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Friday, January 09, 2009


Miklos Rozsa: Viola Concerto/Hungarian Serenade
Naxos 8.570925 (EU)
9 Tracks 60:41 mins

Naxos has released yet another volume of Miklos Rozsa concert works, one, the Hungarian Serenade, from quite early in his career and his Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, from 1979, which was in fact not only his last concerto, but also his last orchestral work.
Recorded in Budapest in 2007, the music is performed by the Budapest Concert Orchestra MAV and conducted by Mariusz Smolij, with Gilad Karni featuring on the viola.
The disc begins with the later work, and consists of four movements: the brooding and dramatic "Moderato Assai;" which Frank K. DeWald in his booklet notes likens to Rozsa's scores for the likes of Providence and Fedora, is followed by the energetic "Allegro Giocoso," which reminds considerably of plenty of action cues written by the composer for films over the years. No one wrote a nocturne quite like Rozsa and his last one features next in "Adagio. It is, as one would expect, filled with warmth and passion. The concluding "Allegro Con Spirito" returns us to the energetic territory of before, though there is also a vaguely familiar oboe-lead theme.
The five movement Hungarian Serenade, a popular favourite among the composer's concert works, opens in fine style with "Marcia; giving way to the rhapsodic strings of "Serenata," and then the lively "Scherzo, which also features a quite noble central theme." Another great "Notturno" follows; the piece ending satisfyingly with the orchestra in full force for the "Danza."
The thing about Miklos Rozsa's concert music is that his distinctive style shines through and can be enjoyed just as much by lovers of his film scores.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Music by Michael Wandmacher
Costa Communications Advance CD
17 Tracks 73:48 mins

Although Michael Wandmacher's score for this 3-D remake of the 1981 horror is due a commercial release by Lionsgate Records on January 13th, a quick search of the net has failed to find any further details, so I can only assume that it will feature the tracks on this disc that the composer's publicists have kindly sent me.
The film stars Jensen Ackles and Jaime King and opens in the States on January 16th.
Wandmacher's score opens with a huge burst of sound over the main title track "Buried Alive," which then proceeds relentlessly on its way. The composer utilises both orchestra and electronics in his music, the latter coming to the fore particularly on the numerous suspenseful and atmospheric tracks that follow which, whilst I am sure serve the film well, make for pretty hard listening on CD. Mind you, quite a number of these are quite lengthy, and powerful bursts of menacing action intrude at quite regular intervals to keep you on your toes.
Amongst all the suspense and mayhem, "Prodigal Son" stands out, with its poignant keyboard theme. However the theme soon transforms into a pulsating rock number. And there's more poignancy, with delicate, almost inaudible piano in "Evidence of Bodies" and "A Troubled Conversation;" whilst a kind of Twin Peaks feel is given to "One Weird Place." Concluding track "First Responder" provides a moment of reflection, before rocking out.


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