented by a pounding four-note figure in minor thirds, hammered out by all the tubas and both sets of timpani. This pounding intensifies to a monstrous (controlled) cacophony as Talos lifts the Argonauts boat and shakes it. For the harpies, the winged monsters, Herrmann creates appropriately screeching music played by the piccolos with brass and harps jabbing away in support. For the huge figure of Triton, who rises from the sea to push apart the "clashing rocks", Herrmann uses the whole range of his symphonic winds from low tuba to high picolo, to convey Triton's might, the surging waters and the creaking rocks. The scoring for the multi-headed Hydra, is particularly dense and jagged with the music rising and falling as the combatants strike at each other. Finally, there is the famous attack of the skeletons. Here Herrmann uses woodblocks and castanets to great menacing effect.
The Sinfonia of London are in top form and Bruce Broughton delivers a reading that would surely have had Herrmann applauding enthusiastically.
Max Steiner Gone with the Wind (with bonus tracks) Sonic Images SID8088 [65.13]
Gone with the Wind almost needs no review, for who hasn't seen the movie and been swept away by the magnificent theme for Tara? Max Steiner's Gone with the Wind is one of the most celebrated icons of film music, alongside Star Wars and Psycho. The music defines the concept of an "epic" score: supreme strings, resounding brass, colorful layers, large orchestra, and a spacious panoramic canvas. Steiner used the leitmotif method to write an individual theme for each main character, saving the grandest one of all for Tara, the plantation. The score is a tapestry of themes for Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, Ashley, Belle, Bonnie, as well as music for specific scenes such as "The Oath," and "Bonnie's Death."
The popularity of the score meant numerous re-recordings over time. The Sonic Images release is the 1998 digitally mastered version of the 1961 composer-approved recording conducted by Muir Matheson with the The London Sinfonia. The liner notes comment, "This authentic recording of the complete score was authorized by the composer." Max Steiner had originally written over three hours of music for the lengthy epic, though not all of it was used in the film. Although 148 minutes of the score is available in a 2 CD set released by Rhino Records, Steiner had originally selected about 38 minutes of music to represent the score's major themes for soundtrack release. It is these 38 minutes that are on this album. Die hard collectors may prefer the longer complete score, but in truth, the 38 suite Steiner wisely chose allows listeners to enjoy all the major themes and developments of the score in a rather reasonable amount of time. (There is another BMG/RCA release that is about eight minutes shorter. It has all the same tracks, except for the theme for "Return to Tara" and "Belle Watling.")
The quality of the sound on this album is commendable. The only drawback of the album is that the score suite is divided into only 2 tracks. The score flows smoothly, and without track pauses, it is rather hard to identify where one motif ends and the next begins. Of course, it also makes it hard for the listener to skip to hear a particular theme or the monumental "Return to Tara" finale over and over again.
There are six additional tracks of classic film music representing five scores (America, America; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Spellbound; The Cardinal; and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) tacked onto the end of this album. These excerpts are sensational. Quite in keeping with the same mood and style of Gone with the Wind, these cues are prodigious and eloquent. Classic film music fans get to keep yet more keepsakes of golden years past.
We are grateful to Helen San (www.cinemusic.net) for giving us permission to include this review which is currently appearing on her Film Music site.
Hans Zimmer Music Inspired by the Film K2 Varèse Sarabande Records VSD-5354 [41.22]
K2 was initially scored by Chaz Jenkel, whose music can be heard in the US versions of the film. Zimmer was asked to rescore it. However, the picture underwent so many changes that Zimmer's score ended up in the European versions only. To their credit, Varèse Sarabande released the score that Zimmer wrote for K2, even though the music did not become associated with the picture for most of its audience.
K2 was one of the earliest scores in which Zimmer explored the heavy action sythesizer sound that came to be dubbed "Zimmerian." This sound, more widely heard in Broken Arrow and Drop Zone, is usually accented with strident electric guitar played by Pete Haycock, which film music fans find either very passionate or very annoying. K2 falls into this stylistic category, except the guitar has more dramatic expressions, and the score moves with the smoldering, brooding twist that is later developed in Crimson Tide and The Fan.
The movie is about an unforgiving climb to the top of the second highest mountain in the world, K2, and the music takes the listener through the imagined highs and lows of the journey, building on prior experience but never returning to the same place. If anyone ever wanted to tell a vivid story about a mountain climb with music, this would be it. Every emotion anticipated on a rigorous feat as this, from apprehension to awe to sorrow, is perfectly captured. Flowing from mood to mood, and melody to melody, without any specific thematic structure, this album is in many ways more artistic and unrestrained than other scores, sounding somewhat like Zimmerian jazz if you will. There are so many melodic highlights that it is tempting to put up numerous audio clips to share the experience.
The album has only two tracks, "The Ascent" and "The Descent." "The Ascent," almost 30 minutes long, travels from base camp with Asian ethnic flourishes to rigorous suspensions from precipitous edges , to awakening wonder at the apex. Just when you thought this was a muscular, heroic score, "The Ascent" closes with a lustrous, melting movement performed with cello and viola that caresses the listener with tears. Following the same elegaic mood, "The Descent" begins with a weighty, tragic cue that sounds like an avalanche of grief. This track has some of the most passionately mournful expressions I have ever heard Zimmer write. The music here is truly beautiful in a panoramic way. The sadness takes time to reflect and mature, in a way that a 30 second audio clip could never capture. The score ends with poignant, romantic guitar themes.
Many people complain about the length of the two tracks, but after a few discerning listens, it becomes understandable why the music was not chopped up. This is a story told in two chapters, and the listening experience is best when the story is followed and savored from beginning to end.
We are grateful to Helen San (www.cinemusic.net) for giving us permission to include this review which is currently appearing on her Film Music site.
EDITORS RECOMMENDATION September 1999
Marvin HAMLISCH Sophie's Choice Southern Cross SCCD 902 [31:32]
Did she ultimately make the right choice to save herself ? Book and film offer 2 answers. Hamlisch's score would have you at least assured that spiritually she found salvation. The ever-present 6 note "Love Theme" is a rich melody more often for wind ensemble than strings. It's constant use ties together the heartache and joy as one and the same thing. On this compact Compact Disc, there's just about enough of it without becoming over repetitive. It's also balanced by conflicting yet not distracting alternate styles or sourced tunes.
Mendelssohn's "Op. 30, No. 1" blends seamlessly, as do the traditional tunes woven into a couple of cues. The royal fanfare of "Coney Island Fun" may be the only thing that sounds out of place in context.
If you were moved by the film, be warned that the disc is likely to have the same effect!
an Lace is even more enthusiastic:-
Yes, indeed, this is music to tug at the heart strings. A wallow for unashamed romantics - and you may count me among those! Hamlisch is a multi-faceted talent composer, songwriter and conductor and multi-Oscar and Grammy Award winner. His hit shows include A Chorus Line and They're Playing Our Song. His film scores include: Ordinary People, The Way We Were, The Sting, and Three Men and a Baby. His hit songs include: 'The Way We Were', 'Nobody Does It Better' and 'What I did For Love'
Hamlisch's parents had fled from pre-war Vienna to New York. Their apartment became the meeting place for the city's finest classical musicians and Marvin studied at the Juilliard School of Music. His classical training is evident in the polish and depth of this score. There is a Handelian influence at work in 'Coney Island Fun' and a subtle influence of Dvorak in 'Nathan Returns.' There is also purity of classical line in a number of the cues such as 'Returning the Tray' a short elegy scored for just piano and cello. This pairing of piano and cello (an instrument that is particularly effective in suggesting autumnal, nostalgic moods and feelings of regret) is most affectingly used in the halting, almost prayer-like 'I'll never leave you'
The score for Sophie's Choice is beautifully crafted. The love theme which threads its way through this score and sets the prevailing mood is a gentle, lovely, warmly-glowing creation. I would mention just two cues. In the sumptuous 'Rite on the Brooklyn Bridge', the theme is given to the strings and Hamlisch fashions rich intricate textures. In 'Aren't Women All Like You' the music is almost ethereal with the flute floating over rapt string chords.
John BARRY High Road To China Southern Cross SCCD 1030 [29:59]
For Selleck's first big screen outing, it's almost the Indiana Jones role he was up for. His scrapes and escapades as the alcoholic pilot Patrick could have inspired a rollicking action motif and score in the Williams style. Mr Barry knows how to draw something else out of a picture however. His "Main Title" is instead a hint of the tragedy of Bess Armstrong's lost father, Patrick's boozing, being lost in general (as they frequently are), and also suggests the free-spiritedness of flying.
Much of the score foreshadows the expansive outdoors feeling of Dances With Wolves, with the drums in "Airborne" loudly recalling "Dawn Attack". There is more 'bite' to the score than many of his post-eighties romantic pieces. With a small break for the "Charleston", there's also a spirit of humour in the music. It's all very sad, but being a movie, neither we nor Barry should take it seriously - of course everything will be fine in the end!
Collection: CINEMA SERENADE 2 The Golden Age Itzhak Perlman (violin); John Williams conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra SONY SK 60773 [47:35]
David Raksin: Laura "Theme" (Arr. Angela Morley)
Max Steiner: Now Voyager "Theme" (Arr. John Williams)
Gone With the Wind "Tara's Theme" (Arr. Angela Morley)
Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times "Smile" (Arr. John Williams)
Miklós Rózsa: Lost Weekend "Love Theme" (Arr. John Williams)
Traditional: The Quiet Man "St. Patrick's Day" (Arr. Angela Morley)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Adventures of Robin Hood "Love Theme"
(Arr. John Williams)
Herman Hupfield: Casablanca "AS Time Goes By" (Arr. John Williams)
William Walton: Henry V "Touch Her Soft Lips and Part"
(Arr. Richard Rodney Bennett)
Victor Young: The Uninvited "Stella by Starlight" (Arr. John Williams)
My Foolish Heart "Theme" (Arr. Angela Morley)
Alfred Newman: Wuthering Heights "Cathy's Theme" (Arr. Angela Morley)
Just the above list of the tracks ought to whet the appetite. Or a list of the composers represented. Or knowing it's Williams waving the baton. Or that Itzhak Perlman is leading the way. Combine all 4, and you should be positively drooling !
For a compilation such as this there's really very little to cover. The Boston Pops are of course superb - especially working with Williams. Perlman's performances of the arrangements are fabulous. The 24-bit recording is exemplary, with Perlman's violin miked generously.
You could never fault a single one of the pieces, so here's the list: Raksin's Laura, Steiner's Now, Voyager and Gone With The Wind, Chaplin's Modern Times, Rozsa's Lost Weekend, Korngold's Robin Hood, Walton's Henry V, Young's The Uninvited and My Foolish Heart, Hupfeld's Casablanca, and Newman's Wuthering Heights.
Actually, here's a gripe - we'll probably find these 2 volumes boxed at mid-price before long!
SCIENCE FICTION REVIEWS FEATURE
Collection: The Best of Star Trek MILAN 65245-2 [72:06]
- Music by:-
Jerry GOLDSMITH (Star Trek; Star Trek V)
James HORNER (Star Trek II and III)
Leonard ROSENMAN (Star Trek IV)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Meld; Ilia's Theme; The Enterprise.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - Battle in the Mutara Nebula; Enterprise Clears Moorings; Genesis Countdown.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - Returning to Vulcan; Prologue and Maion Title The Katra Ritual
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Chekov's Run; Hospital Chase; Home Again The Whaler
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Life is a Dream; Without Help; An Angry God
I detail above the 16-track contents of this album (including the full names of the films which the Milan booklet editors have overlooked). Trekers will no doubt salivate. This is an excellent sampler, in first rate sound, assembled to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek.
The track listing speaks for itself to the enthusiasts, but I would just mention a few tracks from each of the three composers. Clearly all three celebrate the sweep and grandeur of the heroic exploits of the crews of the Enterprise through the immensities of time and space.
Of Jerry Goldsmith's contributions I was captivated, in particular, by 'The Enterprise' from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It is as though Goldsmith is serenading the elegant spaceship as though she were some beautiful woman. Ilia's theme from the same movie is a mystical and intensely Romantic, bell-like piano led piece. For 'An Angry God', Goldsmith creates poignant music that also has a cool ethereal beauty before it is jeopardised by more sinister motifs. James Horner, too, creates a feeling of grandeur and heroic expectancy around 'Enterprise Clears Moorings' from Star Trek II and another strong Romantic theme plus an air of mysticism for 'Returning to Vulcan' from Star Trek III. For the same movie, Horner adds some very exotic scoring in The Katra Ritual. This is very atmospheric and it is an impressive study in crescendo with a shattering climax before the music subsides into mystical serenity. Leonard Rosenman adds some much needed comic relief in 'Hospital Chase' plus a salty Hornpipe-like number that is 'Chekov's Run'. Some of the tracks embrace Alexander Courage's theme form the Star Trek TV series.
Collection: This is Science Fiction 2CDs VIRGIN/EMI VTDCD 262 7243 847917 2 8
John Williams: Star Wars (Main theme); Mark Snow: The X Files (Original Main Theme); Jerry Goldsmith/Gene Roddenberry Star Trek (Main Theme); Bach Tocatta in D minor (as used in Rollerball); Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra (as used in 2001 A Space Odyssey); Brad Fiedel: The Terminator Man (Main Title); Jerry Goldsmith: Planet of the Apes (Main Title);
Leonard Rosenman: Fantastic Voyage (theme); Jerry Goldsmith: Alien(theme); Russell Garcia: The Time Machine(theme); Howard Shore: The Fly(theme); Danny Zeitlin: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers(theme);
Ennio Moricone: The Thing(Humanity Part 1); Jerry Goldsmith: Logan's Run(The Dome); Brian Eno: Dune(Prophesy theme); Ryuichi Sakamoto: Wild Palms(theme); Michael Nyman: Gattaca(The Morrow); Christopher Franke:
Babylon 5(theme); Vangelis: Blade Runner(End Titles);
Klaus Schulze: Silent Running(theme).
Dominic Frontiere: The Outer Limits(theme); Bernard Herrmann: The Day theEarth Stood Still(theme); John Williams: The Twilight Zone(theme); Laurence Rosenthal: Logan's Run- TV series (theme); Ron Grainer: Dr Who (theme);
John Williams: Star Wars(Theme/Cantina Band); Fred Karlin: Westworld(theme); Barry Gray: Space 1999(theme); Barry Gray: Thunderbirds (theme); Dudley Simpson: Blakes 7(theme); Dudley Simpson: The Tomorrow People(theme); Crewe/Fox: Barbarella(theme); ?: Rollerball(Executive Party Dance); Barry Gray: U.F.O. (theme); John Williams: Lost in Space- TV (theme); ?: Mork and Mindy; Tim Souster: Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe(theme); Howard Goodall: RedDwarf(theme); Barry Gray: Captain Scarlett(theme); Gray/Elms: Space 1999(theme); Barry Gray: UFO(theme); Jerry Goldsmith: Logan's Run(theme); Jeff Wayne: War of the Worlds(The Eve of the War); Angelo Badalamenti: Twin Peaks(theme); Committee: Extremis(theme); John Williams: Lost in Space(Apollo 440).
Not, I am afraid, a collection to be taken too seriously, perhaps that's why Virgin would not send me a review copy. [And that's where they earn their first black mark: of all the record companies we deal with we find that Virgin is the least helpful and the most reluctant to let us have review copies of the releases.]. Anyway, I am assuming from the rather undergraduate, rag-magazine design and humour that this rag-tag, nothing-new, assembled-from-practically-all-the-recording-companies-issuing-sci-fi-filmmusic collection is aimed at a younger audience. (Although I wonder if they would know anything of some of the rather ancient TV programmes which are represented in this collection?) The track listings themselves are something of a joke. I have listed them as they appear on the album; well almost - I have made one or two corrections. Some tracks do not carry the composer's name and other name styles are inconsistent. We have, for instance, Jerry Goldsmith variously named (quaintly) as Jerrald K Goldsmith, J. Goldsmith and Jerry Goldsmith
On CD1 we have Mark Snow's original X-Files theme which quickly grows tedious after the nth repeating of that whistle and its responding echoing phrase. There is J.S. Bach's Toccata detached from its Fugue for Rollerball and the Also Sprach Zarathustra opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The highlights of this disc are the creepy slitherings of Jerry Goldsmith's disturbing Alien score, Russell Garcia's ticking and chiming opening and sweeping romantic music for The Time Machine and Michael Nyman's 'The Morrow' from Gattaca. CD2 has some thin dated material from equally dated cardboard TV science fiction thrillers like Space 1999, Thunderbirds and UFO - all featuring small ensembles trying to sound like big bands. Early work of John Williams is evident in his untypical Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone scores. There is a lot of hard rock yet I was surprised in liking above all Jeff Wayne's The Eve of War from War of the Worlds and that hypnotic Twin Peaks theme of Badalamenti.
Approach with caution - read the contents first before buying and decide if what you haven't got is worth the price of this eccentric collection.
Stu PHILIPS Battlestar Galactica Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by the composer VARESE SARABANDE VSD-5949 [48:33]
There are successful films, and there are hit movies that inspire a handful or so of imitators, then there are those occasional films that strike such box-office gold as to kick-start an entire cycle. In the 1970's the most notable examples were: The Godfather, The Exorcist, Jaws and Star Wars. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman and Alien were already in various stages of production when Star Wars was released, but they were soon followed by a veritable good, bad and ugly of space opera. Major releases included Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Black Hole and Flash Gordon, while among the B-movies were Star Crash, The Humanoid and Battle Beyond the Stars. Further still down the cinematic food-chain came Battlestar Galactica, not a real film at all, but the TV Movie pilot to the one Star Wars imitator so derivative George Lucas seriously considered legal action.
Battlestar Galactica was the creation of Glenn A. Larson, who in the 1970's built a successful career producing television series inspired by popular movies: Alias Smith and Jones was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in all but name, The Dukes of Hazzard was Smokey and The Bandit with new number plates. For television Battlestar Galactica was an enormously lavish and ambitious production, even offering special effects by Star Wars' John Dykstra. With cinema managers hungering to show anything offering a glimpse of a spaceship, Universal re-edited the pilot movie and added the surround-sound process developed for Earthquake to the soundtrack in an attempt to lend the film some spurious excitement. Following Rollercoaster and Midway this proved the fourth and final outing for this forerunner of modern cinema sound systems. Two more Battlestar Galactica features were released, but neither with surround-sound.
While, on a smaller scale, the TV series captured something of the look of Star Wars, it utterly lacked the spirit of adventure which made the Lucas film so exhilarating. The rating quickly plummeted and the very expensive show was cancelled after only one season. Now, in the wake of The Phantom Menace, Mr Larson is, almost inevitably, planning a new Battlestar Galactica, this time as a genuine silver screen blockbuster.
Which brings us to this new album, essentially a remake of the soundtrack album of the pilot film, with the composer himself conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This orchestra is by now well-versed in dramatic film score recordings, having given us many fine film music recordings including an excellent version of Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo under Joel McNeely three years ago. The sound here is terrific, clear, detailed and with tremendous visceral impact in the action cues, while the playing is energetic and vigorous with the percussion accurate and the brass all but spitting fire. The music, much of which was, according to the notes by Paul Tonks, recycled regularly throughout the series, is cut from a rather Williamsesque cloth. The main theme really is a rousing, memorable affair, while cues such as 'Fighter Launch/Mysterious Derelict/Zac in Trouble' seem to echo both the dark textures of Williams The Fury (1978) and Herrmann's Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Indeed, in the rather solemn lyricism of the quieter moments 'Sex at Last/ Cassiopea & Starbuck' for example, there is a decided echo of Herrmann. Nevertheless, given the nature of the film I think it is safe to assume that Stu Philips was commissioned to write in this idiom, and that on the whole the influences are assimilated rather well, the overall result being, certainly not a great score, but a rather good one, and certainly far better than the mediocre film/pilot/series ever deserved. If you enjoy muscular, well-crafted action scores in the Williams, Goldsmith, Poledouris vein, you will find Battlestar Galactica a worthy addition to your collection.
Gary S. Dalkin
Collection: Greatest Science Fiction Hits IV Neil Norman and his Cosmic Orchestra GNP Crescendo GNPD 2258
Purists stay well away, Greatest SF Hits IV is the brash sound of a very well connected science fiction fan having irreverent fun. Neil Norman clearly loves this music, yet isn't beyond taking some very radical liberties in his wild reinterpretations, employing orchestra, rock band and assorted soloists. The deliberately tacky front cover leads one to expect the worst, while the range of material is eclectic, the arrangements are delivered with tremendous dynamism and energy. The dinosaur growls over The Lost World cue indicate just how seriously this disc is meant to be taken: in the lavish booklet Neil Norman claims, tongue firmly in cheek, that the album is 'an enduring masterpiece'. Subtle it's not, but it just might go down a storm at the Star Fleet ball.
Gary S. Dalkin
Jay CHATTAWAY Star Trek - The Next Generation OST GNP Crescendo GNPD 8057
In rather more sober mood than above, Neil Norman acts as Executive Producer for Jay Chattaway's album presenting music from seven episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. One highlight is an arrangement of a theme for piano and tin whistle from 'The Inner Light', while 'Sub Rosa' has a lugubrious grace and 'A Fistful of Datas' offers an amusing "Spaghetti Western" pastiche. Much of the remainder is undistinguished, while the sound suffers some varying levels of hiss. The booklet comes with detailed notes explaining the relation of the pieces to the episodes, but this is really an album for committed Star Trek fans, and they will already know it all.
Gary S. Dalkin
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD Sextet. String Quartet No. 3 The Flesch Quartet; Ian Humphries (viola); David Bucknall (cello) ASV DCA1062 [59:27]
By 1944, Korngold was well settled in Hollywood and began to ponder over the destiny of the music he had composed for Warner Bros. At that time, of course, the music perished when the film left the theatres. Nobody could foresee the popularity these films would gain in their TV reruns or from the pioneering work of conductors, producers and reconstructionsts like, Charles Gerhardt, George Korngold (the composer's son) and Christopher Palmer, in preserving and recording these scores.
So, Korngold began to include themes from his film scores in new works
For the concert hall and the recital room. These works included the Violin Concerto, the Symphony in F-sharp and the Symphonic Serenade - plus this String Quartet No. 3 from 1944.
The String Quartet No. 3 includes themes from Between Two Worlds, The Sea Wolf and Devotion (the theme in turn borrowed from Korngold's music for Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing composed in 1918). The string quartet is one of his finest works in the chamber music genre and contains themes of nostalgic regret as well as robust good humour.
The Sextet is an early work written by a very self-assured 17 year old composer. Already the style that would become familiar in the later films is apparent. This is a more Autumnal work of regret and yearning. Some may need to invest some commitment to get the best out of this somewhat dark work but they will be well rewarded. The Flesch quartet, joined by Messrs Humphries and Bucknall for the Sextet play with earnest conviction.
An album for the adventurous film music enthusiast.
Miklos RÓZSA Complete Works for solo piano Sara Davis Buechner (piano)Yamaha piano recorded New York, March 1998 KOCH INTERNATIONAL 3-7435-2 [71:59]
Valse Crépusculaire (1977) 3:54
Variations (1931) 10.52
Bagatelles (1932) 12.17
Kaleidoscope (1947) 9:28
The Vintner's Daughter (1952) 15.17
Piano Sonata (1948) 19.54
This is Volume 9 in Koch's splendid series of Rózsa discs.
It is interesting that I was reviewing the Cambria disc four or five months ago and applauding its reissue of the Unicorn LP of Eric Parkin's recordings. This Koch set has the advantage of a much more generous playing time and declares that this is the complete Rózsa piano output.
The stately nostalgic Gallicism of Valse Crépusculaire (not Crépuscalaire as printed in the listing in the book and on the back of the CD) is a serious merit of this disc. It is a dignified and completely memorable offshoot from the Alan Resnais film Providence.
The Variations do not sound all that Hungarian though they are enjoyable. Oddly enough they sound rather Warlockian in this account. The Parkin Bagatelles were not separately banded. These are. My Parkin disc is not easily to hand so I cannot compare head to head. However I am most impressed with Ms Buechner's sorrowingly reflective approach in Bagatelle 1 and Canzone. Valse Lent sounds rather like John Ireland in Amberley Wild Brooks mood.
Kaleidoscope did not feature on the Parkin collection. It is perky, swayingly romantic, playfully Caledonian, dreamy, flouncingly Chinese and impatient. The Vintner's Daughter sequence comprises a theme and twelve variations each banded separately. The variations are a rich cake offering the theme in variety: reserve, skirling, stellar fragile, heroism, Ravelian, graveyard grotesque, macho gruff, dottily jazzy, moaning, moth-flittering, moonlit lakes and hesitantly and supernaturally tranquil.
The Sonata is in three movements here playing 6.36 - 6.34 - 6.43. Buechner starts with a very low octane count for the Calmo but soon warms to the task. The sonata is a subtle of evanescent charm. I am not sure that in this performance Ms Buechner holds a successful key to the enigma. Parkin seems more coherent, with better articulation, sharper focus and communication although in every other respect the Buechner CD is preferred.
Ms Buechner previously recorded as David Buechner. It was under this name that Ms Buechner recorded a Koch disc of film concertos by Herrmann, North and Waxman (KIC7225).
Incidentally is there any reason why Koch consistently muddle 'formally' and 'formerly' in the notes?
The Koch disc has the advantage of having been recorded twenty years after the Parkin Cambria. Certainly the quality of sound on the Koch is a joy to audition.
The notes are by Christopher Palmer and date from 1975. They seem to come from that Breitköpf and Härtel Rózsa paperback monograph published circa 1978. They are very good indeed. What a loss Palmer was to the world of music when he died several years ago. In fact Palmer's notes did not cover the Valse. For this reason there is a note from Ms Buechner. I do hope that we will hear more from Ms Buechner. Is there any chance that she will record the piano music of the neglected British romantic: Roger Sacheverell Coke? She would also be devastating in both sets of the Rachmaninov Etudes Tableaux.
Recommended (with reservation in the case of the Sonata).
EDITORS RECOMMENDATION September 1999
George GERSHWIN - Girl Crazy Lorna Luft, David Carroll and Judy Blazer. Orchestra and ensemble conducted by John Mauceri. NONESUCH 7559-79437-9 [75:24]
This album is a repackaging of the Roxbury recording released by Nonesuch in 1990. The original packaging include a sumptuous book with a number of fine essays about the show and the Gershwin brothers by such luminaries as Edward Jablonski. If you can find this edition (Nonesuch 7559-79250-2), snap it up. While this new mid-priced reincarnation lacks this extra enticement, its own booklet is still very commendable for it includes a full cast and description of characters plus an essay on the story and the show's production. Then there is a page devoted to Gershwin and his times before the meat of the booklet, the full lyrics of the show's 23 numbers. Finally, because this CD is one of a number of recordings in SONY's opera Collection, there is a useful guide to operatic voice terminology included on the inside back cover. (How Gershwin would have been amused/flattered to have Girl Crazy categorised as opera!)
Girl Crazy was filmed in black and white by MGM in 1943 as a starring vehicle for Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Sadly, it was a pale imitation of the original stage show and it dropped many of the numbers.
This recording follows the original Broadway production very faithfully, the orchestra playing in very much the style of the 1930s and the singers also faithfully following the vogue of those days. And what a show Girl Crazy was! One glorious number following on from another in a heady profusion with Ira's stingingly witty lyrics perfectly complementing George's sparkling tunes. 'Biddin My Time'; 'Embraceable You'; 'I got Rhythm'; and 'But Not for Me' - all super hits and still popular today. But the other melodies are also strong. The stirring 'Bronco busters', the torch song 'Sam and Delilah', the comic patter number, Treat Me Rough' and the colourful 'Land of the Gay Caballero' all impress. Mauceri's orchestra whoop it up with gleeful abandon and the lead singers all relish their numbers singing with great élan and expression. Only the greatest number 'But Not For Me' disappoints. Yes, I know it is sad but the delivery here is leaden; the only jarring note in an otherwise top notch production. Nevertheless, I still regard this album as just short of being completely outstanding.
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