PrinceandthePauper

One of the many pleasures of a new offering from Tribute Film Classics is the opportunity to revisit one of the older films that Bonn, Morgan, and Stromberg have decided to re-record. Previously we have seen Charge of the Light Brigade, Fahrenheit 451, Kentuckian, Mysterious Island, and She all excellent older films. As a reviewer I try to not only listen to the CD several times but to watch the film so that I may see what I’m listening to. I’ve even gone so far as to cue up the particular sequence in the film with the new material and play them together. It seldom matches but it still gives me a better idea than just watching the film or listening to the CD. Nerdy, but effective for what I’m striving to achieve. The latest offering, the Mark Twain classic, The Prince and the Pauper, starring Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, and Billy Mauch is also a special Korngold score orchestrated in part by another of my favorite golden age composers Hugo Friedhofer.

While this film score is available from Previn, OST, and a previous version from Stromberg/Morgan, this is by far the one to have as it contains 43 tracks and over 65+ minutes of music. Previn had 9 tracks and 22 minutes, the OST on Rhino about 8 minutes, and the older Stromberg version with the Brandenburg Symphony 33 minutes. Not listed are several different recordings that appear in compilation recordings but pretty much consist of just the main theme. Putting it in historical order was after Anthony Adverse but before The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Written in a style that would be suitable for a chamber orchestra, the infectious main title theme starts us off. This is a theme that I could very easily see as being the melody to a studio intro such as MGM, Fox, or Warner Brothers. As explained in the liner notes from John Morgan, Korngold was permitted to use the themes for his concert pieces and he later used the melody from The Prince and the Pauper as the main theme in the third movement of his Violin Concerto. Coincidentally, Naxos has released a new recording of the concerto 8.570791 nicely performed by Philippe Quint. This affords you the opportunity to hear the theme fully developed (7+) minutes and nicely performed. “A Prince is Born,” along with “Tavern and Palace” has that jovial full sound that we are accustomed to listening to in Robin Hood from Korngold. The bonus of this CD are tracks such as “Prince Outside Palace” which is a prodding style of theme performed on the contrabassoon something I found really exciting and certainly different sounding. In fact you’re going to hear the theme quite a lot. Break neck speed on the piano in the “Seal #1” and “Seal #2.” “Riot” was also the theme at break neck speed while “Dining Scene” is yet another variation this one with a sax and the bassoon given the role of a comic. “Street Scene,” also a famous Newman cue, is a dark mysterious one. “British End Title,” a proud rendition of the main title includes “God Save the Queen.” This is just nice bonus material like the trailer music that you get when the score is fairly complete.

If you have little of this material in your collection this is certainly the recording to add to your collection. Highly recommended.

CD# is TFC 1006

Produced by Bonn, Morgan, and Stromberg

Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra

Golden Score Rating is ****1/2

Track listing

1. Main Title (01:43)

2. A Prince Is Born (00:33)

3. Tavern And Palace (03:15)

4. Tom/Tom Continuation (06:36)

5. The Bench (00:44)

6. The Prince (03:24)

7. Biscuit And Seal (01:53)

8. The Prince Goes Back (01:42)

9. The Captain (00:47)

10. The Boys Go to Play (00:49)

11. Mirror (01:55)

12. Prince Outside Palace (01:48)

13. The Next Morning (01:14)

14. Pauper Goes To King (02:11)

15. That Is My Son (00:34)

16. The King Is Dead (01:26)

17. The Dog (00:55)

18. The Church (01:13)

19. Riot (01:23)

20. Dining Scene (03:44)

21. The Crown (00:58)

22. His Majesty (00:57)

23. Exit (00:31)

24. The Murder (01:05)

25. Street Scene (01:27)

26. Nuts Knocker (00:25)

27. Pauper’s Coronation (00:42)

28. Flirt (02:10)

29. Robbery (00:33)

30. Knife Fight (02:13)

31. The Maid And The Ride (01:43)

32. The Prayer (00:52)

33. Duel (02:26)

34. Fanfares (00:09)

35. Organ (00:27)

36. God Save The King (00:06)

37. Seal #1 (01:04)

38. Seal #2 (00:58)

39. Hurrah! (00:56)

40. Epilogue (02:09)

41. End Title (01:11)

BONUS TRACKS:

42. Trailer (02:43)

43. British End Title (01:16)

Total Duration: 01:04:50

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GianniniHere is yet another unknown composer I recently discovered through Naxos and their American Classic series of recordings. Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) was born into a musical family with his mother, a singer, being the primary encouragement to pursue a musical career. He attended the Milan Conservatory, graduated from Julliard, and while he never wrote for the silver screen he very easily could have, having taught film composers David Amram (The Manchurian Candidate), John Corigliano (The Red Violin), and Thomas Pasatieri (Orchestration for Thomas Newman) at the Manhattan School of Music.

Classified as a “neo-romantic,” I think you’ll find that his Piano Concerto, composed in 1935 should be placed in the romantic category. To my knowledge this is the first recording of the work since it was premiered in New York City in 1937. The addicting theme is used throughout the first movement and one could easily be reminded of Rachmaninoff for the grandiose style, which it is arranged. Bold flashy scales and additional thematic material are the order of the day. At 21+ minutes it is given the opportunity to be fully developed. The second movement is an Adagio, a variation on the first movement theme but a highly seductive romantic variation that could easily take its place on any compilation of Adagio movements. Delicate is the key word for this movement. The third movement returns to a theme from the first movement, introduces a new one, has some very nice scherzo passages, and a fugue which seems out of place at first but upon further listening is right at home in the movement. While it was written at a very early age (22) this is not a student work and shows real maturity in many parts. While I have nothing to compare the performance of Gabriela Imreh with, I got the feeling that she felt right at home with the concerto and understood the piece quite well.

Written approximately 25 years later Giannini’s 4th Symphony (of 7) expresses thematic, modern, and romantic material as well as a sampling of dissonance. One could easily conjure up visions of silver screen situations. Like the piano concerto this is the first recording of the material since the Juillard Orchestra premiered it nearly 50 years ago. The key to this work is the superb orchestration that Giannini was able to achieve and the fine well rehearsed performance of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Spalding. Recommended.

Produced and engineered by Tim Handley

Naxos CD# 8.559352

Daniel Spalding conducts the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Gabriela Imreh, Piano (Tracks 1-3)

Track Listing:

Piano Concerto

1… Sostenuto-Allegro moderato (21:24)

2… Adagio (8:35)

3… Burlesca: Allegro vigoroso (11:13)

Symphony No. 4

4… Allegro con passione (8:40)

5… Sustention e calmo (7:33)

6… Allegro (7:09)

Total Time is 64:34