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The Essential Elmer Bernstein Film Music Collection

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Album Review

Reynold da Silva's Silva Records specializes in re-recordings of film music employing the (presumably low-cost) Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The label has released several albums dominated by the music of Italian composer Nino Rota — The Godfather Trilogy 30th Anniversary 1, 2 & 3, Romeo & Juliet, Fellini Rota — and this compilation draws from those earlier discs in an attempt to survey Rota's work across two CDs. The first one is devoted to Rota's more Hollywood-oriented writing, including music from The Taming of the Shrew, The Glass Mountain, Romeo & Juliet, Death on the Nile, The Godfather, and The Godfather II. This is some of Rota's best-known work, with his love themes from Romeo & Juliet and The Godfather, as well as his "Waltz" from The Godfather, among the most readily recognizable of film music from the 1970s. Rota's work here is lush, melodic, and often stately. His Romeo & Juliet music, for example, has a real Renaissance feel without being strictly authentic. The second disc draws from Rota's extensive partnership with Italian director Federico Fellini, and it is far more varied, with comic, jazz, and even circus elements to accompany everything from the humorous reminiscence of Italian youth that is I Vitelloni to the phantasmagoric Fellini Satyricon. A large chunk of Rota's work is found here, though there are also omissions, notably War and Peace and The Leopard, scores that did not fit into the concepts for the albums from which this compilation was assembled.

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