One of the jewels of the Label X library -- and that is saying something, considering what else is in there -- this CD represents some of the most exquisite music in Lalo Schifrin's output. The music for Richard Lester's The Four Musketeers has the composer working in a distinctly European mode, very much in the manner of period concert music (ranging across a couple of centuries, as well as embracing the Hollywood and 1950's European film traditions) -- but the scoring and orchestrations, as well as some of the twists in tempo, show a few exotic twists in the details that are pure Schifrin. The result is sort of Schifrin's version of what could have been an Erich Wolfgang Korngold score -- and it's worth every minute of the listening, repeated many times over. The CD is filled out with Schifrin's music for two World War II-related subjects, the thriller The Eagle Has Landed and the drama Voyage of the Damned. The former, written for a fictional thriller, relies on rich, frenzied string passages, very much in the manner of early John Barry but more animated, and ultimately -- at least until the end credit music -- very interesting to hear, even divorced from the film. The latter is much more restrained and takes its time getting listeners to where it is going, with scoring that is far more closely tied to its period (1939) and setting -- "effect" music as much as dramatic scoring, with some of the music written in the styles of the times, including a Latin-flavored section for "Hotel Nacionale" and a foxtrot for the end credit music. The quality of the recording of all three scores is excellent, and the CD transfer improves upon the original LP release. The only complaint about the compact disc edition is the lack of a numerical track list anywhere -- on the tray card, in the notes, or the back cover -- to delineate where each score ends and begins.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder
|The Four Musketeers|