Rhino Movie Music (RHM2 7764)
Release Date: 2001
|5.||A Toast / The Old One (Medley)|
|6.||Paris / Auction (Medley)|
|9.||Martinique No. 1|
|10.||Mine For The Moment (Vocal by Eileen Wilson)|
|14.||Horsemen / Evacuation (Medley)|
|16.||Germans In Paris|
|17.||Take Me Dancing|
|18.||Martinique No. 2|
|19.||Martinique No. 3|
|22.||Talk To Chi Chi|
|23.||She Wouldn't Listen|
|25.||First Subway / Bedroom (Medley)|
|26.||I've Got To See Him|
|29.||I Will Come Back|
|31.||End of the Line|
|32.||Julio and Heinrich|
|33.||Finale (End Title)|
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|by Dan Goldwasser
on June 23rd, 2001
Back when MGM was a major studio on the brink of disaster, Ben Hur came along and saved them. But was it enough? Remaking a silent film into an epic seemed to be working, so The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was taken out of the vault, and modernized to be set during World War II. The story, loosely based on the classic novel of the same name, focuses on two rich Argentinean families at the outset of World War II, and the conflicts that arise when various members take opposing sides to the war. Filmed by Vincente Minnelli, the film contained a rather influential score by André Previn.
The film itself had been cut down by almost an hour from Minnelli's original cut, and much of the depth and nuance got lost in the process. Another side effect was that Previn's score got cut down and had to be reworked. Thankfully, Rhino Handmade has seen fit (in association with Turner Classic Movies Music) to release a limited edition of Previn's score to the public.
Beginning with the blasting brass and orchestra in "Overture", the album is off to a powerful start. The lyrical main theme is romantic in nature, and features the atypical lush string section, featuring a solo violin. The "Main Title", on the other hand, is a bit more dramatic, and laced with dark undertones. The pounding timpani, in conjunction with the brass and strings are nothing but foreboding. Much of the first section of the album consists of what appear to be source cues. Various dances, mostly Latin in flavor, as well as a vocal song, "Mine for the Moment" create the setting for the film. Those lighter cues are broken up by moments of pure drama. "A Toast / The Old One" is rather tense and pounding, and is followed by the somewhat lighter romantically edged cue, "Paris / Auction". The romance (and the main theme) come in full bore in "Lovers", which means that the film is about to take a turn towards the worst.
"Horsemen / Evacuation" is a tense dramatic cue, filled with blaring brass and harsh chords. "Occupation" contains a darker rendition of the main theme, and "Germans in Paris" contain (as one would expect) plenty of military percussion and brass fanfares. Yet in the midst of the chaos, romance still blooms as found in "Take Me Dancing" and "Talk to Chi Chi". As the film reaches its climax, the score starts to get more agitated. "I Will Come Back" sounds like the other romance cues, but there's just a subtle hint of tension. "Road Block" is when things start turning bad, and the score becomes darker as the cue progresses. Things don't get any better in "End of the Line", and the tense string work and clashing orchestra indicate that all is not well in France. Even the "Finale", which has moments of hope and optimism, is overall downbeat and with the pounding timpani, signify that there will be plenty of darkness before the light.
The influences from this film score can easily be heard in the works of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, and Basil Poledouris (just to name a few). Compared to some of the other scores of its day, it's just a little ahead of its time. The sound quality is mixed, considering the analog sources, and there is a little more hiss and lack of range than I would have preferred. But this 77-minute long album is certainly notable for existing and preserving Previn's wonderful score for all to enjoy.
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