Most of you who are regular readers of my reviews are aware that Victor Young was a major contributor to Hollywood during the 40’s and 50’s. If film music is new to you, your new to this site, or a member of the younger generation you likely are not aware of who he was or what he contributed. And the average movie goer on the street even one who enjoys older films is pretty much unaware of how many truly wonderful memories Victor wrote. Bill Stinson of Paramount once said “he may have been the best melody writer we ever had in Hollywood.” Can you put his themes up with Gershwin and Porter? You most certainly can. Victor composed or supervised 300+ films with 22 nominations for the Oscar. It wasn’t until after his death did Hollywood wake up and honor him with the coveted award for “Around The World In 80 Days” a film that even the academy couldn’t overlook. Even Jerry Goldsmith who seemed to be forever nominated year after year did win for his score to “The Omen” at around the midpoint of his career. How would you like to have been nominated (4) times in one year and not win! It not only happened to Victor in 1940 but also in 1941. People who complain about Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard and others not winning an Oscar should be aware of how overlooked Victor was! And yet most people have heard his themes many times over albeit an elevator, grocery store, easy listening radio station or tv commercial.

With the exception of the Around The World track which was recorded as an alternate version, this is not original soundtrack material but recordings for the most part that Victor made for Decca in compilation recordings. The 45 RPM stereo version that you hear on this recording was orchestrated and recorded at the same time of the soundtrack with the specific idea of releasing a single which is exactly what they did. Three of the tracks are Richard Hayman and his orchestra and are included for a couple of reasons. First of all the orchestrations and arrangements are very similiar to what Victor would have done and the original master material is no longer available, having not survived the ravages of time. In addition, (5) of the selections “The High and the Mighty”, “LaVie En Rose”, “East of Eden”, “Ruby”, and “Autumn Leaves” were not composed by Victor Young but arranged and performed by him. Victor like Newman, Mancini, Legrand, and others would record other composers as well as their own material for compilation albums. What this CD is all about for you is a basic introduction to Victor Young. From this you will be able to decide which of his soundtracks you want to expand to. While some of them are not available at this time you do have some choices. As stated earlier, Victor is neglected but not completely forgotten and soundtracks are available for “Around The World In 80 Days”, “Samson and Delilah, “The Quiet Man”, “For Whom The Bells Toll”, and “The Uninvited.” In fact look for this site to be involved with an official release of previously unavailable material from a major Victor Young film score. Look for this release to happen in early 2007.

Even though Victor was a master concert violinist he must have had a secret desire to play the harp because the parts he writes for this delicate instrument are every bit as good as Steiner and keep in mind that Max was married to a harpist who played in the WB Studio orchestra and he would always include her nicely in his orchestrations. The string section features fairly simple straightforward arrangements but the material is so lush and easy on the ears to listen to. Let me put it to you this way: this is no brass band. Nothing loud and brash sounding at all. In fact many of the tracks contain no percussion at all, a trademark Victor used for many of his recordings.

The remastering by Robles, Mathews, and Daly is fine. Keep in mind that some of this material is pre lp which means 78 acetates. A lot of is mono and no it doesn’t have great dynamic range. What it has is melodies and lots of them. Not small themes you hear today that you have to listen to 10 times before you can hear it. This is material you will find yourself humming and not realize it! This is material that if explored will open up an entire new world. This is material that is going to make you want more Victor Young. And perhaps you will ask yourself the same question that came up for me many many years ago. Who is this Victor Young and why are there so few recordings available? Recommended.

Golden Score Rating ***

Produced by Bill Buster

Mastered by Roger Robles

Hit Parade # 13501

Track Listing

1. Around The World (Theme From “Around The World In 80 Days”) (02:37)

Single version; first time in stereo.

2. India Country Side (03:55)

From “Around The World In 80 Days”; stereo.

3. The High And The Mighty (02:46)

4. Written On The Wind (02:39)

5. Alone At Last (03:09)

From “Something To Love For.”

6. Moonlight Serenade (Summer Love) (03:09)

From “The Star.”

7. La Vie En Rose (03:14)

8. Change Of Heart (02:25)

From “Forever Female.”

9. When I Fall In Love (03:15)

From “One Minute To Zero”; stereo. Performed by Richard Hayman & His Orchestra.

10. (Themes From) Sampson And Delilah (04:24)

11. The Call Of The Far-Away Hills (02:59)

From “Shane.”

12. My Mother (02:45)

From “The Quiet Man.”

13. My Foolish Heart (03:15)

14. Everything I Do (Wintertime Of Love) (02:52)

From “Thunderbirds.”

15. Love Letters (03:04)

Stereo. Performed by Richard Hayman & His Orchestra.

16. East Of Eden (03:14)

17. (Theme From) For Whom The Bell Tolls (03:05)

18. Golden Earrings (Prelude) (03:05)

19. Ruby (02:49)

From “Ruby Gentry.”

20. Autumn Leaves (02:43)

21. (The From) The Medic (Blue Star) (03:01)

22. Stella By Starlight (03:00)

From “The Uninvited”; stereo. Performed by Richard Hayman & His Orchestra.

Total Duration: 01:07:25

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Fox Searchlight Pictures and directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have to be absolutely ecstatic over the public acceptance of their new film as box office sales have far exceeded the modest 8 million dollar budget in quite a short period of time. It has gone from a very limited theater distribution to a lot more screens meaning the gross will increase even further. In addition, the reviews have been pretty favorable for the most part. The story of a dysfunctional family taking a cross country trip in hopes of the daughter Olive winning a beauty contest is filled with humor as well as tender touching moments.

For anyone not aware Mychael is the brother of Jeff, who is also a soundtrack composer having done such scores as The Gospel of John, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Keep in mind on this soundtrack that it was co-written with a Colorado based group Devotchka, quite popular as of this August 2006 writing. In addition, there are other tracks by artists Rick James, Tony Tisdale, and Sufjan Stevens. There are (6) tracks of Danna material mixed in with the other material and is the focus of this article. Given the fact that his budget was quite limited the tracks are done with a lot of creative ideas using unusual combinations of instruments such as a tuba, string bass, accordian, piano, drums, trumpets and a cello. The main theme which is featured in “The Winner Is” gets the CD going with one of those catchy, hard to get out of your head themes. Simple with a very small amount of instrumentation but very effective. Mychael certainly gets an ‘A’ for orchestration. “Let’s Go” is a great track first using the accordian in a way the French and Italian composers have used it for a romantic interlude and then Mychael shifts gears a bit and uses the tuba and cello in a short but most effective duet! “First Push” is a short one minute track featuring guitar and whistling with the addition of a gypsy style violin at the end of the track. Again, this is yet another example of a limited amount of instrumentation but used very effectively. “No One Gets Left Behind” is another statement of the main theme using guitars, one melody and one harmony, trumpets, accordian as harmony, and percussion. “We’re Gonna Make It” is another cue featuring a quirky but excellent use of the tuba yet again. In fact, while no mention is made of the soloist, he certainly got quite a workout on the instrumental tracks of this CD and performed very well.

Lakeshore Records records and mixes their soundtracks very well. The sound is crisp and clean and doesn’t detract from the material in anyway. The lack of general recording information for us enthusiasts leaves something to be desired! Small items as a short list of musicians who performed on the tracks, the orchestrator (I assume Mychael), etc. A minor but important point at least to me. The fact that a review copy was sent to me (thanks Steph), allowed me the opportunity to listen to and then talk about this nice score. If this had not been done, it is one that very likely would have slipped through the cracks unnoticed by this reviewer and both of us would lose. This is something to recommend either by purchasing the entire score if you like Devotchka or you could get the (6) instrumental tracks on iTunes by going directly to http://www.lakeshorerecords.com. Either way is recommended.

 

For more years than I care to admit one of the few lp soundtrack releases I owned of Max Steiner was Marjorie Morningstar on the RCA label, albeit it was not a soundtrack as we know it today. Ray Heindorf of Warner Bros. recorded key tracks especially for the lp and while faithful to the soundtrack this new offering from Screen Archives/Chelsea Rialto Studios is a (2) CD from the original session tapes and includes everything except one track “Fame”, a college song about Hunter College sung by a chorus, done especially for the lp release. It by the way never appeared in the film.

The film itself never became the blockbuster Warner Bros. had hoped for although it did show a profit for the studio. The film received no Oscar nominations except for the signature piece “A Very Precious Love” written by Webster/Fain which ultimately lost to “Gigi.” The problem looking back seemed to be the casting of Gene Kelly in the lead role of Noel Airman. As described in the best selling Herman Wouk novel, Noel was a 28 year old not the 45 that Kelly was. For the musical numbers Kelly was way too good and as a romantic interest he lacked the swagger that a Cary Grant could deliver. A bit of an oddity is the fact that another famous song and dance man Fred Astaire also appeared in a serious role in “On The Beach” just a year later with much acclaim. Natalie Wood took the lead female role in stride and later on filmed “West Side Story” and “Splendor In The Grass” just two of her many successful pictures. While producer Milton Sperling was angling to get Alex North to do the scoring, director Irving Rapper prevailed. Max Steiner had done over 2 dozen pictures for Irving and this was no time to change regardless of the fact that Max Steiner was no longer under contract to Warner Bros.

 

Marjorie Morningstar was a departure from the usual style of score that Max had been known to write in the past. This was not “a wall to wall” work a term Ray Faiola used in his liner notes describing the typical Max Steiner score. In fact other than Uncle Samson (Ed Wynn) who is given an absolutely charming theme and an unforgettable one for Marjorie there are not the usual themes for the different characters in the film. You would have to include the love theme “A Very Precious Love” for Noel and Marjorie but that was written by Webster and Fain as explained earlier. Max does his usual excellent job incorporating it into the film just he did with “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca another tune he didn’t compose but made famous. There is a lounge scene in which Kelly sings the song to a nice solo piano arrangement. Gene is no Sinatra with his voice but he has a tone and style that is quite pleasant to listen to. At the time promotion seemed to be the big key to this movie and Warner Bros. was doing whatever it could to promote, thus Kelly singing it. What you do have in this soundtrack is a lot of source music! With the film running 128 minutes there is 95 minutes of music included from all types and styles. Chamber music, ballroom music, blues, and jazz are just some of the kinds of music included. In addition, Ray Heindorf also wrote several short cues and arranged others. But mixed in the 54 tracks are some of those wonderful Max Steiner trademarks cues such as the despair chord in “That Doesn’t Solve Anything” and so many others. It makes me recall so many of his other classic films.

One of the most important things about this score lies in the name of the company who brought it to market. Screen Archives Entertainment contains the word archives and through the effort of Ray Faiola and Craig Spaulding this soundtrack is preserved. Yes it is a mono mix from the stereo but the tape survived pretty darn well! There are a couple of brief hesitations but this is wonderful compared to some other older remastered material. Could this release have been reduced to one CD? The answer is yes but again that word archive crops up again in my head and all of the material needed to be preserved. Where the true mastery of Faiola comes in is on “Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart” a track that he actually re-created the last few bars because the tape had been ruined. If you are familiar with the piano playing of Bud Powell it sure sounded like his style from beginning to end with no hesitation or change at all. Who knows if he got a small quartet together for a few bars to complete it but however he did it perfect is the word to describe it. The liner notes (small book actually) give you all the information that you need to know about the director, producer, background, casting, and score. On each source track that Steiner didn’t write you are told who did and what film it was used in. In the thank you section John “human hollywood encyclopedia” Morgan is mentioned. If John doesn’t know he knows where to go to find out. In all of the years that this reviewer has been involved with scores if there is a question to be answered about an older score Ray, John, or Craig will have the answer!

In conclusion, there are many choices these days when it comes to purchasing soundtracks, hundreds in fact. This is the type of material that needs to be in your collection. If releases like this one are not supported then the answer in the future will be quite bleak indeed. Tapes eventually go bad even when stored under careful conditions and time is running out for some of this material. This was not the best effort from Steiner, but it doesn’t matter. Any effort of Max is worth having at least in the opinion of this reviewer. Recommended

Golden Scores Rating ***

Produced by Ray Faiola and Craig Spaulding

SAE-CRS-014

Track listing

Disc/Cassette 1

1. Main Title (01:38)

2. Uncle Samson Comes To Call (02:04)

3. Marjorie is Growing Up (01:55)

4. Haftorah (00:32)

5. Hunter College (00:23)

6. Sandy Strikes Out (00:15)

7. Something To Worry About (01:12)

8. Bugle Call (00:27)

9. “Oh, Tamarack” (00:37)

10. “Gotta Be This or That” – “Trade Winds” (03:36)

11. South Wind Blues (01:50)

12. Noel Shows Them How (01:17)

13. “A Very Precious Love” (01:48)

14. Marjorie and Noel Get Acquainted (01:23)

15. Dance Rehearsal (01:08)

16. Uncle Samson Goes To South Wind (01:22)

17. Too Young and Wholesome (02:05)

18. Lakeside (02:37)

19. Dinner in Noel’s Cabin (03:51)

20. “Shirley” (00:34)

21. South Wind Fiesta (00:55)

22. Rock Cucaracha (01:07)

23. “Would You Beleive Me” (04:04)

24. “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (03:16)

25. The World’s Greatest Torero (04:06)

26. “A Very Precious Love” (03:35)

27. “Just One Girl” – “For You” (01:41)

28. That Doesn’t Solve Anything (02:47)

29. Graduation (01:29)

30. A Speaking Part at Last! (01:15)

31. “Gee But You’re Swell” (01:33)

32. “A Very Precious Love” – One Last Dance (01:51)

33. Goodbye David (01:03)

34. Your Future Son-in-law (00:58)

35. All the Things I’ve Missed (01:22)

Disc/Cassette 2

1. “It Must Be Love” Opening (00:18)

2. Second Act Curtain (00:31)

3. Noel’s Inspiration (02:19)

4. Get Out of My Way You Rotten Tramp! (01:35)

5. Wally’s Second Kiss (00:30)

6. “L’Amour Toujours L’amour” (02:08)

7. “The Words are in My Heart” (02:00)

8. “Liebestraum” (02:42)

9. “Wedding March” (00:29)

10. Into Noel’s Arms (00:38)

11. Coming Home To Pappa (03:42)

12. Rehearsal For Princess Jones (01:14)

13. Princess Jones Opening (00:26)

14. After the Reviews (02:56)

15. Return To South Wind – Finale (05:33)

16. End Cast (00:40)

17. “Marjorie Morningstar” (02:44)

18. “A Very Precious Love” (01:37)

19. Trailer Finale (01:04)

Total Time is 1:35:04

 

Before we get started on this review the Johnny Williams who composed “Not With My Wife, You Don’t!” is the same John Williams who conducted the Boston Pops and is the single most prominent figure in the history of soundtracks. It is just different from the style you are accustomed to. This is a light, big band, swinging, airy 60’s style score quite the norm for the type of comedy films produced in the 60’s. For those not familiar John was a much in demand studio pianist who recorded for Henry Mancini and the other half of this CD soundtrack “Any Wednesday” George Duning among others. He was known as Johnny in the early days and even then he was a step above many of the other composers of the time.

The Norman Panama directed film starred Tony Curtis, George C. Scott, and Virna Lisi in this love triangle comedy which flashbacks to the Korean war when Virna was a nurse and fell in love with both Scott and Curtis. Because she thought Scott was killed she chose and married Curtis and all was well for 14 years until Scott reappears and the story is on. However, this run of the mill film produced some awfully good music from the pen of Williams and Mercer. While Williams had not won an Oscar yet, Mercer had. The lyrics are crisp and biting for “Big Beautiful Ball” and “Not With My Wife, You Don’t!” and soft, dreamy, and romantic for “My Inamorata.” Johnny sings Beautiful Ball in his carefree style, while the chorus which sounds similiar to the one Mancini would use, does the other two. And mixed in with these are some very creative underscore including some very clever titles such as “Foney Poochini” a delightful mixture of Row Your Boat and a Rossini style overture piece. “Hungarian Jungle Music” with the tom tom drum pounding and the alto flute create some good underscore. “Arrivederci Mondo” is another one of those dreamy romantic tracks with the melody carried by an electric guitar. All twelve tracks are not only good but flow very well from one to another. Keep in mind that this soundtrack was a re-recording so it had the advantage of Williams being able to orchestrate and arrange them for the lp, picking the most interesting cues and being able to give special treatment to them. Back in 1966, most films were not released to lp, so the fact that this one was indicates it was a step above most scores and WB felt there was a market for it.

Robert Ellis Miller directed a similiar style comedy starring Jason Robards, Jane Fonda, and Dean Jones in yet another love triangle. This one involves Fonda about to lose the apartment she is living in and Robards figuring out a way to have his business buy it. Of course Robards wife has no idea what is going on. Add an employee Jones and the plot thickens. George Duning, who is best known for his haunting romantic score to “Picnic”, was given the scoring assignment and produced a nice big band, and once again a very 60’s sounding piece. There are a couple of differences between the two scores. George uses his main theme a lot more in fact it appears in most of the tracks. While George doesn’t use jazz in the purest sense he does appear to allow a bit of improvisation or at the very least eludes to it. It is entirely possible the flute solo was written note for note in the “Prologue and Main Title” track but the flavor and arrangement of it indicates otherwise. His use of percussion and vibes is strong and the bongos especially add to the tracks. The theme is used over and over again but the entire score is only 25 minutes and the variations are interesting especially if you enjoy and are in to the big band style of music.

The remixing and mastering help to retain the brightness of the original lp recordings. What is lacking is that lower frequency of a digital recording from beginning to end. Having said that I am not sure if this recording would benefit from that anyway. Far more important to have nice clean bright highs.

This recording is likely going to appeal to the older generation and any of you in that group who enjoy listening to a early Mancini score or one of his many instrumental albums. Reviewing this score lately has been a most refreshing change for me given the large amount of synth music I have had to go through. And even though it was recorded 40 years ago it sounds pretty darn clean and fresh to me. Did Williams ever write a bad score? Not in this reviewers opinion. Recommended.

Golden Score Rating ***

Produced by Lukas Kendall

Mixed by Michael McDonald

Mastered by Doug Schwartz

CD# FSM Vol. 9 No. 3

Track listing

1. Main Title (Big Beautiful Ball) (02:56)

2. My Inamorata (Vocal Version) (02:50)

3. Hey Julietta (02:00)

4. Trumpet Discotheque (02:58)

5. Two of Everything (02:26)

6. Not With My Wife, You Don’t (02:30)

7. Big Beautiful Ball (01:51)

(Vocal: Johnny Mercer)

8. My Inamorata (Instrumental) (03:10)

9. Foney Poochini (Labrador-Opera Montage) (02:02)

10. Arrivederci Mondo (Italian Movie) (02:16)

11. Hungarian Jungle Music (03:03)

12. Defending the Flag (01:49)

NOT WITH MY WIFE, YOU DON’T ! (1966) tracks 1-12; total time 30:16

13. Prologue and Main Title (03:21)

14. Split Screens (01:32)

15. Playboy John (01:20)

16. Frantic Cass (01:35)

17. Pigeon John (03:18)

18. Righteous Cass (02:13)

19. Cass and Ellen (02:06)

20. Frantic John (02:31)

21. Double Clinches (02:28)

22. Wife Meets Mistress (02:57)

23. Lecher John and End Title (02:15)

ANY WEDNESDAY (1966) tracks 13-23; total time 25:59

Total Duration: 00:55:27

 

 

Christopher Lennertz has got to be put into the category of an up and coming modern age soundtrack composer! As young man in his early thirties, he has already amassed 47 different projects to his credit, ranging from “Medal of Honor: Rising Sun” a Steven Spielberg video game, to the Fox television show “Brimstone”, to a to be released film “Tortilla Heaven.” “Supernatural”, a WB television show has earned Chris an Emmy nomination. The show, created by Eric Kripke, who Chris went to film school with at USC, deals with the paranormal on a regular basis, as two brothers try to determine what happened to their parents. Hopefully, with an Emmy in hand, Chris will get a full release of this soundtrack and begin to receive some long overdue recognition due him. To my knowledge the following link which is the soundtrack to “Saint Sinner” is the only official release of any material Chris has done http://www.lalalandrecords.com/saintsinner.html. His score to “Medal of Honor European Assault” is available only as a download from apple itunes.

The 43+ minute 25 track score starts off very very slowly with “And So It Begins…” a soft Debussy touch piano and then its bang zoom into the terror of moment. And I mean turn your volume down on your stereo! This track has dynamic range. On the otherhand, “The Library” starts off with a slightly ominous sound but quickly moves to a nice piano theme with a constant rhythm with the left hand. The steady beat of the same chord is a prelude of something to come very soon. Chris has definitely written a really nice diverse and interesting series of cues ranging from some middle eastern, hard rock, tension, a little Thomas Newman style piano chords, and anticipation of evil to come. Yes there are the shrieking strings from time to time. Would there not be something missing if a composer didn’t include a little bit? The softer and quieter cues such as “Dad Is Alive” are a lot more to my liking. In fact it would have surprised me that it came from a television series such as this one until right at the end when it concludes with a loud bang which startled me for a second the first time I listened to it obviously the point of the whole cue was to lull me into a sense of false security and then wack me good!

Since this is a demo recording there is no information on the orchestra, recording or mixing to report on. Hopefully, it will win an Emmy and a release. Anyone who has a serious interest in the series itself is going to want this score. I truly wish that I could speak from more experience as far as the series is concerned but it is something I have not seen nor have I talked to anyone who has.

If you are not a fan of the series but enjoy Christopher’s music this is yet another addition to his game scores in the Medal of Honor series and “Saint Sinner.” And with the release hopefully of “Tortilla Heaven” in the near future it will lead to even more exciting assignments for Chris in the future. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this score will be released in the very near future so that you may also enjoy it.

 

If Benjamin Frankel were to come up in a film score conversation how many of you would know who it is? Maybe there are select few who would recognize the name from his Golden Globe nominated score to the film “Battle of the Bulge” from 1966 or maybe “Night of the Iguana” but that is likely the only two films you might recognize the name from. Yet Benjamin did soundtracks for well over a 100 films. Classical listeners might be somewhat more familiar with Frankel but even this group doesn’t have a lot of choices when it comes to a particular work like it would with a Tchaikovsky Symphony.

The release celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Frankel and offers music from (4) films, “The Prisoner” (1955) being given its World Premiere Recording and “Curse of the Werewolf” (1961) its first complete recording as well as selections from “The Net” (1953) and “So Long at the Fair” (1950). One can only speculate as to why Benjamin would get involved with a film such as “Curse of the Werewolf” and Hammer Films. Could it have been the opportunity to experiment and explore the serial or twelve tone technique? The score itself is almost entirely serial and Benjamin is credited with having done the first feature film in Britain using the twelve tone method for this film. The “Prelude” sets the mood with a series of dissonant chords from the brass and string section, creating the eerie mood for the score. When you listen to this score you instantly realize how superior the soundtrack is to the film. While the film offered Oliver Reed his first starring role, there is little else it has to offer except the music. “The Beggar” and later on “Pastoral offers a wonderful melody conjuring up a wonderful frolic in a meadow, a carefree and happy tune, a little bit of good time in this gloomy film. “Finale” concludes this soundtrack, a cue that uses the entire orchestra with several things going on at the same time from the strings, woodwinds, and brass all at the same time. This is an excellent example of how the 12 tone system works and why it is so effective! Frankel learned well from Schoenberg!

The other work which is somewhat complete, offering 30 minutes and 11 tracks of material is “The Prisoner” Unfortunately, this wonderful Alec Guiness and Jack Hawkins tale, based on the true events of Hungarian Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty and his arrest for treason had little impact on US audiences and has virtually disappeared. But the music is quite good again, making me ponder as to why it has taken 51 years for it to be released! This was a film nominated for 5 BAFTA awards and banned in certain places because of the subject matter of the catholic church and communism. Usually when a film is banned people can’t wait to see it so I am a bit confused. This is a score that perfectly complements the psychological thriller and also allows Frankel to experiment with the twelve tone system 6 years before “The Curse of the Werewolf”.

“So Long at the Fair” is a very upbeat and very British starting with a Sea Prelude reminding me of Sainton and his “Moby Dick” score moving on to a wonderful melody called Carriage and Pair followed by a charming delicate minuet Long Forgotten Melody, and finally returning to the Carriage and Pair theme. This I warn you will be quite a radical departure from “The Prisoner” and “Curse of the Werewolf”.

“The Net” entry, while only a scant 3 minutes is a wonderful love theme showing us yet another side of the versatility of Benjamin Frankel. The delicate piano and lush strings are superb and while it was written over 50 years ago still stands up as well as other American standards.

As far as the sequencing is concerned it would have made more sense to this reviewer to have put “The Net” and “So Long at the Fair” together at the end of the CD. To go from this lush love theme to the dissonance of “The Prisoner” is well? The overall recording and mixing are fine as well as the liner notes. It’s nice to have notes that provide you with some really good background information about both Frankel and the films he wrote for. The orchestra under the baton of Carl Davis performs the material well. If you have read my reviews over the past few years you are aware of the fact that I usually recommend the OST. It might be mono, little or no dynamic range, and even scratchy but better because of the composer conducting and tempo. Since there is no OST for this one, you only have two choices. This recording or nothing. In the case of this recording I would much rather have it. Besides on the Naxos label the price is always very very reasonable. Recommended.

Golden Scores Rating ***

Naxos # is 8.557850

Performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Carl Davis

Produced by Tim Handley

Engineer is Phil Rowlands

Track Listing

1. Prelude (01:49)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

2. The Beggar (01:59)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

3. Servant Girl and Beggar (02:14)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

4. Revenge and Escape (02:59)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

5. Baptism (03:43)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

6. Pastoral (01:51)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

7. Leon’s Assignation (01:49)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

8. A Deadly Transformation (02:22)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

9. Leon Confronts The Horror (03:28)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

10. Leon Imprisoned (01:58)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

11. Final Transformation (03:21)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

12. Finale (06:49)

From “Curse of The Werewolf”

13. Introduction – Sea Prelude – Carriage and Pair – Long Forgotten Melody – Carriage and Pair (06:25)

From “So Long At The Fair”

14. Love Theme (03:09)

From “The Net”

15. Prelude (01:28)

From “The Prisoner”

16. The Prison (02:53)

From “The Prisoner”

17. Cat and Mouse (02:51)

From “The Prisoner”

18. Cardinal and Interrogator (03:06)

From “The Prisoner”

19. Mind Games (01:52)

From “The Prisoner”

20. Civil Unrest (03:16)

From “The Prisoner”

21. Solitary Confinement (06:30)

From “The Prisoner”

22. The Dark (01:48)

From “The Prisoner”

23. The Confession (03:32)

From “The Prisoner”

24. Last Meal (01:51)

From “The Prisoner”

25. Finale (01:23)

From “The Prisoner”

Total Duration: 01:14:26

 

Restrained is the best word that I can use to describe the score created by Armstrong for the Oliver Stone film “World Trade Center” starring Nicholas Cage and Michael “Crash” Pena. Based on the true story written by John McLoughlin, one of the real officers, it tells the story of the two trapped heroic policeman who were eventually rescued. This is not a conspiracy film of any sorts and it is about what happened to the officers. It is difficult for me not to comment on the film itself but it is something I have feelings about and choose silence.

The first cue “World Trade Center Cello Theme” is performed flawlessly with excellent tone and feeling by Alison Lawrance and is the theme that drives the majority of this score. It is complemented on this track with a very brief appearance of the Hollywood Film Chorale, strings and harp. “World Trade Center Piano Theme” is similiar but different from the cello version. You can hear some percussion when it rises to a crescendo. Still it is extremely restrained. The “World Trade Center Choral Piece” features Susie Stevens Logan as soprano soloist and we hear a short brass statement of the theme from the trombones. This choral piece could very easily have been a church work were it not for the brass. Keep in mind the word restrained. “John & Donna Talk About Their Family” has a couple of guitar bars slightly upbeat and almost seem out of place! As far as positive music goes “John Rescued/Resolution” is it. A little bit of percussion with cymbals and electronics added to the main theme played in a higher register from the string section is as much as you are ever going to hear. We conclude with a restrained “Elegy” track a piece to honor those who gave their lives in this horrific event. The celestial concluding solo piano coda performed eloquently by Craig Armstrong ends this most somber CD. In fact, Craig performed all of the piano and keyboards for this score bringing out all of the delicacy that he composed into this work.

The recording, done on the Newman Scoring Stage, mastering by Patricia Sullivan Fourstar, The Hollywood Studio Symphony and Film Chorale are superb. Having stated this many times, they have it down to a science. After 20 years of putting cream in your coffee you know just the correct amount to use and the same holds true today with recordings. The Hollywood Studio is the cream of the crop and it can be successfully argued the finest ensemble in the entire world.

This score, in my opinion, is going to appeal to the group of people who are strongly touched by the film and want something in addition. The soundtrack will fill that need for sure. People who enjoy the work of Craig, especially his solo piano works among others, will want this soundtrack. For the average listener/collector a visit to itunes for the downloading of the first track “World Trade Center Cello Theme” will likely satisfy that person. In essence, it is one very long adagio of sorts.