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Rad Bennett
ultraaudio.com

Marco Polo's Classic Film Music Series is entering its tenth year. What better time than this to make the leap to multichannel, advanced-resolution recording. After experimenting with different recording locations, Marco Polo finally settled on Moscow and the Mosfilm Studio as home for their sessions. This DVD-A follows suit, featuring the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, again conducted by William Stromberg. This is the first modern recording of the complete score, and runs a generous 82 minutes and 43 seconds, a timing that the DVD-A format can carry with ease on one disc without interruption. John Morgan has successfully accomplished the restorations, and the results are dandy. The performance is robust and alert, energetic, yet never lacking in finesse. The orchestra has a big, rich sound. There is a wide front stage, with good depth for the brass. The woodwinds are more forward than usual for Naxos' multichannel recordings, perhaps in an effort to recreate a "cinema" feeling. It is a thrilling sound in the big moments, as on "The Procession" or "The Tournament," and warm and sensual in quieter moments, such as the big love scene. The low end is solid, and the highs are sweet and clear, without a trace of shrillness. Also, the booklet deserves special mention. It contains three excellent essays: one by film-historian Rudy Behlmer; another by Brendan G. Carroll, president of the Korngold Society; and the last by John Morgan, the score's restorer. Carroll's essay contains a middle section called "A Listening Guide to the Score," which gives a complete rundown on musical themes and effects.






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9:13:25 AM, 13 July 2014
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