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Adventures of Mark Twain Soundtrack

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, October 19, 2004
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0002TXT5W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,808 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This is probably not 'great' music, but it certainly is great-sounding music. And it takes me back to my childhood in the 1940s when every Saturday afternoon found my brother and I and our friends in the local movie theater, watching whatever had just come to our little town. 'Mark Twain' was one of that seemingly endless supply of biopics that played fast and loose with the actual facts of their subjects' lives. And in this case there was also the interference of Twain's daughter, Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch (wife of the pianist/conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch), who was determined to protect her father's image. She was concerned that nothing be mentioned about her father's darker irreligious writings, even though he had been long dead and his reputation remained secure. Be that as it may, Frederic March, who had to learn how to brandish Twain's trademark cigar expertly, played him with panache.

For our purposes, none of this particularly matters. What does matter is that Max Steiner wrote a lush mittel-Europäisch score that nonetheless brims with American tunes from 'Dixie' to ''Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' to 'Aloha Oe.' It is more than a little ironic that Steiner used Wagnerian harmonic procedures to underscore a picture about the man who famously commented to the effect that Wagner's music isn't as bad as it sounds. We get 29 cues such as 'The River Pilot,' 'Frogs,' 'Gold Rush,' Mark Twain is Discovered,' 'Meeting General Grant,' 'World Tour Begins,' 'Comet's Return.' The latter, of course, is about the appearance of Halley's comet at Twain's death just as it had appeared 75 years earlier at his birth.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Much of what Scott Morrison says in his review is accurate, however, I think that this newly recorded film
score of the 1944 film is FANTASTIC....the sound quality and the artistry and care that John Morgan and
company put into it's restoration will be immediately noticed, when listening to this CD.....IF you're the
type who likes CLASSIC film score music! The price is certainly GREAT and for those of you who especially
like MAX STEINER'S music, you will love this CD!
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Format: Audio CD
This Naxos cd offers more then 70 minutes of music from the 1944 Max Steiner's classic film score, in excellent sound.
William Stromberg (conductor) and John Morgan (arranger), very well known for their massive re-recordings of Hollywood Film Scores from the Golden Age (Marco Polo/Naxos and Tribute Film Classics labels), recorded this score, imbued of folk tunes and notable for the usual abundance of beautiful themes used as leitmotive (the ones for Mark Twain and the Mississippi are the most notables), with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

With all the beauties of this Naxos edition, I prefer the RCA/BMG version from 1996 (see my review).
Stromberg was there conducting a shorter suite, with the german Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir (Potsdam), in a compelling and satisfying rendition of the Steiner score: I find interpretation and conducting more powerful and distinguished: the german orchestra offers an opulent and lush sound that seems lacking in this Moscow rendition. The difference is very evident in the main title music, as example: the 1996 recording has more imposing sound and better orchestral balance. In this Naxos edition the orchestra seems also slightly reduced and Steiner's famous strings sound less intense.

4.5 stars

Interesting booklet notes.

Stereo DDD
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Mark Twain, but only saw this movie once, on TV. It's only worth seeing once if you know a lot about Twain already, because it is sanitized and sentimental, representing only those aspects of Twain's character and life. The score, however, is excellent, enjoyable to music lovers who have never heard of Twain. It is great to drive with it, because it entertains but does not distract. It is what I expected from the man who composed the wonderful score for "Gone With the Wind." While no moments on this CD quite reach the sublime achievement of "Tara's Theme" the overall effect of this longer musical experience is just as neat.
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