Alfred Newman - Robe [Fox] (Original Soundtrack) (Music CD)

Release Date: 16 July 2012
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Nobody should confuse this CD release with the original soundtrack album for The Robe. The latter, released in mono only in the fall of 1953, was comprised of separate recordings done weeks after the actual film music recording, and was a very different body of work from what is represented on this CD -- the actual soundtrack recordings from the film itself, mostly in stereo, cleaned up and edited into coherent freestanding tracks that form a stirring body of music. Alfred Newman's lush, reverent, impassioned score gets the best presentation here that it has had in 50 years, mastered with a close, intimate sound that brings out the nuances in the playing and the timbre of the massed and individual instruments as though they had all been recorded decades more recently. There are some flaws in the recording or the preservation of the tapes revealed by the exposure of all of the details, but this is more than outweighed by the details that do belong in sharp relief. Additionally, the presence of the complete score allows one to appreciate the full range of music that went into the movie; juxtaposed with the reverence of "Elegy" and the chorus-only track depicting "Marcellus' Redemption," for example, is the rich, spirited (though ultimately serious) "The Market Place," and the lush tones of the main body give way to disquieting, dissonant strains depicting the madness of the Emperor Caligula. The kettle drums and basses used to score the material heard amid the catacombs have incredible presence, and the rich closeness of the violins, violas, cellos, and reeds throughout makes this disc a rival for sound quality to any analog classical recording one might care to name. The annotation is also reasonably thorough, making this an extremely attractive release for collectors and fans of Newman's work as well as those who simply like the music, although many serious devotees will prefer the more thorough treatment given by Varese Sarabande on their limited-edition double-CD 50th anniversary Robe soundtrack release. ~ Bruce Eder
Release Date: 16 July 2012

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Catalogue No: LLLCD1203