The Four Musketeers/Lalo Schifrin

September 12, 2008

 

Alexander Dumas certainly ranks at the top of the charts when it comes to his books being made into films and for good reason. People love tales of swashbuckling, romance, and intrigue. It was decided very early on in the filming that there was so much to the story that it would be broken up into two parts. This version, which is the second half of the story stars Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston among others. Directed by veteran director Richard “Superman” Lester the film benefited from a good cast and is considered to be one of the better efforts in the long series of remakes.

Lalo Schifrin has added his own signature sound to the 17th century Baroque strains creating a unique listening experience. “The Four Musketeers”, the main theme, is a rousing cue-using period instruments as well as full symphony orchestra. There is a nice tribute to Korngold, famous for his swashbuckling scores, in the beginning of the cue, a very nice touch. “Athos’s Theme” is a lush romantic sounding cue that again combines the period instruments with traditional strings, guitar, and harp. This theme is also repeated in “Milady’s Theme”, “Milady’s Secret”, “Milady’s Frustration”, and “Milady in Prison.” To add a modern flare of suspense you can clearly hear one of the motifs from Mission Impossible in “The Fight.” It conjured up thoughts of Barney and Jim sneaking around trying to defeat the bad guys yet again. “A Lovely Adventure” is a very traditional Bach sounding piece from the era. “Chased From the Louvre” has that French sound of a Jarre or Legrand (composer of the first half) coupled with a modern sounding Baroque.

This new release has the advantage of having additional cues obtained from the composer in 1977 on ¼“ tape-recorded at 7.5 IPS. Apparently, the original 15IPS master tapes had been destroyed. In this reviewers opinion it would have been better to have separated the additional cues and included them as bonus material after the original 8 cues. The audible difference, as explained in the liner notes, is going to be apparent, being from another source other than the original cues, and that variance is magnified when put between two master tape sources. If you listen to “The Musketeers Rescue Constance” followed by “Breakfast at the Bastion” and finally “A Lovely Adventure” the flattened out frequency response is painfully apparent in the middle cue. The difference you’ll hear especially in the higher frequency response is assuming that you are listening on quality equipment. While I could clearly hear the difference in the cues on my nicer stereo, with and without headphones I could not detect anything when it was played in my CD clock radio. Do not let this influence your buying decision! It is much better to have the material and just re-program your player. The original release on Label X (LXCD05) had tracks from The Four Musketeers and material from Voyage of the Damned but has been unavailable for many years.

This is one of those recordings that are a step above. Mission Impossible influences on Baroque music? Don’t put anything past Schifrin. Lalo pulled it off with ease. Recommended.

Main Titles Rating is ****

Produced by J.S.R. Lasher

Engineered by Toby Learmont

Track Listing:

1. The Four Musketeers (Main Theme)

 

2. Athos’s Theme

 

3. The Chase To The Convent

 

4. The Musketeers Rescue Constance

 

5. Breakfast At The Bastion *

 

6. A Lovely Adventure

 

7. Chased From The Louvre

 

8. Milady’s Theme* 

9. Operation Rochefort *

 

10. Milady’s Secret*

 

11. The Frozen Pond Fight

 

12. Milady’s Frustration *

 

13. The Fight *

 

14. Milady In Prison *

 

15. Intrigue *

16. The Cardinal’s Jackal*

17. The Four Musketeers (End Credits)

*7.5 IPS Material

Total Time is 41:34

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