Various Artists

Cinema Classics 2007

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Borrowing classical music for film scores is an old practice that always seems to have utility and is still quite common, if the titles listed on Naxos' Cinema Classics 2007 give any indication. This roundup of classical themes featured in theatrical releases from late 2005 and 2006 points to an abiding need among filmmakers and soundtrack composers to fall back on Baroque, Classical, and Romantic favorites, rather than exclusively rely on original music to carry their storylines along. Of course, identifiable melodies often underscore dramatic points or create an appropriate period atmosphere, so it's easy to understand how the best-known music would be effective and exploited again and again. (In addition to plot descriptions, the liner notes list many other films where the same music was adapted.) On a CD compilation, though, these pieces revert back to their original state without any movie associations, so like previous albums in this annual series, Cinema Classics 2007 becomes merely another greatest-hits album, with few surprises in store. Naxos has not compiled these performances from the actual soundtracks, but has drawn from its own extensive catalog, so the artists will be familiar to fans of the label's products but few others. The playing is good to exceptional, with nary a bad performance among this disc's 12 tracks, and the sound quality is surprisingly even for the diversity of recording artists and sessions. So apart from the album's stated theme, this package ends up being a pretty decent sampler that may or may not bring back filmic memories, but will introduce many listeners to Naxos' backlist.

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