Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Gamba draws a polished and wholehearted response from all involved. The Chandos recording has striking body and luster; exemplary presentation, too. Very strongly recommended." - Gramophone "How this orchestra relish the tuneful, witty scores that graced so many films... as ever, Chandos has done this repertoire proud with a luminous and full-bodied recording." - Gramophone
Gramophone Classical Music Guide
For Michael Curtiz's 1941 big-screen adaptation of Jack London's The Sea Wolf (starring Edward G Robinson as Wolf Larsen, the sadistic captain of the sealer Ghost), Korngold produced one of his most searching scores. As Brendan G Carroll observes in his absorbing booklet-notes, anyone coming to this music after the playful, swashbuckling fireworks of, say, The Sea Hawk, CaptainBlood or The Adventures of Robin Hood may well be caught unawares by its comparatively uncompromising demeanour.
The ominous 'Main Title' immediately sets the tone and demonstrates Korngold's masterly handling of an extremely large orchestra, which originally included the now defunct Novachord (patented by Hammond as the world's first synthesizer).
Perhaps the most striking piece of scoring occurs in the 'Love Music', where a solo harmonica intones one of Korngold's most sweetly poignant melodies against a backcloth of strings.
It's a rare moment of tenderness in an otherwise predominantly moody 55-minute sequence.
There's a bonus in the shape of the music for the trailer (the opening measures of which recycle material from Korngold's own score for The Prince and the Pauper) and the collection concludes with an irresistible four-movement concert suite from The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Korngold slimmed down the orchestration and conducted performances in Oakland and San Francisco in 1938.
Needless to say, Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic are completely at home in this colourful repertoire (the superb brass section has a field day) and the sound is as spectacularly rich and detailed as one could possibly wish.
Recommended with enthusiasm.
Recording information: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit technology.
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