BIG WAR THEMES.

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Cast your mind back if you can to the late 1960,s and the 1970,s,when composers such as Ron Goodwin were active in film scoring and Henry Mancini and his like were busy releasing albums of music that included well know film themes and also standards or easy listening numbers. Even Ronnie Aldrich released a number of albums which included his particular take on certain film themes, and LeRoy Holmes dipped into the film music pool more than once with albums of western themes and other cinematic classics. There was also Stanley black and his excellent series of film music collections on Phase 4,and lets not forget Mantovani because he too occasionally included the odd film theme along the way in his many albums. Then there was the wonderful Geoff Love and his orchestra,Love had of course become familiar to TV audiences via his connections with Max Bygraves and was also very active as an arranger and musical director for numerous other recording stars. But it was the Film music albums that Love released during the 1970,s that made him a household name within the film music collecting fraternity. The majority of the albums were pretty good and faithful to the original compositions. These albums for film music collectors at the time were gift from heaven as many soundtracks did not get a release back in those days, and especially with spaghetti western themes Love’s western collections were brilliant for collectors to listen to, even if they were not the originals at least we had something to remind us of the music we had heard in the cinema, as in A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN and the brilliant version of SABATA. I think the most appealing Geoff Love collection was his 1971 release, BIG WAR THEMES on the Music for Pleasure label, good old MFP, but saying this most of the themes that were on this album were in fact available in their original form i.e.: WHERE EAGLES DARE,BATTLE OF BRITAIN,633 SQUADRON,THE GREAT ESCAPE, GUNS OF NAVARONE,LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,VICTORY AT SEA,THE DAM BUSTERS etc etc. But I suppose it was a case of well might as well have the album and then wont have to hop from album to album, or something like that anyway. Music for Pleasure, no longer exists as far as I am aware, but EMI have re-issued a number of the MFP recordings on compact disc under the COMPACTS FOR PLEASURE banner, and BIG WAR THEMES is one of them, it is not an exact re-run of the original album in fact there are a few extra cues, but at least the collection has the core themes from the original release, all the aforementioned are present and correct, so we can put the CD on and wallow in nostalgia, plus we are treated to Love’s own versions of Clifton Parker’s epic war soundtrack from SINK THE BISMARK, Robert Cobert’s haunting and romantically laced opening theme for the TV blockbuster THE WINDS OF WAR Stanley Myers ever popular Cavatina from THE DEER HUNTER and the theme from LWT’s series WE’LL MEET AGAIN by Dennis King. There is also a track representing Miklos Rozsa’s THE GREEN BERETS, which I know was on the original MFP LP but the score was not available until a few years ago when FSM released it and IS PARIS BURNING by Maurice Jarre, most of the tracks are taken from the 1971 release, but there are just a handful that have been culled from a 1975 compilation, i.e.; THE COLDITZ MARCH by Robert Farnon which opened the now classic BBC series and THE 8TH ARMY MARCH by Eric Coates. Let us also not forget that Love also recorded under the non de plume of MANUEL AND THE MUSIC OF THE MOUNTAINS and under this name he also recorded numerous albums that although not completely dedicated to film music,they included their fair share of music from the movies.

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This is a brilliant compact disc that not only evokes memories of the film that the music comes from but also it re-kindles the buzz one used to get from going out on a Saturday and searching through second hand stores and department stores for soundtracks old and new, in the hope that you would unearth something that was special. Nowadays, it’s a case of type in the title, click on buy and then wait for the postman, easier yes I suppose, but more exciting more interesting, more gratifying? HELL NO !

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