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Masters and Commanders - Music from Seafaring Film Classics
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  • Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra have outdone themselves on this assembly of the highlights of film scores from movies about the sea, drawn from several decades of Hollywood history. Opening with Alfred Newman's march from Captain from Castille, the emphasis is on the boldest, most robust themes, or the lushest melodies, whether drawing from Miklos Rosa's somewhat underrated Plymouth Adventure score or the well-regarded material from Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music from The Sea Hawk (which seems rapidly on its way to becoming the most oft-recorded score of its composer). Luigi Boccherini is also represented, as a result of his music's appearance in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, as is -- surprise! -- Morton Gould, no less, for his score from Windjammer. The playing is excellent throughout, and the Cincinnati Pops seem to relish the chance to buckle down to seriousness with the Boccherini material, handling its subtleties as well as they do the more extrovert sensibilities behind much of the rest that is here. Between releases such as this and the Rosa collection they did in 2005, Kunzel and company are rapidly becoming one of the few major American orchestras willing and able to devote a major part of their recorded output to the best in classic film music, and one can only hope for more work in this vein. The Telarc sound is also superb -- everything it should be -- as usual, and there is an SACD hybrid edition of this CD that is even more impressive in that department, available at a somewhat higher price. ~ Bruce Eder
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