Film Music Spectacular

August 29, 2012

This reviewer like’s compilation CD’s manufactured by the companies! Apparently I’m in the minority according to Tadlow executive James Fitzpatrick who says sales have greatly fallen off on these kinds of CD’s. For whatever the reason I certainly don’t understand as this is a perfect introduction to listen to what Tadlow/Prometheus has to offer on CD. The majority of their releases are represented in this 72 minute (Tadlow 016) CD for $9.99. The target market isn’t the individual who already has the majority of the CD’s that this music came from. It is for the person who hasn’t heard what Tadlow has to offer or for someone (like me) who just wants to spin and listen to a wide variety of material. If you hear something you really like the liner notes give the specific recording so purchasing is really quite simple.

“Guns of Navarone” (Tadlow 001) was the very first release from Tadlow and an excellent choice to introduce the company as well as the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. The older Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra has certainly come a long way. There were times when I would cringe during their performance of works such as “Rebecca.” The Prague is now considered in my mind an ‘A’ grade ensemble that can perform soundtrack material as well as Hollywood orchestras.

“Exodus,” (Tadlow 006) an Oscar winner for Ernest Gold, is a recognizable melody that people who have little interest (they’re missing out) in movie music would know where this material came from. I love the opening brass fanfare followed immediately by a full complement of strings. Both melodies are included in the prelude in a recording that sounds every bit as good as when John Williams conducted the Boston Pops.

“True Grit” (Tadlow 002) will always be remembered by the version made popular by Glen Campbell, something that I didn’t care for. In my mind Glen was certainly no actor or singer but he was a good golfer. The suite features the three main themes including a small reference to his “Magnificent Seven” score. Listen for it carefully in the first two minutes of the track.

“The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (Tadlow 004) is one of my all time favorite themes from Rozsa. Billy Wilder, director of the film, asked Rozsa to incorporate this excellent melody, performed by concertmaster Lucie Svehlova, in this version of the Gabrielle theme. The theme perfectly fits Sherlock Holmes, the reason Wilder wanted it adapted to the silver screen and is a treat to listen to over and over.

“The Alamo”(Prometheus XPCD168) is a well organized suite that includes all the themes including the huge hit The Green Leaves of Summer complete with some nice harmonica work. The suite contains 4 themes and all of them are nicely represented in a Tiomkin score that received two nominations (song and score). I like the quicker tempo of Green Leaves in this suite.

“Lawrence of Arabia,”(Tadlow CD012) the first score that got Hollywood’s attention as well as the first of three Oscars for Maurice Jarre features a powerhouse percussion opening and then that beautiful theme we’ve all grown to love and appreciate.

“El Cid” (Tadlow005), another two Oscar nominated (song and score) this time for Miklos Rozsa, is represented with three tracks featuring the Overture, Love Theme Falcon and the Dove, and March. The thirteen minutes pass by quickly. The opening brass fanfare of the march always brings me back to the time I spent in the University of Minnesota marching band.

“Conan the Barbarian” (Prometheus XPCD 169), a fine example of the work of Basil Poledouris, is a combination of two melodies Riddle of Steel, and The Riders of Doom. The powerful chorus makes it seem like it was for an opera. Yet throughout this never goes over the top by being too loud or brash.

“Conan the Destroyer” (Prometheus XPCD 171) features the chorus again in a track Dagoth Ceremony, that is another choral work that is somewhat subdued compared to The Riders of Doom but complements the previous track.

“The Fall of the Roman Empire” (Prometheus XPCD 170), yet another Oscar nomination for Dimitri Tiomkin, is filled with brass fanfares which harmonize nicely with the melody.

“Villa Rides” (Tadlow 014) offers the main title which opens with cymbals and timpani almost out of place until the theme is introduced in a Morricone style with wind and a whistler, a prelude to an acoustic guitar and the orchestra which offers a Spanish flavor and a hint of orchestration and style from his “Grand Prix” theme, another favorite of mine.

“Taras Bulba” (Tadlow 013), a Franz Waxman Oscar nominated score features the famous Dubno theme as well as the Wishing Star love theme. This one is definitely in the underappreciated category but is given three tracks on this CD and each one deserves to be there. I’ve included an audio clip which has the melodies for both 14 – TARAS BULBA OVERTURE

“Prince and the Pauper” (Tadlow 017) another Jarre composition concludes the CD which is a beautiful lush theme that features excellent counterpoint and harmony.

I would have appreciated some sort of liner notes including who orchestrated what but then you now have this review to go by which gives you some information. If you’re looking for a nice compilation CD this would be a recommended purchase. It also gives you a nice sampling of what the complete score is all about. It is also a showcase for the City of Prague Orchestra.

Track Listing:

1…. Guns of Navarone (5:29)

2….True Grit (5:59)

3….The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (5:18)

4….Exodus (2:43)

5….The Alamo (5:27)

6….Lawrence of Arabia (4:24)

7….El Cid overture (3:41)

8….El Cid love scene (5:06)

9….El Cid march (4:04)

10…Conan the Barbarian (5:31)

11…Conan the Destroyer (4:40)

12…Fall of the Roman Empire (5:00)

13…Villa Rides (2:43)

14…Taras Bulba overture (2:09)

15…Taras Bulba love theme (2:47)

16…Taras Bulba ride to dubno (5:05)

17…The Prince and the Pauper (2:36)

Total Time is 72:43

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