City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Epics: The History of the World According to Hollywood

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Reynold DaSilva's Silva Screen Records has built up quite a library of music by having the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (which presumably works cheaper than a name orchestra from Western Europe or the U.S. would) create new recordings of film scores, enabling the label to then recycle the material into thematic compilations such as this one devoted to music from "epic" motion pictures. The subtitle, "The History of the World According to Hollywood," calls to mind the books and History Channel shows devoted to examining how historical movies differ from history as historians know it. But no such analysis is attempted here. (In fact, there are no liner notes.) Instead, the idea is to present music from big-budget movies about the past, in roughly chronological order, that is, chronological order of history itself, not the movies, so that the first track on the first disc is a suite from Mario Nascimbene's score for the 1966 film One Million Years B.C., best remembered for Raquel Welch cavorting in a furry bikini, and the last track on the fourth disc, arriving more than four-and-three-quarters-hours later, is Ernest Gold's overture from the 1960 film Exodus, a dramatization of the struggles leading to the establishment of Israel in the mid-20th century. In between, as subheads helpfully note, we get music associated with films depicting "The Ancient World" (quite a few of those), "The Fall of Rome," "Biblical Epics," "Medieval Europe," "Pirates & Swashbucklers" (how did they get in here?), "Kings & Queens," "Heroes," "The New Worlds," and "The British Empire/The Orient." This organization makes sense only on paper, of course. On disc, the collection mixes up scores written between 1935 (Erich Wolfgang Korngold's main title from Captain Blood) and 2004 (Vangelis' "Across the Mountains" and "Eternal Alexander" from Alexander, James Horner's "Remember" from Troy, John Debney's "Resurrection" from The Passion of the Christ), which means the music was written for epics of very different kinds. As a general statement, epics tend to bring out big orchestral effects from composers: grand themes, martial rhythms, and choruses wordlessly emoting or singing in Latin. (Either the Prague's chorus or the Crouch End Festival Chorus obliges where necessary.) But especially the more recent works by composers such as Horner and Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, The Last Samurai) can be more subtle. Perhaps appropriately, this epical music is all over the map.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
One Million Years B.C., film score
1 07:18 Amazon
Ten Commandments, film score
2 07:54
Alexander, film score
3 04:16
Sodom & Gomorrah, film score
4 05:01
The 300 Spartans, film score
5 04:01
Troy, film score
6 06:06
Alexander, film score
7 04:14
Quo Vadis, film score
8 04:52
The Robe, film score
9 05:42
Demetrius and the Gladiators, film score
10 05:36
Cleopatra, film score
11 02:47
Antony and Cleopatra, film score
12 06:41
Gladiator, film score
13 07:16
14 04:27

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Masada, television miniseries score
1 05:12
Spartacus, film score
2 03:39
3 02:49
The Fall of the Roman Empire, film score
4 05:31
5 03:57
The Greatest Story Ever Told, film score
6 07:14
Jesus of Nazareth, television film score
7 08:23
8 03:37
Ben-Hur, film score
9 02:56
The Silver Chalice, film score
10 02:51
The Passion of Christ, film score
11 04:51
The War Lord, film score
12 04:20
El Cid, film score
13 04:16
14 03:32
The Vikings, film score
15 10:04

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Flesh and Blood, film score
1 05:02
The Last Valley, film score
2 08:06
Prince Valiant, film score
3 01:52
Taras Bulba, film score
4 04:56
The Sea Hawk, film score
5 06:29
The Crimson Pirate, film score
6 07:23
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, film score
7 07:34
Captain Blood, film score
8 02:53
The Lion in Winter, film score
9 08:55
Henry V (1989), film score
10 04:28
Henry V, film score
11 06:26
Mary Queen of Scots, film score
12 02:31
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, film score
13 07:18

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Carmina Burana, scenic cantata for soloists, choruses & orchestra
1 02:44
First Knight, film score
2 06:10
The Adventures of Robin Hood, film score
3 04:05
Braveheart, film score
4 07:06
Mutiny on the Bounty, film score (1962)
5 05:23
1492: Conquest of Paradise, film score
6 05:06
Captain from Castile, film score
7 03:23
The Mission, film score
8 08:44
The Alamo, film score
9 05:07
The Charge of the Light Brigade, film score
10 02:27
Lawrence of Arabia, film score
11 04:38
Zulu, film score
12 02:35
The Last Samurai, film score
13 06:25
Exodus, film score
14 04:28
blue highlight denotes track pick