, April 2008
As usual Naxos has been quick to capitalise on releasing a disc of music used in a number of 2007 cinema hits by raiding their own catalogue and hopefully encouraging punters to buy the complete records. I hope they do for they could do a lot worse as many of these discs are well worth the small investment required from Naxos. While it’s perfectly true that hardcore classical fans will have much of what is detailed here already most who have seen the films will not and I cannot think of a better, cheaper and more accessible way to introduce some fabulous music to the masses. I for one, had not got a recording of Verdi’s “La donna é mobile” and now I have and it will help remind me of when I had to mime it to Placido Domingo’s recording on stage when I played in Ronald Harwood’s play “Quartet” about 4 retired opera singers in a home. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto will always remind me of the film “The Seven Year Ich” rather than “The History Boys” even though I only saw that recently whereas how many years can it have been since I saw Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell … Suffice to say that I bought one of my first ever LPs on the strength of hearing the music in that film.
There’s no doubt about it that music is an extremely powerful way of rolling back the years and bringing back memories. One of my favourite songs of all time is “Song to the Moon” from Dvořák’s Rusalka and the recording here is very lovely and, again, I had not got it until now. Those of us “of a certain age” will forever associate the andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 with the film “Elvira Madigan” in which that music played such prominent role. I shall always link the duet from “The Pearl Fishers” with my first ever experience of opera that my mother took me to and I still have a very soft spot for it for that reason. I also remember another of the first records I ever bought was the 1812 overture which used real cannon, and the recording here is just as exciting.
All in all I enjoyed this trip down my own musical memory lane and hope it does similar things for legions of others.