Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2011 April 04 • Monday

The 159th Soundtrack of the Week is Elmer Bernstein's Hawaii, presented in two discs by the Varese Soundtrack Club. Disc one has the almost complete original soundtrack recording in mono and disc two contains the album version in stereo.

It begins with an overture, hand percussion that bursts into soaring and lyrical orchestral music, featuring Bernstein's wistful and romantic main theme for the movie. A second theme, suggestive of suspense and action follows, and then a third, an energetic figure that sounds mostly cheery.

The music for the prologue follows, beginning with hand drums and subdued, atmospheric orchestral music. The orchestra swells near the end and the hand drums come out in force for a segue into the main title, the third track on the first disc.

There's an abundance of great music here, some of Elmer Bernstein's best orchestral writing and arranging. His use of orchestral color is stunning when you hear it in stereo, for the album recording on the second disc.