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Flashnotes - March 2002

Last Flashed:
October 19, 2003

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King of Kings by Miklos Rozsa

King of Kings by  Miklos Rozsa- March 31, 2002

Few composers have stirred audiences like Miklos Rozsa.  His distinguishable way with violin and strings ear-marked many of his works as classics.  Among such classics are the well known scores to Ivanhoe, Ben Hur, El Cid, and King of Kings.  Following the footsteps of their 1999 double-disc release of Miklos Rozsa At M-G-M: Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology, Rhino Records releases the definitive soundtrack for King of Kings.  The original 1961 release contained a mere 40 minutes of music recorded in Rome by a different orchestra!  Another release in the early 90's only contained only half the Rozsa's original score, but now Rhino brings us the complete recording of Rozsa's grand music taken from the original 6-track recordings of the M-G-M musicians.  The packaging includes wonderfully in-depth liner notes which include the originally released liner notes, track by track musical highlights, notes on the cast, producers, and more!  A truly deluxe release in time for the Easter holiday!

Purchase at Amazon.com (Sound clips)


Day of the Dead by John Harrison

Day of the Dead by John Harrison- March 31, 2002

Day of the Dead is the conclusion to one of Indie-film's most infamous trilogies.  It has seldom been touted the equal to its two predecessors, but nevertheless, the film and series has garnered a significant cult following.  Originally released in 1985, the film drew criticisms for being substantially darker and more methodic in its pace.  John Harrison's music for the film was crafted and performed on his Prophet 5 synth, as well as Yamaha DX 7 and Korg T-3 keyboards, giving the score that nostalgic vibe that only something created in the 80s can do.   This release from Numenorean Music marks the first digital release of Harrison's score and given the age of the original recordings, their presentation is quite good.  With over 72 minutes of ghoulish to exotic electronica, if classic horror is your flavor, then Day of the Dead will be sure to satisfy.  Also included are 5 bonus tracks, some of which are effects tracks.  Unhuman screams and grunts, helicopters, moans and thumps...what more could the undead ask for?

Purchase at Supercollector


Return to Neverland by Joel McNeely

Return to Neverland - March 31, 2002

One of Disney's most unheralded animated feature films in some time is Return to Neverland.  With comparatively little marketing as Disney cartoons go, Return to Neverland still did decently with over $15 million made its opening week.  Joel McNeely provides the original score for this Peter Pan sequel and, thankfully, his music comprises the majority of the release.  Of course, there are the obligatory vocal tracks...and yes they do disrupt the flow of the soundtrack, but McNeely's score is still above average when judged on its own.  The fantastic elements one would expect and hope for are in abundance here.  Return to Neverland has drawn its fair share of comparisons to Steven Spielberg's vision of the Pan sequel and likewise McNeely's score has been compared to John Williams' work for Hook.  Delightful bells, harps, chimes, innocent woodwinds, strong themes, all things that characterized Hook, can be found in abundance in Return to Neverland as well.  Despite the sprinkling of pop, vocal tunes throughout the first half the CD, Return to Neverland proves to be a worthy investment and begs the question, "Why doesn't Joel McNeely garner more opportunities to compose for this sort of film?"

Purchase at Amazon.com


Last Orders by Paul Grabowsky

Last Orders by Paul Grabowsky - March 31, 2002

Founder and director of the Australian Art Orchestra, Paul Grabowsky has utilized his background in jazz to deliver original music for the film Last Orders.  Grabowsky is hardly a household name when it comes to film music yet he has composed music for a good number of television films and mini-series.  Last Orders tells the story of an aging group of friends faced with the loss of one their own.  As they travel to scatter their departed friend's ashes on a select body of water, they reflect on their long lasting friendship.  Accompanying the critically acclaimed film, based on Graham Swift's original novel, is Paul Grabowsky's tender jazz.  Grabowsky's minimal, jazz-band-approach works well enough...and from time to time employs a somewhat fuller orchestral sound by adding violins, cello and various percussion.  All in All, Last Orders is a welcome change of pace.

Purchase at Varese Sarabande


Christus Apollo by Jerry Goldsmith - March 25, 2002

Just as the name of Ray Bradbury is inseperably linked to the literature and film genre of science fiction so the name of Jerry Goldsmith has become linked to film music.  Telarc continues there tradition of high quality film music and film music-related releases with Christus Apollo.  Following up last year's exceptional release of The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith, Christus Apollo presents Jerry Goldsmith's musical adaptation of Ray Bradbury's original text.  Goldsmith's use of the atonal, 12 note form is somewhat surprising for such a "spiritual" piece...yet oddly fitting granted the origin of the text.  Fitting right along side the 34 minutes of Christus Apollo is another piece constructed in the same style, simply entitled Music for Orchestra.  The disc concludes on an ironic "high" note with one of Goldsmith's most recent non-film music compositions, Fireworks.  The overall quality of this release lives up to Telarc's reputation for top-notch releases and is a must for Goldsmith fans; however, for fans of tonal pieces, Fireworks will be the track of choice. (full review to come)

03 Christus Apollo Part II | 06 Fireworks

Purchase at Amazon.com


Previn Conducts Korngold:  The Sea Hawk

Previn Conducts Korngold:  The Sea Hawk - March 24, 2002

One can hardly seperate the debonair Errol Flynn from the dynamic music of Erich Korngold.  The swashbuckling adventures of one of Hollywood's screen legends are permanently linked to the romantic music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.  Deutsche Grammaphon has released an enticing compilation of some of Korngold's most scintillating music, Previn Conducts Korngold: The Sea Hawk.  Expertly conducted by Andre Previn, The London Symphony Orchestra flawlessly performs selections from The Sea Hawk, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Captain Blood, and The Prince and the Pauper.  The thrilling performance is delivered by an equally high quality recording which makes the whole experience of Previn Conducts Korngold: The Sea Hawk, from first note to last, an absolute delight!  (full review to come!)

01 The Sea Hawk - Main Title | 16 Darling (Love Scene) - The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Purchase at Amazon.com


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