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Naxos-Release "The Sea Hawk"

Reviews,comments,suggestions on Korngold's discography

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Postby Peter Timoney » Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:58 am

Good on you Brendan

After a first listen when I was perhaps a bit over critical about one or two aspects of the recording compared to the perfect recording I have had in my head for years, I have grown to love this recording. Any niggles I have really are minor and I think it is the Moscow orchestra`s finest recording. In darker days before these film scores were on Naxos we would have had to pay a fortune for the privilege of such a recording and the present recording therefore can not only be called a bargain, but a GIFT! Some people may have their favourite recordings, conductors, orchestras and types of acoustics elsewhere and like to compare. After clearing my own prejudices in this line, I thought, is this a recording that non-Korngoldians would enjoy thoroughly, and on its own terms. I think it does exceedingly well and faithful to the film. I`m sure no true Korngoldian will ever deny the worth of this recording.

Peter
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Postby fireatheart » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:11 am

Apart from the fact that you, Peter, already have this new recording and I'll have to wait a few more days to discover it, you pretty much express my feelings about Sea Hawk: I adore the Varese version (actually prefer it over the original and longrer version from Tsunami).

Thus my nervous trepidation over the Naxos version.

How about the "Deception" section? Does it hold up to the masterpiece that is "Sea Hawk".

(For the record: when I mention Korngold to film music enthusiasts, they more often than not answer: "Ah, yes, Robin Hood!" to which I always answer: "Yes, Robin Hood is a great great score, but wait till you hear "Sea Hawk"! This is the true Grail.")
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Re: SEA HAWK

Postby fireatheart » Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:33 am

[quote="brendan g carroll"] Those who want CDs of the main themes or 'Best of" soundbite type albums,please look elsewhere to the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and John Williams./quote]

Mr. Carroll, I'm a little puzzled by the above statement, so I'll fire away: other than the fact that the "soundbite type albums" part is not really related to anything I or tjguitar wrote (I believe -in a different subject- tjguitar was basically asking how come some yet unreleased Korngold scores are not being released, even as suites, rather than multiple releases of SEAHAWK, which is what we currently have); as I read it you seem to imply Goldsmith, Williams and Horner are somehow... not worthy composers.

Would you care to elaborate?
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Postby Peter Timoney » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:00 am

Hiya

You ask about the recording of Deception. I think this has turned out surprisingly well considering that most of the cues are short and often variants of a small amount of themes mixed with atmospherics. Played together here it sounds not dissimilar to the subtle darkness of a Roy Webb score for Val Lewton. As I said with the Naxos Sea Hawk I was worried before because I think the Moscow Orchestra has not shown the same silken swagger as the other orchestras in the reproduction of the Korngold tone world. With my first listen I was quite critical because I was trying to compare the close miked mono original with modern recording techniques. At some parts I felt something amiss, usually a little bit of sweep here and a little bit of intensity there, but on subsequent listens I have come to value it highly. It is important to realise that some portions which seem to have differing tempi from the beloved former recordings are actually more faithful to the tempi as heard in the film than in our beloved old CDs. The Moscow Orchestra may not have the sophistication of some of the other orchestras, but my goodness, they crackle along with some fire and indeed I think it suits the score.
By the way, I know what you mean about the disappointment of short suites in live concerts. I went to a concert of so called film music with my local orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis. Most of the pieces were mere orchestrations of famous film songs or themes, often in some stupid 1960s lounge music adaptions which gave the orchestra nothing proper to do. Only with the odd actual symphonic piece (usually John Williams) was the orchestra able to pin us to our seats. The Korngold effort was a 2 minute segment of Robin Hood, certainly well played, but an absolute embarrasment in its sheer brevity. I fear any film suite concert as you never know who they have got the orchestral arrangements from. I attended concerts with the RSNO conducted by both Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith. Even there some of the arrangements had changed from the original. I have heard the short Sea Hawk suite live twice by different orchestras and each has tried to slow it down as much as possible, perhaps to give it breadth, perhaps just to prolongue it. The effect is simply to remove the swashbuckling energy it needs.
Anyway, thats enough of this ramble.

Peter
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Sea Hawk & Korngold CDs

Postby brendan g carroll » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:53 am

Mr Fireheart

Glad to see you deleted your original response to my post before I replied...! For the record, and to further explain my indignation, this board is often the very first place that a potential fan of EWK looks for information, and therefore, negative remarks about heroic projects that dedicated men like John Morgan undertake, ...even when made in jest...are really not helpful. So...the case is closed.

My reference to Messrs Goldsmith, Horner & Williams was not a dismissal of their talents but a reflection on how contemporary film music is now promoted on disc. The CD racks are full of albums with multi-track compilations that feature "Theme from Star Wars" etc etc etc. That is not something Korngold needs. My remark was directed at the post complaining that the BBC did not record shorter suites from other films, rather than another semi-complete SEA HAWK. I personally think that the release of TWO "Sea Hawks" indicates how important and bankable Korngold has become. And anyway, nobody ever complains when there are 2-3 or more Beethoven 9th symphony discs issued in a few months of each other do they? How nice to have a choice!

So no, I am not deriding these other composers and have great respect for their work.

However, I doubt anyone visiting this board will not have failed to notice the fact that, without Erich Wolfgang Korngold, none of these newer chaps would have a career at all.

Especially John Williams!

Incidentally, just to add to everyone's problem here about WHICH Sea Hawk to buy, from my network of faithful Korngold spies, I now hear that Tsunami has a TWO CD restoration in the works, of the original soundtrack with Erich conducting, that will replace their current disc! I believe it will also include either DECEPTION or PRINCE & THE PAUPER as a filler. More anon...
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Postby fireatheart » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:51 pm

Mr Carroll,

I apreciate you apreciate I deleted my original response before you replied! :D

Knowing you actually read my first response almost makes it better!

Did you notice I actually edited it 5 times?

It just shows that the extra time was needed to make it, huh, (not quite) perfect.

As for "... perhaps some visitors to this forum should think before they post...." now you have a better idea of how this poster uses the forum... :wink:

As for John Williams not having a career without Korngold, apart from the pretty obvious "homage/swipe" from KING'S ROW, isn't that overstating it, a little?
One could very easily list a dozen works by Williams (film or non film related) that would place him very high on the composers shortlist for the XXth century...
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Postby fireatheart » Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:11 pm

Peter: not much to add to your post: I'm right with you on most (if not all) points.

I'll receive my own copy of SEA HAWK/DECEPTION in a few more days, so I might give you my own evaluation of it then.

I attendeed 2 concerts of Goldsmith (conducting) and one posthumous (scheduled with him but replaced by another conductor), and all three were rather disappointing for the reasons you describe. The one piece that REALLY stood out twice (wasn't played in the second of the three concerts) was one of his masterpieces, PLANET OF THE APES, and it happened to be possibly the only JG piece ever played... that wasn't an Opening or Closing Title or Main Theme piece: "The Hunt".

And I attended one concert by the RNSO: great performance... and great city (Glasgow)!
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John Williams

Postby brendan g carroll » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:33 pm

Mr Williams is highly skilled but is a shameless plagiarist. Some examples...

Superman - (main title) is actually the most obvious steal of KINGS ROW - its arching 7ths and the fifths of its fanfare motif. The Love Theme from that film is almost note - for - note lifted from the tone poem DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATION by Richard Strauss.

The big theme from ET is lifted almost note for note from the final movement of Korngold's Suite Opus 23

Need I go on...?
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Re: SEA HAWK

Postby tjguitar » Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:41 am

brendan g carroll wrote:Once again I am compelled to write some admonishing remarks here, which pains me greatly, because this is a site for Korngold supporters after all.

I am sorry if the complete SEA HAWK on Naxos appears expensive at about 14 dollars and 'not worth it'...but I can assure you that the work it took to produce was worth every penny.

Quite apart from the 24 page booklet which gives the most comprehensive information on the film and the score ever published, John Morgan has done a beautiful job in restoring the original orchestration and Bill Stromberg has conducted a very fine performance, presenting this masterpiece of film music as it was intended ....COMPLETE! It is an instant collectors' item and should be in every Korngold fan's collection.

As I have tried to say repeatedly over 30 years now, Korngold's great film scores are meant to be heard as complete and continuous compositions, because that is how he composed them.

Those who want CDs of the main themes or 'Best of" soundbite type albums,please look elsewhere to the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and John Williams.

I had hoped that Korngold's admirers would have welcomed this historic CD. Apparently not. In future, I will tell John and Bill not to bother.

Or perhaps some visitors to this forum should think before they post such inane criticism.....


I'm not sure who said this CD wasn't worth it, but I can't wait to get it, it's not being released here in the US until July 31st (except for at SAE), i hate to sound "stingy" but when Amazon has it at $14.99, and SAE has it for around $20, I can wait a month, we've waited this long, wahts another month?

I can't wait to see what Mr. Morgan and Mr. Stromberg come up with next. I have personal hopes for Captain Blood, Juarez, and even King's Row. (The Gerhardt wasn't complete, was it?)
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Re: Sea Hawk & Korngold CDs

Postby tjguitar » Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:48 am

brendan g carroll wrote:My remark was directed at the post complaining that the BBC did not record shorter suites from other films, rather than another semi-complete SEA HAWK. I personally think that the release of TWO "Sea Hawks" indicates how important and bankable Korngold has become. And anyway, nobody ever complains when there are 2-3 or more Beethoven 9th symphony discs issued in a few months of each other do they? How nice to have a choice!


Brendan, I was not "complaining", it was a legitimate question, and for you to say "That is not something Korngold needs" in reference to multi-track compilations---uh hello,may I direct you to the excellent Charles Gerhardt compilations on RCA/BMG ? That is what first exposed me to the music two years ago (after hearing a few themes on some of Silva Screen's compilations)

Those two Charles Gerhardt discs are sadly out of print, so I think that a recording of some of his more popular scores (and some of the lesser ones) would be profitable to expose the music of Korngold to a wider audience.


I will be buying both Sea Hawk's for sure, and I must reiterate that I was most definitely not "complaining" that Chandos was recording that score, I was just wondering why they would do that so soon after the NAXOS recording as I thought it might cut in to their sales, as I suspect that nobody but Korngold fans will have the need to buy both discs?


I will be buying the Chandos disc as soon as it comes out stateside, for sure, but that doesn't mean that I can't, or don't think it seems like bad timing for this release.


brendan g carroll wrote:
The big theme from ET is lifted almost note for note from the final movement of Korngold's Suite Opus 23


Do you recommend a recording of said piece? I am interested to hear the comparison...I know that Superman (and also Star Wars!) are influenced by Kings Row, the main title actually sounds like a combination of the two, to some extent, in my opinion.
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Postby fireatheart » Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:21 pm

tjguitar wrote:Brendan, I was not "complaining", it was a legitimate question, and for you to say "That is not something Korngold needs" in reference to multi-track compilations---uh hello,may I direct you to the excellent Charles Gerhardt compilations on RCA/BMG ? That is what first exposed me to the music two years ago.


Although I didn't discover Korngold through the Gerhardt compilations, I enjoy them greatly, and, historically, I believe these compilations are the main reason we are enjoying so many Korngold releases today! (In the early seventies Gerhardt decided to record a whole bunch of Golden Age movie themes as compilations, at a time when almost no such releases existed. The success was such that the series initiated further soundtrack and Korngold releases.)

But, wait... why am I even rambling about this? Because in 1971, "The Sea Hawk: The Classic Film Scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold" seemed good enough for one teenaged Korngoldf fan! :D *

As for me, what REALLY got me hooked is... the 2CD "Korngold: the Warner Bros. Years".

So I hope you don't mind if some of us compilation fans stick around a while longer! 8)

* check "The Last Prodigy", page 15.
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Postby tjguitar » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:34 pm

As for me, what REALLY got me hooked is... the 2CD "Korngold: the Warner Bros. Years".


Another that is out of print.
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Postby tjguitar » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:17 pm

Here's an excellent review by William Flanigan Jr:


http://www.amazon.com/Dramatic-Delightf ... tore=music
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Compilations

Postby brendan g carroll » Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:05 pm

Well everyone, clearly I am always being misunderstood!
Of course I have no objections to compilation albums, and yes I know the Gerhardt series started it all. If you read the introduction to my book, you will see that it was the RCA SEA HAWK which started by 35 year passion for Korngold.

What I meant by saying KORNGOLD DOES NOT NEED COMPILATIONS is that there have been plenty enough of these albums already! Aside from Gerhardt, Mr Previn has done one, and Korngold film cues pop up on numerous generic filmscore discs (devoted to Swashbucklers etc).

What Korngold NEEDS now that he is properly recognised for the master composer he is, is a major effort to record his film scores in complete form.

My priorities for future film score recordings is as follows:

A complete and properly performed ANTHONY ADVERSE*
A complete ESCAPE ME NEVER
A complete JUAREZ
A new and complete KINGS ROW
A complete OF HUMAN BONDAGE
* to replace the wretched Varese disc of 18 years ago

By all means let us welcome the fact that everytime an orchestra makes a classic film score CD it will include a SEA HAWK main title or a 'March of the Merry Men'....but let us all push to exhume all the fabulous music by EWK that is still buried on the soundtracks and in the case of the above films, unlikely to achieve even a DVD release.

Agreed? :lol:
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Re: Compilations

Postby tjguitar » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:55 pm

brendan g carroll wrote:Well everyone, clearly I am always being misunderstood!
Of course I have no objections to compilation albums, and yes I know the Gerhardt series started it all. If you read the introduction to my book, you will see that it was the RCA SEA HAWK which started by 35 year passion for Korngold.

What I meant by saying KORNGOLD DOES NOT NEED COMPILATIONS is that there have been plenty enough of these albums already! Aside from Gerhardt, Mr Previn has done one, and Korngold film cues pop up on numerous generic filmscore discs (devoted to Swashbucklers etc).

What Korngold NEEDS now that he is properly recognised for the master composer he is, is a major effort to record his film scores in complete form.

My priorities for future film score recordings is as follows:

A complete and properly performed ANTHONY ADVERSE*
A complete ESCAPE ME NEVER
A complete JUAREZ
A new and complete KINGS ROW
A complete OF HUMAN BONDAGE
* to replace the wretched Varese disc of 18 years ago

By all means let us welcome the fact that everytime an orchestra makes a classic film score CD it will include a SEA HAWK main title or a 'March of the Merry Men'....but let us all push to exhume all the fabulous music by EWK that is still buried on the soundtracks and in the case of the above films, unlikely to achieve even a DVD release.

Agreed? :lol:


Absolutely agree Brendan. Now, do you have any inside scoop on any of that happening or is it just wishes like the rest of us. :D

I'd also like to add a complete 'Captain Blood' & a complete 'Prince and the Pauper!

BTW I'd love to read that book, unfortunately I do not have $200 to spare. :(
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