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Film Fest Ghent Celebrates Laurence Rosenthal

While Silva has had its share of compilations featuring the work of earlier film composers, Dirk Brosse and the Brussels Philharmonic are releasing a rather rare first: a new rerecording of suites and selections from the scores of Laurence Rosenthal. Rosenthal: Music For Film (Silva 1735) features over 73 minutes of music and is an excellent way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary for Film Fest Ghent which took place this past October. The tenth release in this excellent series lifts up an important musical voice that has often been overlooked by a younger generation of fans. Essentially what will become an historic release, the album is the first rerecording entirely devoted to Rosenthal’s music and features newly-created selections based on his original manuscripts.

Things get off to a great start with a suite from The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976) with its gorgeous, rich theme (“The Great Plains”) and a taste of his Western style. Music from 1962’s The Miracle Worker and 1985’s Mussolini: The Untold Story provide an equally fine sampling of those scores. They bookend shorter selections from Michelangelo: The Last Giant (1965), Brass Target (1978), Billy The Kid (1989), a suite 1981’s Clash of the Titans, and perhaps his most recognizable theme, that for the series Fantasy Island. The program moves well then from both works for the big and small screen while also giving great snapshots of Rosenthal’s fascinating harmonic style and engaging themes all quite brilliantly orchestrated. Things become a bit more dramatic as we move next into music for the miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (“Berlin Bridge”; 1986). A revised main title for Requiem For a Heavyweight (1962) and music from the earliest score represented on the album, Raisin in the Sun (1961), surround a brief thematic moment from the sci-fi film Meteor (1979). The final portion of the album features selections from Rosenthal’s Emmy-winning work on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; including a delightful “Hollywood Follies” episode suite with its jazzier inflections and light comedic touches. The album closes off with a suite from Rosenthal’s Oscar-nominated score for Becket (1965).

Every year the Ghent festival surprises fans with these compilations. Overall another unique sampling of great film music to add to your playlist that is easily recommendable. This new release may hopefully encourage many film music fans to revisit Rosenthal’s music which is represented with a variety of his scoring approaches across his distinguished career.


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