"MASTERS AND COMMANDERS"
Music from Captain from Castile, Plymouth Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Mead Man's Chest, Captain Blood, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Buccaneer, Anne of the Indies, The White Dawn, The Sea Hawk, Mutiny on the Bounty, Captains Courageous, Windjammer, and Cutthroat Island
Cincinnati Pops Orch/Erich Kunzel, cond.
TELARC SACD 60682 TT: 61:42
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TCHAIKOVSKY: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique."
Cincinnati Symphony Orch/Paavo Järvi, cond.
TELARC SACD 60681 TT: 67:19
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ELGAR: Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1 and 4. DAVIES: An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise. TURNAGE: Three Screaming Popes. MacMILLAN: Britannia. BRITTEN: Sinfonia da Requiem.
Atlanta Symphony Orch/Donald Runnicles, cond.
TELARC SACD 60677 TT: 71:48
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Three SACDs from Telarc, all of which boast the label's usual high sonic quality. Produced by Robert Woods, all offer state-of-the-art sonics, ultra-clear definition and wide dynamic range. Masters and Commanders is a collection of "music from seafaring film classics" all recorded in one day (June 5, 2007) in Cincinnati's Music Hall. These enthusiastic performances don't match the spirit of Charles Gerhardt's recordings of the Korngold and Newman scores, but for movie music buffs there is enough of interest here. The Tchaikovsky works were recorded January 21-22, 2007. Järvi's fine Tchaikovsky is a welcome addition to the catalog, and the Cincinnati Symphony is in top form. Donald Runnicles' Britannia combines the old and the new, beginning and ending with two of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Marches. The major work is Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, and for more contemporary music we have Davies' An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise (complete with bagpipes), Three Screaming Popes by Turnage, written for Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony (which probably will be the least-listened to work on this disk), and MacMillan's 10-minute Britannia, an orchestral fantasy based on "patriotic themes" including music of Elgar, Arne as well as an Irish reel, a Cockney drinking song, and marches. Scoring includes auto horn, klaxon (a loud horn used in vehicles), police whistle, whip and a duck call.

Sonic quality is consistently fine on all three SACDs, but little imagination is used in utilizing all available channels. Everything is in front with ambient sound from the rear; even the splashing waves in Windjammer are in front. The close-up recording of Britannia great for percussive effects, but more resonance would be welcome.

R.E.B.( November 2007)

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