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Adrian Edwards
Gramophone, June 2008

The coupling, Five Fingers, starred James Mason as a dissolute spy selling secrets to the Nazis. Herrmann relishes the opportunity of conveying in dark and brooding music the unscrupulous nature of this servant-turned-spy. The arresting opening on strings in the style of a Bach toccata grips the listener from the start. The composer creates tension with often simple musical means, obsessing over short musical figures developed through imaginative scoring and allusions to outside musical references like “Heart of Oak” in the cue “The Embassy”. In another track, “The Dream”, a love theme blossoms briefly, but in the introduction, a lovely barcarolle, the composer allows himself to be almost coaxed into sympathising with Mason’s Machiavellian character. © 2008 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

American Record Guide, February 2002

"Another sterling entry in Marco Polo's film music series, mandatory for admirers of Herrmann and any who want to enjoy the work of gifted artists at the top of their form."

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, February 2002

"As on earlier Marco Polo releases, Stromberg conducts this music respectfully but without dullness. His understanding of Herrmann's style is beyond reproach. The Moscow Symphony Orchestra responds with interpretive conviction and a very pleasing orchestral sound. The recording was made in Moscow's Mosfilm Studios, and engineers provide ample warmth and detail. Every Herrmann fan will want this CD. It's a fine addition to an already distinguished series."

Norbert Tischer,
Pizzicato, January 2002

"Bernard Herrmann's score for 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' (1952) is film music of distinction, 'very in the mood', brilliantly orchestrated, highly sensitive and as a suite is a coherent work... Both suites are ravishingly played by Stromberg with a motivated orchestra."


The Economist, December 2001

"Once virtually disdained by musicians, Bernard Hermann is enjoying a revival. His scores for 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' and '5 Fingers' are played by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Stromberg. There is still some resistance to acknowledging the importance of film music, but for those with more eclectic tastes this highly dramatic and effective repertoire can be exhilarating."

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, December 2001

"As the mortally wounded Harry Street looks back over his life and loves, Herrmann's predominantly slow-moving music taps into a vein of poignant heartache and brooding nostalgia that cast a strong spell... After barely a seconds pause, we are plunged into the jagged swagger of the opening titles for Five Fingers, a stylish spy thriller directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and staring James Mason. Penned in the late autumn of 1951 and lasting just under 30 minutes, it's a rewarding, highly inventive score that never outstays its welcome. ... Film-music buffs once again owe a huge debt of gratitude to John Morgan for his painstaking restorations (a task made trickier by the none-too-clear photocopies of the original manuscripts from which he had to work). Praise, too, for William Stromberg, who draws some agreeably sprightly playing from his hardworking Moscow forces."

Amer Zahid, October 2001

"The score is best described as lyrical but mostly poignant and melancholy. It is at times sweepingly pastoral and yet effectively restrained... The sound quality is wonderfully close miked and is more spacious, with the brass sections very crisp and the percussion well balanced...Overall these two unknown scores have been resurrected from obscurity and will add great value to any self respecting Herrmann and film music fan. A must have!"

Victor Carr Jr., October 2001

"Marco Polo's classic film score series continues with two of Bernard Herrmann's finer pre-Hitchcock efforts. Both scores are from 1952 and are among the first projects Herrmann completed after moving from New York to Los Angeles and signing with 20th Century Fox. The films were box-office as well as artistic triumphs for Fox--and for Herrmann. As usual with Herrmann scores, the music is so intricately bound up with the visual images that it sometimes sounds less than distinctive when divorced from the film. Herrmann wisely compiled suites of a number of his scores (he recorded the Snows of Kilimanjaro Suite for Decca), making for a more cohesive and dramatically satisfying presentation of the music for the concert hall.

"Of the two featured here, 5 Fingers is the more consistently interesting, highlighted by exotic scene painting (with its suggestions of Turkish folk music) and powerfully dramatic passages in the final episodes. Kilimanjaro has its own colorful moments as well, opening with a swirling, snow-swept overture in the style of Mussorgsky. Other highlights include the lovely and poignant Memory Waltz and the intense sequence for The River. William Stromberg and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra uncannily evoke classic Hollywood with their stylistically true, brilliantly played renditions of Herrmann's inimitable music. The recording quality is far superior to what any original soundtrack could offer, even if it is somewhat shallow in perspective. Film music fans, and especially Herrmann fans, will be thrilled."

Doug Fake, September 2001

"Wow! What an album! This one may be their best yet. I'm particularly happy the recording goes for detail, stereo imaging, orchestral effect...Stromberg takes it from there, conducts with excitement, attention to detail, passion...He brings it alive."

Ben Ohmart, September 2001

"This soundtrack's deep resonant stalking is captivating, in that uncertain, looking-over-your-shoulder way. While I wouldn't suggest this CD to beginning Hermann fans, I definitely can't tell tried and true Bernardos to stay away. It just mustn't be done."

Bradley Bambarger

"Marco Polo's series dedicated to rejuvenating long-neglected film scores continues with another fine disc devoted to the work of one of the greatest film composers, Bernard Herrmann...The scores have been meticulously restored by John Morgan and conducted with verve by William Stromberg; the cinematic images are hardly necessary for high-grade entertainment. The booklet includes photos from the films and recording sessions, as well as reproductions of vintage posters and sheet music...Also available: a disc of Herrmann's scores to Garden of Evil and Prince of Players. Distributed by Naxos/HNH International."

Randall Larson
Soundtrack Magazine

"The welcome outpouring of previously unrecorded 20th Century-Fox scores continues with a new Stromberg/Morgan release, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Five Fingers."

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