Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Mark of Zorro: Swordsmen of the Silver Screen

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Jolly great hunks of enthusiastic orchestral music alternate with gentler romantic sweeps in this entertaining collection of cues and suites re-recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic (with Paul Bateman wielding the baton again). The Prague Philharmonic continues to improve as a musical unit even as the orchestra's recording techniques produce improved results. The use of Dolby Surround in recording and mixing (a technique also used by RCA for that label's score recordings, but rarely utilized by other companies) provides an additional punch, even when the surround channel is mainly used for ambient effect. The music excerpted for this album ranges from classic scores, such as Alfred Newman and Hugo Friedhofer's underscore for The Mark of Zorro, to the work of later arrivals such as James Horner (with an excerpt from Willow) and Michael Kamen (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). An album of this nature would hardly be complete, however, without the presence of Erich Wolfgang Korngold -- and he indeed towers over this set, with selections from The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. Altogether quite a fun album. Mind you, the number of films about Robin Hood excerpted here might give one pause; after all, while he's often shown using a sword, Robin is, in fact (and fiction), first and foremost an archer, not a swordsman.

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