Play it Again-The Classic sound of Hollywood, is a collection of music from some of the better known movies to come out of Hollywood, Cinecitta and also the U.K. I wanted to get this point over before starting the review as the title of the collection suggests that is music from just Hollywood productions that are included, so lets start with disc number one, this opens with Franz Waxman’s lyrical and poignant theme from PEYTON PLACE the movie not the television series that seemed to go on forever during the 1960,s. Waxman was of course along with his peers such as Rozsa, Korngold and Steiner responsible for creating some of Hollywood’s most memorable film scores and worked on numerous motion pictures during the 1930,s thru to the 1960,s his music for SUNSET BOULEVARD being one of the most popular and well known, Waxman also created the score for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN which was a landmark work not only in his career but also within the film music community.
Track number two, is from THE THING, scored by Russian born Dimitri Tiomkin, who went onto write so many well known songs and themes for movies, including The Green Leaves of Summer for THE ALAMO, Do Not Forsake Me from HIGH NOON and provided scores of epic proportions for films such as THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 55 DAYS AT PEKING and the GUNS OF NAVARONE. THE THING however is not as musical or melodic as Tiomkins other works and the suite of music here representing the soundtrack is largely atonal and suspense filled with the added eerie sound of the Theremin creating the perfect mood and atmosphere for this now classic horror/sci fi movie. All of the recordings on disc number 1 of the compilation are in fact re-recordings and were previously released on the RCA red seal label as part of the Classic Film Music series which was conducted by Charles Gerhardt and performed by the National Philharmonic orchestra, this was and still is a superb series of recordings and have acted as a rich source of information and have become must have items within collecting circles.
Track number three is from SALOME (1953) music for the main score was by composer George Duning, but the dance sequence which is included here was written by Danielle Armitheatrof , which was something that George Duning spoke of when I interviewed him, “The SALOME score was a very long one for me, and Morris Stoloff felt the background score was very important. It was at my suggestion that he got Daniele to do the dance scene, so I was free to concentrate on the score.” Amitheatrof worked steadily on Hollywood productions and also on TV shows, in fact his last scoring assignments were for THE TIME TUNNEL which was popular with viewers in both the USA and the UK during the 1960,s, the composer’s last motion picture score was in 1965 when he provided the score for Sam Peckinpah’s violent western MAJOR DUNDEE which starred Charlton Heston and Richard Harris. Tracks 4, 5 and 6 are all from the pen of the master of film music or the Father of film music as many refer to him, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, this giant of motion picture scoring is responsible for creating the template upon which the majority of film scores are based, the scores represented on this compilation are OF HUMAN BONDAGE, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS and THE SEA HAWK. All classic scores that are epic and sumptuous in their musical styles and create an atmosphere that is richly romantic and wonderfully lyrical. It is surely the opening bold and proud sounding fanfares of THE SEA HAWK that inspired composer John Williams on his STAR WARS scores. The music is luxurious and purveys an air of opulence and high emotion which is something that the composer always seemed to be able to do when scoring a movie no matter what genre it was.
Disc 2 opens with the music of another musical giant Max Steiner, GONE WITH THE WIND is I suppose Steiner’s most well know piece, or at least the theme from the movie is, TARA’S THEME, represents the score on this occasion. Track number two disc 2, is from 1965, and the music is by a young French composer Maurice Jarre, Zhivago was the second time that Jarre had worked with British film maker Sir David Lean, and their partnership was set to endure for many years Jarre providing the music for Lean’s movies such as RYANS DAUGHTER, A PASSAGE TO INDIA and also LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. DR ZHIVAGO was a great success for Jarre, and the haunting theme he wrote for the movie LARA’S THEME became a worldwide hit. Track number 3 is also from the 1960,s in fact it was released in 1960, directed by Alfred Hitchcock PSYCHO provided composer Bernard Herrmann with the opportunity to compose one of the most shocking and now familiar sections of music for the infamous shower scene in the movie, Herrmann’s shrieking and vicious sounding strings even now some 50 years on still managing to cause a certain amount of uneasiness to anyone hearing them even when they are removed from the images.
Track number 4, is from the aforementioned LAWRENCE OF ARABIA by Maurice Jarre, the overture represents Jarre’s timeless soundtrack for this compilation with its booming percussion, and haunting string led theme t is most definitely one of cinemas most accomplished and memorial scores. Add to the titles already mentioned, music from BEN HUR, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, VERTIGO, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, CASABLANCA, KING KONG, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and we have here a collection that is certainly epic and undoubtedly classic. Certainly worth a listen, maybe a volume two is on the cards I hope so.