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SILCD 1177

Artwork copyright (c) 2005 Silva Screen Records Ltd.; review copyright (c) 2005 James Southall



Enjoyable collection of love themes


Every CD shop these days seems to be filled with "The Best Album of Songs You've Already Got... Ever!" compilations and, while originally they were fairly predictably dominated by love songs and the like, things quickly moved on to Classical Chillout albums and the like, eventually graduating to film music.  The majority of those albums are full of classical pieces or songs which were coincidentally featured in bite-size chunks in the latest chick flicks, but there are one or two devoted to what readers of websites like this one might consider to be film music.  Silva Screen has been churning out compilations of film themes since the time of Moses, so it's only natural that they should jump on the bandwagon; given their vast catalogue of library titles, they are better-placed than most to do so.

Last year they released an album called "Reel Chill", full of chilled-out themes; the follow-up this year is "Reel Love".  I imagine you can guess what the theme is.  What places it on a higher level to most of the equivalent albums on other labels is that there is a reasonably interesting and diverse selection of tracks included; not just the usual suspects.  I doubt that many labels' "Best Movie Love Themes in the World... Ever!" albums would include a piece by Bernard Herrmann!  But we get the love theme from Vertigo here, along with other golden age classics from Max Steiner, Miklos Rozsa, Maurice Jarre and Dimitri Tiomkin opening the first album.  A very promising start!  Things do get more predictable thereafter, with a selection of piano-based love themes ranging from John Barry's Somewhere in Time to the standard "As Time Goes By" as featured in Casablanca.  The first disc concludes with three themes from Jane Austen adaptations, each of which is wonderful: Rachel Portman's Emma, Patrick Doyle's Sense and Sensibility and Carl Davis's delightful Pride and Prejudice.

The second disc is arguably more interesting, since less of the music is likely to be that familiar to the average listener.  The first eight pieces are from European cinema, and feature many good selections, including Luis Bacalov's underappreciated Il Postino, Francis Lai's Un Homme et Une Femme and the Rota / Morricone classics Romeo and Juliet and Cinema Paradiso.  The set ends with a section called "Contemporary Hollywood Romance"; I suspect that many will be surprised to see Alex North's theme from the 1955 movie Unchained classified as "contemporary".  If anything, some of these selections cheapen the surprising quality of what has gone before; Braveheart and The English Patient might be able to stand alongside the more classic works which went before, but Titanic and Finding Neverland are poor relations at best.

You know exactly what you're going to get with a set like this from Silva Screen: a load of catalogue titles mixed in with one or two new recordings; mixed performances, with the newer recordings generally being notably better than the old ones (though virtually every track is fine here); and above all, an album you're likely to be able to play to your non-fanatical friends who do have a vague interest in film music, and which they're likely to enjoy.

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Disc One

  1. Steiner: Gone with the Wind (4:25)
  2. Steiner: A Summer Place (2:14)
  3. Jarre: Doctor Zhivago (5:26)
  4. Rozsa: El Cid (4:14)
  5. Tiomkin: It's a Wonderful Life (2:31)
  6. Herrmann: Vertigo (5:07)
  7. Jarre: Ryan's Daughter (4:04)
  8. Barry: Somewhere in Time (6:11)
  9. DeVorzon/Botkin: The Young and the Restless (3:40)
  10. Garner: Play Misty for Me (3:12)
  11. Hupfeld: As Time Goes By (3:05)
  12. Lai: Love Story (4:46)
  13. Portman: Emma (2:47)
  14. Doyle: Sense and Sensibility (2:56)
  15. Davis: Pride and Prejudice (3:55)

Disc Two

  1. Lai/Barouh: Un Homme et Une Femme (2:43)
  2. Bacalov: Il Postino (4:33)
  3. Petit: Jean de Florette (3:20)
  4. Legrand: Summer of 42 (3:34)
  5. Bachelet/Roy: Emmanuelle (2:47)
  6. Barbieri: Last Tango in Paris (3:27)
  7. Rota: Romeo and Juliet (2:42)
  8. Morricone: Cinema Paradiso (2:42)
  9. Horner: Braveheart (7:02)
  10. Barry: Indecent Proposal (4:42)
  11. North: Unchained Melody (3:38)
  12. Horner: Titanic (5:00)
  13. Elfman: Edward Scissorhands (5:30)
  14. Yared: The English Patient (4:04)
  15. Kaczmarek: Finding Neverland (3:40)