The Sea Hawk

 Composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold



Deutsche Grammophon


Conducted by André Previn

Score Reconstructed and Assembled by Patrick Russ

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra

Release Date: 2002


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     I’ve loved the swashbuckling adventure films from the 30s for as long as I can remember. This is especially the case when it comes to the myriad of films there were graced by Errol Flynn’s presence in the lead role. Films like Robin Hood and Captain Blood thrilled me during my younger days, and thanks to such wonderful channels as American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies, these films continue to inspire generation after generation. Though as many can attest, with every good film, a good score can go along way towards maximizing that film's potential. With composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, those films were in safe hands indeed. Korngold's work marks some of the best scoring from this period. His scores mark a true evolution in film music that arrived on the heels of sound development itself in the motion picture industry. Korngold, along with other pioneers such as Steiner and Herrmann, really pushed forth the ideal of what film scoring could actually accomplish musically, but in the film and standing alone.

     Given the nature of recording technology during the years when these scores were first performed, it is no wonder that the most available means of obtaining Korngold's work is through re-recordings. That is not to say that the originals are impossible to come across, but the re-recordings are more prevalent and more accessible to those who prefer the sound quality made available by modern recording methods. Of course, with any re-recording, there will usually be differences. The most frequent complaint usually deals with a slower tempo as compared to the originals and while I'm not an expert on Korngold by far, this seems to be a problem with those who are more intimately familiar with the original recordings. To be honest, this has never really bothered me that much, but if you're familar with Korngold's original performances (or even his conducted re-recordings), you might want to keep that in mind for this album.

     The CD presents Korngold’s scores to The Sea Hawk, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Captain Blood, and The Prince and the Pauper courtesy of conductor André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra. If pairing the music of Korngold with the talents of the LSO sounds promising, it definitely is. As far as I can tell, this re-recording pretty much nails the Korngold sound and presentation of these scores is well done. There is plenty of music here, and the scores run through quite a variety of styles, from swashbuckling to the more romantic side, all deftly handled by Korngold's compositions. The CD begins with the incredible main title to The Sea Hawk. While the cue itself soars on its own, the added power of the LSO makes this CD standout from the very beginning. The main title presents several of the themes that Korngold will utilize throughout the score. In fact, I was quite impressed just how thematically built The Sea Hawk and the rest of the scores actually were. The music is structured very well and the appearance of the different themes helps each individual score from becoming bland.

     Despite the problems that always plague re-recordings of this nature, I found this to be an enjoyable release. While my experience with Korngold's music has been limited, I was delighted to be able to sample some of his work, especially coupled with the great recording quality that is present on this CD. Thus, if you’re looking to discover the works of Hollywood pioneers, this is a fine place to start. ****

Track Listing - Total Running Time: 67:42


The Sea Hawk

1 - Main Title (2:13)

2 - Reunion (2:32)

3 - The Albatross (1:12)

4 - The Throne Room (1:25)

5 - The Orchid (0:28)

6 - Gold Caravan (2:39)

7 - Duel Part I (0:28)

8 - Duel continued (1:32)

9 - Freedom (4:48)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

10 - Main Title (2:05)

11 - Essex' Victory March (0:56)

12 - The Chess Game (1:37)

13 - Lady Penelope (2:22)

14 - Elizabeth the Queen (2:06)

15 - Defeat in Ireland (1:12)

16 - Darling (Love Scene) (2:55)

17 - Finale (0:35)

Captain Blood

18 - Main Title (3:10)

19 - Sold into Slavery (2:37)

20 - Meeting on the Ocean (2:48)

21 - Peter and Arabella (3:01)

22 - Finale (2:23)

The Prince and the Pauper

23 - Main Title (1:47)

24 - Tom (3:00)

25 - The Prince (4:16)

26 - The Boys Go to Play (1:07)

27 - Riot (1:52)

28 - Flirtation Waltz (2:54)

29 - Duel (1:59)

30 - The Seal (1:29)

31 - Epilogue and Finale (4:02)