Franz Waxman

Taras Bulba

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The 1962 costume epic Taras Bulba drew mediocre reviews for everything but its score, a late effort by veteran Franz Waxman that brought him an Academy Award nomination. In this welcome reissue, one can hear what set the composer apart from the rest of the cast and crew that made the picture: he alone understood that a film concerning the roving tribes of the Ukraine in the 16th century, filmed in Argentina, and starring Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis (as Brynner's son!) was really a Western. Maybe it was all those horses, horizons full of them, that told him (watch the film clip on the CD-ROM portion of the disc and you'll understand). Anyway, along with the obvious echoes of Russian folk music with which Waxman's score is haunted, there's a lot of stirring material that wouldn't be out of place on a cattle drive led by John Wayne. The Rykodisc reissue is typically well done; in addition to the film clip, there are previously unpublished liner notes by Waxman introduced by his son (who notes that this isn't technically a soundtrack, but rather an orchestral recording of music from the score), and a movie poster.

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