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Friday, December 15, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Nativity Story and news of an expanded 50th anniversary release of Victor Young's Around the World in 80 Days

The Nativity Story
Music by Mychael Danna
New Line Records NLR39074 (U.S.) Silva Screen Records SILCD1227 (U.K.)
24 Tracks 67:20 mins

We've seen the end of Christ in Mel Gibson's The Passion, now we have the birth in The Nativity Story, which finds Mychael Danna, who is always at his best when not moving in conventional musical circles, taking a much different approach than John Debney did for the former. Here he takes his inspiration from European musical styles and instrumentation from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. He says: " My approach is not about a story set in the Middle East, it's about how The Nativity changed history when Europe really flowered under Christianity." Using ancient Christmas melodies, carols and Gregorian chants, as well as instruments such as Gamba, Oud, Recorder, Harp and Vielle, alongside more conventional orchestral forces, plus plenty of solo and choral vocal work, he has come up with a very fine score indeed, which is suitably reverent and awe-filled at times, but also more uncertain and intimate as Mary struggles to come to terms with her fate, whilst the forces of opression, Herod and the Romans, are mostly represented by powerful percussion.
From the appearance of the star in "A Star Shall Come Forth" through to "Silens Nox" (Silent Night), the score becomes nothing short of inspirational. It's just a shame that the brief "Rosa Aeterma Floret," nice as it is, ends the album somewhat anti-climactically.
Accompanying the disc is Doug Adams' brief guide to the score, plus there are full musical credits, which are well deserved, as this is a beautifully played and performed score, with fine solo and ensemble work throughout.
Having obviously poured his heart and soul into this work, Danna can be justifiably proud of the results.

Around The World In 80 Days (Deluxe Expanded Edition)Original Motion Picture SOUNDTRACKHit Parade CD #13502 (available January 23, 2007 at all national one-stops such as AEC/Bassin, Baker & Taylor, etc.)(Dist. by City Hall Records, San Rafael, CA. 415-457-9080)UPC 73053 13502 29




(December 13, 2006) – On the 50th Anniversary of the film’s release, Hit Parade Records, the imported audiophile-quality reissue label, is proud to announce the release of a greatly expanded edition of Victor Young’s Academy Award™ winning score for Around the World in 80 Days. Unavailable in any form for many years, this soundtrack CD contains over 70 minutes of sparkling stereo sound, including almost 30 minutes of previously unavailable music. Hit Parade Records is exclusively distributed by Eric Records in the United States (

The winner of 5 Oscars™, including Best Picture and Best Score, Around the World in 80 Days was the first mega-blockbuster, starring a veritable who’s who of Hollywood’s greatest performers of the time making cameo appearances in the film. An adaptation of Jules Verne’s beloved novel, the film told the story of Phileas Fogg (David Niven) and his manservant Passepartout (Mexico’s favorite comedian Cantinflas) on their breathtaking journey across the world in 80 days. The production included close to 69,000 extras photographed in over 13 different countries, utilizing 140 actual locations in addition to the stages of 6 major Hollywood studios.

Paramount Pictures called upon famous studio composer Victor Young to create the score for this larger-than-life film. In the 20 years he spent in Hollywood, Young worked on an amazing 300+ films as conductor, arranger, songwriter, composer and music director. His résumé included some of the most popular films of all time like For Whom the Bell Tolls, Samson and Delilah, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Quiet Man, Three Coins in a Fountain and Shane. Through his career, he earned 22 Oscar nominations and only one statue, for Around the World in 80 Days, which unfortunately he wouldn’t live to receive. In 1956 Young died prematurely of a heart attack at age 57.

The soundtrack for Around the World in 80 Days was the top album of 1957, remaining at #1 on the charts for 10 weeks.

The Hit Parade Records expanded edition reissue contains almost 30 minutes of previously unreleased music from the original soundtrack. The album, which was produced by Didier C. Deutsch, renowned reissue specialist, includes extensive new liner notes and color photos.

Around the World in 80 Days—Expanded Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is available on Hit Parade Records, exclusively distributed in the U.S. by Eric Records ( Also available on Hit Parade is Cinema Rhapsodies: The Musical Genius of Victor Young, the only CD collection of his most important songs.


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