December 27, 2015
RPO SP 050
As an encore to their two volume Hollywood Block Buster CD (RPO SP034) the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays some of the newer releases including some favorite composers of mine Williams and Desplat. The overall sound of this CD is on the easy listening side with tracks such as Lincoln leading the way. Written as much as a tribute to Copland as Lincoln the stirring music brings out the USA in the best who listen to the piece. Other John Williams compositions include The Book Thief, a very delicate, melancholy, theme that features the piano with counterpoint being provided by the harp. Another winner to the long list of successful film themes. War Horse is a third again quite melancholy but with one of those wonderful themes that you’ll be humming when you leave the theater. Along with the theme is harmony that Williams knows how to write so well. Dario Marianelli a very successful film composer of over 50 films is an Oscar winner for Atonement as well as a nominee for the picture Anna Karenina presented on this CD. It is a wonderful carousel dance number that reminds you of the finest balls from the kingdoms of the world. The King’s Speech, a Alexandre Desplat nominee, begins like many of his themes with a piano that is bouncy and full of vigor. That eventually changes into a funeral like theme. Having seen this film I can tell you that Desplat, who has done 100 films, writes for the situation on the screen nicely. The main theme from Skyfall, written by Adele is performed without lyrics although as is many times the case the Bond themes become pop hits. The Oscar nominated Thomas Newman score is something else that one may want to explore.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is not a film I would normally see so this opening to the Blockbuster CD was quite a surprise to me with the toe tapping violin and ethnic instruments and choir. This is one track that isn’t laid back but bright, well orchestrated. It reminds me of a scherzo or two I’ve heard in my day. What modern day compilation would not be complete without a selection from The Hobbit and this one is no exception with its battle style music and ethnic instruments. A hats off go to Bradley and Williams. Also included is the main theme to the film Inception, written by Hans Zimmer, Not to my liking at all the colorless lifeless theme is typical of many films of today.
I like this CD for a number of reasons. The material selection, orchestra arranging, a superior sound quality, and most of all the playing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who are becoming the premier pops orchestra in the world today. I’m not into doing the star rating system as some reviewers do but if I made an exception I would give this one the highest possible rating.