This Collectables two-fer spotlights a pair of late-'60s recordings by André Kostelanetz, both products of the conductor's continuing fascination with a new generation of composers. Scarborough Fair and Other Great Movie Hits is an unexpectedly charming and solid entry into the vast Kostelanetz catalog -- although its unifying Hollywood theme is flimsy at best, at least it's a theme, and the material is selected with obvious care and affection, focusing on both contemporary and classic silver-screen fare. While perennials like "Laura" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" are tailor-made for the lush, string-sweetened Kostelanetz formula, the album truly comes to life on latter-day tunes including "Talk to the Animals" and "The Bare Necessities," which inject real energy into the otherwise dreamy arrangements and capture a childlike innocence rarely glimpsed in the conductor's otherwise staid and precise universe. Traces suffers from the anything-goes approach that undermines so many Kostelanetz efforts -- the songs are united solely by their pop chart success, and do little but soften and even dilute the original recordings. Kostelanetz certainly recognizes a pop classic when he hears one -- Traces includes the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill," Hal David and Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love with You," and Jimmy Webb's "Galveston," among others -- but he doesn't always understand what makes a song great, stripping away its emotional intensity in favor of offensively inoffensive instrumental arrangements that make listening a little too easy, to the point of losing interest altogether.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny