Soundtrack Information

Great Composers: Elmer Bernstein

Great Composers: Elmer Bernstein

Varese Sarabande (302 066 077 2)

Release Date: 1999

Conducted by Joel McNeely / Elmer Bernstein / Cliff Eidelman

Performed by
Utah Symphony Orchestra / Seattle Symphony Orchestra / Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Format: CD

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Track Listing

1. The Magnificent Seven - Theme 5:19
2. The Shootist - Main Title 3:19
3. The Comancheros - Main Title 1:39
4. True Grit - Rooster and Runaway 2:55
5. Wild Wild West - Main Title 2:59
6. To Kill A Mockingbird - Main Title 3:19
7. My Left Foot - Love Spoken 4:46
8. Frankie Starlight - Moon 2:25
9. The Age of Innocence - End Credits 4:47
10. Lost In Yonkers - Beginnings 3:20
11. A Rage of Harlem - Happy Train 2:50
12. The Grifters - The City 3:34
13. The Black Cauldron - Finale 4:33
14. The Great Escape - Main Title 2:19
15. Buddy - Credits 3:46
16. The Ten Commandments - Suite 7:28
  Total Album Time: 59:18

Review

by Dan Goldwasser
on June 21st, 2004
[3.5 / 5]

In the "Great Composers" series of compilation albums, Varese Sarabande sets out to provide a wide range of examples from a particular composers work. One of the first albums of this series focuses on Academy Award winning composer Elmer Bernstein.

Starting off with one of his most memorable themes, The Magnificent Seven, this album tackles the Westerns that Bernstein worked on in the Sixties and Seventies. The Shootist, The Comancheros, True Grit and the 1999 flop Wild Wild West. All of these cues are very energetic, and filled with the excitement of the Old West. Oddly enough, Wild Wild West feels like it's lacking energy, and comes across as a slight downer when compared with these other classic Western scores.

We then move on to the dramas, which include To Kill A Mockingbird, My Left Foot, and The Age of Innocence. All have the soft intimacy and bouts of sadness that Bernstein does so well. The use of a flute with piano and the Ondes Martenot feature prominently in many of Bernstein's scores, and this album is no exception. From My Left Foot to the rousing dramatic hits in The Black Cauldron, the use of this instrument is truly a Bernstein trademark. It should be noted that The Black Cauldron contains some of the more dramatic moment on this album, along with The Ten Commandments.

Sadly, the only true comedy score on this album is from Buddy - which is too bad considering that Bernstein has done some amazing work on films like Airplane!, Ghostbusters, Stripes, The Three Amigos, Spies Like Us, Animal House and more. The main title march from The Great Escape is included here as well, and makes for some inspirational material. The album ends with Cliff Eidelman conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in a suite from The Ten Commandments - arguably one of Bernstein's best-recognized works. The suite is done wonderfully, but lacks just a bit of the energy found when Bernstein conducted the 1989 re-recording of the score.

This compilation album tends to focus on more of Bernstein's dramatic works, and it's a shame to find that many of his brilliant comedy scores didn't appear on this album. With a slick combination of original recordings and re-recordings, the music flow on this album is quite smooth - it's all held at a rather high level of recording quality, and makes for a very enjoyable compilation album.


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