Silva America (SILCD1165)
Release Date: 2004
Conducted by Paul Bateman / Nic Raine / Derek Wadsworth / James Fitzpatrick
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra / Crouch End Festival Chorus
|1.||Once Upon A Time In The West - "Man with the Harmonica"||3:53|
|2.||A Fistful of Dollars||3:27|
|3.||For A Few Dollars More||3:25|
|4.||Days of Heaven - "The Harvest"||2:56|
|5.||The Five Man Army||2:48|
|6.||Once Upon A Time In The West - "Jill's Theme"||6:06|
|7.||The Men From Shiloh||3:01|
|8.||Guns For San Sebastian - "Overture"||3:47|
|9.||Two Mules For Sister Sara||5:19|
|10.||A Fistful of Dynamite - "Duck, You Sucker"||4:08|
|11.||My Name Is Nobody||3:09|
|12.||The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - "Main Theme"||2:52|
|13.||The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - "The Ecstasy of Gold"||3:03|
|15.||Once Upon A Time In America - "Deborah's Theme"||4:44|
|1.||The Untouchables - "Main Theme"||2:22|
|2.||The Red Tent||3:36|
|3.||The Sicilian Clan||4:06|
|4.||Exorcist II: The Heretic - "Regan's Theme"||2:37|
|5.||Moses the Lawgiver||3:51|
|6.||In the Line of Fire||4:05|
|8.||Le Professionnel - "Chi Mai"||5:37|
|10.||1900 - "Romanza"||3:30|
|11.||Casualties of War - "Elegy for Brown"||3:51|
|13.||The Mission - "The Mission"||2:58|
|14.||The Mission - "Gabriel's Oboe"||2:19|
|15.||The Mission - "Ave Maria (Guarini)"||2:31|
|16.||The Mission - "On Earth As It Is In Heaven"||3:31|
|17.||The Mission - "Epilogue - The Falls"||1:41|
|Total Album Time:||112:28|
|by Messrob Torikian
on November 11th, 2004
Released a week after the Yo-Yo Ma album, this Morricone collection lies on the other end of the performance spectrum. While the Yo-Yo Ma re-recordings were creative and inspired, they remained true to the spirit of the original works. This double CD doesn't add anything new to the Morricone legacy.
With several different conductors, the performances range from merely adequate to lackluster. The first CD features a selection of Ennio's famous Western music, while the second disc contains the more contemporary material. The five cues from The Mission fare the best with timing and tone closely resembling the originals. The rest leaves a great deal to be desired. Things are off to shaky start from the very first track, "Man with the Harmonica" from Once Upon a Time in the West. The electric guitar is the driving force behind that cue. Here, the lackluster guitar performance kills the track. Whereas in the original, the guitar was in your face, here it's merely another instrument in the orchestra. Like several other cues, "For a Few Dollars More" is ruined by very stilted pacing. The performance on The Untouchables "Main Theme" fares the worst as it sounds like it belongs on an Erich Kunzel compilation. Its tone of noble victory has been replaced with schmaltzy glitz. Equally bad is The Thing with its cheesy synth version of "Humanity Part II" sounding like it was taken from the video game.
Amidst the so-so performance, one of the better aspects of the album is the recording quality. The music obviously has a more dynamic range than the original recordings. Although the album has the Dolby Surround logo emblazoned on it, it still sounds very front heavy with most of the music collapsing to the center channel. Switching the processor to Dolby Pro IIx yielded a wider sound stage in front with more activity in the rears. For comparison's sake, the original recordings had just as much rear activity when listened to in the Dolby Pro IIx mode. In other words, if your receiver/processor has IIx on it, you're not getting much of a listening benefit from this recording.
If you're in the market for a good Morricone compilation, I recommend A Fistful of Music: The Ennio Morricone Anthology. It's a double CD featuring the original recordings of his best material. If you have the originals and want something different, look to Yo-Yo Ma's excellent album. Even for fans of the maestro, there is no compelling reason to pick this one up. Pass.
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