May 13, 2015
A favorite story of Hollywood this latest version features the boys at 15 (Jake T. Austin and Joel Courtney) with an appearance by Mark Twain (Val Kilmer) who was also the narrator of the film. The book provided the characters and a basic template. It is unfair to compare the two as they are completely different. I won’t comment on the film as I’ve only seen a two minute trailer.
I first became familiar with Robert Guyla in 2007 with Atom Nine Adventures, released by Movie Score Media. From the title this was a very action oriented score with lots of brass and percussion. My next exposure was in 2013 with his score to In the Name of Sherlock Holmes, released by Howlin Wolf Records where some period instruments and a violin played a big part in the score. The main theme was a very ear catching melody which I have on a compilation CD. I urge you to visit Guyla’s website to get more information and have listen to some of the 20 scores he has written http://www.robertgulya.com/
01. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (6.24) opens the score with a banjo an introduction to the main theme one that your going to hear in different orchestrations with different instruments. This track runs the gamut from flute and oboe to the full orchestra in a proud rendition. 02. Main Title (3.45) offers the same theme but this time there are a few bars of chorus added to give one a feeling of being majestic. It changes part way through with oboe, flute and romantic strings. 04. Digging (2.37) begins with chorus and muted brass fanfare all a prelude to a comic bassoon solo of the main title. The rest of the track is underscore almost cartoon like with the percussion in the background.08. Court (4.14) begins with a bit of tension and the cue slowly builds up using the main theme to a fantasy adventure with the full orchestra. 09. Old Wreck is my favorite track because it offers all kinds of underscore including action, creepy tension, and some nice brass passages. And yes the main title is there which is one that you can’t really get enough of. It bonds the score together and while I have not seen the movie I just know that this score is one that enhances and makes the film together, something that I’m sad to say seldom happens anymore. If you listen carefully you’ll hear all sorts of references from other composers. An example of this is the Morricone western theme beginning 11. The Search. There is the wailing choir and even the 5 note motif prevelant in the Eastwood movies. For a minute I thought I was listening to “A Fistful of Dollars.” I certainly hope that Guyla continues to write for a symphonic size orchestra. It is certainly welcome to this reviewer to be able to hum the main theme after listening to it. A joy to listen to. Available as a download or CD. Please check the MSM website for details. http://moviescoremedia.com/tom-sawyer-huckleberry-finn-robert-gulya/
01. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (6.24)
02. Main Title (3.45)
03. Secret Island (3.16)
04. Digging (2.37)
05. Painting (3.11)
06. Morning (2.37)
07. Muff Has Escaped (2.36)
08. Court (4.14)
09. Old Wreck (3.12)
10 The Barn (5.29)
11. The Search (6.12)
12. Night Mission (1.48)
13. Back to the Cave, Pt. 1 (3.28)
14. Back to the Cave, Pt. 2 (3.37)
15. Stay Together (2.00)
May 12, 2015
Continuing in their series of orchestral works ( volume 1 is available #8573139) we are given his greatest work Symphony No. 3 ‘Organ’ (1886), dedicated to the great Franz Liszt, his first Symphony in A major (1850) when he was only 15, and finally a moody mysterious tone poem Le rouet d’Omphale (1871) whose second melody in the tone poem was used in the popular radio show “The Shadow” of the 40’s.
Born in 1835 in Paris he was giving public concerts by the age of 10 and entered the Conservatoire at the age of 13 studying organ and composition. As stated above he wrote his first symphony at 15 and published it a German anonymous composer feeling that audiences couldn’t accept a work from someone so young. The work is presented here on this CD and while it is far from a masterpiece it shows quite a level of talent as he used Mozart as a model in particular the ‘Jupiter’ symphony. If someone had said to me that this was a Mozart symphony I wouldn’t have argued.
After the disasters of the Franco-Prussian war Saint-Saens began to write a number of tone poems like his idol Franz Liszt did. The first of these was “Le rouet d’Omphale” dedicated to the composer Augusta Holmes. The storyline involves Hercules who was condemned to serve her in the guise of a woman. Both the spinning wheel of Omphale and the groans of Hercules are depicted in the rather short (8+ minutes). This could be an addition to one of your playlists.
The final work on the CD is arguably his finest work his Symphony No. 3 (1886) where he incorporated the use of an organ in the work ( a first I believe). It was dedicated to the memory of Franz Liszt who died shortly after the premiere and was performed in London. It is rich in religious overtones as well as traditional ideas from both Liszt and Mendelssohn. If you have a nice sound system the organ opening in the fourth movement will be an ear opening experience, one you won’t forget. I’m not a believer in lists but if I was this work would receive many votes.
These days with the new digital technology it is hard to fault any CD for quality and this one is no exception. Yes I have heard better organs and recordings of the 3rd symphony but this coupling is well worth the investment.
This is the second CD in an ongoing series of the orchestral works of Saint-Saens so look forward to one or more in the future. A nice inexpensive way to enjoy Saint-Saens.
SYMPHONY NO. 3 IN C MINOR, OP 78 ‘ORGAN’ (1886) (36:50)
1. Adagio-Allegro Moderato (10:53)
2. Poco adagio (10:24)
3. Allegro moderato-Presto (7:45)
4. Maestro-Allegro (7:48)
SYMPHONY IN A MAJOR (1850) (26:30)
5. Poco adagio-Allegro vivace (7:55)
6. Larghetto (9:56)
7. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (3:01)
8. Allegro molto-Presto (5:38)
9. LE ROUET D’OMPHALE, OP. 31 (1871) (8:19)
I put this release in the classical category as the tracks are wonderful duets of a husband and wife team on violin (Hedman) and piano (Redfeld) as well as three selections featuring clarinet (Foster) and trumpet (Washburn) also with Redfeld on the piano. John Williams music translates very nicely into this chamber music style, something that can’t be said of other composers. I certainly applaud BSX for continuing this unofficial series of young composers in a most intimate setting. In my opinion I feel that the listener is being exposed to chamber music and it will encourage them to seek out additional material. On this particular CD some of the selections are arranged by Williams, others by Redfeld, and some are Williams arrangements that have been modified by Redfeld.
There isn’t a nicer way to listen to Schindler’s List than in a duet with piano and violin of not only the main title from the film but also the tracks “Jewish Town” and “Remembrances.” This arrangement comes from John Williams and is performed by Hedman and Redfield. The violin offers the melody (voice) and the piano the harmony making for an effective arrangement). A very pleasant way to listen to fifteen minutes of Schindler’s List.
In The Terminal: “Viktor’s Tale” Donald Foster, clarinetist of John Williams, is featured in a reprise of his solo in the film. Talk about a catchy theme this is one that you’ll remember once you’ve heard it. Again in this arrangement the clarinet provides the melody (voice) and the harmony comes from the piano. Monsignor’s “Main Theme” features the fine trumpet of David Washburn in a track where the melody is shared with the piano as each offer harmony. This is also true of the “Main Theme” from JFK. Both of the trumpet solos are of the proud and majestic type, what you might expect from a trumpet. One of my favorites on the CD is “End Credit” from Dracula. Both share the melody in one of the better Gothic romantic themes ever. This reviewer thinks of a raucous fast paced arrangement of Fiddler on the Roof but to my surprise it is somewhat refrained and very nice to listen to.
I can find no fault at all with any aspect of this recording except for a bit of a couple of the digital images beginning to break up. The sound recording and mastering, liner notes, and selection of material are all top notch. This would be a nice selection to your collection. Give BSX a gold star for continuing on this fine series. Recommended.