Sea Hawk (Dig) CD, インポート
Previn conducts Korngold presents suites from four of the finest and most influential film scores ever written, performed by an orchestra (the LSO) well used to the genre and conducted by someone who, like Korngold before him, has always had an equivocal relationship with Hollywood. Ever a reluctant film composer, Erich Wolfgang Korngold nevertheless became one of the principal architects of the Hollywood Sound; the style and scope of his scores for the four swashbuckling Errol Flynn vehicles here continue to resonate through any number of modern films, from the Star Wars saga onwards. Korngold's "operas without words", written in the same splendidly grandiose Viennese manner he brought to his concert works, helped define film music's pivotal role in the on-screen drama and provide textbook examples of how to underpin both action and emotion. The earliest is 1935's Captain Blood, which Korngold scored, not without protest, in just three weeks; then came 1937's The Prince and the Pauper with its highly chromatic, almost decadent lyricism (parts of it were later recycled in his Violin Concerto). Both The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and The Sea Hawk (1940) are works of high melodrama and bold gestures, replete with rousing marches, stirring fanfares and delicious love themes.
It's a safe choice of repertoire for Previn, who knows Korngold's idiom well, and a comfortable one for this orchestra. The result is an album of plushly upholstered performances, which emphasise the continuities and similarities between each suite. Although all the scores have been recorded before in more complete versions, these abbreviated suites suit Previn's expansive, concert-hall approach to the music as he lingers long over the big romantic gestures. Korngold collectors will find nothing here they haven't heard before, but perhaps they'll discover it's rarely been so luxuriantly performed.--Mark Walker
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While far from essential, this disc is still worth a listen and certainly gets air time in my house on occasion. The sound is excellent, and Previn does a good job with it overall. It just doesn't have the gusto that other recordings do.
from Erich Wolfgang Korngold's film symphonies by a major
orchestra and conductor. The Not-So-Good News: there are far
better CD recordings of these cues. The Good News (Part II): many
of the other recordings are still in print (and available off
this Web site). All cues on this CD are of the garden variety
having been recorded many times before. The orchestra sounds (and
is) powerful, but the conducting lacks energy big time. In other
hands, you will get extremely dynamic, dramatic, and exciting
results (which, of course, is what the composer intended). On a
brighter note, Mr. Brendan Carroll (Korngold's definitive
biographer and the one who knows more about the composer than any
living being) has provided a CD booklet that is both educational
and a delightful read (his usual writing style) filled with just
the right level of technical observations as well as little-known
(or not previously known), fascinating information about the
composer. There are also some rare photos. Now to some music
specifics. THE SEA HAWK excerpts comprise a very sleepy rendering
of what is otherwise an extremely dynamic exciting score.
Transitions between clues are sometimes far from seamless and
jarring. It cries out for the addition of a male chorus.
ELIZABETH AND ESSEX cues suffer from monochromatic, passionless,
and somnambulistic presentations with jarring inter-cue
transitions. CAPTAIN BLOOD is poky, dull, and just plain boring
(the initial cue is also mislabeled). THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
cues include a few that come close to escaping the general
lethargy of this CD (but, alas, they never make it). Recording
engineering is first rate from capturing orchestral components
(via great miking/mixing) to the finished product (with the
exception of some "jump-cuts" between cues). Finally, a note on
cheapness. This CD comes not in jewel box, but "encased" in thin
cardboard. What's next? Saran wrap? PURCHASE-DECISION BOTTOM
LINE: After end-to-end listening to this thing 5-6 times, I
reluctantly recommend you strongly consider passing on it--but if
you feel compelled to do otherwise, buy it with greatly lowered
expectations. A cynic might add that the CD booklet is great, but
a tad expense; however, it does come with a CD as
Andre Previn obviously loves this music and knows how to extract subtle shadings from the London Symphony. The music from the Prince and the Pauper will be familiar to those who know Korngold's Violin Concerto since the third movement theme originates from this score. Korngold felt that music was music, whatever the source, and using ideas from film music was like any other source. Critics did not think lifewise. For me, it is a delight to hear how such lovely music was originally conceived.
Also welcomed is the information in the booklet relating to how Korngold composed his scores. Credit is given to the orchestrators he worked with for the first time. Also, Andre Previn provides some notes on an appreciation of Korngold as a composer. This disc was the record of the month for March 2002 by Gramophone magazine; it is a must for Korngold fans and is highly recommended to those new to his film music.