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Bernard Herrmann at Fox Vol. 3: Anna and the King of Siam Soundtrack

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 29, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: February 29, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004NH9L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By G M. Stathis on March 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Bernard Herrmann is best known today for his scores to a series of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers,("Psycho" and "North By Northwest" to name only two), but much of his work was done for Twentieth Century Fox and music director Alfred Newman in the waning days of the Hollywood studio system. At Fox he domonstrated a versatility that is still legend. He scored romance ("The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"), Gothic romance ("Jane Eyre"), romantic adventure ("Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef"), epics ("The Egyptian" with Newman), a western ("Garden of Evil"), and science fiction and fantasy ("The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth"). Of course, all of that followed his storied work with Orson Welles ("Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons"). Herrmann proved a fair hand at scores for films in exotic locales, as well, Africa ("White Witch Doctor" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"), the Middle East of the Arabian Nights ("The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad"), India under the Raj ("King of the Khyber Rifles"), and Southeast Asia ("Anna and the King of Siam"). The Fox production of "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946) would later be overshadowed by the musical version of the same story, "The King and I," which is unfortunate. The earlier film was a splendid and thoughtful epic with a fine score by Bernard Herrmann. The recent recording of "Anna and the King of Siam" is a "world premiere release of the original soundtrack," and a welcome addition to Varese Sarabande's series "Bernard Herrmann at Fox," indeed, it is the best so far.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
In early 1946, Alfred Newman (Fox music director) approached Bernard Herrmann to compose the score for - "Anna and the King of Siam", based on the true-life Anna Leonowens governess to the children of Siam's King Mongkut, in order to support herself and two children, based on two books by Leonowens - The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870) & The Romance of the Harem (1872), later condensed by American writer Margaret Landon, published in 1944. Many films, broadway shows and television productions have retold the story, but this film with the great score is outstanding.
Herrmann who only by this time, had written five film scores - an oscar for "All That Money Can Buy", and received acclaim for "Citzen Kane", "The Magnificent Ambersons", "Jane Eyre" and the moody thriller "Hangover Square" with its stunning piano concerto.
But for this film, Herrmann relies on authentic Siamese scales and melodic fragments, trying to get the sound of Oriental music, with orchestra instruments. Much of the score revolves around the 12-note Siam theme introduced in the opening, giving ritualistic majesty and mystery of Siam. Lightening the mood is Herrmann's brighter, bouncier themes which feature the children of Siam. Varese Sarabande released fifty-one tracks, exciting and richly orchestrated by Herrmann keeping the mood-theme of this far-off and strange land of Siam.
Bernard Herrmann's place in film music is already secure and on the highest plain...but this first release of his complete original score, renews our appreciation for this mans genius and the brilliant movie-music storyteller he was!
Total Time: 64:40 on 51 Tracks...Varese Sarabande 066091...(2000)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this CD after watching the movie. The score was superb, capturing the mood and the action of the picture perfectly. Bernard Herrmann received an Oscar nomination for this score and it was well deserved. This score is Dramatic, but it does have softer tender parts as well. Fans of the 1946 movie, should pick up this CD. It's great.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bernard Herrmann isn't the Golden Age composer I turn to for glorious melody. That's Rozsa and Tiomkin. But no one creates a musical landscape like Herrmann, and this is one of his best. The listener drifts along on a quasi-Oriental tide completely free of the cliches that usually mark Hollywood's aural portrayal of the Far East.

For a film from the late 1940s, the sound quality is outstanding.

This one is essential for Herrmann fans and those who love the Golden Age film composers.
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