April 8, 2017
As I listened to this selectiion for the first time I thought to myself what an unusual choice of selections especially the Rimsky-Korsakov selection, one that I would consider unsung and seldom performed. Does Lizst and Tchaikovsky fit? The answer to the question is a resounding yes. Not only does the historical (50+) years sound good, no stereo, but the playing is very good. While this would not be my choice of listening recordings of the Tchaikovsky or the Lizst recordings:I guess we have our favorites I tend to favor the Rimsky Korsakov recording over any of the others I have heard. For me this was just another orchestral color piece of Rimsky-Korsakov not better or worse than many of his others. This performance seemed to stick a little more inside me and I wanted to hear it again and again. Suddenly I began to enjoy the fine playing and listened to it as more of a piano concerto rather than an orchestral piece and I truly appreciated it for what it was written for. It is a scant 13 minutes, 5 minutes less than Tchaikovsky’s first movement but the shortness is an advantage as there is no excess baggage and every note and chord are there for a reason.
Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is the favorite of many and for good reason. It is filled with melodies and is very accessible to even the beginning classical listener. The Lizst has a very powerful bold melody in the first movement that is fully developed around piano chords. A second more delicate theme appears part way through the first movement and continues into the next movement. A new theme, rather flashy surfaces in the third movement and also a repeat of the second theme. The final movement is a repeat of the theme from the first movement. Note that this is a four movement concerto not the standard three which is the norm.
Keep in mind that this is considered a historical recording and you’ll not hear the extended range as you’re accustomed to hearing on a Chandos recording. I feel that the fine playing overcomes that objection nicely.
April 8, 2013
I apparently missed this film and if I were to judge from the reviews it was a good thing except for the score from Basil Poledouris (1945-2006) which BSX has made available for the first time out of Asia. This limited edition CD of 2000 units has turned out to be a real sleeper of a score for this reviewer who was instantly surprised from the very first track. Having talked briefly with Mark Banning from BSX he revealed that he was very proud of this release and well he should be.
“Legend of the Touch,” the main melody, is divided into two sections. The beginning introduction from the delicate chords of the harp leads the listener to the melody from the strings and then the flute. There is a hint that it could be from the mysterious orient but nothing pentatonic. In fact there is a chord from the flute that made me conjure up a western film! The second part with the Chinese percussion clearly makes it evident that this takes place in the Orient. It is at a very fast pace and dominates the remainder of the track. The percussion was a mixture of samples (wood blocks, Taiko drums) and live material from some of the traditional percussion such as cymbals, snare drum, and tam-tam. This mixture came through crystal clear on my speakers almost a Dolby like sound except I still use a traditional two speaker system. I’ve included Legend of the Touch as an audio track to give you an idea of the sound.
“The Loveable Thief” had Thomas Newman type harmonic chords in an eerie sounding cue. “Memories of Days Gone” takes the main theme and develops it in a different way as it has a touch of sadness to it. Well played by the China Philharmonic. “Time to Choose opens the gates of a major key as the strings perform music of hope. “The Touch” sung by Kelly Chen in Chinese is very pleasant to the ears as her beautiful voice doesn’t have to resort to loud bursts but loud enough that you don’t have to strain to listen. The violins and percussion nicely complement her voice.
At this time I would have to consider this one as the re-release of the year. It is very well done with informing liner notes from Randall Larson along with the mixing magic of Eric Colvin and the playing of the China Philharmonic. Recommended.
Total Duration: 01:07:22
March 5, 2013
How many films have been made about the Conan A. Doyle characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson? Well over 200 and continuing to grow as this review is being written. This film comes from Hungary and deals with two youngsters who pretend to be Holmes and Watson and solve the mystery of disappearing children who act strangely when they come back, like “Children of the Damned” only the parents don’t notice the changes only the kids. It is a fun time for all ages.
My first experience with composer Robert Gulya was with his score to “Atom Nine Adventures” a Bruce Broughton type action/fantasy score. For those who are interested, Gulya has a website with quite a few clips to introduce you to his style of music. http://www.robertgulya.com/
Gulya nicely captures the essence of Holmes in “Main Title,” with a catchy melody featuring a delicious violin solo by Gergely Kuklis, concertmaster of the Hungarian National Symphonic Orchestra. The recording and mixing of the samples truly gives the feeling that it was recorded with an orchestra. This theme you’ll hear all or part of throughout the soundtrack and would be a welcome addition to a compilation CD. I’m including this track as an audio clip so you can get the feel for the CD. in the name of sherlock holmes The opening track “Goldi” introduces a melody with clever use of the bassoon and percussion. Along with the strings repeating the “Main Title” in “120 Doorsteps” there is also use of the bassoon again. “Kettesben jo,” performed by Fool Moon” seems out of place as it’s a pop song sung in Hungarian and I’m sure it’s enjoyed by the younger set. “It’s A Bad Dream” is a bit on the creepy side with dissonant brass and chorus. Featured are the lower register strings as they suddenly break out into that catchy “Main Title.” “Someone’s Coming” is yet another melody with a Thomas Newman sound to it.
Well recorded and mixed samples help to take away that synthy sound you so often hear in lower budgets scores. It is a limited of only 500 units so it is better to act sooner than later as it will sell out. Gulya musically has something to say on this soundtrack and that is not afraid to use melodies. Yes there is some landscape music but overall the soundtrack is filled with melodies as well as offering a variety of styles.
Total Duration: 00:59:17
October 26, 2008
I’ve recently been paying a little more attention to my feelings and I’ve noticed over the past two days that because of our heat and a standard everyday run of the mill cold I feel completely different about the way music sounds and how it causes a completely different emotion.
I recently received the soundtrack to the just released film Flash of Genius by Aaron Zigman and have had the opportunity to listen to it before, during, and after the cold and each situation has been a different listening experience which brings up for me as a reviewer that my writing and opinion is going to be different depending on how I feel. Not only is my opinion different but also so is my hearing due to the fact that the congestion has backed up into my sinuses/ear canals. While on the subject of ears having the wax removed from your canals is an excellent idea and will result in a better listening experience. There is also the first and second listen, which has to be factored into the experience whether I feel good, bad, or indifferent. What I can tell you are the first listen was extremely positive given my upbeat attitude coupled with a style of music I personally enjoy listening to. The next couple of listens were extremely negative as this was during the not feeling so good time frame. The music was dull, uninspired, and quite muddy sounding. Whatever themes were present, two of them, weren’t there at the time of this listening. All I could tell you is that there was some synthesizer; strings, some trumpet, and the tracks were irritatingly short. My opinion was blah. The first listen was pre-cold and the second was during the full effect of it.
Today feeling like I am, on the mend, produced a fresh and exciting sound to my ears. I’ll leave most of the comment for my review but needless to say I really quite like the work on the whole, although the short tracks are irritating but then again I feel that way about Newman and Herrmann also known for their short tracks. This was quite a change in attitude from the muddy sounding material from the day before. If I had written and published that day it would have been a negative not a positive.
Your frame of mind can definitely have an influence on the way the music sounds. Having a nice evening with your significant other and the main theme from Prince of Tides will sound romantic and heartfelt. A bad mood can result in what did I ever see in this schmaltz. Tired and your brain can be on overload and hard to process any sort of information. Well rested and the sound is crisp and clear. Something to ponder the next time you listen to a composition. Your mood can and will effect the way music is heard.