by Erich KunzelErich Kunzel


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A campier beginning could not be conceived for this album of horror music than the one Telarc cooked up for Erich Kunzel & the Cincinnati Pops -- an opening sequence of thunder and frightened running in ear-splitting digital sound, followed by the hilarious haunted-house blast of an organ from The Phantom of the Opera. Yes, this is your worst nightmare come true, a symphonic Halloween album -- complete with sound effects -- that was evidently successful enough to spawn an SACD sequel, Scary Music, in 2002. In true "pops" concert fashion, Kunzel opens with classical selections with horror-related stories and eventually moves on to filmland for the rest of the package. Alas, Kunzel's relaxed way with the classics here isn't exactly calculated to raise the dead from their graves. Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" is a bit tame, made more palatable by the excellent sound; Berlioz's "March to the Scaffold" from Symphonie Fantastique is downright sluggish. "Pandemonium" from Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust (an imaginative choice) and Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre" are sturdier, though still too laid-back. Only Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" delivers sufficient energy. Many of the film cues, particularly those by the classic Hollywood composers, are more compellingly presented and surprisingly potent in musical interest, like the short reconstructed suite from Franz Waxman's The Bride of Frankenstein that ends up in the air. In "Sleigh Ride" from The Devil and Daniel Webster, Bernard Herrmann does inventive things with a fiddle tune that Copland famously used in "Rodeo," and his music for Psycho has already earned lots of respect in many circles (watch out for the over-the-top sound effects in the notorious shower scene!). Even though the classical numbers could use more pep, it's an engaging idea for an album, executed with dignity and some cunning.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/10/1989
Label: Telarc
UPC: 0089408018923
catalogNumber: 80189
Rank: 66405

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Erich Kunzel   Primary Artist
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra   Track Performer
Robert Muckenfuss   Organ,Track Performer

Technical Credits

Hector Berlioz   Composer
Charles Gounod   Composer
Edvard Grieg   Composer
Andrew Lloyd Webber   Composer
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov   Composer
Camille Saint-Saëns   Composer
Henry Mancini   Composer
Jerry Goldsmith   Composer
John Addison   Composer
Michael Bishop   Composer
Bernard Herrmann   Composer
Rosalind Ilett   Composer
Jack Renner   Engineer
Robert Woods   Producer
David Loebel   Liner Notes
Ray Kirschensteiner   Art Direction
John Maggard   Cover Design,Cover Illustration
Marius Constant   Composer
Mikael P. Eriksson   Cover Design

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