Ferrante & Teicher

Great 1970s Motion Picture Themes

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Ferrante & Teicher made their reputation with their arrangements of movie music in the early '60s; by the early '70s, their approach had largely passed from public favor. But this compilation of '70s movie themes demonstrates that they remained as inventive as ever during that decade. The duo is remembered for its twin-piano work, and the arrangements spotlight the pianos, but they employ a full orchestra and often a chorus as well. By the '70s, even movie music had begun to become closely identified with individual recording artists, and it also had begun to use elements of rock and R&B, which tended to work against Ferrante & Teicher's approach. You can hear those disadvantages particularly on "Theme From Shaft," which sounds a little silly when you recall -- as you must -- Isaac Hayes' rendition of his own tune. Similarly, Gato Barbieri's "Last Tango in Paris" is so closely tied to his fl├╝gelhorn sound that any other version sounds inferior. But those are the exceptions on this collection, which, despite boasting seven Academy Award-nominated songs or scores, three of them winners ("Theme From Shaft," "Theme From Summer of '42," "Let It Be"), contains a lot of relatively unfamiliar material. The themes from such films as Superman (by John Williams) and Pieces of Dreams (by Michel Legrand), though Oscar-nominated and written by prominent composers, are not well-remembered, and Ferrante & Teicher are able to use the strong melodies to create interesting instrumental works that bear their signature. As such, many of these recordings can be appreciated on their own, separate from the films in which they originated. (Note that, though there was a 1970s film called The Late Show, the track here called "The Late Show" is a Ferrante & Teicher original.)

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