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Customer Review

on 13 January 2004
I went to a great deal of trouble to pick up this album, for two of the scores featured - Howard Blake's The Duellists, and John Du Prez's Crimson Permanent Assurance. As a whole the album is of fair quality - the music itself is impeccable. However, some titles fare better than others under the auspices of the City of Prague Philharmonic - regularly used as they are the cheapest contractable recording symphony orchestra currently available. The Crimson Permanent Assurance suffers worse, unfortunately, from a hideously lacklustre orchestration (by Paul Bateman) and by a lack of musical continuity - the album states "Overture" but in reality it is nothing more than five minutes of snatches of melodies from the original 20 minute score. Tbe bouyant sounds of the original soundtrack performed by the Royal Philharmonic are lost - here, unfortunately, we are aboard a slowly sinking ship. I find it hard to believe Du Prez approved this hideous mutilation of his superb score. The choral sections, not only in Crimson, but also on Willow, are pathetic, featuring an unimagineably small number of singers and an utterly appauling mix with the orchestra. Other titles - particularly those by Miklos Rosza, are superb, and John Barry's Robin Hood suite is magnificent - his style is ideally suited to the City of Prague Philharmonic. So, a mixed bag is this - pick it up for the oddities, but not if you're expecting first rate arrangement and performance.
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