Classic Film Scores 
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Charles Gerhardt

IN OCTOBER 2010 AND 2011, RCA ISSUED THIRTEEN CFS DISKS IN SUPERB TRANSFERS FROM ANALOG MASTERS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THESE REISSUES, PLEASE CHECK HERE
The late Charles Gerhardt loved movies and music written for them. His goal was  to record film music in a way that would do full justice to the scores.  After much cajoling Gerhardt was able to convince RCA to give it a try.  In 1972  the first LP in the Classic Film Scores series was issued - The Sea Hawk..  This LP featured music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, distinguished Viennese classical composer who later came to Hollywood where he wrote music for many major Warner-Bros. films.  Always a favorite with Gerhardt, he brings a rare sensitivity to the sweeping romantic lines of the music as well as bravura to the stirring action/battle scenes. For all of the recordings in the series Gerhardt conducted  London's hand-picked National Philharmonic Orchestra.  George Korngold, son of the composer,  was  producer for this and remaining  recordings in the series.  Engineering  was by the legendary dean of the craft, Kenneth Wilkinson. The Sea Hawk was a brilliant achievement, offering the seldom-encountered combination of interpretive insight, magnificent performances, and stunning sonics, qualities that continued throughout the entire series. Those who heard the brilliant brass fanfares at the beginning of The Sea Hawk  were immediately aware of the glories of film music properly presented. Indeed, the music sounded infinitely better than it ever did in the movies as often it had to be subdued so that dialogue could be heard. 

The Classic Film Score series was an enormous success, and eventually consisted of 15 LPs, the first recorded in 1972, the last about a decade later. At the end of this article there is a listing of complete repertory for each of the CD issues; unfortunately the superb LPs -- which are treasured by audiophiles --  have long disappeared from the scene. The entire series was recorded  analog.  However the outstanding performances brilliantly convey the best of analog sonics. All were made in London's Kingsway Hall, a site known for its ideal acoustic properties.

Ever since the advent of CD, film buffs have eagerly awaited appearance of these superb recordings on silver disc. In 1983 Gerhardt's  recording of Return of the Jedi was issued simultaneously on LP, cassette and CD. His Star Wars/Close Encounters had been issued on CD in England but not at that time in the United States.   In 1985, virtually without promotion or publicity, RCA issued Sunset Boulevard (Classic Film Scores of Franz Waxman) on CD (RCA 7017).  

RCA commissioned Gerhardt to remaster the entire Classic Film Scores series for CD. Anxious to take advantage of  CD's  extended playing time, and with the consent of RCA, Gerhardt wanted  to include music that would not fit onto the LP format. The re-edited, expanded CFS series would then be issued on 12 well-filled CDs including a number of selections of music which Gerhardt had recorded but which had never been issued.  On the new CD issues music would be programmed slightly differently, bringing together excerpts that previously were issued on separate disks.  This project  would delight the hundreds of thousands of collectors who bought the original LPs, as well as creating a new audience among  recent generations of collectors.

The Sea Hawk, as re-edited and remastered by Gerhardt, was issued on CD by RCA in May, 1989 (RCA 7890). In notes for this CD, Gerhardt outlines the process he followed in planning CD issue of the series.  The Sea Hawk  CD is Gerhardt's expanded version,  quite different from its black disc counterpart -- and from the second CD version issued less than a year later. The original Sea Hawk LP had a total playing time of about 51 minutes; CD#1 (1989) is more than 70 minutes. The suite from The Sea Hawk on LP had a playing time of 6:53; the CD version is 15:35, including excerpts never before released. Of Human Bondage, which on LP was 4:21, was expanded to 12:24 on CD; Between Two Worlds, originally 5:30, is 7:30 on CD. Excerpts from Captain Blood, Juarez and Robin Hood , on the original LP, are not on the CD as Gerhardt included them on a second Korngold CD.

The Sea Hawk CD instantly went on the best-seller charts with unanimous rave reviews, both for its musical content and superlative CD remastering. One might think that such a phenomenal success would trigger rapid release of the remainder of the CFS series in the silver disc format but, unfortunately, this was not to be -- at least not as originally planned. 

RCA's marketing division made the decision that after Sea Hawk (and, as it turns out, including Sea Hawk) all future Classic Film Scores CDs would be released in Dolby Surround Sound, a dubious decision at best. A rather tasteless CD sampler, "The Home Video Album" (60354), was released in October 1989, including excerpts from some of the Gerhardt recordings. The "Home Video Album" is a CD, in spite of its name, and it contains "some of the most popular movie music ever written to enhance home video projects" as well as "compact disc graphics." Via equipped players, these graphics show video title cards and art that "complements home video productions." RCA also included a "scratch 'n sniff pop corn scented sticker," plus advertisements for Jolly Time popcorn and recipes for baked caramel corn, butter crunch pop corn, pop corn balls and microwave caramel corn. The Dolby Surround Sound remix and RCA's digital remastering supposedly provide "surround sound" for those who have appropriate equipment. "The Home Video Album" and all Classic Film Scores issued in Dolby Surround Sound state, "This program has been produced with the Dolby Surround encoding system and is fully compatible with stereo or monaural reproduction." However, it is quite clear that when RCA's Dolby Surround CDs are played on standard two-track systems the question of compatibility is highly subjective. The original Gerhardt/Wilkinson sound has been considerably and detrimentally altered. RCA's original pristine Sea Hawk CD (7890) with its extra music and non-Dolby sound, was discontinued and Sea Hawk was reissued in Dolby with the same program as the original LP. All other CD issues in the CFS series have the same programs as the LP, quite short by CD standards. The Dolby system is capable of effective sonics, but as processed by RCA, the Dolbyized versions  lack  brilliance, and bass is muddied. They do not sound bad, but they surely are not as good as the originals. If you can find the original Sea Hawk non-Dolby CD (7890) grab it; likewise if you can find the original CD issue of Sunset Boulevard (RCD1-7017), snatch it up as well; these sound  superior to the later Dolby versions.  It is sad that synthesized Dolby Surround sound was used; many of Gerhardt's later recordings in the series were done multi-track, with ambience channels - RCA could have used them for the real thing -- but, unfortunately, they didn't.  Do not misunderstand - the Dolby CDs described here sound very good.  It's just that they don't sound  as good as the originals.

Gerhardt had plans to continue the series including The Women (Classic Film Scores for the Great Hollywood Actresses), Dodge City (Classic Film Scores for Westerns by Max Steiner), Frankenstein (Classic Film Scores for Horror Films), and Things to Come (Classic Film Scores for Science Fiction Films) as well as separate LPs for music of Victor Young, Elmer Bernstein and Sir William Walton.  However, it was not to be.  For some reason, in spite of commercial success, RCA decided not to continue the series.

CLASSIC FILM SCORES CDS
LISTED BELOW ARE ORIGINAL CD ISSUES IN THE CFS SERIES. MOST OF THESE ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN STAE-OF-THE-ART NEW TRANSFERS. CHECK REVIEW.


RCA/BMG 7890  KORNGOLD:  The Sea Hawk - Classic Film Scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.  The Sea Hawk (Main Title; Reunion; Finale).  Of Human Bondage (Nora's Theme).  The Adventures of Robin Hood (March of the Merry Men; Battle). Juarez (Love Theme).  Kings Row (Main Title).  The Constant Nymph (Tomorrow, with contralto Norma Proctor and The Ambrosian Singers). Captain Blood (Overture). Anthony Adverse (No Father, no Mother, No Name).  Between Two Worlds (Main Title; Mother and Son). Deception (Main Title).  Devotion (The Death of Emily Bronte). Escape Me Never (Main Title; Venice; March; Love Scene; Finale). 

This was the first recording in the Classic Film Scores series, creating a sensation and renewed hope among film buffs that they would be able to hear film music in superb performances magnificently recorded. Just hearing the opening brass fanfares of The Sea Hawk should convince anyone that this is something special indeed.  As mentioned above, the preferred version of this is the non-Dolby CD (7890), but it has been deleted.  However, this Dolby version (60863) is available and surely  worth having, although it is not quite as effective as the other in sound or content.

 


 RCA/BMG 0136. Now, Voyager - Classic Film Scores of Max Steiner   Now, Voyager (Warner Bros. Fanfare and Main Title; Love Scene and Finale). King Kong (The Forgotten Island; Natives; Sacrificial Dance; The Gate of Kong; Kong in New York). Saratoga Trunk (As Long As I Live). The Charge of the Light Brigade (Forward the Light Brigade). Four Wives (Symphonie Moderne with pianist Earl Wild). The Big Sleep (Main Title; Marlowe; Bookshop; Murder; Chase; Love Theme and Finale). Johnny Belinda (Suite). Since You Went Away (Main Title). The Informer (Main Title; Love Scene; Sancta Maria, with The Ambrosian Singers). The Fountainhead (Main Title, Dominique's Theme; The Quarry; Construction -- Enright House; Finale -- The Wynand Building). TT:  53:31

 A magnificent compilation of music of one of the truly great cinema composers, Max Steiner, opening with the sublime Now Voyager love theme and continuing with a suite from King Kong.  For many the highlight will be the suites from two of Steiner's finest scores, The Big Sleep and The Fountainhead.

RCA 0707 Citizen Kane - Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann. On Dangerous Ground (The Death Hunt). Citizen Kane (Prelude: Xanadu; Snow Picture. Theme and Variations. Aria from Salammbo, with soprano Kiri Te Kanawa. Rosebud and Finale). Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (The Sea; The Lagoon; Desceneing; The Octopus; Homecoming). Hangover Square (Concerto Macabre, with pianist Joachin Achucarro). White Witch Doctor (Talking Drums; Prelude; The Riverboat; Petticoat Dance; The Safari; Tarantula; The Lion; Nocturne; Abduction of the Bakuba Boy; The Skulls; Lonni Bound by Ropes; Departure). TT: 52:05

This CD offers some of Bernard Herrmann most imaginative music beginning with the rousing "Death Hunt" from On Dangerous Ground in which the National Philharmonic's brass does the near-impossible.  The suite from Citizen Kane is well-chosen with a young Kiri Te Kanawa singing the aria from the opera Salammbo.  In the movie this was poorly sung by Kane's wife in an opera production mounted specially for her.  Gerhardt decided that Hermann's glorious music should be presented in a first-class performance, the way Kane heard it in his own mind.  This is the only time in the entire CFS series when music was not presented basically as it was in the film. You'll also hear the resplendent sounds of 9 shimmering harps in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef and a suite from White Witch Doctor with exotic percussion and a strange instrument called the serpent.



RCA 7017  Sunset Boulevard - The Classic Film Scores of Franz WaxmanPrince Valiant (Prelude; King Aguar's Escape; The Fens; The First chase; The Tournament; Sir Brack's Death; Finale).  Peyton Place (Original Main Title).  A Place in the Sun (Suite).  The Bride of Frankenstein (The Creation of the Female Monster).  To Have and Have Not (Main Title; Martinique); Sunset Boulevard (Main Title; Norma Desmond; The Studio Stroll; The Comeback; Norma as Salome).  Mr. Skeffington (Forsaken).  Objective, Burma! (Parachute Drop).  Rebecca (Prelude; After the Ball; Mrs. Danvers; Confession Scene; Manderley in Flames).  The Philadelphia Story (MGM Fanfare; Main Title; The True Love).  Old Acquaintance (Elegy for Strings).  The Two Mrs. Carrolls (Main Title; The Embrace; The Storm; The Poisoned Milk; The Window; Geoffrey's Madness; Finale).  Taras Bulba (The Ride to Dubno).  TT: 68:46

The opening track on this CD is a stirring suite from Prince Valiant,  swash-buckling music of the most exuberant type.  "Elegy for Strings" from Old Acquaintance is worthy of inclusion on symphony concert programs, and we also have diabolical sounds of "The Creation of the Female Monster" from The Bride of Frankenstein.  The National Philharmonic brass bring down the house with their virtuosity in the exciting " Ride to Dubno" from Taras Bulba which was recorded in a single take. Sunset Boulevard also was released as a regular CD in Dolby Digital (0708) but music from Peyton Place, To Have and Have Not, Mr. Skeffington, Objective, Burma!, and The Two Mrs. Carrolls was omitted so the CD has a playing time of 53:35. Obviously the one to have is 7017.

RCA 0422 Casablanca - The Classic Film Scores for Humphrey Bogart   STEINER: Casablanca (Suite including Main Title;  Morocco; As Time Goes By; Love Scene and "the beginning of a beautiful friendship"). Passage to Marseille (Rescue at Sea). The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Main Title; The Trek to the Gold; Fool's Gold; The Letter; Finale: The Gold Scatters in the Wind).  The Caine Mutiny (March).  Virginia City (Stagecoach; Love Scene).  Key Largo (Main Title; The Bridge; McCloud and Mr. Temple; Reminiscence; Morning; Finale).  ROZSA:  Sahara (Main Title).  YOUNG:  The Left Hand of God (Love Theme).  WAXMAN:  To Have and Have Not (Main Title; Martinique).  HOLLANDER: Sabrina (Main Title; The Larrabee Estate).  TT:50:52 

One of the most popular recordings of the series, this opens with an extended suite  -- with big orchestra treatment -- of Max Steiner's music from Casablanca including of course "As Time Goes By"  Equally memorable are the excerpts from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Two Mrs.Carrolls


RCA 0912 Captain Blood - Classic Film Scores for Errl Flynn/ STEINER:  The Adventures of Don Juan (The King; Main Title; Don Juan; The Brocade; Don Juan's Serenade; Parade Into London;Don Juan and the Queen; Final Scene).  They Died With Their Boots On (Morning; The Farewell Before the Battle; Preparation and March; The 7th Cavalry; Garry Owen; The Sioux; The Battle of Little Big Horn; Custer's Last Stand).  Dodge City (Warner Bros. Fanfare and Main Title; The Open Prairie; The Iron Horse; Surrett; The Comrades; The Covered Wagon; Grazioso; Abbie and the Children; Wade and Abbie; The Blarney; Abbie's Theme).  WAXMAN:  Objective, Burma! (Parachute Drop).  FRIEDHOFER:  The Sun Also Rises (Prologue; The Lights of Paris).  KORNGOLD:  The Sea Hawk (The Albatross; The Throne Room of Ellizabeth I; Entrance of the Sea Hawks; The Orchid; Panama March; The Duel; Strike for the Shores of Dover, with The Ambrosian Singers). The Adventures of  Robin Hood (The Archery Tournament; escape from the Gallows; Robin and Lady Marian; Coronation Procession). TT: 56:01

This collection of CFS for Errol Flynn is a rouser, opening with a dazzling suite from The Adventures of Don Juan, with the more sensitive side of Steiner displayed in They Died With Their Boots On and Dodge City.  The crowning gem in this compilation is an extended suite from Korngold's magnificent score for The Adventures of Robin Hood. 

RCA 0452  Classic Film Scores - Max Steiner's Gone With The Wind  TT: 43:27

  A beautifully played  suite of music from  the most famous film ever made.  It is amazing that music of this quality and effectiveness could have been composed in such a short time -- three months.   Steiner wrote almost three hours of symphonic music, with just about all of it used in the final film, each character having his/her own motif, and, of course we have the famous "Tara" theme.
  Gerhardt  worked closely with Steiner previously on  his adaptations of music from The Big Sleep and The Fountainhead.  They also worked together on the extended suite Gerhardt arranged from the complete score, heard on this recording.  About half of this was recorded in the mid-'60s to fill one LP side an an album of movie music for the Reader's Digest.  This can be heard on a Chesky CD listed below. When it was decided to do a more complete version, new material was recorded.  It's impossible to tell which is new and which is old.  Superb performance, glorious sound for Steiner's incredible score.  

RCA 0184  Captain From Castile - Classic Film Scores of Alfred Newmann  How to Marry a Millionaire (20th Century-Fox Fanfare with Cinemascope Extention and Street Scene).  Captain from Castile (Pedro and Cataña; Conquest, with Band of the Grenadier Guards).  Wuthering Heights (Cathy's  Theme).  Down to the Sea in Ships (Hornpipe).  The Song of Bernadette (Prelude; The Vision, with The Ambrosian Singers).  The Bravados (Main Title - The Hunters). Anastasia (Main Title).  The Best of Everything (London Calling).  Airport (Main Title).  The Robe (Main Title; Elegy, Caligula's March; The Map of Jerusalem, with The Ambrosian Singers and Band of the Grenadier Guards).  TT: 44:38

The big, bold Hollywood sound is heard often on this CD, and when the forces pile up as they do in the excerpts from Captain from Castile and The Robe, it is impressive indeed.  But for many the most touching music on this CD is the suite from Song of Bernadette with its magnificent depiction of the Vision, angelically sung by The Ambrosian Singers over a rich orchestral tapestry of gorgeous sound.

RCA 0911 Spellbound - The Classic Film Scores of Miklós Rózsa
  The Red House (Prelude; The Morgan Farm; The New Hired Hand; Swimming Scene; Meg Finds the Red House; Teller Shoots at Meg; Pete's Death and Finale, with The Ambrosian Singers).  The Thief of Bagdad (The Love of the Princess).  The Lost Weekend (The Bottle; First Meeting; The Mouse and the Bat; Nightmare; Love Scene and Finale).  The Four Feathers (Sunstroke; River Journey). Double Indemnity (Mrs. Dietrichson; The Conspiracy).  Knights of the Round Table (Scherzo: Hawks in Flight).  The Jungle Book (Song of the Jungle, with The Ambrosian Singers). Spellbound (The Dream Sequence; The Mountain Lodge).  Ivanhoe (Overture)  TT:  54:25


A fine sampling of the wide-range of music of the distinguished Hungarian composer.  For me the high point is the dazzling, short (1:17) scherzo "Hawks in Flight" from Rózsa's superb score for Knights of the Round Table, a tour de force for a virtuoso orchestra played to the hilt by the National Philharmonic under Gerhardt's dynamic direction.

 


RCA 0183 Classic Film Scores for BETTE DAVIS  STEINER:  Now, Voyager (Warner Bros. Fanfare & It Can't Be Wrong). Dark Victory (Blindness; Winter; Resignation).  A Stolen Life (Main Title). In This Our Life (Main Title; Stanley and Roy; Finale).  Beyond the Forest (Main Title; Rosa Moline; The Train; Rosa's Death).  The Letter (Main Title).  All This, and Heaven Too (Main Title; Henriette and the Children; Love Scene; Finale; End Cast). Jezebel (Waltz). ORNGOLD:  The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Elizabeth).  Juarez (Carlotta).  WAXMAN:  Mr. Skeffington (Forsaken). NEWMAN:  All About Eve (Main Title). TT:  40:50 

In his notes for this CD, Gerhardt states, "it is my conviction that so powerful an artist as Miss Davis, through the strength of her portrayals, inspired a variety of composers to produce some of their best work....her composers created a 'Bette Davis sound'."  Here is a varied program of music written for some of her greatest roles, high points being the excerpts from Dark Victory and  Now, Voyager.  

 

RCA 0185  Elizabeth and Essex  -  The Classic Film Scores of ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD  The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Overture).  The Prince and the Pauper (Main Title; The Boys Go to Play; Epilogue). Anthony Adverse (In the Forest).  The Sea Wolf (Main Title; Escape in the Fog; Love Scene; Finale). Deception (Cello Concerto in C, Op. 37, with cellist Francisco Garbarro).  Another Dawn (Night Scene). Of Human Bondage (Main Title; Christmas; Sally; Lullaby; Finale).  TT:  47:48 

A major issue in the series, displaying the range of music of Korngold, from the rousing introductions to The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and The Prince and the Pauper to the sheer gentle beauty of excerpts from Another Dawn and Of Human Bondage.  Of major interest is a superb performance of the complete Cello Concerto from  Deception.

 

RCA 1669 LOST HORIZON - The Classic Film Scores of DIMITRI TIOMKIN  Lost Horizon (Prelude; Foreward Card; Riot in Baskui; Mob Scene at Refueling Station; Morning After the Plane Crash; Arrival of the Caravan; The Journey Over the Mountains; Entrance into Shangri-La; Nocturne; Riding Sequence; The Waterfall; Chinese Children's Scherzo; Bell Sequence; Funeral Cortege of the High Lama; Escape from Shangri-La; Return to Shangri-La, with The John Alldis Choir).  The Guns of Navarone  (Prelude).  The Big Sky  (Prelude; Forest at Night; The Wide Missouri); The Fourposter (Overture); Friendly Persuasion (Love Scene in the Barn).  Search for Paradise (Choral Finale, with The John Alldis Choir). TT:  45:44 

Dimitri Tiomkin won four Oscars for his film scores and rightfully so.  Thoroughly trained in the classical idiom, he easily was able to provide, with the greatest imagination and mastery, whatever music was needed for films.  Lost Horizon was his first score (1937) and his grandest.  Sessions for the extended suite heard here were the most expensive for any CFS project, with extra players required for the mammoth percussion, and a large chorus.  It's quite spectacular, to say the least.  In addition there are other rousing Tiomkin showpieces, particularly the Navarone Prelude.  Look for this CD in cut-out bins.

RCA 2792  THE SPECTACULAR WORLD OF CLASSIC FILM SCORES  Fanfares for Motion Pictures (Universal Pictures; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Selznick International Pictures; Warner Bros.; 20th Century Fox with Cinemascope Extension); WILLIAMS: Star Wars (Main Title).  KORNGOLD:  Captain lood (Overture). STEINER:  Now, Voyager (Love Scene and Finale).  STEINER:  Gone With the Wind (Polka).  KORNGOLD:  Elizabeth and Essex (Elizabeth's Theme). STEINER:  The Caine Mutiny (March).  HERRMANN:  Citizen Kane (Salammbo's Aria, with Kiri Te Kanawa). RÓZSA:  Knights of the Round Table (Scherzo:  Hawks in Flight).  WAXMAN:  Objective, Burma! (Parachute Drop).  TIOMKIN:  The Guns of Navarone (Prelude).  RÓZSA: Julius Caesar (Overture).  WAXMAN:  Peyton Place (Original Main Title).  TIOMKIN:  The Thing (From Another World) Suite (Prelude; The Flying Saucer Under the Ice; Melting Sequence; The Hand; Plasma I, Plasma II; The Growing Plants; The Thing on the Walkway; Electrocution). HERRMANN:  King of the Khyber Rifles (The Attack on the Mountain Stronghold).  AMFITHEATROF:  Salome (The Dance of the Seven Veils)  TT:  51:17 

A "sampler" of the entire series, valuable in many ways as it contains Gerhardt's superb recording of the main title of Star Wars (the original CD - 2698 has been deleted), plus the magnificent suite from The Thing and Amfitheatrof's Salome excerpt, neither of which are available elsewhere.  Also included is a lengthy interview with Gerhardt about the entire series.

RCA 60767 STAR WARS - RETURN OF THE JEDI  (Main Title; Approaching the Death Star; Parade of the Ewoks; Luke and Leia; Jabba the Hutt; Return of the Jedi; The Ewok Battle; Hans Solo Returns; Into the Trap; Fight in the Dungeon; Heroic Ewok; Battle in the Forest; Finale).  TT:  46:24 

The only John Williams score to remain in the BMG/RCA catalog.  Perhaps the others were deleted because of excessive royalty costs; at any rate, get this one while it is still available. Jedi is one of Williams' finest scores, with more than a little help from Prokofiev, and his brilliant orchestrations are superbly played by the virtuoso National Philharmonic.  Jabba the Hut, with its incredibly difficult tuba solo, is outstanding, and the battle episodes display astonishing horn playing.

RCA 2698 JOHN WILLIAMS:  Star Wars (Main Title; The Little People Work; Here They Come!; Princess Leia; The Final Battle; The Throne Room and End Title).  Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Barnstorming; Arrival of the Mother Ship; The Pilots' Return; The Visitors; Final Scene)  TT:  54:17

This important CD is listed although it has been deleted.  Gerhardt and Williams were good friends; the latter thought very highly of the former's recordings of his music.  This is music-making on a grand scale -- if you can find this in a cut-out bin, grab it

 

OTHER NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC/ GERHARDT FILM CDS

CHESKY CD 71  HOLLYWOOD SCREEN CLASSICS  Strauss:  Also sprach Zarathustra (opening).  KORNGOLD:  Robin Hood (March of the Merry Men).  Suite from Kings Row.  ROSENMAN:  East of Eden.  STYNE:  Three Coins in the Fountain.  RAKSIN:  Laura.  YOUNG:  The Call of the Faraway Hills.  NORTH:  Cleopatra (Love Theme).  BARRY:  Born Free.  MANCINI:  Charade.  HAYASAKA:  Rashomon. RÓZSA:  El Cid.  HADJIDAKIS:  Topkapi  STEINER:  Gone With the Wind (Suite) TT:  67:01 

A splendid collection of film favorites starting off with a powerful performance of the "Sunrise" section of Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra, music used so effectively in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and ending with a 23-minute suite of Steiner's score for Gone With the Wind.  Other highlights are the rousing Korngold March from Robin Hood, an extended suite of music from the same composer's Kings Row, an arrangement of Three Coins in the Fountain reminiscent of Respighi, and  Born Free with the accent on brass, percussion -- and imagination. A terrific CD, beautifully transferred from the analog tapes (1968/1974).

 

VARESE SARABANDE  VSD 5207  WILLIAMS:  The Reivers (Suite). Jane Eyre (Carriage Ride to Thornfield).  RÓZSA:  The Lost Weekend (Love Theme). NORTH: Cleopatra (Love Theme). Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf (Main Title).  KORNGOLD:  Between Two Worlds (Mother and Son; Piano Rhapsody). The Constant Nymph (Overture).  The Prince and the Pauper (Flirtation).  Escape Me Never (Love for Love) ANTHEIL:  The Spectre of the Rose (Ballet Waltz).  LEWIS:  The Madwoman of Chaillot (End Title).  PENNARIO:  Julie (Midnight on the Cliffs).  DELERUE:  Anne Of  The 1000 Days (Overture).  WALTON:  Suite from Henry V.  (THIS CD HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED)

These recordings, made over a period of years,  were licensed from Reader's Digest and this compilation was issued on VS in 1989. It's strange that the CD is titled The Prince and the Pauper as it contains only one very brief excerpt from this film.  There are many gems here, particularly the brief suite from The Reivers and one of Williams' finest scherzi, a 1:48 gossamer flight of fancy  written for a 1971 BBC production of Jane Eyre.  The Korngold excerpts are glorious, and George Antheil's haunting waltz for the 1946 film Spectre of the Rose is a welcome addition to the catalog.  Superb analog sound, fine transfers.  This CD was issued as a memorial to George Korngold (son of the composer), who died when it was being prepared.


VARESE SARABANDE VCD 47203  KORNGOLD: Kings Row (Main Title; The Children; Parris and Grandmother; Cassie's Party; Icehouse Operation; Cassie's Farewell; Parris Goes to Dr. Tower; Winter; Grandmother's Last Will; Seduction; All is Quiet; Grandmother Dies; Sunset; Parris Leaves King's Row; Flirtation; Vienna and Happy New year 1900; Randy and Drake; Letters Across the Ocean; Parris Comes Back; Kings Row; Elise; Parris's Decision; Finale.  TT:  48:00   (THIS CD HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED)

 

This magnificent CD contains the complete score for the 1941 film Kings Row, recorded in 1979 in London's Walthamstow Town Hall and produced by George Korngold.  Engineering was by Robert Auger.  The CD is essential for any collection of film music.

VARESE SARABANDE VSD 5353  WILLIAMS:  The Empire Strikes Back
Augmented suite from the film:  20th Century Fox Fanfare; Main Title - The Imperial March; Luke's First Crash; Han Solo and the Princess; The Asteroid Field; The Training of a Jedi Night "May the Force be with You"; The Battle in the Snow; The Imperial March; The Magic Tree; Yoda's Theme; The Rebels Escape Again; Lando's Palace - The Duel Through the Window; Finale.  TT:  45:11
(THIS CD HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED) 

Recorded in Walthamstow Town Hall in London May 2, 1980, this is the last Gerhardt recording of music from the Star Wars series.  Apparently RCA elected not to continue the CFS series, and as VS was interested, they did it. The CD  contains a note from John Williams in which he talks about how pleased he was with Gerhardt's recordings of his music, making the statement, "In recent years, Charles Gerhardt has done more than anyone else toward advancing the course of film music."  In addition to Williams' suite of music from the film, Gerhardt selected other excerpts to form this suite.  When originally issued on CD (VCD 47204), tracks and timing were only listed on the CD, rather difficult to read to say the least. The later issue, with the number above,  provides this information where it should be.  Empire was produced by George Korngold and engineered by Brian Culverhouse.  The sound isn't as sumptuous as earlier Gerhardt recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson, but it has plenty of impact and clarity. 

  

THEMES & VARIATIONS T&V 0001 CELEBRATING THE CLASSICS
STEINER:  The Fountainhead.  NEWMAN:  The Robe.  TIOMKIN:  The Thing. KORNGOLD:  The Sea Wolf.  HERRMANN:  Beneath the 12-Mile Reef. WAXMAN: Prince Valiant TT:  60:44 

This CD, issued in collaboration with the U. S. Postal Service to commemorate their issue of six first-class postage stamps of Hollywood composers, is discussed in detail on this site.  It is important as it contains music from The Fountainhead not available elsewhere. The U.S. Post Office charged $9 plus $1 shipping. The item number was 440 898.  Unfortunately, it no longer is available—look for it in yard sales!

R.E.B. (October 2000, updated December 2013)