Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops present yet another of their highly enjoyable film music collections. As the title indicates, the selections are drawn from grand-scaled films that for the most part required expansive, sometimes grandiose music. Not surprisingly, many of these items are from historical dramas, including a film that's as "epic" as they come--Gone with the Wind. Kunzel leads the famously soaring "Tara" melody with tremendous sweep (aided by the lush sound of the Cincinnati strings), as he does the majestic "Parade of the Charioteers" from Ben-Hur, along with music from Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gladiator. The program offers an intriguingRead more mix of the new and old. However, hearing the beautiful, classic love theme from Spartacus immediately after Hans Zimmer's thematically simplistic Pearl Harbor quickly brings to mind those sadly bygone days when the music of brilliant composers like Alex North regularly graced movie houses.
Yet there's modern brilliance to be had here as well, as in Tan Dun's stunning sequence from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The rest of the program includes epics of fantasy (Lord of the Rings; John Williams' wonderfully spooky Harry Potter) and science fiction (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; and Minority Report, though you'll probably wonder how a futuristic murder mystery qualifies as an "epic"). It's probably obligatory that the disc should open with 2001: A Space Odyssey, but since when did Richard Strauss' sunrise sequence get renamed "Fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra"? But the best comes last, namely Elmer Bernstein's exciting theme from The Magnificent Seven (instantly recognizable to baby boomers as the Marlboro Man tune). No matter the genre, Kunzel conducts with authority, style, and verve, while the Cincinnati players sound as if they're having a ball. Telarc provides its usual vivid, high-impact rendering of the orchestra in its native hall. Oh, and if you think "2001" is going to be the most sonically impressive track on this disc, wait until you hear "Lawrence"--it's a knockout! [Note: This DSD production is also available on SACD in sensational multi-channel sound that conveys an extra depth and breadth to the orchestra with absolutely no loss of impact. It's one of Telarc's finest efforts in the new format.--David Hurwitz]
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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