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Elizabeth & Essex: Korngold Film Scores [Import]

Charles Gerhardt & Npo Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.31
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Product Details


1. The Private Lives Of Elizabeth & Essex
2. Prince & The Pauper
3. Anthony Adverse
4. The Sea Wolf
5. Deception
6. Another Dawn
7. Of Human Bondage

Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Korngold shows why he was an icon composer" April 9 2002
By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Varese Sarabande present the complete score in chronological order...the loves and hates of
the two main characters are expressed through the brilliant score of this legendary icon, Erich
Wolfgang Korngold...nominated for Best Score of 1939 by the Academy (Max Steiner's -
"Gone With The Wind took the oscar), previous Korngold scores include "Captain Blood",
"The Sea Hawk" and "Kings Row", all with the signature sound that gave the audience a
Korngold music thrill.
Korngold saw "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" as an ideal "opera without singing",
with its two primary characters became virtually a theatre piece, with orchestration to live
for...a love affair between Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) and the Second Earl of Essex
(Errol Flynn) is forced to choose between her Kingdom and Lover, Davis and Flynn give
memorable performances, but nothing can compare to the unusally complex, detailed
arrangements blending passages with saxophones, two harps, a piano, a spinet, a vibraphone
and harmonium...perfection is the only word that comes to mind, brilliant symphonic strings,
woodwinds, brass and percussion abound, this is "Pure Korngold" at his greatest
hour...always referring to his film scores as "my little operas without singing"...the likes we will
never see again!
Total Time: 65:43 on 6 Tracks ~ Varese Sarabande VSD-5696 ~ (1998)
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Extensive, But Not The Greatest Jan. 12 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is the most complete rendering of Korngold's film symphony
in a modern recording. (By the way, the composer is NOT the
conductor; the recording was conducted by Carl Davis and
performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra.) The CD stands alone
in this regard, but there are other CDs out there that are vastly
superior, albeit more abridged. Essentially, Mr. Davis' version
suffers from impoverished diversity of instrumentation
(especially for non-string instruments) and yields a rather flat,
two-dimensional performance (most notably in the center). Sure I
would buy this one, but I would also get: (1) Elizabeth and
Essex; BMG RCA Victor GD80185, 1973; conducted by Charles
Gerhardt; performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra
(simply superb); (2) The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold;
DCC Compact Classics GZS-1094, 1996; conducted by Lionel
Newman and Kurt Graunke; performed by an uncredited sixty-piece
orchestra (also superb); and (3) The Mark of Zorro - Swordsmen of
the Silver Screen; Silva America SSD 3010, 1997; conducted by
Paul Bateman; performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic (most
excellent).
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make them like they used to... Sept. 24 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is a brilliant score. It sure takes one back in time...! I highly recomend it to lovers of the music scores of the classic movies, especially the swashbackling ones. If you liked "The Adventures of Robin Hood", also by Korngold, you will love this one. I recomend it also to those of you who loved scores by Alfred Newman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Korngold's Four Best Scores Sept. 22 2000
Format:Audio CD
The film scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold covered a good deal of varied turf in the 1930s and 1940s, but will probably be best remembered for what they added to four costume-period pieces..."Captain Blood," "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "The Sea Hawk," and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex." Korngold's lush music gave these films an added dimension, and did so in ways that many other composers have only been able to envy. This is the first full, or nearly full, recording of "Elizabeth and Essex," and it is one of the best recent recordings of Korngold's music. His score matches the film's personal drama and epic grandeur. Korngold's characteristic flourishes for brass and percussion, and romantic themes for strings are well played here. This may not be the best of the four scores listed ("Robin Hood" and "The Sea Hawk" deserve that praise) but this is Korngold at his best on a fine recording. "Elizabeth and Essex" is not as well known as the other films mentioned, and because of that this score has not had the recognition that it deserves. Sadly, students of film music are still waiting for an equal treatment for "Captain Blood," and another period piece that almost merits this company, Korngold's score for "The Prince and the Pauper." It is interesting that all five of these films were vehicles for that great swashbuckler Errol Flynn, and it would be hard to think of Flynn without Korngold's lavish music
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extensive, But Not The Greatest Jan. 12 2002
By William F. Flanigan Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the most complete rendering of Korngold's film symphony
in a modern recording. (By the way, the composer is NOT the
conductor; the recording was conducted by Carl Davis and
performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra.) The CD stands alone
in this regard, but there are other CDs out there that are vastly
superior, albeit more abridged. Essentially, Mr. Davis' version
suffers from impoverished diversity of instrumentation
(especially for non-string instruments) and yields a rather flat,
two-dimensional performance (most notably in the center). Sure I
would buy this one, but I would also get: (1) Elizabeth and
Essex; BMG RCA Victor GD80185, 1973; conducted by Charles
Gerhardt; performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra
(simply superb); (2) The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold;
DCC Compact Classics GZS-1094, 1996; conducted by Lionel
Newman and Kurt Graunke; performed by an uncredited sixty-piece
orchestra (also superb); and (3) The Mark of Zorro - Swordsmen of
the Silver Screen; Silva America SSD 3010, 1997; conducted by
Paul Bateman; performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic (most
excellent).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Korngold shows why he was an icon composer" April 9 2002
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Varese Sarabande present the complete score in chronological order...the loves and hates of
the two main characters are expressed through the brilliant score of this legendary icon, Erich
Wolfgang Korngold...nominated for Best Score of 1939 by the Academy (Max Steiner's -
"Gone With The Wind took the oscar), previous Korngold scores include "Captain Blood",
"The Sea Hawk" and "Kings Row", all with the signature sound that gave the audience a
Korngold music thrill.
Korngold saw "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" as an ideal "opera without singing",
with its two primary characters became virtually a theatre piece, with orchestration to live
for...a love affair between Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) and the Second Earl of Essex
(Errol Flynn) is forced to choose between her Kingdom and Lover, Davis and Flynn give
memorable performances, but nothing can compare to the unusally complex, detailed
arrangements blending passages with saxophones, two harps, a piano, a spinet, a vibraphone
and harmonium...perfection is the only word that comes to mind, brilliant symphonic strings,
woodwinds, brass and percussion abound, this is "Pure Korngold" at his greatest
hour...always referring to his film scores as "my little operas without singing"...the likes we will
never see again!
Total Time: 65:43 on 6 Tracks ~ Varese Sarabande VSD-5696 ~ (1998)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Korngold's Four Best Scores Sept. 22 2000
By G M. Stathis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The film scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold covered a good deal of varied turf in the 1930s and 1940s, but will probably be best remembered for what they added to four costume-period pieces..."Captain Blood," "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "The Sea Hawk," and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex." Korngold's lush music gave these films an added dimension, and did so in ways that many other composers have only been able to envy. This is the first full, or nearly full, recording of "Elizabeth and Essex," and it is one of the best recent recordings of Korngold's music. His score matches the film's personal drama and epic grandeur. Korngold's characteristic flourishes for brass and percussion, and romantic themes for strings are well played here. This may not be the best of the four scores listed ("Robin Hood" and "The Sea Hawk" deserve that praise) but this is Korngold at his best on a fine recording. "Elizabeth and Essex" is not as well known as the other films mentioned, and because of that this score has not had the recognition that it deserves. Sadly, students of film music are still waiting for an equal treatment for "Captain Blood," and another period piece that almost merits this company, Korngold's score for "The Prince and the Pauper." It is interesting that all five of these films were vehicles for that great swashbuckler Errol Flynn, and it would be hard to think of Flynn without Korngold's lavish music
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all a mediocre CD... Jan. 31 2010
By Peter Andres - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Before winning his second Oscar for his outstanding music score for the classic adventure film THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), Austrian-born composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) choose to compose original scores for two Bette Davis films in 1939 while under contract to the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood. The first score was for JUAREZ, a biopic on the life of the Mexican revolutionary (Paul Muni) against the Hapsburg dictatorship of 1860s Mexico. The second score was for THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, a lavish Technicolor costume drama focusing on the fictional romance of England's Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) and Robert Devereux (Errol Flynn), 2nd Earl of Essex, and based on the Maxwell Anderson play "Elizabeth the Queen." THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX's regal subject matter inspired Korngold to compose some of his most brilliant music for any medium. Like many of Korngold's Hollywood film scores of the 1930s and 1940s, this score contains brief musical passages that were previously used in his own classical and operatic works. For example, the full, rich statement of Queen Elizabeth's theme contains eight bars lifted entirely from Korngold's own "Kaiserin Zita-Hymne", composed in 1917 for the last Hapsburg Empress of Austria in his youth. THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX eventually earned him his second and last of two Oscar nominations for Best Original Score.

In 1992, this re-recording of the complete score was undertaken by the Munich Symphony Orchestra under the conduction of Carl Davis. Congratulations to Mr. Davis for his intelligent conduction: the orchestra does a commendable and even stunning job. Thanks to Davis' faithful orchestrations and the studio's top-notch stereo recording technology, the brass section is powerful and full, the strings are rich, the woodwinds are soft, and the percussion is sprightly and loud; in fact, the whole orchestra does excellent justice to Korngold's tremendous orchestrations and every instrument can be easily heard, including the piano on the opening track "Elizabeth And Essex". Surely the Munich Symphony Orchestra's performance is by no means a "flat, two-dimensional" performance that "suffers from impoverished diversity of instrumentation", to quote the only negative review of this product.

My only quibbles are trivial ones. Firstly, some orchestrations are occasionally in the wrong places, so to speak. On the track "Essex Returns", for example, a brief musical passage intended for trumpets is arranged for the violins section. It's a possibility that Mr. Davis and the orchestra are following Korngold's original orchestrations and such passages as heard in the finished film were finalized as different orchestrations at a later date back in 1939. However, such errors might only be noticed by those who have astutely listened to the film's original score on the film itself. Secondly, the mere six tracks on this CD are divided into long suites, one of which is as long as twelve minutes. This makes it somewhat difficult to locate a certain section of the score and can try a listener's patience!

Although THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX remains as one of Korngold's greatest film scores, other CDs including the score contain only excerpts. The best of these other CDs is Elizabeth & Essex: The Classic Film Scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, which contains a superlatively performed re-recording of the rare seven-minute overture used during the film's 1939 Hollywood premiere, played by the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the great Charles Gerhardt. One can also listen to a short suite containing the prelude and Essex's march in the form of the original monophonic studio master tape recordings on the two-disc compilation album Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Warner Bros Years - Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology. A palatable re-recording of the prelude and Essex's march, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under the conduction of James Sedares, can be found on Tribute to E.W. Korngold. However, the worst of the bunch and the one to avoid like the plague is Korngold: The Sea Hawk / The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex / Captain Blood / The Prince and the Pauper, which is shocking and extremely disappointing considering the talents of conductor André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra on their other recordings. The vigorous swagger of Essex's march is nearly reduced to that of an uncharacteristically turgid funeral dirge and is one of the many problems with this ponderous and just plain boring performance.

But this complete re-recording by Carl Davis and the Munich Symphony Orchestra is a very satisfactory revelation and a must-own for fans of Korngold and classic film scores. At a total time of 63:38 on the CD and at a price of under $10 on most websites including Amazon.com and iTunes, what is there to really complain about? Practically nothing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent record of Korngold's film music May 15 2006
By Pope - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This album contains musical suites from seven of Korngold's film scores: Elizabeth & Essex, the Prince & the Pauper, Anthony Adverse, Sea Wolf, Deception, Another Dawn, and Of Human Bondage. All exceptionally performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Charles Gerhardt. While the diehard Korngold fan will definately want to explore the complete scores of these films, this disc along with "The Sea Hawk" provides a good overview of some of the finest music ever written for the screen.
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