Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

The Crimson Pirate: Swashbucklers of the Silver Screen

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The Crimson Pirate is a nice collection of themes and suites drawn from swashbuckling scores written by Miklós Rozsa, Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, John Debney, John DuPrez, Erich Korngold, John Williams, William Alwyn, and Max Steiner. As might be expected from the theme of the collection, the quiet, thoughtful moments are few and far between, with the majority of the disc tending toward grand orchestral flourishes led by a galleon-load of brass firing fanfares broadside. Interestingly enough, many of the older scores are filled with twinkling flourishes that stand out in these modern recordings. The more recent examples ("Main Themes" from Hook, "Main Title: Morgan's Ride" from Cutthroat Island, and "The Crimson Permanent Assurance -- Overture" from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life) echo the tone and manage an impressive level of bombast, but they tend to bludgeon the listener rather more than captivating with tricky little trills. Be that as it may, the City of Prague Philharmonic, under the baton of Paul Bateman, turn in a collection of enthusiastic performances that adequately demonstrate a technical fluency on their part as well. Even more enjoyable are those performances where the COPP is joined by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, a choral group that sometimes seems to be about the size of the Russian Red Army, never mind the choir. This release sports Dolby Surround mixing.

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