Review by Rudy A-Traxx December 19, 2008 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
|I agree with these review. The great sound and surround treatment done to this recording is quite unusual for this kind of music.
Surround speakers are working greatly and the mix and dynamic make sound 3-D like, almost palpable...
It's adequate, but does not replace the original soundtracks (review from amazon.com)
I've been listening to Erich Kunzel's music with the Cincinnati Pops for quite a while now- the very first album of "popular" film music I listened to was back in 1988 of their 1983 recording of selected music from the Star Wars trilogy and other Steven Speilberg/John Williams colloborations. Make no mistake: Kunzel and the Cincinnati forces are always well served by some of the best recording sound, linear notes, and overall production values there are out there in this music genre; and their music artistry is always easy to like, as is their choice of films to include in their albums. The representation is indeed excellent- one can only take a look at the track listings included on this page to see that.
Having said this though, I'm not sure if I particularly liked his latest offering. Keeping in mind that perhaps more casual listeners of Kunzel's would like it more than I would, the rearrangements of film music to suit a more "concert-oriented" presentation is a tricky business and isn't always tastefully done. A case in point: a frequent listener may observe that in Kunzel's albums and included rearrangements, the ending for each newly arranged piece display a tendency to sound too similar. With the exception of film composers who write their own concert arrangements of their biggest hits- John Williams coming to mind immediately- the repeated "big band" and explosive/loud climax to most of this disc's arrangements does tend to wear thin. In other instances, the closings seemed rushed, hinting of an attempt to quickly finish the concert piece and move on to the next track
Within the tracks themselevs, particularly successful in my opinion, are the tracks for The Mummy, The Mask of Zorro, Shakespeare in Love, and A Bug's Life. Less so were the tracks for The Rock, Air Force One and Titanic; the latter most probably because one would have heard it so many times, and Kunzel's rendition, well, sounds very different.
Ultimately, whether one finds this album enjoyable to listen to repeatedly depends on one's expectations of the music recorded in it. There is much to enjoy, sound is excellent as is the representation, and casual listeners looking to be reminded of some of the music from recent block bluster movies would need to look no further. More frequent or serious listeners who like to hear music the way it was written- and closer to the context of the film itself- would serve better to also own copies of the original soundtrack recordings though.
I guess iI must be biased.....! (review from amazon.com)
I enjoyed the entire CD over and over and over again. especially track # 8 since I am a parent of one of the high school students on that track. Mr K. was so impressed with these kids and their sound that he decided to use them on the recording. After their performance with him on stage at Cincinnati's wonderful Music Hall, he altered his original decision to use them as a fill in chorus for the recording session and mix over them on the actual cut with a professional choir. A definite buy for Pops fans and an added bonus enjoying the impressive sound of a fantastic music program like Winton Woods High School of Cincinnati Ohio.
Test the limits of your sound system! (review from amazon.com)
MEGA MOVIES is a new compilation from Telarc featuring new recordings of recent film music performed by the popular Cincinnati Pops conducted by Erich Kunzel. The disc also prominently features six specially (and spatially) recorded sound effects tracks to complement the music.
SELECTION In order to properly sell a compilation a producer must include a hefty sampling of "the usual suspects" which in this case include TITANIC, THE PHANTOM MENACE, THE MUMMY etc. There isn't really any great risk-taking here, but the selected cues do make for a pleasant listening experience. The other selections are from THE MASK OF ZORRO, AIR FORCE ONE, THE ROCK, CONTACT, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE X-FILES, A BUG'S LIFE, ELIZABETH (the nicest surprise here), GODZILLA, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and ARMAGEDDON. 7/10
PERFORMANCE In most cases the Pops performance closely matches the original performance as heard in each movie. There are a few exceptions, though. THE ROCK (End Title) particularly struck me as being quite different from the original soundtrack. 8/10
SOUND QUALITY The sound quality is THE reason to buy this disc. Going *beyond* reference quality, the punchy, incredible sound mix is often jaw-dropping. The liner notes say that the sound effects tracks are the first sounds to be recorded direct to six-channel Direct Stream Digital. Sadly, the effects tracks are generally short and a bit disappointing in relation to the amount of time and care spent recording them. Still, the disc's audio quality - both effects and music tracks - is simply amazing. We even get a warning about sound levels, which reminds me of the "WARNING! LIVE CANNONS!" messages on the early digital 1812 Overture releases. Did I mention the entire disc is in Surround Sound? 10/10
PACKAGING A very unattractive text-based CD cover hides nicely detailed yet brief notes about each track. It is fascinating to read the notes regarding the creation of the effects tracks. If you buy the disc, be sure to read the liner notes. 7/10
OVERALL Most film music aficianados will already have some (or many) of these cues in their collections...for them it will be the sound quality that's the main attraction. For the more casual buyers, the selection should appeal nicely and the performance will more than satisfy. Either way the buyer comes out ahead. 8/10.
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