Play it Again – The Classic Sound of Hollywood – Charles Gerhardt /The National Philharmonic and other orch. and conductors – TCM Masterworks 88843-03384 2, (2 discs) TT: 1:01:49 (4/1/14) ***:
Play it again – The Classic Sound of Hollywood is a new release of some older recording from a variety of film classics. Composers include works by Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone and John Williams. This release is a joint venture of Sony Masterworks and Turner Classic Movies.
This is a two-disc set, with Disc 1 all being performed by Charles Gerhardt and London’s National Philharmonic Orchestra. This series, originally from RCA, was very popular on LP and rightly so. The music was very well-played and recorded. Gerhardt’s musical taste was impeccable, and rather than ‘play’ with tempos and instrumentation, Gerhardt played the music so it was very close to the original scores.
Disc 2 is a collection from several different older recording. There are a few tracks from the Gerhardt series, but also the Boston Pops and other recording that now fall within the Sony Music label.
Much of the music will be familiar to most readers, and I think the older classics like King Kong are quite exciting in a more modern recorded sound. I also appreciated hearing updated sound for a suite from Tiomkin’s score for The Thing, released in 1950. Although FSM released the original score, the dated sonics don’t do that score justice. Many of the great film composers are present as noted above, with the exception of Jerry Goldsmith, who made so many contributions to film music.
My only issue with this set is the way the tracks are arranged. I would have preferred the arrangement be made by the type of music. As it is, the dissonant suite from The Thing follows Peyton Place. Psycho follows Doctor Zhivago (!). The Hitchcock tracks are separated with other music in between. You get the idea. I think most of our readers could have put the program together in a smarter way.
That said, the quality of the music is excellent on disc 1, and a bit more varied on disc 2 given the inconsistency of sources. The disc 1 selections are played by a large orchestra recorded in a near-perfect acoustic. This all-Gerhardt disc has the virtue of consistency in sound, while the second disc is a product of different producers and recording venues.
If you missed the Gerhardt series in its original debut or on any of the CD reissues, now is your chance. This 2-CD set is not a comprehensive collection of film music, but it is a worthwhile collection.
DISC 1 – CD:
1 Original Main Title (from “Peyton Place”)
2 The Thing (From Another World): Suite
3 The Dance of the Seven Veils (from “Salome”)
4 Of Human Bondage:
5 Between Two Worlds:
Mother and Son
6 The Sea Hawk:
The Throne Room of Elizabeth I
Entrance of the Sea Hawks
Escape from the Galley
Strike for the Shores of Dover
“Rise, Sir Geoffrey Thorpe!”
DISC 2 – CD:
1 Main Title: Dixie, Mammy, Tara, Rhett (from “Gone With The Wind”)
2 Prelude & “Lara’s Theme” (from “Doctor Zhivago”)
3 The Murder (from “Psycho”)
4 Lawrence of Arabia
5 Main Titles and Calvera’s Visit (from “The Magnificent Seven”)
6 Vertigo: Scene D’Amour
8 Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (Titles) (from “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”)
9 The Dialogue (from “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”)
10 King Kong
11 Parade of the Charioteers (From “Ben-Hur”)
12 Moon River (from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”)