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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The Music of Batman
Various Composers
Silva Screen SILCD1276 (UK)
15 Tracks

This second recent collection of music from Silva Screen features the label's orchestra of choice, the City of Prague Philharmonic, performing suites and themes from the wide variety of screen adaptations of the adventures of DC comic book hero Batman, spanning from the campy TV series of the '60s right up to the latest live-action feature The Dark Knight and encompassing other live-action and animated adventures in between.
The album commences with a generous six selections from Danny Elfman's score for the first Tim Burton Batman movie, including of course his dynamic main theme for the character, followed by the "End Titles" from Burton's sequel Batman Returns. Unfortunately, after these two excellent films, the series took a rapid downturn through Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, though the music remained of high quality, courtesy of Elliot Goldenthal, who has a selection from each film included here, the music from the latter being particularly welcome, even if it really only showcases the composer's new theme for the character as, sadly, no score was issued at the time of the film's release.
It was some years later that Brit Christopher Nolan got the go-ahead to revive the character, taking a completely fresh and much darker approach in Batman Begins, enlisting the services of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard to provide a much different approach to the music, which continued into the subsequent The Dark Knight, and a track from each film is included here.
Following the music for this live-action fare are selections from the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a spin-off from the animated series, scored so capably by Shirley Walker and her young proteges, and the "End Credits" from the recent anthology "Batman: Gotham Knight."
Rounding out the disc are Neal Hefti's infectious theme from the aforementioned '60s TV series, together with the "Main Titles" from the movie spin-off , displaying perfectly Nelson Riddle's jazzy approach to the music for the Adam West Batman.
A fine overview of the music of Batman then, in his many incarnations, mostly capably played, (though the Elfman selections are a little lacking), which would make a fine gift for any young fan of the character.


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