Warriors of the Silver Screen
: (Compilation) One of
the highlights of Silva Screen Records' impressive summer 1997 lineup,
"Warriors of the Silver Screen" offers selections of swordfighting and
epic historical scores not featured on the label's "The Mark of Zorro"
and "The Crimson Pirate" albums released a few months later. The
performances of classic film music by The City of Prague Philharmonic
and Crouch End Festival Chorus were reaching the level of outstanding
precision that would be expected from the groups in the years to come.
For Silva, "Warriors of the Silver Screen" was following the ambitious
and fantastic "Space and Beyond" and "Cinema Choral Classics" albums.
This compilation has a particularly healthy dose of music by
Miklós Rózsa, including three multi-track performances from
, The Thief of Bagdad
, El Cid
, the last of
which is particularly effective in the performance of its melodic love
theme. Two heroic Franz Waxman suites appropriately begin each CD, each
at least ten minutes in length. Otherwise, the selection of music is
spread between the works of many great composers, classic and modern.
The choral incorporation mixed at the end of John Scott's classically
elegant suite for Anthony and Cleopatra
is momentous, and the
ensemble handles the composer's usual, layered brass counterpoint well.
The march from Manos Hadjidakis' lesser known The 300 Spartans
quite light-footed and bit flighty compared to its surrounding
representatives. The City of Prague Philharmonic has always performed
Jerry Goldsmith's First Knight
with great enthusiasm and power,
with eleven minutes from the score presented here in grand fashion.
While the "No Surrender" cue has been re-recorded before (appearing on
the "Cinema Choral Classics" album), the "Arthur's Farewell" cue is
beautifully performed and a highlight of the first CD in the set.
After Carter Burwell's somewhat mundane music for
, the explosive fanfare from Jerome Moross for The War
, resembling a Maurice Jarre tune in many ways, stirs the pot.
The thirteen minutes from Patrick Doyle's Henry V
well performed, eclipsing the original in all three of its tracks. The
two cues outside of the famous "Non Nobis Domine" are treats that use
every last corner of the improved soundscape to convey their percussion.
Following Alex North's bombastic title and lush love theme from
, the ensemble returns to John Barry territory for, not
unexpectedly, a superior performance of The Last Valley
would eventually re-record this entire score alongside The Lion in
). The end titles for James Horner's Braveheart
a major attraction for many mainstream buyers, and the performance here
is loyally conveyed with the appropriate light choir, uillean pipes, and
tin whistles. The suite from Basil Poledouris' Conan the
strangely meanders through the "Prologue" cue before
getting down to business with the film's primary two themes in "Anvil of
Crom." The "Riders of Doom" cue would be made available on the first
"Cinema Choral Classics" album. Concluding the second CD (after the
always pompous and somewhat irritating "Prelude" to Bernard Herrmann's
Jason and the Argonauts
) are seven tracks and eighteen minutes
from Mario Nascimbene's The Vikings
, the last track from which
also appearing on "Cinema Choral Classics." Recognizable instantly by
the three note theme representing the culture in the film, Nascimbene's
score is a good one that still perhaps gets too much attention from
Silva. At any rate, its "Funeral and Finale" cue is once again a fitting
finale to the album and set. Unlike some of the concurrent single-CD
releases by Silva that summer, "Warriors of the Silver Screen" is
largely free of performance errors, and the Dolby sound quality, as
always, is second to none. The enhanced CD features are an additional
bonus, especially with the footage of Taras Bulba
recorded. ***** @Amazon.com: CD or
The insert notes by David Wishart are extensive. There's also the regular info (now
badly dated) about CD-ROM capabilities.