Posted by Alan Rogers on May 29, 2012
- Kings Row
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold
- Varèse Sarabande / 1991 / 48:10
According to Korngold’s son, George, thousands of filmgoers wrote to the composer to express their enjoyment of his score. And listening to this re-recording from Charles Gerhardt/The National Philharmonic Orchestra it is easy to hear what all the fuss was about. Right from the outset, Korngold’s fanfaric theme grabs the attention immediately and for me it is Korngold’s themes and leitmotifs contained in this score that is the attraction.
This version (subsequently, Film Score Monthly have gone on to release the original soundtrack recording – that I have yet to hear) has been arranged as a couple of symphonic suites and the quality of Korngold’s music means that this is not a problem.
As well as the main theme (that many have said has similarities to John Williams’ theme from Star Wars, though I did not notice this until it was pointed out to me) there’s a beautiful, rather romantic theme that’s very European in style to my ears and Korngold’s skill is to take these themes (and others) and adapt them into a whole myriad of forms.
The score can be a bit melodramatic in places but, again, Korngold’s themes are some of the best he composed and mean that this score goes to the top of the pile for 1942 in my view.
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Posted by Alan Rogers on December 5, 2011
- The Sea Hawk
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold
- Naxos Film Music Classics / 2007 / 114:22
The score for this classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk is probably my favourite score from Korngold. It certainly contains my favourite theme of the genre. This “Main Title” theme sets out right from the start that there’s going to be lots of action and adventure but there’s also going to be some sweeping romance too!
Korngold’s scores can sometimes be a bit over the top for me and this one does have its excesses in terms of relentless action scoring. But to my ears at least, The Sea Hawk has the balance right delivering the right level of action and romance as well as the quieter “underscore” passages. The whole feel of the music is of a film score rather than being a classical piece lifted from the concert hall and placed in a film. There’s certainly enough variety to keep me listening to the whole 2+ hours of music (though I rarely get the chance to do that now). And the long playing time means that the songs (which are not a highlight for me) can easily be lost in the orchestral score!
Looking through the various versions I have of this score (with each version having various amounts of music), I count five different versions ranging from a 10-minute suite of original tracks that is featured on a Rhino Records boxed set of Korngold’s scores when at Warner Bros., a suite of tracks re-recorded by Charles Gerhardt for RCA and another suite of cues released in 2002 and recorded by André Previn. But it is the complete score recording from William Stromberg and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus that makes this score shine. Played in equal measures with bravado and tenderness, it’s a great recording.
It’s a title that’s well worth hunting down whichever version you find.
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