Ernest Gold

Ernest Gold: Themes & Suites

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Ernest Gold enjoyed some considerable success as a composer of soundtrack music between the end of the 1950s and the early '60s, and in 1963 England's Decca Records gave him the opportunity to record his own versions of such popular pieces as the waltz-like main theme from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and the rousing main theme from Exodus, as well as the less obvious, more complex material associated with such films as The Young Philadelphians and Judgment at Nuremberg, the Copland-like material from The Last Sunset, and the much more jazz-oriented music from Pressure Point. The music from Exodus is presented in the form of a concert suite running just under seven minutes that fully exploits the main theme without being overly repetitive, using the various parts of the orchestra starting with the string section to offer the material in myriad permutations and timbres. Gold is equally adept at all of it as a conductor, leading the London Festival Orchestra (the in-house name for the Decca/London-sponsored ensemble that would later grace the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed) in superb performances that expand considerably on the music as represented in the original soundtracks of the era; he gets fine performances out of the players, whether as an ensemble or as soloists (especially the oboist in "The Last Sunset" and "Inherit the Wind"). As with other London and Decca instrumental releases of the era, the sound is state of the art, and the only drawback to the appeal of this album is the singularly unimaginative cover, which probably helped dampen down sales considerably across the decade or more that this album was in print.

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