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 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 9:16 PM   
 By:   Brian D. Mellies   (Member)

I know this is the topic of another thread, but it's a mess, with about 700 posts and maybe 10 on topic.

So here it is. Sony, or whomever it is that owns RCA's catalog these days, has reissued SOME of the RCA Classic Film Scores series. There are some glaring omissions. For example, the Waxman and Herrmann discs are missing. The Raksin disc, which was actually an independent recording conducted by Raksin using the New Philharmonia Orchestra, but marketed as part of the series, is not included. The Gerhardt edited Korngold disc which took material from at least three discs and combined them into one 75 minute blockbuster has not returned. The Tiomkin disc does not include the music from "The Thing", which was recorded at the same sessions as the rest of the disc, but was not used for reasons of timing on the LP. It ended up, of course, on the "Spectacular World" disc.

The reasoning for this, as best as I can guess, is that these have all been remastered from the album masters, not the original session masters. I don't know this for sure, but I'll bet I'm right.

But, to get down to business. I had a chance to get any of these releases I wanted (and was willing to pay for). Of course, I love them all, but I couldn't see any reason to buy them new again, if they were no different from the original CD releases, which I have. So I decided to experiment. It has always been my opinion that this generally excellently recorded series slightly dropped the ball with the Tiomkin disc. The original LP was pretty good, although not nearly as clean as its' earlier brothers. The transfer to CD (with Dolby Surround) was abysmal. The percussion in "Lost Horizon" were virtually inaudible until the bells sequence near the end. The sound was covered and the organ pedal notes actually distorted. The chorus in the "Search for Paradise" cut sounded like they were singing out of an old laundry sink - completely indistinct, muffled and over-reverbed. So, it seemed to me this was the disc to get to find out if this remastered series was worth considering.

IT IS!!

I am thrilled to report the Tiomkin disc is, in my opinion, a revelation. The overall sound is much brighter. The brass choir, especially the trumpets, are now clearly audible. There is added depth. The organ pedal notes now support, rather than undercut, the music. The percussion in "Lost Horizon" are much better heard. The "Search for Paradise" is so much better you can now actually understand some of the chorus' words. It is not perfect, mind you. I think there were some unfortunate mistakes made in the recording sessions, which is strange given the overall sound quality of the rest of the series. And it is so unfortunate "The Thing" is still missing. I consider this a major addition to the film score canon.

And, one other thing. I decided to also pick up the "Gone With The Wind" CD. I already have the original CD, which I've always thought of as being quite good, interpretively and sonically. I just wanted to see how much difference this new remastering would make on a recording that was already good.

Well, it makes a big difference. I've always thought this version, though obviously not complete, was the overall best representation of the Steiner score. I thought Gerhardt did an exemplary job conducting. It is even better now. To me, the sound is near state-of-the-art, as near as anyone is likely to get from an analog source. It just sounds beautiful. Crisp, clear and wide open.

It's nice to know that every now and then, probably by accident, something is actually done right.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 9:22 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

It'd be nice if they release the rest of them (the LP programs that is, I don't care about the "expansions")

I can donate the 90s releases to the library. =)

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 9:35 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

I'll check out the Tiomkin release. Rare as it was on cd, that old lp was somewhat maligned and neglected. I loved it when I bought it! Great material and wonderfully executed!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 9:36 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

This is extremely good news. I ordered a couple of them and now look forward, more than ever, to their delivery. In the LP era of the 70's these were remarkable releases making much of the music available for the first time. Thanks for the good news.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 10:36 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

I bought all of them and generally the sound is superb. I'm willing to bet that the remaining series will be released in the near future.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 10:48 PM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

Very exciting indeed.

I would have loved to have all these classic albums remastered from the recording sessions, but that's probably no longer possible.

A word about the two "expanded" CFS releases: The Waxman expansion is a marvel and contains all of his music recorded for the series in stunning (non-Dolby) sound. It remains on my short list of greatest film music cds ever.



The expanded "Sea Hawk" was problematic in several ways. First, there was obviously too much Korngold for one extended disc, but perhaps not enough for two. Second, music recorded years apart (1972 vs 1975) and under different circumstances was edited together resulting in jarring changes in characteristics (I'm thinking specifically here of the expanded "Sea Hawk" suite). Third, the music cut together suites that, again in the case of "The Sea Hawk", resulted in the Finale being repeated twice: once from the original Suite, and again from the suite recorded for the Errol Flynn album. The cue order went like this: Main Title from 'The Sea Hawk" lp; then the Errol Flynn suite which ended with "Strike For The Shores of Dover" and arranged to conclude with the last bars of the Finale; then back to the Love Theme and -again- the Finale from "The Sea Hawk" lp. Not an ideal assembly.

I prefer the original album presentations here, though RCA could save themselves the trouble of bothering with the "Spectacular World" reissue buy adding the extra cues there to other albums in the series, though that would make Jimmy McHugh's "Universal Pictures Fanfare" and Daniele Amfithearof's "Salome" difficult to place.

There is still the problem of the unreleased music in RCA's vaults (?). "Between Two Worlds" was expanded to include the never-before released "Piano Rhapsody" (which was previously recorded for Readers' Digest and reissued by Varese). Stranger still is the expanded (13:21) suite from "The Fountainhead" which appeared on a cd released by - of all things - the U.S. Post Office to commemorate the release of a series of film composer stamps in 1999.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 10:57 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

I actually compiled my own list for a 'box set' of the series, at least of what's been released (so if there's anything still sitting unreleased, it obviously wouldn't go there.

Skipping the Raksin disc, but keeping in the Star Wars/CEOTK disc, I got it down to nine very nicely packed discs (some drift over the 80 minute mark), putting all composers together, and trying to keep somehwhat of a theme when forced to split them across discs. The basic outline was:

1 - Korngold 1
2 - Korngold 2 - Williams 1 (Star Wars)
3 - Williams 2 (CEOTK) - Herrmann
4 - Tiomkin - Newman 1
5 - Newman 2 - GWTW
6 - Steiner 1
7 - Steiner 2
8 - Rozsa - Others
9 - Waxman

I put things in mostly chronological order, but tried to put things in slightly interesting order to create good beginnings and ends (ending Korngold 1 with Sea Hawk, or Newman 1 with Captain From Castile and then starting Newman 2 with Fox Fanfare).

Obviously with these being released this way, such a set wouldn't happen, but one can dream....

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 11:33 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Can someone please link to where these are available?

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 11:36 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Can someone please link to where these are available?


http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Film-Scores-Lost-Horizon/dp/B0041GWWX2/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1287642968&sr=1-2

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2010 - 11:52 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Very exciting indeed.

I would have loved to have all these classic albums remastered from the recording sessions, but that's probably no longer possible.

A word about the two "expanded" CFS releases: The Waxman expansion is a marvel and contains all of his music recorded for the series in stunning (non-Dolby) sound. It remains on my short list of greatest film music cds ever.



The expanded "Sea Hawk" was problematic in several ways. First, there was obviously too much Korngold for one extended disc, but perhaps not enough for two. Second, music recorded years apart (1972 vs 1975) and under different circumstances was edited together resulting in jarring changes in characteristics (I'm thinking specifically here of the expanded "Sea Hawk" suite). Third, the music cut together suites that, again in the case of "The Sea Hawk", resulted in the Finale being repeated twice: once from the original Suite, and again from the suite recorded for the Errol Flynn album. The cue order went like this: Main Title from 'The Sea Hawk" lp; then the Errol Flynn suite which ended with "Strike For The Shores of Dover" and arranged to conclude with the last bars of the Finale; then back to the Love Theme and -again- the Finale from "The Sea Hawk" lp. Not an ideal assembly.

I prefer the original album presentations here, though RCA could save themselves the trouble of bothering with the "Spectacular World" reissue buy adding the extra cues there to other albums in the series, though that would make Jimmy McHugh's "Universal Pictures Fanfare" and Daniele Amfithearof's "Salome" difficult to place.

There is still the problem of the unreleased music in RCA's vaults (?). "Between Two Worlds" was expanded to include the never-before released "Piano Rhapsody" (which was previously recorded for Readers' Digest and reissued by Varese). Stranger still is the expanded (13:21) suite from "The Fountainhead" which appeared on a cd released by - of all things - the U.S. Post Office to commemorate the release of a series of film composer stamps in 1999.



That US Postal (service -hah, it is to laugh- the service, that is) release of all of Gerhardt's recording of THE FOUNTAINHEAD is truly grand. I just love it.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 1:24 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Do the new releases retain the original liner notes?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 2:40 PM   
 By:   jeanesingsjazz   (Member)

take a minute when you are on amazon and read the review given for this re-release
given by "bernie" he even gavie it 5 stars! i could slap him


http://www.amazon.com/Sunset-Boulevard-Classic-expanded-release/dp/B0028TK0T2/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1287696860&sr=1-8

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 4:04 PM   
 By:   Chris Rimmer   (Member)

Talk about inflation,

£17.99 0n Tuesday.

£19.99 On Wednesday.

How much will they be by weekend?

The other question is "Why are they so expensive to buy in the United Kingdom?"

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   Dave Norris   (Member)

Talk about inflation,

£17.99 0n Tuesday.

£19.99 On Wednesday.

How much will they be by weekend?

The other question is "Why are they so expensive to buy in the United Kingdom?"[/

Hear Hear!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

Talk about inflation,

£17.99 0n Tuesday.

£19.99 On Wednesday.

How much will they be by weekend?

The other question is "Why are they so expensive to buy in the United Kingdom?"[/

Hear Hear!


Unless you pony up the money it's NoHear, NoHear

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2010 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I've ordered all six. The surround versions have always disappointed me.
Four @ $8.99 and two @ $9.99 from Amazon, with free shipping. So just $55.92 all told.
I'm assuming the others will be released soon.
I wouldn't be surprised if when they are all available, they are released with the option of a single boxed set.

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2010 - 1:11 AM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

Had a chance to do a quick spot comparison of the new Sea Hawk and Gone With The Wind releases, and folks, this could be the remastering transformation of the year.

The high end is back and the weird, muffled effect of the Dolby Surround matrix is gone. Clearly, Sony went back to the original album masters and did a beautiful job - one again these are audiophile recordings!

More when I've had a chance to hear more.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2010 - 6:23 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

Man, and I just bought GWTW for cheap not too long ago. Guess I'll have to get my replacements...

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2010 - 9:05 AM   
 By:   Michael Condon   (Member)

The RCA series was my gateway into film scores of the past in the 1970's. At that time in was buying and listening to current soundtracks. I think my first RCA LP was the Steiner disc, and eventually I got all of them.
The CD versions of the LP's were among my earliest CD purchases, and I have continually listened to them over the years.
I'm looking forward to hearing the newly remastered version, especially after reading the comments posted here!

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2010 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Had a chance to do a quick spot comparison of the new Sea Hawk and Gone With The Wind releases, and folks, this could be the remastering transformation of the year.

The high end is back and the weird, muffled effect of the Dolby Surround matrix is gone. Clearly, Sony went back to the original album masters and did a beautiful job - one again these are audiophile recordings!

More when I've had a chance to hear more.



So they're better than the Dolby releases. How do they compare to the two expanded non-Dolby releases?

 
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