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Thursday, February 16, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Magnificent Westerns

The Magnificent Westerns
Silva Screen SILCD1202 (U.K.)
Disc 1 - 14 Tracks 71:46 mins Disc 2 - 14 Tracks 72:39 mins
Disc 3 - 14 Tracks 65:59 mins Disc 4 - 14 Tracks 63:34 mins

Due to be released on 20th February, this 4 disc set features over 270 minutes of music, gathering together the best of the label's recordings of music from Westerns, whether Hollywood or European in origin and spans the history of the genre from John Ford's Stagecoach to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and much in between. I still wouldn't call it the "Ultimate Collection of Western Film & TV Themes" as it is subtitled, as I could easily fill another couple of discs with my personal favourites not covered here.
The music is performed by the label's usual forces of the City of Prague Philharmonic and Crouch End Festival Chorus, with guest soloists for the various vocal tracks. Much of the music is pretty faithful to the original recordings, but some, while still valid, is noticeably different and takes some getting used to. Regular purchasers of Silva Screen's compilations will probably have most if not all of the selections and so this is probably best recommended as a good overview, which would make a good birthday present for a young one you might wish to encourage on the trail to film music fandom, or maybe as a nostalgia trip for an elederly relative with a lifetime interest in film. All the big guns are here: The Big Country, The Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won, Dances with Wolves, High Noon, Red River, The Searchers, Shane, True Grit and The Wild Bunch, plus familiar TV fare like Bonanza, The High Chaparral and Wagon Train, as well as Morricone's Italian takes on the genre with The Dollars Trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West.


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