Alfred Newman

Love Is a Many Splendored Thing/The Seven Year Itch/Leave Her to Heaven

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This CD combines three Alfred Newman scores for very different kinds of movies on one CD. The music for Love Is a Many Splendored Thing is somewhat compressed but has enough body and depth to maintain interest for the serious listener, though there is some roughness in the final section of the 18-minute suite as the chorus comes up. The Seven Year Itch, by contrast, is represented in stereo and excellent fidelity, in what can be regarded as state-of-the-art, late-'50s sound -- it's also a much more light-hearted body of music and makes for a good contrast to the earlier score in tone and mood. Finally, there is the dark, brooding score of Leave Her to Heaven, with its haunting string passages, all stirring and unsettling. The sound reproduction varies with the age of the source tapes, although no aficionado of film music is likely to complain too loudly about any of what's here in terms of quality. The disc's limited annotation also makes an interesting point of Newman's constant "stealing" from himself -- recycling musical materials from earlier scores -- such as his music for the failed Shirley Temple fantasy film The Bluebird -- into his then-current work, especially if the setting and idiom were distinctly different from the earlier work.