This Varese Sarabande CD reaches across a decade of Miklós Rózsa's work in Hollywood, and in two very different directions. The main body of the disc is comprised of the major sections of the original film score tracks for the 1953 costume adventure film Knights of the Round Table, composed and orchestrated by Rózsa in most vivid fashion and played by a studio orchestra of somewhere over 70 musicians. It is transferred in crisp, glittering textures that never betray its early-'50s origins (or, more to the point, reveal just how far ahead of many of the commercial record labels of the period Hollywood was in recording music) -- all of the characteristic Rózsa attributes are here in gorgeous detail, including the rich timbres, lush, memorable melodies (even in the usual throwaway sections of underscoring), which makes it all worthwhile and then some. The producers have appended to the Knights of the Round Table music a solo piano recording of the suite (arranged by the composer) of Rózsa's music from the 1943 romantic drama Lydia -- Alberto Dominguez is the soloist and he acquits himself magnificently in this distillation of the beautiful, achingly lyrical themes from the original, which crosses over effortlessly from free-flowing Romanticism to Impressionism and back again. The soloist had the advantage of having the composer on hand for advice in approaching the piece, and the result is a glowing addition to the Rózsa music library, and one that should be in every collection. The only flaw with the CD is that, as an early release in the format, the Knights of the Round Table material is broken up by only two chapter markers, which creates a slightly oddly balanced two-track assembly of over 30 minutes of music.
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