This Titanic (Anniversary Edition) comes in two versions: a 2 CD set consisting of Titanic OST (disc 1 of the 4 CD set), plus I Salonisti Sessions (disc 3 of the 4 CD set). The second is a 4 CD Collector's Anniversary Edition with disc 1 (Titanic OST), disc 2 (Back To Titanic), disc 3 (I Salonisti Sessions) and disc 4 (Popular Music from Titanic Era), with expanded booklet with new liner notes and previously unseen photos, with 4 vintage Titanic luggage stickers.
I am sure most of you would have purchased the Titanic OST and Back To Titanic OST already. The decision is whether it is worthwhile to double dip into either the 2 CD or 4 CD set. Undecided?...please read on:
Disc 1: Titanic OST:
I would expect that with the 2012 technology, the music would have been completely remastered to the highest level. But alas, when I compared with the original CD that I bought in 1997, there is no difference in the sound. Remastering is only fair, using today's standards. However, the contents are of course excellent. Since this disc has sold over 26 million worldwide, most of you would have a copy already.
Disc 2: Back To Titanic:
When I compared to the disc that I bought in 1998, I found again that there is no significant improvement in the sound. Of course from this set, the most remarkable and haunting track is My Heart Will Go On with dialogue from the film cleverly chosen and blended into the soundtrack. This is the track that I would play for my friends because the mixing of dialogue and music really added tremendous emotional attachment to the film...really one of a kind. Since this disc only sold 3 million copies, you may or may not have a copy.
Disc 3: Music by I Salonisti, consisting of Thomas Furi, violin, Lorenz Hasler, violin, Ferenc Szedlak, cello, Bela Szedlak, double bass and Werner Giger, piano.
The I Salonisti Sessions were produced by John Altman. The accompanied booklet is priceless...John Altman gave a detailed account of how Jon Landau and James Cameron left 9 messages on his machine, wanting his opinion whether the words to Nearer My God To Thee would fit the music, and asked John to sing over the phone as demonstration...John Altman later mentioned that he did not hear anyone singing along with Nearer My God To Thee in what proved one of the most moving moments of the movie. He hope that it wasn't his eccentric performance that Saturday morning that made Jon Landau and James Cameron drop that idea...hilarious.
The sound is very well recorded. All the songs are well chosen. In my humble opinion, this set is easily the "Star" of this 4 CD set.
The song listing is as follows:
01 Valse Septembre
02 Marguerite Waltz
03 Wedding Dance
04 Poet and PeasantBlue Danube
05 Blue Danube
06 Song Without Words
08 Vision of Salome
09 Titsy Bitsy Girl
10 Alexander's Ragtime Band
14 Song of Autumn
15 Nearer My God to Thee
Disc 4: Popular Music From The Titanic Era
The song listing is as follows (with chart position if available):
01 It's A Long Way To Tipperary - John McCormack (1(8)/1915)
02 Let Me Call You Sweetheart - Halfway House Dance Orchestra
03 Vilia - Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra
04 My Gal Sal - Chick Bullock & His Levee Loungers
05 Oh! You Beautiful Doll - Chuck Foster & His Orchestra
06 Martha - Adrian Rollini Trio
07 In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra (13/1933)
08 Waiting At The Church - Beatrice Kay
09 Frasquita Serenade - John Kirby & His Orchestra
10 Shine On Harvest Moon - Hal Kemp & His Orchestra
11 From The Land Of The Sky Blue Water - Mildred Bailey & Her Orchestra
12 Loch Lomond - Maxine Sullivan & Her Orchestra (9/1937)
13 A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight - Miff Mole's Molers
14 Nearer My God To Thee - Nelson Eddy
The above selections were supposedly from the era of 1912. The positive points are at least 3 charted hits were chosen, but not necessary from that era. In The Shade Of The Apple Tree was initially made popular by Henry Burr and it hit #1 in 1905. The other charted hit Loch Lomond was indeed from that era. Evan Wiliams took that song to #10 in 1912, but Maxine Sullivan's version from 1937 was chosen instead.
I wish the producer of this disc would have taken more care in choosing the most popular artist to match the song. For example, I would have appreciated if Peerless Quartet's version of Let Me Call You Sweetheart was chosen, when it hit #1 in 1911. The same applies to the song My Gal Sal. Byron G. Harlan took it to #1 in 1907. Shine On Harvest Moon was another glaring poor choice. The preferable selections should be that by Harry Macdonough & Elise Stevenson, or Ada Jones & Billy Murray (both hit #1 in 1909). Hal Kemp, John Kirby and Guy Lombardo were all artists from the 1920s and 1930s.
SOUND: Although the most popular versions were not chosen, the remastered sound was actually very good, considering the age of the recordings. Since I collect songs from the 1910s to 1940s, this disc is a welcome addition. The whole disc was very enjoyable. Only disappointment is that the original artists that made those songs popular were not chosen.
Being a completist, buying the 4 CD Collector's Anniversary Edition is an easy decision. If you do not want to spend the higher price, or you do not like or not familiar with the songs from the 1910s to 1940s, buying the 2 CD set is probably the best choice. I personally also look forward to the blu ray release of Titanic, tentatively scheduled for September 14 2012. Overall, I am very pleased with this 4 CD set. The accompanied booklet with many well written line notes and rare pictures is simply priceless. Reading the booklet while one listens to the music from this set is definitely a very enjoyable and educational experience. Since the songs in discs 3 and 4 are not listed on Amazon.ca or the back cover of the case, my detailed song listing may help you decide whether to purchase the set or not. Of course, the above set is highly recommended.
Finally, I notice that Amazon.ca has put many reviews of the original soundtrack from 1997 into this column. Please read the date of the review so that you don't waste time reading outdated materials not directly related to this new set. I hope the above review is helpful to you.