Prince of Players/Garden of Evil

Prince of Players/Garden of Evil

by Bernard Herrmann
     
 

Although officially titled Garden of Evil, the first 11 minutes of this CD are given over to another Bernard Herrmann score, for the 1954 movie Prince of Players. The latter is an unexpected treat, showing Herrmann in an uncharacteristically light-textured, lighthearted mood in his underscoring of the various episodes in the film's depiction of actorSee more details below

Overview

Although officially titled Garden of Evil, the first 11 minutes of this CD are given over to another Bernard Herrmann score, for the 1954 movie Prince of Players. The latter is an unexpected treat, showing Herrmann in an uncharacteristically light-textured, lighthearted mood in his underscoring of the various episodes in the film's depiction of actor Edwin Booth and his career; starting with the blazing, extroverted fanfare, there are moments here that don't sound like much of anything else that Herrmann ever wrote for the screen, mostly -- in the estimation of scholar Steven C. Smith -- because he was essentially writing for the theater here, responding to the theatrical sequences and stimulus provided by the biography. Much of it is very low-key and quietly elegant, in a manner closer to Herrmann's concert work than to most of his movie work, and if there is a drawback to this opening, it's only that some of the movements in the suite last less than a minute. The music from Garden of Evil is some of the finest adventure scoring ever done by Herrmann, and in some ways it anticipates the music that he wrote for Journey to the Center of the Earth five years later at the same studio -- the shape and texture of the music is eerie, with masses of dissonant horn and brass parts, and ominous percussion stings depicting the menace of the movie's journey into a remote part of Mexico. The new recording by William T. Stromberg and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra captures the timbres of the original music perfectly, though one suspects that the original tracks conducted by Herrmann at Fox -- which, theoretically, could turn up at any time on the Film Score Monthly label -- are even tighter and brighter. If there is a drawback to any of the material on this CD, it's that it is sometimes played a little bit too elegantly, losing some tension even as it brings out the music materials more clearly. Some of the cues here -- especially one referred to as "The Quarrel" -- will also be familiar from their reuse, as part of the Fox library, in television shows such as Time Tunnel and other fantasy/adventure series (especially those produced by Irwin Allen) during the 1960s. The annotation is more than thorough, and the production is clean and sharp, although one also suspects that the original music tracks from 1954, if they've survived, might also be brighter and louder.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/06/1998
Label:
Marco Polo
UPC:
0730099384124
catalogNumber:
223841

Tracks

  1. Prelude
  2. The Tour
  3. The Dressing Room
  4. Idyll
  5. Hamley (Interlude)
  6. The Traitor
  7. Murder
  8. Finale
  9. Prelude
  10. Siesta
  11. The Start
  12. The Cliffs
  13. The Chasm and the Valley
  14. Leah
  15. The Stone Arrow
  16. Hooker
  17. The Mission
  18. The Circle
  19. The Church
  20. Nocturne
  21. The Quarrel
  22. Aftermath
  23. The Wooden Cross
  24. The Mine
  25. The Feather
  26. Fuller
  27. The Shrine
  28. The Smoke Signals
  29. The Revolver
  30. The Wild Party
  31. Leah's Vigil
  32. Fuller's Devotion
  33. The Departure
  34. The Indian
  35. Fuller's Plan
  36. The Apache
  37. Daly's Death
  38. Fuller's Death
  39. The Watchers
  40. Night Scene
  41. The High Rocks
  42. The Chase
  43. The Cards
  44. The Ridge
  45. The Return
  46. The Sharpshooters
  47. Finale

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