Varese Sarabande (302 066 078 2 / VSD-6078)
Release Date: September 12, 2000
Conducted by Joel McNeely
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Average Rating: 4 stars (3 users)
|2.||The First Victim||1:43|
|3.||The Empty Raft||1:15|
|4.||The Pier Incident||2:19|
|5.||Father And Son||2:19|
|6.||The Alimentary Canal||2:02|
|7.||Ben Gardner's Boat||3:21|
|9.||A Tug On The Line||2:12|
|10.||Into The Estuary||2:49|
|11.||Out To Sea||0:56|
|12.||Man Against Beast||5:15|
|15.||Barrel Off Starboard||1:38|
|16.||The Great Chase||3:02|
|17.||Three Barrels Under||2:05|
|18.||From Bad To Worse||0:53|
|19.||Quint Thinks It Over||1:08|
|20.||The Shark Cage Fuge||2:00|
|21.||The Shark Approaches||0:42|
|22.||The Shark Hits The Cage||1:45|
|23.||Quint Meets His End||1:08|
|24.||Blown To Bits||3:11|
|Total Album Time:||50:02|
|by Dan Goldwasser
September 30, 2000
It is one of the most famous two-note themes. John Williams' award-winning score to Jaws still sends shivers down many spines. This year celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the film, and we saw a special edition video and DVD release, as well as a Anniversary Collector's Edition of the original score, with unreleased tracks. So many people were scratching their heads when Varese Sarabande released a re-recording of the original score.
The score is, as we can all agree, an excellent piece of work. So it was decided that Joel McNeely and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra would re-record the (then unavailable) complete score. Recorded in the fall of 1999 (and one day in May, 2000), everything was done for this release before the nice folks at Decca decided to release the original recording. So how do they compare?
The Varese album is technically quite good. The sound quality is very high, as expected for 20-bit digital, but the way it was mixed still feels like a concert recording instead of a closely-miked film score. The performance is mixed, however. I had gotten so used to the original recording that when certain notes weren't hit just right, it felt off-putting. In "The Main Title", the woodwinds seem to have more precedence than the strings in the low "dum-dum", and it had a different feel to it than I recalled it being in the film.
But those are minor complaints. There are parts of the score that are rather difficult to perform, and the RSNO does an admirable job tackling those cues. "Man Against Beast" is still one of my favorite cues, and while there were a few moments that didn't have the same type of energy or emphasis that I would have liked, it still stood out on the album as one of the better cues.
With two albums on the market, people wonder which one they should buy. While the original recording has the obvious problems of a 25-year old recording, this re-recording was done with modern equipment, and has a cleaner sound with no distortion. The original recording is, however, the original recordingand no re-recording can match the energy and performances on that album. If you had to buy only one album, I would suggest the original recording. But if you can afford it, I would actually suggest both recordings, because there are a few cues on the album that just sound much better than a 25-year old recording.
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