Essential Hollywood

May 29, 2006

Two-Disc Set Features Stereo Orchestral Performances That Sample
The Greatest Film Scores Ever Written,
From The Original King Kong, Gone With The Wind And Casablanca
To The Star Wars, Godfather And James Bond Films
Sampling the golden “Hollywood sound” that is a virtual soundtrack of contemporary American culture, the best of the greatest film music of the last 80 years is featured on Sony Classical’s new two-disc collection The Essential Hollywood.  This new collection includes authentic stereo recordings of celebrated music by such Oscar-winning composers as John Williams, John Barry, Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklós Rózsa, Maurice Jarre, Dimitri Tiomkin, Nino Rota and Franz Waxman, in performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, led by many of the composers and such conductors as Charles Gerhardt, Arthur Fiedler, Riccardo Muti and Esa-Pekka Salonen.  The Essential Hollywood will be released on May 23, 2006.
The classic symphonic film score truly arrived in 1933, with Max Steiner’s thundering music for the original King Kong, which is featured on The Essential Hollywood.  Though the sound began to fade in the 1970s, it returned triumphantly with the rise of five-time Oscar winner John Williams, with his landmark scores for Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the Star Wars films, which are also sampled in the new collection.  Included are many of the scores recently chosen by the American Film Institute as “the 25 greatest film scores of all time.”
The Essential Hollywood is no mere “movie themes” collection.  It was compiled from definitive stereo studio recordings in the RCA and Sony Classical catalogues, in original orchestrations or arrangements that approximate the way the music sounded on the films’ soundtracks.  While classic themes are featured – such as the signature themes from Laura, Jaws, The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and High Noon – the collection also features extended suites that musically recap the stories of Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, King Kong, Psycho and Sunset Boulevard.
Composers Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven), Maurice Jarre (Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia), Henry Mancini (Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther), Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), David Raksin (Laura) and Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon) conduct their own music on The Essential Hollywood.  A renowned interpreter of classic film scores, Williams leads performances not only of his music but that of other composers.  Also included are excerpts from acclaimed recordings of the music of Bernard Herrmann, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and of Nino Rota, with Riccardo Muti conducting the Filarmonica della Scala.  See the following page for a full track listing.
Sony Classical, RCA Red Seal and deutsche harmonia mundi are labels of SONY BMG MASTERWORKS.  For e-mail updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical and deutsche harmonia mundi artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit
Track Listing
            DISC I
* Star Wars: Main Title (John Williams)
London Symphony Orchestra / John Williams, conductor
* Gone With the Wind: Selections (Max Steiner)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* Doctor Zhivago: Prelude and Lara’s Theme (Maurice Jarre)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Maurice Jarre, conductor
* Laura: Main Theme (David Raksin)
New Philharmonia Orchestra / David Raksin, conductor
* Psycho: Prelude / The Murder / Finale (Bernard Herrmann)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
* Lawrence of Arabia: Overture (Part II) (Maurice Jarre)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Maurice Jarre, conductor
* The Magnificent Seven: Main Title and Calvera’s Visit (Elmer Bernstein)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Elmer Bernstein, conductor
* E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial: Flying Theme (John Williams)
London Symphony Orchestra / John Williams, conductor
* The Adventures of Robin Hood: Robin Hood and His Merry Men (Erich Wolfgang Korngold)
London Symphony Orchestra / John Williams, conductor
* Jaws: Theme (John Williams)
London Symphony Orchestra / John Williams, conductor
* Vertigo: Scene d’Amour (Bernard Herrmann)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
* The Godfather Part II: End Title (Nino Rota)
Filarmonica della Scala / Riccardo Muti, conductor
            DISC II
* 20th Century Fox Fanfare / Street Scene (Alfred Newman)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* Casablanca: Selections (Max Steiner)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* Dr. No: The James Bond Theme  (Monty Norman/Arr. John Barry)
Orchestra conducted by John Barry
* The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Titles (Ennio Morricone)
Orchestra & Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Ennio Morricone,
* Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Dialogue (John Williams)
Boston Pops Orchestra / John Williams, conductor
* King Kong: Selections  (Max Steiner)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* High Noon: Theme (Dimitri Tiomkin)
Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra / Dimitri Tiomkin, conductor
* Sunset Boulevard: Selections (Franz Waxman)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* The Pink Panther: Theme (Henry Mancini)
Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
* Ben-Hur: Parade of the Charioteers (Miklós Rózsa)
Boston Pops Orchestra / Arthur Fiedler, conductor
* Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “Moon River” (Henry Mancini)
Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
* Citizen Kane: Rosebud/Finale (Bernard Herrmann)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
* Kings Row: Main Title (Erich Wolfgang Korngold)
National Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Gerhardt, conductor
 While this was cut and pasted from the original press release I think that this is really going to be an excellent addition to your collection.  It will be a nice introduction to some of the wonderful Charles Gerhardt/National Philharmonic recordings as well.  Look forward to a complete review.


Previously released by La-La Land (LLLCD1044) several years ago and since sold out, Kritzerland has re-released Breakheart Pass with the addition of an edited cue, a missing cue found on the D/M/E tracks, and the beginning of an album cue that was previously missing. Bruce also chose to eliminate the cavalry call for trumpet since it really has nothing to do with the Goldsmith score. If you didn’t get the soundtrack the first time around this gives you a chance to get it but keep in mind this is a release of 1000 units and will also sell out so it is better to purchase sooner rather than later. If you own the La-La Land release it is really going to be your call as to whether or not you want the Kritzerland based on the changes.

Listed below are the exact changes made on the Kritzerland release.

  1. The creation of two cues “Runaway” and “Box Car Fight” from director Tom Gries.
  2. The addition of a cue found on the D/M/E tracks which is called “Here They Come Part II.”
  3. The beginning of a missing electronic bars from “Here They Come.”

I have previously reviewed this title and will include it in the new one with an audio clip of the main theme .

From a novel of Alstair “Guns of Navarone” Maclean this 1975 film starred Charles Bronson and a cast of character actors which Jeff Bonds aptly puts as “a who’s who of American character actors.” Ben Johnson, Ed Lauter, Richard Crenna, Charles Durning, Archie Moore, and even Joe Kapp a former Minnesota Viking quarterback had roles along with Charles wife Jill Ireland. Veteran director Tom Gries was not only at home with the western genre, having done Will Penny but had worked with Jerry Goldsmith on 100 Rifles yet another of his excellent scores. If you have ever read Alstair nothing is what it seems and this story is an Agatha Christie type story filled with mystery and intrigue set on a train and filmed on location in Idaho. The fighting sequence between Archie Moore and Charles Bronson, especially the climax on the snow covered boxcar tops, was a highlight of the film done completely live on location with excellent scenery. Archie, the former light heavyweight champion and the only man to ever knock Rocky Marciano down, did well in his role as the nasty cook. The main theme, used in the main title, end credits, and other tracks, is one of those you can’t get it out your head melodies. If you are familiar with some of the western themes from Goldsmith you will instantly recognize it as one of his. Beginning with the guitar strumming a solo trumpet quickly leads the rest of the orchestra with the melody. The theme features a synthesizer as well as some interesting harmony from some of the other brass. Medical Supplies is one of those positively delicious underscore cues which has made Jerry oh so famous over the years. It is a simple dissonant Bartok like track with all sorts of strange sounds and noises, ending in a restatement of the main theme. On the Move which sadly wasn’t used in the film is a really cool action cue that sounds like a train moving! Electronics plays a huge role in a motif written for one of the nasty villians Calhoun played by Robert Tessier, called No Word Yet. A very odd sounding but most effective track but then again is it considering Jerry? Raiding Party is a combination of some more strange Stravinsky like staccato dissonance with the main theme being repeated yet again but returning back to the ever pounding of the excellent underscore. The score of course returns to the main theme in the Reunited/End Credits played serenely by first the oboe and then in a proud majestic fashion by the trumpet with harmony from the french horns and trombones. It finally completes itself by returning to the guitar strumming and a repeat of the main title track. There are two extremely short bonus tracks approx 15 seconds in length that are really not explained in the liner notes? The first Four Styles sounds like a motif from a Morricone western in fact very much like a cue from A Fistful Of Dollars! The other is just a short cavalry charge repeated three times. Whether either of these were used in the film is unknown to this reviewer. All in all this was quite a bumpy but good ride through Breakheart Pass! Jeff Bond provides excellent fairly easy to understand liner notes on the film and a track by track analysis with the exception of the bonus tracks which I noted above. His style of writing explains without getting too technical so that you need to be a musician to understand what is going on. The booklet was well laid out by Mark Banning with several good quality pictures along with a couple of poster type artwork. In addition, there is a nice page with a photograph of Jerry Goldsmith along with a listing of selected filmography. However, there is no explanation in regards to the remastering and we must assume that there was since this reviewer has heard the “bootleg recording” and this is far superior albiet it is still in mono The mono recording is quite clean sounding and this is the official release of this recording. Bootlegs do not count as releases in my opinion! Do not let the mono discourage you in any way from purchasing this recording although it should have been mentioned in the liner notes. This is a limited edition of 3000 units so don’t let the grass grow under your feet for too long or this will only be available at a higher price on that auction site! Recommended. Produced by Ford A. Thaxton Composed, Conducted, and originally produced by Jerry Goldsmith Performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra CD# is LLLCD 1044 Track listing 1. Breakheart Pass – Main Title (02:33) 2. Free Ride / Hot Stove (05:01) 3. Medical Supplies (03:58) 4. The Trestle (02:55) 5. On The Move / Runaway (02:47) 6. No Word Yet (00:58) 7. Night Watch / Help Yourself (05:39) 8. Who Are You? (00:44) 9. The Casket / Box Car Fight (07:11) 10. Make Up Your Mind / Leaving The Fort (01:27) 11. A New Friend (01:47) 12. Here They Come (00:59) 13. Raiding Party (03:55) 14. No Entry (01:29) 15. Reunited / Breakheart Pass – End Credits (04:05) 16. (Bonus track) Four Styles (00:11) 17. (Bonus track) Charge (00:20) Total Duration: 00:45:59

The link will take you to the Silva recording of music from Marlon Brando Films.  This is a website that I do some reviews for as well as a every other month column.

20th Century Fox used the tagline before "Romeo and Juliet there was Tristan and Isolde" as the teaser for this tragic, epic 5th century historical love story which takes place in Britain and Ireland. Starring James Franco and Sophia Myles it was directed by Kevin Reynolds a veteran of such epic films as Waterworld, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and The Count of Monte Crisco. Produced by another veteran of the hollywood wars Ridley Scott, a project he had been working on since the 70's and Tom "Top Gun" Scott it seemed to have all the ingredients for a blockbuster success. It was heavily marketed in the previews towards the younger generation complete with pop music. So misleading was the music this reviewer decided almost immediately to pass on both the film and the score. As it turned out the film got mixed reviews from the critics, a "kiss of death" mid January release, both of which resulted in a poor showing at the box office. 4 months later I was asked by my editor if I would be interested in doing a review. Thank heavens my brain had completely forgotten my earlier experience with the film because all my thoughts focused on the Richard Wagner classic opera. Well, wrong again on the opera theory and for a change there is no pop music included on the soundtrack at all. Preview music can be so misleading and in this case the music was completely different. While it wasn't opera it was a delicious dark score accented with celtic style music for certain key tracks. Young Tristan sets the entire mood for the vast majority of the score. A simple elegy, the sorrow of the track is certainly felt. A Different Land is a Celtic style work featuring the Cor Anglais work of Victoria Walpole someone that Anne Dudley recently used in a commissioned work titled Divertissement performed on the BBC radio. Her tone on the horn is superb as she produces rich resonant tones in the lower register and the nasal quality in the upper ranges which the english horn is so famous for. However this particular track as wonderful as it is could have been inserted into Road To Perdition for one of its quieter moments and you would have completely fooled me! Thomas Newman for better or worse has developed a sound and style that is certainly duplicated. Wedding Cortege and Back From The Dead are other examples of the Newman sound on this recording. Leaving Forever, while only a scant 1:50 is an excellent example of how to write an adagio. In its own way it is as poignant as the Barber Adagio For Strings. It would be nice to hear at sometime a further development of the piece in a chamber orchestra work, something which Anne seems to be doing lately. The Drawbridge Is Lowered is probably the closest track to anything in the famous Wagner Opera and only because of the fanfare of the horns in the beginning. Anne makes excellent use of the Celtic harp, fiddle, and flutes when called for in the score. But these upbeat moments are the exception and this work for the vast majority of the 53 minutes is quite dark and somber. Melodic in several sections but no one melody that you can recall the following day. The simple melody from Young Tristan is repeated in the final track None Can Die but it is still a harder to pick up on. Fanciers of classical music could liken the score to the last few minutes of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. Allegro vivace is not included in this piece even in the action track Ambush in the Forest. Very little needs to be said about the recording process. The engineering, mixing, and playing are superb. While no credit to the orchestra is given, my general suspicion is the recording was done in with members of the London Symphony Orchestra, as it was recorded in London at Angel Studios. Just a closing word of caution. This is most assurdly a score that requires a certain frame of mind as it is quite dark and somber, something mentioned previously. But given certain quieter times this score does have a lot to offer the listener albeit the many references in style at least to Thomas Newman. RecommendedTrack listing 1. Young Tristan (03:03) 2. The Irish Raid (03:01) 3. The Queen's Funeral (01:59) 4. A Different Land (01:21) 5. A King's Lament (01:48) 6. Isolde's Dream (02:49) 7. Two Loves Be One (01:07) 8. Ambush in the Forest (02:16) 9. A King's Service (02:31) 10. Love So Alike (01:35) 11. Dangerous Game (02:12) 12. Warriors Begin (01:27) 13. Wedding Cortege (02:08) 14. Leaving Forever (01:50) 15. Back From the Dead (02:54) 16. My Face in Thine Eye (02:10) 17. The Tournament (02:21) 18. Betrayal (01:36) 19. I Dream of You (01:46) 20. Living Without Love (02:46) 21. The Drawbridge is Lowered (01:54) 22. Secrets in the Woods (03:16) 23. Tristan's Final Stand (01:52) 24. None Can Die (03:22)


True Grit


Elmer Bernstein


Before proceeding with the actual review of this score let's set the record straight on a very important item. THIS IS A NEW DIGITAL RECORDING OF THE COMPLETE SCORE! This recording includes over 25 minutes of unreleased material but is not the original soundtrack. While this material is presented for the very first time, taken from the original orchestrations of Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes it is a new recording. The recent release on Varese Sarabande is not an original soundtrack recording either, but a re-release of a recording Elmer Bernstein did with the Utah Symphony in 1985. The original release on Capitol contained only 20 minutes of soundtrack material if you subtract the singing of Glen Campbell. This new Tadlow recording is also a limited edition recording of 3000 units which will likely mean that it will sell out at some time given the popularity of Elmer Bernstein. Hopefully that explains everything without too much confusion.

The 1969 film starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell, and Kim Darby was a success. Campbell was at the height of success and Wayne was perfectly cast as a two fisted drinking one eyed US Marshall who along with Darby were all seeking revenge in the hunting down of a murderer. Henry Hathway, who was 71 at the time and himself a veteran of such films as Prince Valiant, Nevada Smith, and Call Northside 777 directed the film. Robert Duvall, Strother Martin, and Dennis Hopper all contributed excellent supporting roles. Wayne won the Oscar as the best actor and the song True Grit with lyrics by Don Black was nominated but lost out to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Black had previously collaborated with John Barry providing the lyrics to such films as Born Free and Thunderball and Elmer was at the height of his career having already composed the likes of The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, and To Kill A Mockingbird just to name a few titles. His days of being "gray-listed" from the McCarthy era were way behind him. To be "gray-listed" meant you while you weren't banned, you were kept off major projects.

The True Grit theme is an infectious melody presented in a number of different ways in this score. Fitzpatrick chose to use the 1985 arrangement that Elmer used in his own re-recording with the Utah Symphony for True Grit-Instrumental and End Credits The last track True Grit-Instrumental (first orchestration) is a rendition of the original orchestration which features a trumpet solo from Marek Zvolanek and harmonica from Steve Lockwood. Similiar sounding to the first track but less of a concert sound and more pop oriented it was still apparently not pop enough for Glen Campbell The first track of True Grit-Instrumental still has a trumpet solo from Marek but there is also harmony from the other trumpets and no harmonica present or at least one that you cannot hear noticeably. Businesslike Mattie is classic Bernstein underscore. The National Geographic specials come to mind with the proud trumpets with the sliding slur of the trombones in the background but it quickly changes to an adagio version of the True Grit theme again in Papa's Things. Ruffled Rooster begins with a magnificent majestic Magnificent Seven style theme (repeated from Where there is Smoke) right into a hint of Rhapsody in Blue followed by a wonderful cartoon style sequence complete with the glissando harp and a loud crash! This is a scene in the film where Rooster (Wayne) has had too much to drink and passes out. Snake Pit is one of those cool eerie almost dissonant tracks(features 2 bass flutes) and coupled with Lift Out and Sad Departure which add to the tension makes for a great underscore track. All in all Bernstein has learned the craft extremely well of writing for westerns and it shows in this score. In addition to True Grit you also get themes from (5) additional John Wayne films-The Sons of Katie Elder, The Shootist, The Comancheros, Cahill: United States Marshal, and Big Jake(concert suite). These are merely appetizers as the main entree is still True Grit and the 15 tracks it has to offer. The lyrical version of True Grit is well put by Don Black: "How come Marilyn and Alan Bergman get titles like 'The Way We Were'?" Sung in a professional manner by Keith Ferreira it is something that one has to be in the right mood to listen to or a country western fan.

To give the recording a more authentic sounding style Fitzpatrick chose a different style of miking technique. As explained in the liner notes it is a 65-35 split between ambient and individual instrumentation miking and it works very well. The seating arrangement of the orchestra where the first and second violins are separated also makes a difference. You can hear a small difference in them as opposed to a more unison sound. Coupled with the Dolby Surround the "mike in the back of the room" Prague recording is not evident, a pleasant surprise indeed! Fitzpatrick seems to have a way of conducting this orchestra that brings out the enthusiasm so necessary in a soundtrack recording. Jan "It's All My Fault" Holzner did a good job in recording and microphone placement. Completely gone is that feeling of a concert hall that Silva has used in the past. This sounds like much more like a soundtrack albeit sounds a little slow. As James explains perhaps the transfer to DVD and the frames per second timing is slightly off and thus the pitch is a little higher and quicker sounding. Does it sound like an original soundtrack recording? No but it sounds nice enough to want to listen to over and over again and again. Recommended.

Produced by James Fitzpatrick

Mixed and Mastered by Gareth Williams at Pickles Studios

Recorded by Jan Holzner

CD# is Tadlow 002

Total Time=69:44

Performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by James Fitzpatrick

Track listing

1. True Grit; Instrumental (01:41)

Tracks 1 -16 from "True Grit"

2. A Dastardly Deed / A Stiff Job (02:13)

3. Businesslike Mattie / Papa's Things (02:00)

4. Pony Mine / Rooster and Le Boeuf /Runaway Races Away (04:04)

5. Chase / On Their Way (01:45)

6. The Big Trail (01:07)

7. Where There is Smoke / The Dying Moon (04:13)

8. Preparation Dugout / Dugout Stakeout / Shots Galore! (05:25)

9. Ruffled Rooster (01:40)

10. Bouncing into Danger /Over Bald Mountain (04:18)

11. Rooster in the Meadow / Meadow Fight / A Long Shot (03:23)

12. The Snake Pit / The Lift Out / Sad Departure (06:42)

13. The Pace that Kills / A Ride for Life (02:58)

14. A Warm Wrao-Up (01:54)

15. End Credits (00:54)

16. True Grit; Vocal (01:49)

17. Concert Suite (04:32)

from "Sons of Katie Elder"

18. Opening Sequence (03:11)

from 'The Shootist

19. McBain / Main Title (02:38)

from "The Comancheros"

20. Necktie Party (04:05)

from "Cahill: U.S. Marshal"

21. Concert Suite (06:44)

from "Big Jake"

22. True Grit; Instrumental (first orchestration) (01:51)

from "True Grit"

In a series of circumstances that to describe would end up as long as a short novel, I had the wonderful opportunity to have lunch with Ted and discuss his new book "The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music" from Workman press.Before you stop reading this review please note that this is not just another reference guide on music! As an example, I am currently listening to SCHELOMO or "Hebraic rhapsody" for cello and orchestra by Ernest Bloch which is just one of 525 selections included in the price of the book through internet access to a website created by Naxos/Workman. As you read the biography of Ernest Bloch you would find that Ted uses this work as an example of the romantic sensibility yet some of the modernism he exhibited. By listening to the example it gives you an excellent example of what Bloch is all about music wise. This is a full 23 minute track not a short clip we are normally use to. The site is also designed with a streaming technique that allows easy access with little or no hesitation even using dial-up connection. Included in the price of the book is a code to access this music library, which is over 75 hours of listening material. As Ted explained to me this was only possible to do with the assistance of Klaus Heymann, owner and founder of Naxos records. When Klaus makes a recording he owns the rights to that recording and thus can make available whatever he wishes from his 3000+ collection of releases. Could you even stop to imagine the copyright nightmare if Ted needed permission from Universal, BMG, Sony, and Telarc? As he said it would not be possible in this day and age of music, but with Klaus it was. Klaus loved the idea and had a special Workman/Naxos site built. It is not designed for high quality but for quick easy streaming access to the material as I explained earlier. It is as good as FM broadcast quality in my opinion which is more than adequate. If you are introduced to new material that you like you can purchase from the list of recommended recordings shown directly below the encyclopedia entry or purchase the selection you listened to on the website, which are all Naxos recordings. While it would have been nice to have had the actual cd#'s listed on the website for reference it wasn't too difficult to do a quick check with the Naxos online catalog. A minor point which can be easily overlooked.

Want to learn about a musical instrument? Go to trombone as an example and you will not only find out about the origin of the instrument and how it evolved, but (3) short listening examples of how this brass instrument is put to use in classical recordings. Ted sites the first movement of Mahler's Third Symphony. Go to that example which is clearly marked in the book and you will hear the trombones in full unison! I learned about an "F attachment" to lower the sound and a "pea shooter" a shorter bore designed for high pitched solo work.

Want to learn about a composer and a little more? Go to Bernstein as an example and you will not only get a nice biography but other information such as "Bernstein always wanted to be the center of attention, and wherever he went and whatever he did, he was." Not your typical informational entry but one that gives a little insight and opinion. This particular biography is a three page entry complete with good quality photographs. The caption on one of the Bernstein photos reads "In 1946 Bernstein already cast a large shadow in the music world." The photo contains a shadow of Bernstein as well as Leonard conducting. Not your average pictures but a step above.

When appropriate each listing will have a small section of recommended recordings and these are not just Naxos either. While I disagree with many of the choices the less seasoned listener couldn't go wrong in taking his advice on which recordings to purchase. Ted, who at one time was the editor of Schwann magazine before it disappeared, knows his material really well. In putting together this book he actually made use of the huge H&B Direct catalog as a reference, something I have also done for many years.

With over 1500 entries, 2000 recommended recordings, 525 listening tracks, and 600,000 words this is a fine guide to classical music. Already in the short time spent reviewing I have learned new material and I have purchased and listened to classical music since 1959! Anyone who has a glass bee on the top of his computer to encourage him to finish the book is ok in my book!  Listed below is a link for ordering directly from Workman press.

I had the class tonight and we had a nice lively discussion of the movie, book, and score!  David, from MMM was nice enough to send me a copy of the original acetates from the OST.  From what I understand this was all that was left of them but what a joy to listen to them.  So much better than the now tepid recording from Sedares and the New Zealand.  We discussed how the original music that was spotted to the film was Gershwin=New York and all wrong.  People in Santa Barbara where they gave the test screening at laughed!  Rozsa of course fixed all of that and more.  Of course everyone laughed at the quote of Miklos when talking about the theremin and Hitchcock not knowing if it was something you ate or took for a headache.

Some of the more interesting little bits of information were Doris Dowling the bar girl was involved with Wilder at the time and ended up becoming Artie Shaw's 7th wife.  Paramount paid Jackson the author 50,000 for the rights which was a lot of money in 1945.  While billed as a novel it was an autobiography in reality.  Jackson, who had TB, ended up going to Switzerland for treatment of sorts and ended up becoming an alcoholic, drinking heavily for 7 years.  We discussed the symbolism of the DT scene with the mouse and the bat.  The mouse, as explained by Jackson, was the everyday Don Birnham, with the bat (mouse with wings) the artistic side of Don.  We of course had a lot of talk about the hopeless ending in the book as opposed to the ray of hope given in the film touching upon the symbolism of the cigarette being put out in the liquor glass.  For those who have not seen or read the book before, both are a must.  As far as alcoholic films are concerned it is by far the finest, although the sometimes writer, sometimes reviewer, didn't agree.  He basically did not like the film adaption from the book and did not approve of the spotting of the music in more than one place.  Milland lost 8 pounds to give the look of a man who hasn't eaten by surviving on plain toast, coffee, grapefruit juice, and boiled eggs.  Jose Ferrer was the first choice to do the role but was passed over as the studio heads felt Milland was a better choice.  The four Oscars proved it to be the film of 1945 over such other films as Mildred Pierce, The Bells of St. Mary, Anchors Aweigh, National Velvet, and Spellbound.  The day after the Academy Awards Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder came to work on the set to find bottles hanging from the window!  This has to be one of the top 100 films of all time.

I was finally given a headstart on a review 10 days before the official release date!  Of course I am at a huge disadvantage given the film release date is not until May 19th but no matter I will attempt to review it as best I can without viewing the film.  This is just an intial observation more than anything else.  The review will be posted in the scorereview web site.  I think the popularity of the score will be somewhat dictated by the success of the picture, which has already raised a lot of public interest because of the religious subject matter.  But the last I recall it is a novel isn't it?  And it is Hollywood doing it and aren't they interested in making money?  Enough said and on with the review.


Dan Brown's #1 New York Times Bestselling novel, originally published in 2003, has now sold over 40 million copies amid controversy, law suits, and statements from the Vatican itself. It is now brought to the screen starring Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, and Audrey Tautou. The Ron Howard directed film produced by Brian Grazer is another collaboration as they worked together on Cinderella Man in 2005. The truth/heresy/lawsuits over copyright infringement and plagiarism just benefit the film making everyone want to see it. With the midyear (May 2006) release it should do extremely well at the box office. The basic plot of the story is filled with murder, intrigue, and underground societies all involving the bloodlines of Christianity itself! The clues are all in plain sight in the Da Vinci paintings yet no one can see them until the curator in the Louvre is murdered and Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) becomes embroiled in the mystery.

Howard and Zimmer had previously worked together on Backdraft in 1991 so they were certainly not strangers to each other. Even so Ron Howard still makes the comment that "a motion picture scoring session never fails to scare the hell out of me." However, by the end of the day five of the major themes were recorded and any fear was laid to rest. Hans had done his job and very well as he is now a veteran of over 100 scores in a 20 year span. An important word of caution to all. This is not the bombastic Batman, Peacemaker, or Crimson Tide score that you might be use to from Hans. This is a serious classical/choral work written in a way that one is reminded of Sibelius, Bruckner, or Mahler. The mourning melody of the very first track "Dies Mercurii I Martius" are quite Sibelius in nature and coupled with the frantic harmony used so often by Bruckner you are off and running on this wonderful classical adventure."L'Esprit Des Gabriel" introduces us to the chorus for the first time which features the excellent soprano work of Hila Plitmann. Hila, along with the chorus, are used quite effectively in "Poisoned Chalice" which is written like a short scene right out of an opera. As the title indicates this is quite an inspirational moving piece. You will be saddened by its mournful style but one that you will likely come back to over and over again. And while there is no new territory opened or explored it does show the excellent talent of Hans Zimmer. He is well schooled, meticulous in nature and this as well as other tracks show this. "Salvete Virgines" is a strictly choral piece with words by Abhay Manusmare in a chanting style. Nick Glennie-Smith who has done great scores in his own right such as Man In The Iron Mask directed the choir for this CD. Nick was also involved in the arranging process along with Lorne Balfe and Henry Jackman. The final track, "Kyrie For The Magdalene", is a very religious poignant work composed by Richard Harvey. Hila leads the work backed up by the Choir of the King's Consort. Richard is also a fine composer most recently for his work on Colditz and Luther. Zimmer, Harvey, and Glennie-Smith make a great team effort along with a long long list of other contributors too long to mention in this review.

The recording process these days I liken to putting a cup of coffee in the microwave to warm up. Once you know its 45 seconds to get it to the just so temperature you want its automatic. The same holds true with this recording. Geoff Foster, Al Clay, and Alan Meyerson, have it done to a science, blending the synth, orchestra, choir, and soloists into a properly melded group.

On first listen there was no dominant theme to be heard. On the second listen there was no dominant theme that could be detected. But on the third and subsequent listenings there was one used throughout the entire score. Beginning in "L'Esprit Des Gabriel" and appearing in "Rose Of Arimathea" with chorus and orchestra it is truly a powerful theme reminiscent of a classical Russian tone poem. Dark and somber, yet religious and uplifting, this score is one to be recommended. The suspense and excitement of the film are enhanced by this soundtrack, which is exactly what Ron Howard had in mind.

Decca # B0006479-02

Music composed, arranged, and produced by Hans Zimmer

Conducted by Richard Harvey

Choir conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith

Track Listing

Track listing

1. Dies Mercurii I Martius (06:03)

2. L'esprit Des Gabriel (02:48)

3. The Paschal Spiral (02:49)

4. Fructus Gravis (02:50)

5. Quodis Arcana (06:07)

6. Malleus Maleficarum (02:19)

7. Salvete Virgines (03:14)

8. Daniel's 9th Cipher (09:31)

9. Poisoned Chalice (06:19)

10. The Citrine Cross (05:22)

11. Rose of Arimathea (08:12)

12. Beneath Alrischa (04:23)

13. Chevaliers De Sangreal (04:07)

14. Kyrie for the Magdalene (03:55)

Written by Richard Harvey

Total Time is 68:00