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Monday, September 24, 2007


The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Volume 2
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Chandos Movies CHAN 10438
30 Tracks 76:57 mins

Following the label's first volume of music by Hollywood golden age composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the much awaited The Sea Wolf, the same forces, Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic now bring us a suite from 1940's Errol Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk. Well, I say a suite, because that's as it is described, but it's hard to classify it as such when it runs longer than many a complete film score at nearly 77 minutes. However, due to the practices of the day, where often a film score would start at the opening credits and barely pause until the end titles, there is still quite a bit more music in The Sea Hawk, which is where Naxos' recent release of the complete score comes in.
It is in fact very bad timing that this disc should come out on the heels of that excellent release, because fans of the film will no doubt have snapped that CD up and therefore may well give this one a miss, which is a pity, because it is a worthy effort and highlights practically all of the major moments in the score. It isn't however complete, nor does it have the extensive liner notes that the Naxos release has, despite Brendan G. Carroll, who also contributed to the Naxos recording, furnishing an adequate guide to the music presented, with his notes given in the usual three languages.
It has also to be said that this performance, like so many of the partial recordings that came before it, does seem to my ear to pay a little too much respect to Korngold's music. If you have the Tsunami release of Korngold's original tracks from a few years back, or if you listen to the score on DVD, you will notice that Korngold conducts with much sweep and swagger and often achieves a quite electrifying sound and tempo which, try as they may, few have been able to match. However, taken as a concert performance of the composer's marvellous score, this recording is enjoyable enough in its own right. It's just that I wonder if another recording of what remains one of my favourite film scores of all time was needed at this time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ive sampled the gamba seahawk, and having all the other seahawk materials to date,,,this has punch and its own unique color tempo with a great rendition of the slave chorus of strike for the shores of dover which hasn't sounded this good since the chas gerhardt suite renditionusing the ambrosian singers circa early 70's. i think a flynn korngold lov er should have all and every piece of work that's been done to enjoy their own unique interpretations,,p.s. im 61 and listening to this stuff since 1950.....

12:20 PM  

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