Charles Gerhardt Conducts The Film Music Of Lee Holdridge
Citadel Records (STC 77103)
Year Released: 1973-1983
Conducted by Charles Gerhardt
The London Symphony Orchestra
The Beastmaster / Beauty and the BeastPromo
Promotional Release (LHCD-01)
Format: CD (62 min)
Review: Charles Gerhardt Conducts The Film Music of Lee Holdridge
4.5 / 5 Stars
Recorded in 1985 for Citadel Records, "Charles Gerhardt Conducts the Film Music of Lee Holdridge" is a symphonic appreciation album that today raises the question: Why isn't Holdridge doing more blockbuster work? With credits including The Beastmaster, East of Eden, Splash, Old Gringo and themes for the television series "Wizards and Warriors" and "Beauty & the Beast", his numerous scores are consistently grand, yet largely uncelebrated by the industry. To the point, Gerhardt leads the distinguished London Symphony Orchestra in forceful, enthusiastic performances of excerpts from eight cracking Holdridge scores. The recording covers items proud and overlookednever fit to be proudly overlookedwith no shortage of charm.
The Beastmaster Suite is a sensational fantasy adventure piece full of brass-kicking fanfares, tranquil atmospheres, and full-throttle action that give a too-brief glimpse (a problem throughout the disc; exactly how does one edit goodness?) into a score that occupies a spot alongside the likes of Battlestar Galactica, to which there is a noticeable thematic similarity, and Conan the Barbarian. By contrast, "Music for Strings" from the oft-parodied Jonathan Livingston Seagull is romantic and typically well written, but its monotony makes it a comparatively dull follow-up.
"The Journey" from Going Home has an energetic slant that puts the album back on track; playful, confident, and bold, this is an especially dynamic selection. Holdridge's contemporary classic music for Splash garners a featherweight Rachmaninoff treatment in this arrangement for solo piano and full orchestra of the "Love Theme". It is unabashedly romantic. This nod to love leads to the Wizards and Warriors Overturewhat an unexpected stylistic leap! As Holdridge's liner notes confirm, there is an unambiguous spirit of Hollywood's joyous swashbuckling Golden Age. This could have made ol' E.W. Korngold smile.
Traveling onward, the 17+ minute East of Eden Suite includes the "Main Title", "The Brothers/Cathy/Leaving Connecticut", "The Father", "The Well/The Naming", "The Secret of Monterey/Abra's Theme", and "Finale" cues. It is the only readily available CD version of the score... Its themes are truly memorable, and the assortment ranks among the best Holdridge created in the composer's many years of authorship as they illustrate what sounds like a tremendous chuck of range for human emotions.
"Parisian Sketch" from the PBS teleplay "The Hemingway Play" began as a thirty-second waltz for strings and light percussion... Holdridge later adapted it into a nearly three-minute musical essay for concert performance. The understated and pensive cue brings a soft balance to the disc, but what comes next is the album's brightest gem. The disc completes its run with one of the composer's personal favorites, "Introduction and Theme" from the award-winning National Geographic special "The Great Whales." Here is a melody that practically begs for repeat listens. It is a perfect ending.
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