|THE PRISONER OF ZENDA
(FILM SCORE MONTHLY)
If you're a regular on our site, you're definitely a fan of "Golden Age" cinema and there's a better than average chance that you appreciate film music from the great studio composers of that era, in which case you're probably aware of the great work that an outfit called Film Score Monthly is doing.
For decades now, film music aficionadoes like myself have been frustrated by the truncated nature, variable quality, high prices, and comparative lack of availability of the masterworks of the great film composers like Alfred Newman, Miklos Rosza, Franz Waxman, Victor Young, Bronislau Kaper, Hugo Friedhofer, Bernard Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin , Elmer Bernstein, and so many more. Until , that is, the emergence of Film Score Monthly.
The amazing and gratifying fact is that this small company has been able to accomplish what countless others have tried, but repeatedly failed to do: the monthly release of not only one "Golden Age" score, but also one Silver Age(post '60's) score. The numerous titles released thus far have long been on every film music fanatic's wish list, the prices extremely reasonable, and the sound quality superlative. (I was amused by this concientious outfit's continued warnings to prospective customers of "less than perfect" sound quality on their recent release of Herrmann's phenomenal score for ON DANGEROUS GROUND, which were, by and large, baseless. Indeed, it was my second favorite Film Score Monthly release last year, just behind their terrific double disc release of Rosza's KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE/ THE KING'S THIEF.)
Film Score Monthly's tradition of excellence continues yet again with their latest Golden Age release of the entire Alfred Newman score for the M.G.M.1952 remake of the THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, arranged by no less than Conrad Salinger and conducted by Johnny Green. Newman is my favorite film composer and Salinger one of my three favorite film orchestrators (the other two being Edward B. Powell and Ray Heindorf) and to hear Salinger's arrangements of Newman's robust and romantically adventurous original 1937 score is film music nirvana indeed. The lushly illustrated booklet that accompanies this fabulous c.d. states that, in adapting Newman's score for the remake "Salinger not only exploited more moden recording techniques, but brought about a bolder, more dynamic placement of the melodies, in some cases rendering them more dramatically effective than in the original." As someone who is fortunate to own about twenty-five minutes of the original '37 recording sessions (in terrible shape!) I couldn't possibly agree more. For additional comparisons I also played my L.P. of LeRoy Holmes re-recording of the score, about which the less said the better. (There is one error in the text of the booklet, however, which claims that "A lavish 1922 production-------- featured Lewis Stone as the dashing hero." Not so. Stone was the villain and Ramon Navarro was the hero.)
That said, I couldn't possibly be more enthusiastic about this great Film Score Monthly release which can be ordered on www.filmscoremonthly.com and be sure to check out their previous releases, some of which have, understandably, sold out.