- Audio CD (January 14, 1997)
- Original Release Date: February 20, 1963
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Soundtrack
- Label: Rhino
- Run Time: 164 minutes
- ASIN: B0000033TD
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,939 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
How The West Was Won: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Soundtrack
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Top Customer Reviews
The meat of this 2 CD set is the score itself, which is fabulous. I got this in April and have probably listened to it 50 times since then.
The accompanying brochure, which describes the history of the movie, the music, the composers(Alfred Newman with assistance from several prominent lyrists and arrangers), is also very informative.
While the movie itself is very entertaining, it is not great (but is significant - see Cinerama). If you want to see it in Cinerama, you'll have to go to Dayton.
Hopefully they'll remaster the video for DVD and include the entire screen. The widescreen video is from the 70 mm print made from the Cinerama prints, but actually does not include the entire screen width.
Nowadays many of the CD's that market themselves as "soundtracks" are really just assemblages of popular vocal music played under the action. "HtWWW" may have begun that trend with its liberal use of folk and traditional motifs, such as the "Greensleeves"-like "Home in the Meadow" and the many period songs sung in the background ("Sit Down Sister," "Poor Wayfarin' Stranger," "When Johnny Comes Marchin' Home," "A Railroader's Bride I'll Be"), but it does it much better, with lots of original instrumental music by Alfred Newman, ranging from the heart-pounding "Cheyennes!" to the light, bouncy "Cleve Van Valen" to the half-tearful, half-optimistic "No Goodbye" and "Climb a Higher Hill.Read more ›
In a perfect world, it would not have taken 34 years (from 1963 release date of film to 1997 release date of 2-CD soundtrack) for this music to have been revealed in such awesome, stunning splendor. It's reasonable to reflect, however, that technology has evolved during those three decades to the point where such a recording is not only possible, but affordable.
Perhaps Voltaire's satiric maxim, "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" (Dr. Pangloss -- "Candide"), can occasionally ring true.
For me, the revelations of the complete score are not the long-coveted magnificent cues (which remain breathtaking and heart-stopping) of the complete "Cheyennes/Indian Attack" and "Finale/Finale Ultimo," but such tracks as "Lincoln," "Zeb Returns" and the "Van Valen Auction" in which Newman develops his thematic underscore with basic simplicity, adding depth and beauty with various counterpoints to create a three-dimensional sound that never fails to engage the mind and the heart. This score is finally complete.
The phrasing in "Cheyennes" is, in a word, "phenomenal." An oft-cited anecdote by Ken Darby concerned Newman's pondering this sequence and wondering how in the world he was going to be able to come up with something fresh for an Indian attack. He then went home, sat down and wrote this series of cues that equalled, and exceeded (IMO), everything previously written in the genre.
There will, of course, be many out there who will fret and worry over which cues are actually original and which are based on folk themes.Read more ›
I'm not saying these aren't great, and I'm not saying HWWW is better than all of these. But it seems that whenever most people discuss great soundtracks, this one never comes up. Don't think that this is merely great Western music (although it is certainly that). This is a wonderful film score that boasts of a power and beauty all its own.
And at the same time, some that is not its own. For Alfred Newman, in a creative fit of musical genius, arranged one of the two main themes for this film to be the old gospel hymn "Bound For the Promised Land". This along with "Shenandoah" and several other great classic songs were thrown in to help set the mood of a pioneer's life on the American frontier.
Of special interest on this matter is the hauntingly beautiful "Greensleeves" tune: "A Home In the Meadow," which, at the end, is sung powerfully and beautifully by a choir. Almost as well done as that is the first track on SIDE 2. Here, it ends with the simultaneous combining of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Bound For the Promised Land".
Much like John Williams's STAR WARS, Mr. Newman knows always when to pick up the pace, and when to let it inch its way along, always setting the perfect mood for each scene. Also like the soundtrack for STAR WARS, you can play this music (without playing the movie), and it still makes you feel like the story is being told to you through the music.
And when you get right down to it, that's what a great soundtrack ought to do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was satisfied for years with the single disc version of this soundtrack which was a copy of the 1963 LP that I played to death for years after seeing the film in its first run. Read morePublished 26 days ago by johnf
This is the original soundtrack album from the classic movie. I would say that it makes a great companion piece to the movie. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Michael Phillips
What a marvelous thing to finally get a complete soundtrack of the music from this epic motion picture. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Joseph P. Durham, Jr.
Alfred Newman and Ken Darby go above and beyond in this sound track. I love this music! The MGM orchestra, conducted by the composer, sends these pioneer western themes soaring... Read morePublished on June 13, 2014 by Roberta Shaw
Excellent music to give the sense of Americas frontier. Nothing better than Alfred Newmans overture. Songs reelect the hope and promise of AmericaPublished on May 4, 2014 by Keith Statler
Anyone who likes dynamic music, especially music about the West, will like this soundtrack. The soundtrack, itself, tells the story of the westward movement during the 1800's, and... Read morePublished on February 28, 2014 by Rix D. Perkins
WOW is the word. Big, beautiful sound from an awesome movie. The quality is terrific. The music is exactly as it was in the movie. Read morePublished on February 23, 2014 by K. J. L.
I always wanted to see How the West Was Won on the Cinerama screen, and I finally had my chance in October 2012 when the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood held a Cinerama festival. Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by Kyle Lamers