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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Tadlow Music TADLOW004 (UK)
23 Tracks 77:50 mins

Latest in the series of excellent new recordings of much sought after scores from the enterprising John Fitzpatrick and his Tadlow label commemorates the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest of all film music composers, Hungarian-born Miklos Rozsa, presenting as it does the complete score for Billy Wilder's 1970 fantasy on the life of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
Whilst still an enjoyable film in its existing state, Wilder's cut was originally much longer, but was butchered by the studio heads. The music here was composed for that complete version, a version that the American Film Institute are making their mission to restore, and let's hope one day soon they succeed.
Wilder originally conceived the film as a showcase for Rozsa's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which was commissioned by the great Jascha Heifitz in 1956. The work had long been a favourite of the director and he asked Rozsa if he could adapt the music for the film. Rozsa set about doing so, also composing original material to supplement it where necessary.
The result is a typically fine score, with spirited and adventurous moments, a good share of romance, with solo violin singing out, shadowy intrigue, sometimes with a religious bent, and a fine, stately march for Queen Victoria and " the establishment."
The complete score is presented here, with the addition of four bonus tracks, featuring three alternate versions of one of the most exciting cues in the film, "Castles of Scotland," which sees Holmes, Watson and the mysterious Gabrielle biking between Loch Ness' castles. There is also a more laid back version of the opening cue, which in the film is taken at a more furious clip. The alternate version is more in the style presented by the composer in his execllent suite, which was included in one of his must-have re-recorded compilations released in the '70s.
Praise must go to all involved in this excellent recording, which sees Nic Raine conduct the City of Prague Philharmonic, with the solo violin parts performed by Lucie Svehlova. And to complete a wonderful package, the accompanying 24-page illustrated booklet features detailed notes on the film, its music and composer, together with a cue-by-cue guide.
A must-have for film music fans everywhere!


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