Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Continuing on from yesterday, here are my 20 favourite CD releases by Varese Sarabande (normal or CD Club) and Masters Film Music, again listed in no particular order of preference.

The Great Escape - Elmer Bernstein

This much expanded release of the actual score, rather than a re-recording, reveals so much that was missing on the original album. Simply one of the composer's greatest scores.

Stripes - Elmer Bernstein

Whilst not a classic like the above, the score is still great fun, with a very infectious march theme.

Ghostbusters - Elmer Bernstein

Most people will remember the title song, but what about Bernstein's underscore. Well, I'm here to tell you there's some great stuff here.

North and South - Bill Conti

I just lapped up these epic mini-series and waited a long time for these tracks to be released. Bill Conti has written so many great themes over the years and this one has long been a favourite.

The London Sessions - Georges Delerue

Cheating again - I know this is more than one CD, by this ambitious project rescued some very much sought after themes and music by the late, lamented French composer.

The Final Conflict - Jerry Goldsmith

The first release by Bob Townson's Master Film Music, and what a way to start. This third score in the Omen series had so much memorable music that it was long sought after by fans of the composer and good film music in general. Of course we have since had special editions of all three Goldsmith Omen scores, and that deserves a special mention too.

Jerry Goldsmith: Suites & Themes

Recorded following the first Goldsmith concert I attended, and representative of the programme he conducted. Had I not been taken ill the night before, I would have attended these recording sessions.

Planet of the Apes/Escape from the Planet of the Apes - Jerr Goldsmith

Teaming the composer's landmark score for the first film in the Apes series with his very different, but much sought after music for one of the sequels.

Magic - Jerry Goldsmith

Another great score that was long sought after.

The Mephisto Waltz/The Other - Jerry Goldsmith

Coupling two very different scores for supernatural stories, and again fulfilling the wishes of many Goldsmith fans.

Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox

An unbelievable release this, bringing together so much great and previously unreleased music from some lesser known Goldsmith assignments.

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir - Bernard Herrmann

The great composer at his most romantic. Elmer Bernstein's FMC re-recording, good as it was, only scratched the surface and it was great when the original tracks surfaced.

The Thorn Birds - Henry Mancini

As I said before, I was a sucker for these epic mini-series and just loved this particular one (even if it was short on kangaroos). Mancini's themes played on my mind for years after and, despite the recording's one major flaw, it was simply wonderful to finally have the score available.

The Song of Bernadette - Alfred Newman

Simply one of the greatest film scores of all time, in my humble opinion. Pure magic.

Cleopatra - Alex North

Spartacus remains North's masterpiece, but this epic score comes close to matching it. The original LP release barely scratched the surface and this much expanded release is to be treasured.

Conan the Barbarian - Basil Poledouris

The much-missed composer's masterpiece, given the expanded treatment.

Flesh + Blood - Basil Poledouris

Another great score for the historical genre.

The Cowboys - John Williams

Any John Wayne western score release is welcome and this rare contribution to the series by John Williams is well worthy of preservation.

Heartbeeps - John Williams

An unusual, electronic entry by the great composer, but still filled with great melodies. A very much sought after score, finally released.

The Fury - John Williams

For me, one of the composer's most underrated scores. Powerful stuff, and given a well-deserved expanded release.


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