11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This disc provides four sets of selections from Korngold’s legendary film scores. That suits me for one better than the scores in their entirety, and I like the way the production has been done, with each set of extracts played without intermissions (although there are separate tracks for the individual episodes). Korngold’s film music is all about effect so far as I’m concerned, and enough of a good thing is enough, especially when the transitions between the separate extracts are arranged as skilfully and smoothly as they are here. Korngold’s style fitted the epics of the 30’s and 40’s to perfection – it was his natural style, he didn’t adapt that as William Alwyn did, and he didn’t follow models but was the model himself, starting with Captain Blood in 1935. It was as if someone had invented a glove because he liked the shape of it, and found out that it was perfectly suited to being worn on the hand.
The liner-notes that come with the disc are admirable. Previn contributes a short and lucid introduction giving us his general view of Korngold and of film music. The majority of the material is from the authoritative source of Brendan G. Carroll, providing a more detailed commentary on the four film scores separately. These are given in the chronological order of the films, whereas the scores are not, in case anyone needs to know that. Previn suits me down to the ground as an interpreter of music like this. He had an exceptionally adept touch with scores that are thick-textured and lyrical, something I found many years ago in his Brahms readings, and which you will find in his recording of the German Requiem from 2000, one year prior to the present disc. The way he does it is just right for me, with plenty of body and fullness to it, but showing real mastery in keeping the texture clear at the same time. He and the LSO are long acquainted of course. Their relationship had its stormy episodes, but in my own opinion it was one of the most successful such partnerships in the entire 20th century. There is a sense of consistency here, which might seem unsurprising given that this is Korngold whose idiom is not exactly varied, but it does great credit to the various orchestrators, of whom I count five. Korngold simply was not given time to go through the hard slog of writing out his scores in full, but he knew the kind of sound he wanted and I would guess he supervised his assistants pretty closely.
The recording seems exemplary to me as well. It suits Korngold, it suits the LSO, it suits Previn’s special approach. The packaging is a new kind that I was also given by DG for a set of Lutoslawski concertos. It is in soft board, with a fold-over cover forming an envelope containing the liner. Extracting the latter can be like coaxing an unwilling dog out of its kennel sometimes, but I have no objection to this new format. In my filing system this disc will be separated by only one other from my disc of Ketelbey, another composer for the masses during the same era. The two make an interesting contrast. Ketelbey wrote for the radio, specifically for the BBC Light Programme and was listened to by an audience of impoverished British housewives in pinnies as in the film Vera Drake, and by the husbands and sons of these in flat caps. Korngold sang of romantic adventure and – more to the point – of romantic opulence. Where I come from, and for my age-bracket, this is the music of escapism, and it is a pleasure to escape down memory lane again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
This is a fantastic CD for driving through the English countryside with the roof open! Very stirring. Bought because of the theme tune on Radio 4extra's serial of Dr Syn, by Russell Thorndike. Excellent selection.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2006
Great music, severely under-rated by snobs. Great perfeormances, well -recorded and a very attractive presentation packaging. A good present to expand the mind of prejudiced twits.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2005
I dont know much about classical music as I'm not an expert of classical music but to enjoy this you don't have to be. As a child (I'm 41) I remember watching the old Errol Flynn movies from the 1930's and loved the music scores as much as the movies they were written for.
If you've not heard of Korngold or of his music then buy this and I promise you will not be disappointed!, and with Andre Previn at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra you could not do better.
So if your stuck for a great present for dad this could be the one.