schindler's list 001 BSXCD 9103

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.


goldsmith piano vol 2 001

BSXCD 8952

The World Only Lovers See

As a sequel to without Dominik Hauser but with the addition of Dan Redfeld to the talents of Northam and Park, the trio individually performs 21 songs of a man who like Gershwin was never without creating a new melody, Jerry Goldsmith. In a 40 year span from 1960-1990 he was the dominant force of Hollywood soundtracks producing 71 scores in the 70’s alone. This compilation spans a 30 year period from 1963-1993 offering something from all of the different genres Goldsmith wrote for.

The three soloists chosen for this BSX project are as diversified as the subject material and multiple listens to this CD will reveal the style of each pianist. A good example of this is the main theme to “100 Rifles” which is treated in the style of an etude de concert.  Joolyun Park is delicate and forceful with an arrangement of some degree of difficulty. You wouldn’t know that this melody came from a western! The arrangement that Northam chose for the  theme Free As The Wind from Papillon again hardly sounds like it belongs in a film only lacks a tinkling of glasses in the background to make it complete. The love theme from “Coma” rather than approached with softer touches is approached by Redfeld with strong powerful strokes in parts. Free as the Wind from “Papillon” is arranged in such a fashion that you’ll scarcely recognize the theme from the complex arrangement created by Northam without overdubbing. A well done quite classical interpretation. “The Sand Pebbles,” one of my favorite love themes from Goldsmith is created in a simple rather laid back fashion again by Northam. Who wouldn’t like “Rudy” treated in grand fashion by Redfeld who uses chords to make his point that this is a must have for Goldsmith fans and people who just like nice easy to listen to music. Even the “Walton’s Theme” which I associated with a sappy corny television series seems to flow rather easily in my audio canals.

While I can’t classify this as a soundtrack recording I can say that this is one a soundtrack listener will enjoy. It is a different way to listen to some of the themes that Goldsmith created. If you’re with a non soundtrack listener you can be the star by being able to tell what movie these were written for as well as having nice background music. Who knows that the theme might not inspire someone to purchase the entire soundtrack. The sound quality produced a nice smooth listening experience for me through my Intersound speakers.

Track Listing:

1…. Rudy (3:16)

2…. Dennis the Menace (2:32)

3…. The Walton’s (2:27)

4…. Babe (1:47)

5…. 100 Rifles (2:11)

6…. Forever Young (3:09)

7…. Warning Shot (1:43)

8…. The Chairman (3:18)

9…. Morituri (3:39)

10.. The Prize (2:35)

11..  Coma (3:27)

12.. The Edge (2:57)

13.. The Other (3:36)

14.. Runaway (2:11)

15.. Explorers (2:02)

16.. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (2:40)

17.. Justine (2:38)

18.. The Sand Pebbles (2:38)

19.. Papillon (3:00)

20.. In Harm’s Way (2:37)

21.. The Russia House (2:37)

Total Time is 57:47


Film Noir's Finest


Many of the films featured in this compilation from BSX (digital download only) are not noir films but all of them do feature a nice laid back arrangement featuring the piano and synthesizer, with trumpet and sax solos when called for. My template for a noir film is “Out of the Past” or “Gun Crazy,” films that I own and have seen many times. This release is your classic ‘elevator’ background music that is a lot nicer to listen to while on hold while you’re waiting on hold than some of the music, if you can even call it that.

While this compilation includes some of the ones you’d expect to hear such as “Body Heat,” “Chinatown,” “Laura,” and “Basic Instinct” it also includes an original composition “Film Noir Suite” by Dennis McCarthy, the other Laura theme by Henry Mancini from “Remington Steele.” I’ve included this track as an audio clip. Hank does his usual fine job with a laid back trumpet introducing the melody which is eventually taken over by the synths. Jerry Goldsmith offers the theme from “The Detective” a haunting melody with strings, xylophone, trumpet, and piano, a good example of a bar song that you might pay attention to. The Christopher Young composition from “Jennifer Eight” is performed by Dennis McCarthy with the staccato notes from the right hand blending in perfectly with the chords from the left hand. In my mind it is one of the better melodies from Young. A second Mancini selection “Physical Evidence” was arranged for solo piano by Mark Northam and hardly sounds noir at all in fact it plays out like an etude with a nice melody as well as harmony from the left hand. “Eastern Promises from Howard Shore is another selection that doesn’t fit the noir mold but does offer a duet for piano and violin. This reviewer was so taken with the trombone work on the OST of “Farewell My Lovely” that I didn’t recognize it in the prelude portion. As it turned out it was another lovely piano solo from Mark Northam. “Dirty Harry” was performed by Northam but this time the offering came on the synth, which was a good choice for the Schifrin main title.

Selections that do fit the mold of noir include “Body Heat,” “Basic Instinct,” “Chinatown, “Shamus,” and “Laura.” The Laura theme is played quite nicely again in a classical style in parts along with a laid back style.

This release is not going to be for everyone with its overall ‘elevator’ style as I explained before. The digital file sounds fine at 256kps for the type of arrangements that were used. I would say that it was designed to be listened to on an MP3 player or computer which isn’t close to audiophile quality.

Track Listing:

1… Body Heat (Barry) (3:18)

2… Jagged Edge (Barry) (2:14)

3… Basic Instinct (Goldsmith) (2:21)

4… Chinatown (Goldsmith) (2:01)

5… Physical Evidence (Mancini) (2:28)

6… Blade Runner (Vangelis) (4:57)

7… 2 Days in the Valley (Goldsmith) (2:26)

8… Blow Out (Donaggio)

9… Eastern Promises (Shore) (4:39)

10…Jennifer 8 (Young) (2:55)

11…Farewell My Lovely (Shire) (3:32)

12…Dirty Harry (Schifrin) (4:57)

13…Laura (Raksin) (4:30)

14…Bodyguard (Silvestri) (2:45)

15…Remington Steele (Mancini) (2:11)

16…Shamus (Goldsmith) (3:38)

17…Still of the Night (Kander) (3:19)

18…Detective (Goldsmith) (3:10)

19…The Unsaid (Davis) (2:54)

20…Film Noir Suite (McCarthy) (7:23)

Total Time is 70:34