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Section Header
The Hollywood Sound
Conducted by:
John Williams

Produced by:
Shawn Murphy

Performed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra

Sony Classical

Release Date:
February 11th, 1997

Also See:
Dances With Wolves
Beauty and the Beast
Star Wars

Audio Clips:

Regular U.S. release.

  All scores performed won the Academy Award for "Best Original Score" in their respective years.

The Hollywood Sound

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Sales Rank: 160958

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Buy it... only if you are interested in strong performances by the London Symphony Orchestra on some of the individual themes included.

Avoid it... if you expect the compilation to be a valid representation of the best score themes in the history of Hollywood.

The Hollywood Sound: (Compilation) Veteran listeners of film music have been trained through suffering and agitation about the ill fates that await superior film scores on Oscar night. Only once or twice a decade does the best score of the year truly win the appropriate Academy Award, leaving arthouse or political favorites to ride the popularity of their films to win the "Best Score" trophy. This reality rings so very true when you open the liner notes of a collection of Oscar-winning score performances and the frustrations over the awkward list of champs is actually acknowledged. Such is the case with "The Hollywood Sound," a Sony Classical compilation of Academy winners performed by the famed London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by everyone's favorite maestro, John Williams. It was not unusual for similar compilations from the wand of Williams to be released in short succession at the time; the composer's leadership of the Boston Pops (as well his obvious success in writing as well) caused him to be a hot commodity on the re-recording market. Most of the albums containing these performances were similar in feel and sound, often repackaging the same exact music and rearranging it for more profit. The difference with "The Hollywood Sound" is that Williams conducted London's finest through several themes not regularly heard on Williams' usual compilations. The selection of "Best Score" winners provided here is, at the least, an interesting and varied group of entries. Unfortunately, the choice of representation, the presentation of the themes, and a few of the performances themselves, all raise far more questions than the album answers. If you're a total film music novice, without a single score in your collection (but with a few famous themes in your head), would "The Hollywood Sound" give you an adequate idea about the history of the greatest film music? Of course not... The album never has a chance, and that's why products like this always turn out to be marginally curious and maybe enjoyable for a listen or two. But nothing more.

Only $9.99
As with any compilation with John Williams at the helm, you can expect his own themes to dominate the air. Whether this is the man's ego speaking, or simply that his music really is that great, hearing the same concert arrangements of Jaws, E.T., and Star Wars over and over again is tiring. With this album recorded in 1996, it's baffling why Williams wouldn't spice things up with a performance of Schindler's List. Also tiring on "The Hollywood Sound" is the prevailing need to cater to the soft ears of the mainstream population with geriatric performances from the collections of John Barry and Alan Menken. Certainly, the universe must surely have had its fill of the "John Dunbar Theme" from Dances With Wolves, and with the presence of the arguably more romantic Out of Africa on the same album, the later track was unnecessary. Or perhaps Williams could have arranged the two pieces into one larger Barry love-fest... not a difficult prospect given Barry's predictably static structures. If Williams had wanted to stir up the crowd, a rousing performance of Barry's The Lion in Winter would have worked. As for Alan Menken, you might have to forgive Sony and Williams for catering to the Disney dominance of the time. Menken was right at the end of his reign in 1996 anyway, though, and a snippet from Hans Zimmer's The Lion King might have done nicely. Among the older cues, the wealth of recognition is spread around a bit better. One Hitchcock, one classic fantasy, one swashbuckler for fun, one epic, and few other notable tidbits are spread around between Hollywood's most famous composers. The performances from Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather Part II are well done, though perhaps the most vivacious performance on the album is for Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Robin Hood. Still, the album is plagued by a poor sequence that follows Robin Hood with Jaws (a great performance there, however), among other problems. Not only is the album not grouped by genre, but it isn't offered in chronological order; there is simply no sense to the presentation on "The Hollywood Sound" and it kills the album's listenability. For veteran collectors, some individual performances might be of interest, but the album is aimed too directly at the mainstream to do much good as a whole. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 338,226 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.73 Stars
Smart Average: 3.52 Stars*
***** 159 
**** 70 
*** 64 
** 32 
* 43 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   To the main reviewer. . .
  Rachel K. -- 11/24/06 (8:38 p.m.)
   The Hollywood Sound: John Williams
  Rachel K. -- 11/24/06 (8:31 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 70:00

• 1. 1962 - Lawrence of Arabia: Overture (Maurice Jarre) (3:42)
• 2. 1982 - E.T.: Flying Theme (John Williams) (3:40)
• 3. 1985 - Out of Africa: Main Titles (John Barry) (3:47)
• 4. 1939 - The Wizard of Oz: Fantasy for Orchestra (Various) (5:50)
• 5. 1975 - Jaws: Theme (John Williams) (2:51)
• 6. 1938 - The Adventure of Robin Hood: Robin Hood and His Merry Men (Erich Wolfgang Korngold) (4:27)
• 7. 1995 - Pocahontas: Colors of the Wind (Alan Menken) (4:56)
• 8. 1987 - The Last Emperor: Theme (Ryuichi Sakamoto) (4:55)
• 9. 1951 - A Place in the Sun: Suite (Franz Waxman), featuring Grover Washington, Jr. (7:58)
• 10. 1945 - Spellbound: Dream Sequence/Mountain Lodge (Miklos Rosza) (5:08)
• 11. 1974 - The Godfather, Part II: Main Title, The Immigrant (Nino Rota) (3:47)
• 12. 1990 - Dances with Wolves: John Dunbar Theme (John Barry) (2:20)
• 13. 1941 - The Devil and Daniel Webster: Mr. Scratch (Bernard Herrmann) (4:02)
• 14. 1991 - Beauty and the Beast: Theme (Alan Menken) (3:09)
• 15. 1946 - The Best Years of Our Lives: Theme (Hugo Friedhofer) (2:39)
• 16. 1977 - Star Wars: Main Title (John Williams) (5:48)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes moderately detailed information about each film and score.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Hollywood Sound are Copyright © 1997, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/12/97 and last updated 12/21/06. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1997-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.