Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Alfred  Newman, Alfred Newman|
Alfred Newman: Captain from Castile
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A wonderful recording of a great suite.
Juan Alberto Diaz Wiechers | Santiago Chile | 10/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some people might think that an old recording ist not worth to be acquired, but I do strongly recommend this CD, due to several reasons. Even though the recording quality is below today's standard and there is noise, the quality and clarity of the music must be taken into consideration. On the other hand, this one is realy a classical masterwork, a symphonic suite composed by Alfred Newman himself. It is a petty that no other classical conductors have taken into consideration this work and re-recorded it with great orchestras. Obviously the whole music from "Captain from Castile" is a jewel, but Alfred Newman had the long-sighted vision of assembling a whole "symphonic poem" for future generations, dealing with such a great historical event as was the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.
My mother is Mexican. When I first saw the movie "Captain from Castile", during the seventies, I was amazed by the closing march and the sight of several hundreds of armed men walking towards the sunset in order to reach their final destiny. I remembered my ancestors in that historical journey. From that moment on I never forgot the majestic final music, and always when I heard was it possible for me to identify the theme. Only some years ago, through a friend of mine, I found out who had been the composer and I learnt that the march was named "Conquest" and had become part of the symphonic repertoire. Then I bought this CD, around four years ago. And I hear it at home as well as my favourite recordings of Richard Strauss and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
UP-DATING. COMMENT FEBRUARY 20, 2008. In the time elapsed since my review, SAE has issued, together with 20th. Century Fox, a double CD with the almost complete Original Soundtrack of the film, in stereo. That is a great achievement. You can review my comment on said "official" release (around 93 minutes). But, notwithstanding, it does not affect the fact that this version of the Soundtrack is still a very good summary. As the years have passed I have realized that this CD is really not part of the suite assembled by Newman, but part of the original Soundtrack in an unofficial edition prepared by Tony Thomas. But, again, the work of those who edited this CD was a great achievement. For almost 20 years this CD represented the best possible edition of this Soundtrack. If you can get the official version, do it, but, no matter, do not discard this CD, because it provides a beautiful listening experience in the sort of a symphonic suite, like a Straussian tone poem."
picture goer | 02/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alfred Newman was a child prodigy whose childhood was mired in poverty. He overcame great odds but managed to study under well known music masters. By 11, he was playing in clubs to support the family. By his late teens he was picked by Gershwin to conduct his Broadway musicals. And by the early thirties, Newman was RKO music director. The famous 20th century fox logo was written by him in 1933. During his 20 year reign at he Fox studios as head of music, he had accomplished what few could manage. He was administrator, composer, conductor and arranger. He was also instrumental in grooming budding composers like Raksin, Herrmann and Goldsmith. This CD originally was issued on the Mercury label in the late forties. It was recorded in such pristine sound that it was used as a demonstration record. I still have the LP. Newman`s conducting skill was legendary. He could easily have matched Cantelli or Argenta. And the studio orchestra he lovingly picked the best musicians available. Names like Elizabeth Aller (mother of Felix Slatkin)who played cello come to mind. Ray Heindorf (head of music at Warners) learned conducting from Newman. His endless rehearsals made sure he kept up his obsession for perfection. He always gave his best. In 1950, Newman gave as an outright gift the Conquest march to the University of Southern California. Even today, the march is regularly performed at sporting events. The march rivals Rozsa`s Parade of the Charioteers (from Ben Hur) as an extremely exciting piece of music. Enjoy."