Spellbound/Rozsa First Listen

June 25, 2007

Could Intrada have picked out a more controversial score to re-record for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Miklos Rozsa than Spellbound, the 1945 Selznick/Hitchcock thriller starring Peck and Bergman? When the first brainstorming of the project began the idea of doing an Oscar winning score in a fairly complete package for the first time seemed a logical choice. While there were other recordings available most were woefully incomplete, pretty much offering the main theme. The logical choice was the Heindorf recording http://www.goldenscores.com/?a=reviews&id=8 and it lacked quite a bit of material from the film, as well as being out of print. On the surface it all seems to make sense to me. From some of the comments that this reviewer has read on the various message boards you would have thought it was one of the poorer efforts ever done! Yes, the producer and label owner from Intrada can and should be sensitive to a degree about criticism leveled against the re-recording. Tell your girl friend or wife sometime that there meal tastes like cardboard after spending several hours in the kitchen and you’ll get clonked with a pan on the head! You just don’t do things like that. They spent many countless hours on a project which could never show huge profits. How could the general public possibly have any interest in music from a 62 year old film! Most of the younger generation has no clue about the film at all! The majority of the sales are going to be limited to soundtrack collectors and people interested in the film, Hitchcock, or the stars involved. Not a very big market, at least not in my opinion.

Any re-recording of material is a welcome addition to our golden age selections and Spellbound is no exception. We have been blessed with three new recordings this year and there appears to be more on the horizon in the coming months. Spellbound, in this reviewers opinion, is one of the better themes written for the silver screen and certainly the melody is recognizable to many albiet it not many can name the film. Eerie, romantic, and mysterious it is used as a central base for many of the tracks in the score. The mystery theme, with the use of theremin, and the premiere of the Rozsa written “Ski Run; Mountain Lodge” sequence are all included as well as 30 additional minutes of material not included in the Warner Brothers recording.

A word about tempo and miking. Tempo is a decision that is usually made by the conductor for a particular work. If it is for the silver screen the director, producer, and ultimately the film itself will dictate this, but a re-recording in a concert hall must be listened to in a different fashion, that is you will be the final judge of the material. The same must be said about the miking, mixing, sound levels, and any other matter of audio decision making.

This is a fine re-recording of Oscar winning material and is to be recommended to even the casual listener of golden age material. It comes with my highest recommendation!




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