Full performer name: Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
This is a DTS CD, which features DTS 5.1 Surround Sound technology and is playable on a DTS-capable 5.1 Surround Sound system.
Personnel: Eric Rigler (Uilleann pipe); Michael Bishop (sound effects).
Audio Mixers: Thomas Knab; James Bonney.
Liner Note Authors: Richard E. Rodda; Michael Bishop .
Recording information: 06/02/1996-09/03/1996.
Editors: Thomas C. Moore ; Thomas Knab; James Bonney; Scott Burgess.
Arrangers: Steven R. Reineke; David Snyder; Joe Price; Alan Silvestri; Brad Dechter.
Since his first recording of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" early in the digital era, Erich Kunzel and his engineers have been determined to blow out even the most durable speaker systems. This batch of extracts from the bumper crop of action films of the mid-'90s might be their most fevered attempt yet, as it is loaded with special-effects tracks and bottom-heavy orchestrations designed to make your subwoofer earn its keep. The real superhero of this CD may well be Telarc's bass-happy engineer Michael Bishop, whose practiced sound-effects wizardry thoroughly steals the show. The buildup to James Horner's "Apollo 13" is pretty dramatic, with the realistically crackling sounds of an Apollo launch and the ominously laconic radio transmission, "Houston, we have a problem." Later on, Telarc throws in the sounds of an F-16 fighter squadron streaking across the sky (Independence Day); a Los Angeles freeway (Speed); a vicious tornado (Twister); a stampede of elephants, gorillas, and other critters (Jumanji); and finally, for no apparent reason, another gut-churning tornado as a coda. As for the music, Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops bravely make their way through this inflated, cinematic fun house like accomplished pros, doing their best to mask the patchworks of fashionable filmland clichés that make up much of these excerpts. True, after a tub-thumping rendition of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme kicks things off, Elliot Goldenthal's "Batman Forever" is full of interesting deep brass and percussion writing that plays right into Bishop's hands. But the level of musical interest trails off from there. After sitting through things like the blatant imitation-John Williams rhetoric of "Independence Day" and recycled main/end title gestures of Randy Edelman's "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Dragonheart," you're ready for some more distracting sound effects. ~ Richard S. Ginell