After 71 years, Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra (Naxos 8.572285), his first published work written in 1929 is being given its world premiere performance. Like many of his classical works the material reflects the sounds and landscape of his homeland, Hungary. Even at this early age of 22 his sound and the way he developed his material we’re already taking place.


The fifteen minute work begins with a solo introduction from the Cello giving us an uncomplicated version of the main motives that will be fully developed in the two part single movement Rhapsody. The cello briefly gives way to the flute and very soft strings before the Cello returns with the full orchestra in a yearning but disturbing passage. The Cello continues this time offering more complexity as it offers combination after combination, developing but never repeating itself.


For an early work from a classical composer this is certainly not in the category of a youth composition done for exercise, far from it. While the Cello passages are not complex and certainly not a showcase for Yo-Yo Ma it is an especially exciting to hear a work never heard before from a favorite soundtrack/classical composer. The theme is so well developed that on each listen you’ll get more and more from this forgotten material.


The work is performed well by the Budapest Symphony with the Cello being played by Mark Kosower. Yet again this is a good example of Hungarian music being performed well by their fellow countrymen. Also included on the CD are Overture to a Symphony Concert, Three Hungarian Sketches, and Hungarian Nocturne.


Track Listing:


Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version)

1.                 Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version) 00:09:27

Rhapsody, Op. 3

2.                 Rhapsody, Op. 3 00:15:07

Notturno ungherese, Op. 28

3.                 Notturno ungherese, Op. 28 00:10:02

3 Hungarian Sketches, Op. 14a

4.                 No. 1. Capriccio 00:05:20

5.                 No. 2. Pastorale 00:08:25

6.                 No. 3. Danza 00:08:18


Total Playing Time: 00:56:39









Originally written in the spring of 1938 under the title Capriccio, Pastorale e Danza, Op. 14 and was revised in 1958, something Rozsa did with many of his works. It premiered in France in 1939 to great acclaim at the International Music Festival in Baden-Baden Germany. This work can hardly be categorized as modern 20th century music, far from it. It is extremely accessible and easy on the ears.


The “Capriccio”, the first of the three is a happy frolic which offers a theme repeated and developed by all sections of the orchestra given an opportunity to explore. It has a hint of Hollywood American Indian music that appears, fades away and then returns a couple of times during the 5+ minute movement.


Opening with a statement from the oboe “Pastorale” is a quiet and peaceful journey into the world of a pretty tranquil countryside. It evolves into an easy flowing melody from the flutes and the string section. It evolves into a second melody from the woodwinds and is much more festive, a time of celebration. The sketch could easily stand on its own as a separate work and could have been developed further if Rozsa had chosen to do so.


Danza, the third and final sketch is a lively Hungarian peasant dance filled with powerful brass fanfares, three themes all wanting attention in this wonderful piece. I could easily picture this as a dance number on stage with colorful costuming. It is played in vibrant fashion. I love the quick abrupt ending by the brass as they play in perfect harmony.


Like the Overture to a Concert Symphony the Budapest Symphony on the Naxos CD8.572285 seems to have the feeling of this piece in their blood and the performance certainly is indicative of that. Released this month it is one to add to your collection.


Again Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos CD10488 seem to fall just short of the mark in their overall performance. It lacks the passion that the Hungarian Orchestra offers. The CD does offer one of his powerful later works Tripartita, Op 33 from 1972.


This is yet another piece for you to explore from Rozsa. It is nice to see companies such as Hyperion, Chandos, and Naxos making his material available.


Track Listing:


Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version)

1.                 Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version) 00:09:27

Rhapsody, Op. 3

2.                 Rhapsody, Op. 3 00:15:07

Notturno ungherese, Op. 28

3.                 Notturno ungherese, Op. 28 00:10:02

3 Hungarian Sketches, Op. 14a

4.                 No. 1. Capriccio 00:05:20

5.                 No. 2. Pastorale 00:08:25

6.                 No. 3. Danza 00:08:18


Total Playing Time: 00:56:39




It could be successfully argued that the concert material that Rozsa composed was every bit as good as his soundtrack material if not better. Overture to a Symphony Concert Naxos CD# 8.572285 is an outstanding example of this. Those who are familiar with his epic biblical scores will instantly recognize the style of the material he became known for from the time he spent in Hollywood. The work was composed in 1956, revised in 1963, and is dedicated to his fellow countryman, arranger, and orchestrator Eugene Zador. The revision of the work had to do with a shortening of the coda and also the publisher of his works was asking for a composition of a specific length and one could surmise that it was cut back for this reason.


Beginning with a trumpet fanfare followed by the rest of the brass section the lower strings carry the melody and a conflict begins. The overall mood is one of anger and dissonance. It is interrupted by a single flute that is playing the melody upbeat and positive but the conflict from the brass full of distorted warlike chords win out. The ending is abrupt as if the opus was created, developed, and then just ran out of energy and dies. This overture sounds like it could have come from any number of noir/biblical films and as a result is one that deserves to be in your collection if you’re a fan of his work. The work was well played by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and the recording session was top notch. I was impressed with the fact that there was an excitement and energy present in the symphony making you feel they were really enjoying playing the material.


Chandos CD#10488 with Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic recorded the overture in 2008 and offer a slight overall advantage of a 24 bit 96kHz recording. These recordings are just some of the best in the digital realm and it really shines in the distinct clarity in the softer passages. One can hear everything. However, the overall orchestra playing isn’t nearly as strong resulting in a more going “through the motions performance.” The CD also includes Three Hungarian Sketches (also reviewed), Tripartita and Hungarian Serenade.

In addition to anyone enjoying program overtures, fans of Rozsa scores should definitely explore this material.


Track Listing:


Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version)

1.                 Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version) 00:09:27

Rhapsody, Op. 3

2.                 Rhapsody, Op. 3 00:15:07

Notturno ungherese, Op. 28

3.                 Notturno ungherese, Op. 28 00:10:02

3 Hungarian Sketches, Op. 14a

4.                 No. 1. Capriccio 00:05:20

5.                 No. 2. Pastorale 00:08:25

6.                 No. 3. Danza 00:08:18


Total Playing Time: 00:56:39



Casino Royale/Bacharach

January 25, 2011

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass were a huge deal in the 60’s. I use to look forward to each and every new album release as well as any new Burt Bacharach material. You can imagine my excitement when the two merged on Casino Royale with Dusty Springfield getting the honor of singing the love song, and Alpert playing the main title. Somehow I wasn’t surprised with the academy when “Talk to the Animals” was the winner. Perfect material is seldom recognized and this song falls into that category. I wore my LP out and when Varese released it on CD I bought it too. In addition, I also had the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass LP. In other words I loved the songs from this soundtrack. The new Kritzerland release #KR20017-6, limited to 1000 copies, quickly sold out because it is the best available choice. It is the only one to have because it gives you the LP and the original soundtrack material, as well as the highest possible quality sound. There are a couple of minor glitches, at least through my Marantz CD 5004 and Grado phones, on “Money Penny Goes For Broke” and “Flying Saucer” but they quickly pass. Just keep in mind you’re dealing with 40+ year old material and it will never be perfect.


The “Casino Royale Theme,” the main title of the film fits the spoofy story well and Herb Alpert was an excellent choice to perform the catchy melody. It is repeated in “Agent Mimi,” “Flying Saucer,” and a vocal version in the “End Credits.” “Le Chiffre’s Torture of Mind” begins with a very formal slow dance and evolves into a variation of the “What’s New Pussycat” theme followed by a Scottish march. “The Venerable Sir James Bond” is four short segments with two of them making reference variations to the main title. “Home James, Don’t Spare the Horses” is not only wonderful underscore but yet another spoof melody of the highest quality. There is a great instrumental version of “The Look of Love” with the saxophone being front and center surrounded by percussion and strings. The trackette “Keystone Kops” might just be the shortest recorded cue on record!


This is one of those must have soundtracks that well represent some of the style changes that took place in the 60’s. I wish Bruce had pressed more than a 1000 and perhaps he’ll do another in the future. He could have easily sold another 2000 copies but then again he doesn’t ask for my opinion on how to run his business. Highly recommended.





Track listing:


1.       Casino Royale Theme (Main Title) (02:38)

Performed by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

2.       The Venerable Sir James Bond (02:32)

3.       Agent Mimi (01:35)

4.       Little French Boy (02:25)

5.       Money Penny Goes For Broke (01:38)

6.       The Look of Love (Instrumental) (02:48)

7.       The Look of Love (04:10)

Vocal by Dusty Springfield

8.       The Indian Temple* (00:52)

9.       Sir James’ Trip to Find Mata (02:15)

10.     First Stop Berlin (01:55)

11.     Home James, Don’t Spare the Horses (01:31)

12.     Hi There Miss Goodthighs (01:16)

13.     Dream On, James, You’re Winning (01:18)

14.     Le Chiffre’s Torture of Mind (02:12)

15.     Flying Saucer (01:06)

16.     The Big Cowboys and Indians Fight at Casino Royale /

End Credits (vocal version)* (05:11)

17.     Keystone Kops* (00:11)

“Bonus trackette”


18.     Casino Royale Theme (Main Title) (02:37)

Performed by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

19.     The Look of Love (04:07)

Vocal by Dusty Springfield

20.     Money Penny Goes for Broke (01:39)

21.     Le Chiffre’s Torture of the Mind (02:12)

22.     Home James, Don’t Spare the Horses (01:31)

23.     Sir James’ Trip to Find Mata (03:48)

24.     The Look of Love (Instrumental) (02:46)

25.     Hi There Miss Goodthighs (01:16)

26.     Little French Boy (02:24)

27.     Flying Saucer – First Stop Berlin (02:58)

28.     The Venerable Sir James Bond (02:31)

29.     Dream On, James, You’re Winning (01:18)

30.     The Big Cowboys and Indians Fight at Casino Royale /

Casino Royale Theme (04:49)

Performed by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass


Tracks 01-17: Film Presentation – Taken from album master and

* DVD soundtrack

Tracks 18-30: Original LP Presentation – Vinyl transfer from Colgems LP



Total Duration: 01:09:29


01 – Staccato’s Theme


Staccato, a musical term denoting an abrupt distinct note was a Revue/Universal 1959 television series lasting 26 weeks, filmed in New York starring John Cassevette, as a jazz musician who is a private investigator on the side. One of the interests to the soundtrack collector was the number of Hollywood jazz greats who appeared in the show itself as well as recording the music. Some of the sidemen included Shelly Manne (drums),Dick Nash (trombone), Ted Nash (sax), Dave Pell (sax) Ray Brown (bass), Barney Kessel (guitar), Johnny Willams (piano), and Pete Candoli (trumpet).Even though this show was shot in New York it featured West Coast sidemen and that cool jazz sound from west of the rockies.


Bernstein who had survived and gotten past the McCarthy witch hunt was on the verge of breaking out and becoming an ‘A’ composer with such scores as The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Magnificent Seven ready for pen and paper in the next three years. This was just the beginning of a long and glorious career in Hollywood with over 200 credits to his name.


Big band material is featured on this 12 track 33 minute jazzy release in a unique style that could be similar to Gil Evans, Neal Hefti, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Johnny Richards, and Marty Gold, but Elmer put his own stamp on the arrangements. The arrangements are a lot more structured than say a Count Basie composition. The time is shorter, 3 minutes as opposed to 7 or 8 but the basic idea is still there. The vibraphones, drums, trumpet, piano, or sax is given the opportunity to showcase themselves, just in a shorter time frame. The “Staccato” theme, or main title makes use of the biting brass and the sax section as each has their turn in carrying the melody. This is continued with a very busy arrangement where the various sections all chime in to contribute to the big band track.”Thinking of Baby” continues the big band theme but is more of a bluesy number with sax first and then trumpet adding solo material. “Poi and Juice” spotlights the guitar talents of Barney Kessel with strong help from Candoli on trumpet. “Night Mood” is soft quiet time jazz with the sax first backed by harmonizing from the muted trumpets and then some nice solo piano from Johnny Williams. “Deadly Game” brings the staccato style front and center in a cool sounding underscore.”Walk a Lonely Street” is another sad slow blues number featuring an extended piano solo from Johnny Williams.


If you’re into the 50’s and 60’s style of jazz this soundtrack will be right up your alley. This score could have been titled something different and released by Blue Note as a jazz gig featuring Kessel and Candoli. The half hour will be filled with rhythm and tempos to keep your interest. While it is not strong in the melody area there is enough thematic material on each track to keep your ears listening. Bernstein could have pursued the jazz side of music easily as he was well trained in this area. As a soundtrack lover I’m glad he was given the opportunity to produce such wonderful scores for us over the years. Check out his jazz side and I’m confident you won’t be disappointed. Recommended.


Capitol #ST1287 or DRG19110 CD which also includes Paris Swings.


Paris Swings is one of those albums that really don’t offer anything one hasn’t heard before except for a couple of original compositions from Bernstein. For a jazz album the arrangements are pretty standard, never leaving the box. The group consists of Previn (piano), Fagerquist (trumpet), Candoli (trumpet), Bunker (percussion), Mitchell (bass) Ted Nash (reeds), Shelly Manne (drums), and Barney Kessel (guitar). Each of the sidemen contributes on the 12 tracks but the solo/improvisation material is limited to a few bars with the exception being “Symphony” where Manne and Bunker are allowed to explore South American rhythm on the bongo. It was nice to hear Previn but there is really very little solo work from the talented pianist. Consider these 12 tracks a bonus if you’re purchasing the DRG CD.




Track listing

1. Staccato’s Theme (02:56)
2. Thinking of Baby (03:00)
3. Poi and Juice (02:07)
4. Night Mood (03:05)
5. Deadly Game (02:59)
6. The Jazz at Waldo’s (02:36)
7. Greenwich Village Rumble (02:06)
8. Like Having Fun (02:20)
9. One Before Closing (02:54)
10. Walk a Lonely Street (03:19)
11. MacDougal Street Special (02:33)
12. Pursuit (02:35)
13. Valentina (01:55)
Paris Swings
14. Autumn Leaves (02:41)
Paris Swings
15. Paris in the Spring (02:50)
Paris Swings
16. Adieux d’amour (Love is Farewell) (03:03)
Paris Swings
17. Symphony (03:08)
Paris Swings
18. Under Paris Skies (02:47)
Paris Swings
19. Darling, Je vous aime beaucoup (03:41)
Paris Swings
20. I Love Paris (02:19)
Paris Swings
21. April in Paris (02:50)
Paris Swings
22. Souvernir du Printemps (Memories of Spring) (02:27)
Paris Swings
23. La vie en rose (02:15)
Paris Swings
24. Paurve moi, Paurve moi (Poor Me, Poor Me) (02:25)
Paris Swings

Total Duration: 01:04:51






One of the busier composers in the last half of the 20th Century was Francis Lai, known primarily for his Love Story, and Live for Life soundtracks, but he has done so much more not only for film but for television and jazz. Silva Records recorded this compilation in 2009 with Francis Lai conducting his own orchestra consisting of 20 tracks of his popular material spanning over 20 years. This is not a CD where you’re going to find several other of their compilation releases with material from it.

The 69 minute CD will likely include your favorite of this great French composer.


Lai is a hit or miss proposition as one of my friends described his feeling about the recorded material. Another commented that I have to be in the mood for his style. A third just called it elevator music. On first listen it sounds quite similar with one song just blending into another. You’ll hear the sound of the accordion and a small string ensemble and there it is: an instant French motif. The outdoor café, love in the air as the two couples look at each other, the smell of fresh aromatic flowers. “13 Jours en France,” is a typical showcase example of this genre that he’s expanded upon over the years. “Bilitis” is quite similar with the addition of a female singing wordless in the background with a greater emphasis placed on the piano. The style and melody while different in orchestration could easily remind one of Morricone. Perhaps this could be called a European style. “Ballet Apocalypse” takes one back to his days of working in a smoky jazz club with Edith Piaf. While it is considered jazz it is certainly nothing even close to be considered over the top. “Folies Bergeres” is a definite reminder of what Morricone did with the twang in the guitar chords before going in another direction with a sense of drama before he uses some basic brass chords, something of a rarity for Francis. This is one track that is definitely out of his basic mold. “Itineraire d’Un Enfant Gate” is a slightly jazzy number with a solo and sound of a Stephan Grappelli. He makes one feel a sense of longing as well as a bit of urgency. As a reviewer I found “Le Lecon Particuliere” with the steady guitar strumming and the romantic solo violin to be a satisfying track. The catchy melody stuck in my head for a time. With “Les Miserables” you’re right back to the French café scene with the addition of a saxophone to enhance the experience. One could be remind of a composition that could nicely fit onto a compilation disc of laid back material.


Also included in this compilation are the hit pop numbers “Love Story” “Un Homme et Une Femme,” and “Vivre Pour Vivre” the melodies that vaulted him into stardom and make this CD complete. “Love Story” is a piano showcase with the yearning strings complementing the keyboard. “Un Homme et Une Femme” takes a South American rhythm approach in a very danceable orchestration.


No film collection is complete unless you have something from Lai. It is easy listening material but upon closer examination you’ll find more than the elevator music. If you’re not familiar with him this is a nice introduction to his material.


Silva Records #SILCD 1338


Track Listing:

1. 13 Jours en France

Theme from the 1968 Claude Lelouch/Francois Reichenbach documentary about the Grenoble Olympics. Aka ‘Challenge in the Snow’.(3:52)


2. Bilitis

Theme from the 1977 David Hamilton film about a young woman’s summer of self-discovery. Starred Patti D’Arbanville. (4:14)


3. Concerto Pour la Fin d’Un Amour

Based on a theme from the 1969 Claude Lelouch film ‘Un Homme Une Me Plait’, originally featured on the 1971 album ‘Francis Lai Joue Francis Lai’. (3:21)


4. Emmanuelle II

Theme from the second film in the erotic franchise starring Sylvia Kristel… Also known as ‘Emmanuelle: Antivierge’ or ‘Anti-Virgin’. (3:38)


5. Ballet Apocalypse

Theme from Lai-scored segment of Claude Lelouch’s musical odyssey ‘Les Uns et Les Autres’ which spanned forty years of life in France set to and about music. (2:30)


6. Folies Bergeres

Second theme from another musical sequence within Claude Lelouch’s epic ‘Les Uns et Les Autres’… (4:10)


7. Itineraire d’Un Enfant Gv¢te

Theme from the 1988 Claude Lelouch drama starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Richard Anconina. (3:56)


8. La Belle Histoire

Lai goes Latin for this bizarre Claude Lelouch film from 1992 in which the lives, loves and losses of several characters are portrayed in tandem with those

Of their former incarnations during the time of Christ. (3:26)


9. La Course du Livvre v° Travers Les Champs

This oddball caper film from Rene Clement saw Robert Ryan in one of his final roles alongside Tisa Farrow (sister of Mia) (2:24)


10. Le Lecon Particuliere

Yet more extra-marital angst as Nathalie Delon stars as a married woman who becomes entangled in a love affair with a teenage boy. (2:21)


11. Le Genre Humain

A return to form for Lai and Lelouch, as they revisit themes and colors from their earlier work. Aka ‘Le Courage d’Amour’. (3:06)


12. Le Passager de la Pluie

Charles Bronson stars in this Rene Clement thriller about a US Army Colonel on the case of a ruthless sex attacker. Aka ‘Rider on the Rain’. (5:02)


13. Les Etoiles du Cinema

This theme was penned to accompany a weekly film segment on French television channel FR3. (3:57)


14. Les Miserables

Claude Lelouch takes on Victor Hugo’s original story alongside that of a modern day man influenced by the famous tale of Jean Valjean. (3:30)


15. Les Ripoux

Director Claude Zidi’s film about a ‘Bad Cop’ who makes good when he’s given a new partner to keep him in line. (2:47)


16. Pour L’amour de Tes Yeux 2oirs

Theme from 1987 romantic drama by Nikita Mikhalkov which sees Marcello Mastroianni star as a man retelling his tale of love to a fellow passenger on board ship. (3:35)


17. Love Story

Lai’s now legendary theme for ‘the’ Hollywood romance of the 1970s… Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal star as the young lovers overcoming the odds and familial prejudices to be together. (5:04)


18. Mayerling

Terence Young’s 1968 take on the famous ‘murder-suicide’ story concerning Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his lover, Baroness Mary Vetsera, who were found dead together at the royal family’s hunting lodge in 1889. Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve star. (1:55)


19. Un Homme et Une Femme

This light, easy pop theme has become one of Lai’s most famous and it was his first for a major film. The music serves the almost wordless story of ‘A Man and a Woman’, who find each other but can’t love each other, perfectly. (2:55)


20. Vivre Pour Vivre

A love story, albeit another affair, framed by the events of the Vietnam War. Yves Montand stars as the womanizing war reporter, alongside a young Candice Bergen. (3:11)



Total Time is 69:05







Little did Frank and Hans realize the interest they would generate in the horror music they wrote for Universal in the late 30’s and 40’s as these themes/motifs which were created for Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, Mummy, and Invisible Man as well as other monsters and Sherlock Holmes. As a youngster I would record the audio in the 50’s on a reel to reel tape. I had clipped a wire on the speaker terminals of the TV which I had taken apart against the wishes of my parents. I would then be able to listen to all the underscore/motifs which were reused over and over again in many films. When John Morgan decided to orchestrate and record the different films in the 90’s I was first in line to get these Marco Polo releases.

Monster Music (Marco Polo 8.223747), released in 1996 featured Son of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man Returns, and The Wolfman which offers a wide range  of styles of music ranging from romantic, to werewolf transformation cues under the full moon, the famous Ygor haunting woodwind solo, and the Frankenstein motif as well as familiar action cues used in the series. I got to know the material so well I knew what was happening on the screen just by listening to the music. I was quite the nerd when it came to this genre and these releases brought back all the memories of these films. A cue of particular interest from Son of Frankenstein was the creepy evil music for Ygor in “Discovery-Blute Solo” (clip included). Overall the score offers yearning strings and powerful brass passages when the monster is on the rampage. A good example of this is the beginning of the cue “Monster’s Rampage.”     discovery-blute solo

The Invisible Man Returns offers a somewhat subdued score in comparision. The love theme introduced in the “Together” (clip included) and expanded in “The Return” cue is a good one that could fit in any number of romantic situations horror movie or otherwise.     together

The Wolfman “Main Title” is a thing of beauty with the solo horn, organ, and a combination of tragedy and evil. “The Telescope” offers yet another poignant love theme which offers some hope on the screen for a little bit. But it isn’t long before we’re made aware of more of the story. The solo gypsy violin in “Wolf-Bane” leads into a classical passage that could very easily have been part of a symphony as well as the transformation motif in “Sir John’s Discovery” that ended up being used in the future wolfman series movies. “The Kill” is an action cue that was used in several yet to be made horror films and puts the right amount of tension on the screen to alarm the audience. Overall this was quite classical in nature and could easily have been expanded into something far more complex. The classical training of the Universal staff came up with something extraordinary and enhanced the film which became wildly popular.

The Naxos CD #8.557705 is exactly the same as the Marco Polo release with the exception of a few publicity photos included in the fine Bill Whitaker liner notes. In fact I suspect that John was as much of a nerd as I was and I’m grateful that he brought this material to CD. Enjoy. These were classical horror scores that made a good ‘B’ film even better.

Track listing

1. Universal Signature (00:17)
Son of Frankenstein
2. Main Title (02:58)
Son of Frankenstein
3. The Message (02:08)
Son of Frankenstein
4. The General (01:06)
Son of Frankenstein
5. Discovery/Blute Solo (04:19)
Son of Frankenstein
6. The Examination/Looking for a Monster (08:29)
Son of Frankenstein
7. Death of Ygor (02:20)
Son of Frankenstein
8. Monster’s Rampage (04:06)
Son of Frankenstein
9. Finale/The Cast (00:39)
Son of Frankenstein
10. Universal Signature (00:15)
The Invisible Man Returns
11. Main Title (02:13)
The Invisible Man Returns
12. Two Hours To Live (02:57)
The Invisible Man Returns
13. Together (04:13)
The Invisible Man Returns
14. Resting (03:27)
The Invisible Man Returns
15. The Ghost (02:09)
The Invisible Man Returns
16. The Return (03:36)
The Invisible Man Returns
17. End Title (03:04)
The Invisible Man Returns
18. Universal Signature (00:14)
The Wolf Man
19. Main Title (02:00)
The Wolf Man
20. The Telescope (01:23)
The Wolf Man
21. Wolf-Bane (04:12)
The Wolf Man
22. The Kill (01:04)
The Wolf Man
23. Bela’s Funeral (06:56)
The Wolf Man
24. Desperation (02:58)
The Wolf Man
25. Sir John’s Discovery (08:31)
The Wolf Man

Total Duration: 01:15:34


There are but a small handful of works available from this somewhat unknown composer who studied under Balakirev of the Mighty Five, and then Tchaikovsky. Rimsky-Korsakov commented in his autobiography My Musical Life that Anton “will soon be forgotten” and this statement has certainly come to pass. Yet this F minor Piano Concerto written in 1883 when he was but 22 is a wonderful composition that is as exciting as many of the “standard repertoire” of orchestras today. Yet fate has relegated this fine composer into obscurity.


The Piano Concerto in F Minor, Op.2 is a three movement 26 minute concerto that offers the listener different styles making it a unique sounding work but one can hear Liszt, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.  It opens with a bold majestic Lisztian style with a  very Russian melody introduced by the brass.  The melody quickly shifts to the piano as it offers some complex playing while developing the theme. It is quite the grandiose and majestic movement offering arpeggio passages while the theme is being developed. The second movement, the andante offers the melody from the brass as the piano complements the orchestra with playing that is delicate and moving  yet working together in such a way that they are one.  The third movement is delicate yet lively with an easy on the ear melody. If you’re familiar with the Grieg Piano Concerto it sounds like it is going to become that very piece. The orchestra plays a significant role and complements the rather quick yet delicate playing of the piano. This reviewer certainly welcomes this work to my collection. Scherbakov and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yablonsky appear to be in top form and quite comfortable. The piano is quite crisp and well recorded as well as Scherbakov being right at home with this. I prefer the playing of Scherbakov over the Coombs recording on Hyperion CDA66624. Konstantin seems to have a better feel for the material and I like the Naxos engineering as well as the attacking style in this particular case. The piano has a crispy sound that I approve of. The advantage of the Coombs recording is the Bortkiewicz recording another obscure work that has merit to it.


Fantasia on Russian folksongs, Op. 48 takes two very Russian melodies, which are folksongs and nicely develops both of them in a showcase style. The folksongs came from a collection put together by Ryabinin which Arensky had heard in a recital several years earlier. One could call this work schmaltzy with hints of a Rachmaninoff sound but it is nice however you choose to label it.


To the Memory of Suvorov is a typical sounding march that could have been written for any number of events but it becomes a pretty little folk melody again quite Russian in flavor before it returns to the opening majestic theme.


Symphonic Scherzo has no opus number and one can only surmise that it came early on in Arensky’s composing career. It has been suggested by David Truslove that it could be an abandoned attempt at a symphony. This listener can hear the teaching of Rimsky-Korsakov in the orchestration as Arensky uses all sections of the orchestra to good advantage. I like the melody and the attempt at exploring it. Recommended.


Naxos #8570526

Track Listing:


Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 2

1….  I. Allegro Maestoso – 00:11:53

2…. II. Andante con moto – 00:07:08

3….  III. Scherzo-Finale: Allegro molto – 00:07:13

4…. Ryabinin Fantasia on 2 Russian Folksongs, Op. 48 – 00:08:34

5…. Pamyati Suvorova (To the Memory of Suvorov) – 00:04:33

6…. Symphonic Scherzo – 00:09:45

Total Time is 49:39



Genghis Khan/Radic

January 10, 2011

01 – 01 March Of The Mongols

13 – 13 The Love Theme


Genghis Khan (1965), a new DVD soundtrack release from Kritzerland (#20017-7), features composer Dusan Radic (1929-2010), not a household name for soundtrack collectors. My LP collection of Radic consisted of a Liberty (LRP 3412) of this film and a Colpix CP517 of the film The Long Ships (1963). Both recordings have now legally been remastered to CD with Film Score Monthly coupling The Long Ships with Lord Jim (FSMCD Vol. 8, No. 11) in August of 2005. This is the output available for this Yugoslavian composer who spent most of his time composing for films for his country. He is a lesser composer who is well worth exploring.


Bruce Kimmel, owner/producer of Kritzerland, was quite kind to the film in his liner notes, much more so than this reviewer. The epic, directed by Henry Levin, starred Omar Shariff, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and numerous others in a very Hollywood epic production that was not well received by either the critics or the general public. Typical Hollywood glitter quite far from the real truth, one could spend two hours watching any number of other films. Khan was hardly a swashbuckling figure and perhaps there will be a film showing him for what he really was.


While the film failed the music certainly didn’t. “March of the Mongols” (clip included) is a pentatonic style played by the strings alerting the listener to the orient yet Dusan with his use of the brass also incorporates a strong military presence resulting in a blending of the Far East with American West. This sound is what makes this recording so unique and one that should be in your collection. This main title is a prevalent theme that is used on several tracks in this short 32+ minute score. Other tracks include “Escape from Slavery,” “Bath a la Chinese,” “The Emperor of China,” and a final restatement in the “Finale-March of the United Mongols.” “Always Your Hand (Love Theme),” has a long introduction from the flutes and woodwinds which leads us into the highly melodic lush theme. It is a tune that will stick in your head and you’ll remember it well. The love theme is also repeated in “The Long Road to the Great Wall,” “Death of Genghis Khan,” and a short version of the “Love Theme,” an audio clip I’ve included complete. “Return to Peking” could have very easily been in a cowboy/Indian western with the cavalry leading the charge. American sounding yet completely appropriate for this film. “Bath a la Chinese” is very pentatonic in nature.


This is a mono/single track recording so don’t expect high definition quality with extended range. I have found in my listening experience that listening to this kind of score through a mono system produces superior sound. This was exactly the case with this soundtrack. Remember a single channel speaker only requires a 30-14,000 range. A subwoofer wasn’t used in the 60’s. Listening to equipment that was made at the same time of the recording enhances the listening experience. Always remember that most of the Kritzerland recordings are limited to a pressing order of 1000 copies, this being no exception. Many times they sell out so if you have any interest do not delay. Recommended.


Kritzerland #20017-7

Unknown orchestra conducted by Muir Mathieson



Track listing:


1.       March of the Mongols (Main Title Theme) (02:14)*

2.       Always Your Hand (Love Theme) (02:30)

3.       Escape from Slavery (01:50)

4.       The Long Road to the Great Wall (02:57)

5.       Bath à La Chinese (02:53)

6.       Parade of the Mongol Horde (02:29)

7.       Return to Peking (03:46)

8.       The Emperor of China (04:59)

9.       The Great Battle (03:11)

10.     Death of Genghis Khan (02:30)

11.     Finale-March of the Mongols (01:08)

12.     The Yesugai Battle (bonus track) 1:26

13.     The Love Theme (:046)*

* Clip included

All selections conducted by Muir Mathieson


Total Duration: 00:32:27


The King’s Speech/Desplat

January 4, 2011

Lionel and Bertie

King’s Speech

Nominated for seven Golden Globe nominations including director, picture, supporting actress and actor, best actor, screenplay, and original score, this  UK film starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, directed by Tom Hooper has already generated Oscar buzz. It tells the story of King George VI and how he overcame his stuttering.

Desplat has been nominated for an Oscar for The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox with The King’s Speech probably his fourth nomination in five years. He has also been nominated for 5 Golden Globes with The Painted Veil winning the award. He is one of Hollywood’s busiest composers having done material for 26 films in the last five years with several more in the works as I type. He seems to be on a pace to surpass Victor Young in his work load!

The overall mood of the music is serious and dark with piano and strings providing the majority of the underscore. The exception is the whimsical main title. Beethoven’s second movement from his Seventh Symphony, the “allegretto” as well as the second movement of his Emperor Piano Concerto were also used. The actual microphones used by George VI were located and used to record the orchestra making it sound like what it would be back in the 30’s but still much higher quality than what they were capable of with acetates being the way they recorded at the time. “The King’s Speech” has the Desplat sound with the piano playing in a happy tune very Mozart like. Desplat said “light, bittersweet, Mozart-esque mood. It is a theme which struggles to find a completion.” The theme is also repeated in “My Kingdom, My Rules,” “The Royal Household,” and “Fear and Suspicion.” “The Threat of War” is a serious track describing the situation of the impending war. Not melodic in anyway, it is a dark and foreboding track. On “Lionel and Bertie” you can hear the lower dynamic range of the material due to the use of the microphones and it is somewhat distant, a disadvantage to your listening. It is quite a majestic and proud theme with a simple piano solo ending the track. The solemn funeral tempo material is also repeated in “Memories of Childhood.” I’ve included a sound clip so that you may hear what I’m talking about as well as a preview of the wonderful Mozart theme.

This is a must have for your collection if you enjoy the style of Desplat or like to collect award winning soundtracks. I like Desplat’s arranging, orchestration and melodies so I enjoyed the listen to this soundtrack while I did my review with the exception of the beginning of the first track which I found quite annoying. Recommended

Track listing

1.       Lionel And Bertie (02:10)

2.       The King’s Speech (03:54)

3.       My Kingdom, My Rules (02:51)

4.       The King Is Dead (02:06)

5.       Memories Of Childhood (03:36)

6.       King George VI (03:05)

7.       The Royal Household (01:43)

8.       Queen Elizabeth (03:35)

9.       Fear And Suspicion (03:24)

10.     The Rehearsal (01:42)

11.     The Threat Of War (03:56)

12.     Speaking Unto Nations (Beethoven Symphony No.7 – II) (05:02)

13.     Epilogue (Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor” – II) (03:56)

Total Duration: 00:41:00