Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Reel Love: The Cinematic Romance Album

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Silva Screen Records missed the usual Valentine's Day release target for this sort of album by a couple of months, but maybe the label was aiming for Prom Night instead. Or perhaps it doesn't matter when you put out an album of romantic music, since love can spring up at any time. Silva Screen specializes in re-creations of film music generally performed, as 29 out of 30 tracks here are, by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (the exception being Tony Lee's solo piano version of Erroll Garner's 1954 jazz standard "Misty," included on the grounds of its use in 1971's Play Misty for Me). But you won't see the orchestra credited on the cover. The star here is the music, and the emphasis on movie titles arranged into five themes -- "The Golden Age of Hollywood Romance," "Piano Love Themes," "The Jane Austen Romances," "European Romantic Cinema," and "Contemporary Hollywood Romances" -- warns the listener of the nearly generic nature of the performances. From the start, with Max Steiner's "Tara's Theme" from Gone With the Wind, the orchestra is turning in competent but unexceptional readings of the many familiar pieces. Anyone who has seen Gone With the Wind (and who hasn't?) recalls the power of that theme, particularly in the moments just before the intermission, but this orchestra lacks the forcefulness of the M-G-M studio orchestra that played it, or perhaps conductor Nic Raine's arrangement and orchestration just don't go for the gusto. Raine, Paul Bateman, Kenneth Alwyn, and James Fitzpatrick, who alternate at the conductor's podium, seem to have been concerned with getting professional work from the orchestra, but not a distinct sense of interpretation. Maybe that makes for an album that will play well as background music in a romantic setting for movie lovers who know their scores and theme songs, from Casablanca to Titanic. But it also means that these stirring themes have been reduced to anonymous easy listening music for the most part.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
A Man and a Woman (Un homme et une femme), film score
1 2:39
Il Postino (The Postman), film score
2 4:33
Jean de Florette, film score
3 3:20
The Summer of '42, film score
4 3:34
Emmanuel, film score
5 2:46
Last Tango in Paris, film score
6 3:27
Romeo and Juliet, film score
7 2:42
Nuovo cinema paradiso, film score (aka Cinama Paradiso)
8 3:29
Braveheart, film score
9 7:02
Indecent Proposal, film score
11 3:38
Titanic, film score
12 5:00
Edward Scissorhands, film score
13 5:29
The English Patient, film score
14 4:04
Finding Neverland, film score
15 3:40
blue highlight denotes track pick