Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2009 July 13 • Monday

The sixty-ninth Soundtrack of the Week is the Tribute Film Classics recording of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music for The Prince and the Pauper.

Korngold was one of the most influential composers of Hollywood's golden age. He's remembered best for robust action and adventure music, such as you'll find in his famous music for The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Like Robin Hood, The Prince and the Pauper also stars Errol Flynn. In addition to the powerful and romantic writing one expects, there are also moments of humor, mystery and wistfulness. There's a theme—you can hear it in "Mirror" and in "Prince Outside Palace— that might remind you of Maurice Jarre's music for Lawrence of Arabia. Other parts of "Mirror" could make you think of John Williams, a composer who must admire Korngold's work.

As usual William Stromberg conducts the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. The music was recorded at MosFilm, a studio I visited in 1989. (I remember seeing a set for a historical drama, with an actor playing Lenin seated behind a desk.)

The music quality and recording quality are as good as it gets. This is another score that benefits from a close listening with headphones. Shouldn't the people behind Tribute Film Classics get a MacArthur grant or a Pulitzer Prize or something like that?