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Sunday, October 14, 2007


Trapeze/The Greatest Show on Earth
Music by Sir Malcolm Arnold/Music by Victor Young
Sepia 6001 (UK)
20 Tracks 51:59 mins

This is the first of two limited edition releases on the new Sepia label and brings to CD the old Columbia and RCA soundtrack releases for these two circus films from the '50s.
The 1956 Burt Lancaster starrer Trapeze was Sir Malcolm Arnold's first big international success and the first twelve tracks on the CD come from this film. To be honest, there is little dramatic scoring on display here. The opening "Prelude" mixes drama with a breezy waltz, and Arnold composed a nice love theme between the Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida characters, first heard as a slow dance in "Lola's Theme," then reprised in "Mike and Lola's Love theme," firstly as a seductive accordion tango, then taken up by romantic strings. The theme also makes an appearance in the one really dramatic track, "Above the Ring." The rest of the soundtrack consists of circus music, some very familiar, like "Washington Post March," "Entry of the Gladiators," "Blue Danube" and "Stars and Stripes Forever," as well as a swinging "Juke Box" number.
The eight tracks that make up the programme from 1952's "The Greatest Show on Earth," are all of the source variety, circus music, made up of a variety of marches and waltzes, some very familiar, even if the titles mean little to me, some co-composed by Victor Young. It's all very melodic and enjoyable, but it's not film scoring and will not float your boat if that's what you're looking for.
Nevertheless, if you're a circus fan, this CD is a real nostalgia trip and an admittedly very enjoyable listen. The music is accompanied by an impressive and colourful booklet, featuring original artwork and stills from the films, biographies of the composers, plus notes on the films and their music. Available through Backtrack, go to their website at, or telepone 01797 222777, or 00 44 1797 222777), if calling from outside the UK.


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